Lake Como Travel Guide
We sent one of our favorite Yodelers Davina Tan to the amazing Hilton Lake Como to create a Lake Como, Italy Travel Guide. Set in a residential area between central Como and the Switzerland border, this beautiful hotel is just steps from Villa Olmo, lush parks and the promenade along Lake Como. Stroll just 10 minutes to the city center for water transportation that will connect you to all the famous towns around the lake. Davina created an incredible travel guide full of beautiful photographs and travel tips.
Name? Davina Tan
Occupation? Graphic Designer, Content Creator
Preoccupation? Couch potato, coffee addict, dog lover, handbag lady
Place you live? Brooklyn, New York
Can you sum up Lake Como? Lake Como is one of the deepest lakes in Europe. Surrounded by villa-lined mountains, Lake Como has been a popular tourist destination for aristocrats and for centuries. In 2014, The Huffington Post called Lake Como the most beautiful lake in the world with its microclimate, stunning villas, and charming villages. Besides the incredibly beautiful landscapes and surrounding medievalesque architecture, Lake Como is also well known for its silk production, which contributed to its rapid economic growth, before tourism became so popular in the last few years. George and Amal Clooney purchased a lakeside villa here years ago, which has brought a lot of publicity to Lake Como. Tourism has tripled in estimation within the last few years with most hotels and rentals sold out for the entire summer. Lake Como, with good reason, has become a popular destination for tourists in and outside of Italy.
What is the best thing about Lake Como? It’s a feast for your eyes! Lake Como is so incredibly beautiful and picturesque you won’t be able to stop taking photos. Every corner, every alley, every angle is a photo waiting to happen. You will revel in the slow-paced living and the almost medieval look and feel of the many towns and villages surrounding the large lake.
What is a perfect day in Lake Como? My perfect day in Lake Como would start by grabbing a coffee at one of the many cafes in the city center and taking a walk through the town to get to the Cathedral of Como. One of the city’s most historic sites, the cathedral’s interior is breathtakingly ornate and intricate and something I would never get sick of seeing. I would then spend some time wandering around the narrow and cobbled streets of Como, where you’ll find a few local shops selling locally made products like the Lake Como silk, until I reached the Funicular Railway. The railway has been in operation since 1894 and transports visitors up a very steep hill up to the town of Brunate. Atop the hill, you can enjoy the scenic views of Lake Como and its surrounding villages from a great height. Here, I would grab a quick lunch at Capolinea Bistro Brunate, a charming bistro that serves light, Italian eats and some amazing wine and cheese. After lunch, I would walk 30 minutes up the town’s walking trail to reach its famous lighthouse. The lighthouse gives you a rare and excellent 360-degree view of Lake Como. After the walk, I would take the funicular back down and continue exploring the city, grabbing a gelato and walking along the waterfront. After a long day of exploring, I would relax by enjoying dinner at The Marketplace, a local favorite that features a menu of avant-garde international fare.
What are the people like in Lake Como? A lot of the people we met in Lake Como have come from different parts of Italy to work there. It’s such a booming town now, with the tourism industry having exploded over the last few years. So generally, a large portion of the residents have come from outside of Lake Como but all are in love with this picturesque lakeside town. Talk to anyone about this place and wait to hear them happily gush about the beauty and charm of the lake and its surrounding towns and villages.
If Lake Como was a person or character who would it be? I know this is going to sound cliché, but if Lake Como was a person, it would be George Clooney. There is an elegant charm and mature sophistication about Lake Como that you also feel from George Clooney.
Tell us about your experience at Hilton Lake Como: The location of the Hilton Lake Como is perfect and just a ten-minute walk to the city center of Como. When you walk into the hotel, it is large and airy, with the spacious lounge area sitting inside a square glass house, surrounded by large plush sofa seats and lots of plants. I could sit here for hours, to be honest! The rooms are both luxurious and comfortable. The window in the room is huge and looks out into more greenery, the bathroom is incredibly streamlined and sexy, and everything in this hotel and room has been well-thought out in terms of design and function. On the desk in the room, there was a platter of gin and tonic and a recipe for the Hilton’s signature cocktail. What a great welcome gift!
The hotel’s rooftop is a one-of-a-kind space with a restaurant, bar and a large infinity pool, all providing an unbeatable view of the surrounding lake and mountain vistas. This was the most breathtaking hotel view I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying in all of my travels. The restaurant serves up delicious, modern Italian fare and cocktails that are more like works of art with their inventive and original presentations. Try the smoked Negroni – a cocktail presented under a glass dome, which, once removed, fills the air with delicate wisps of smoke. The food and drinks at the rooftop bar are great, and when combined with good company and the stunning views, it was a night to remember.
What did you love about the Hilton Lake Como? There are so many things that I love about Hilton Lake Como. The location is perfect, placing you in the heart of Como, minutes away from the city’s top attractions and sights. The design of the hotel is another aspect that I love, from the big and bright lounge area to the upscale and comfortable guest rooms, each space is thoughtfully designed to create the perfect environment for guests. I was also impressed by the hotel’s spa, which features a relaxing indoor pool and a zen atmosphere that puts you immediately at ease. In addition to all these great features, what truly sets the hotel apart is its amazing team. From the hotel’s manager to all of our bartenders and waiters, every team member at the hotel worked with passion to ensure we had the ultimate vacation experience.
If a friend was visiting Lake Como what would you suggest they do? Start your morning with a beautiful breakfast at the hotel’s Satin Restaurant.
After breakfast, take the quick walk to the city’s center and rent a boat for a tour around Lake Como. You can rent a boat and take it out yourself if you wish to do so, or you can rent one with a driver who also acts as a guide so you can get some background on the towns and villages you pass on your way to the Bellagio. There are two main attractions.
The first is a stop at Bellagio for lunch and a couple hours of sightseeing and the second is a stop at the Villa del Balbianello, the most famous and possibly, the most beautiful villa in Lake Como itself. At Bellagio, head to Ristorante Bilacus for lunch, which is only a five-minute walk from the docks. This charming family-run restaurant has been here since 1965 and they serve great Italian cuisine inspired by the town and the lake.
After lunch, walk around the town of Bellagio and do some shopping with a gelato in one hand and your camera in the other. You will find many hidden alleyways lined with more charming shops, selling mostly local Italian products. After a few hours exploring Bellagio, take the boat back to Villa del Balbianello (make sure you’ve booked the tour in advance). This villa will take your breath away! It’s incredibly stunning and very well maintained. The tour, which is about an hour long will take you around the gardens and the villa itself and give you a history lesson on the several owners and explore the design and function of the beautiful villa and its well-sculptured landscape and grounds. After the tour is over, head back to the Hilton Lake Como to freshen up for dinner.
For dinner, head to the very beautiful and romantic Il Gatto Nero, nestled on the side of the hills of Cernobbio. This quiet and quaint restaurant, frequently visited by George and Amal Clooney, also has incredible views of the lake. The food is delicious but be careful how many courses you order because the portions are huge!
After dinner, go for more cocktails (because you’re on vacation, right?) at the hotel’s rooftop bar Terrazza 241 with incredible lake views and delicious cocktails. Try the Dirty Bellini, Smoked Negroni or Espresso Martini while gazing out at the lake. A perfect way to end the day in Lake Como.