As much as I love Cinque Terre, when we arrived in the Lake Como area it was a LITERAL breath of fresh air. The mugginess and humidity of Riomaggiore meant starting the day with sweat as soon as you stepped outside. (Unless you’re Italian. Italians don’t sweat. What’s up with that?)
In my last post, I mentioned that I’d take mountains over beaches all day, any day of the week.
So when we started to get peekaboo views of the mountains around Lake Como on our train ride, I was giddy.
I live in the Pacific Northwest and we’ve got some game when it comes to mountains. But the mountains in Northern Italy are flippin’ fantastic. (More to come on that when we get to Bolzano and visit the Dolomites!)
We arrived in Varenna by train and then took the ferry across the middle of Lake Como to the beautiful small town of Bellagio.
Jay came along with us on this part of the journey and it was awesome having an extra adult along to help entertain the kids on a travel day.
In both Riomaggiore and Bellagio, Jay coincidentally booked hotel rooms that were only a one-minute walk away. It was really fun having him nearby and along for this part of the trip.
Old town Bellagio is pretty small, with more twisty turny pathways and as usual — loads of charm. It was also a short walk to a beautiful view at La Punta Spartivento — an observation deck at the end of the point.
The town has lots of shops and restaurants, and the harbor was a fun place to have a picnic and watch the ferries come in.
On our last night with Jay, he took us out to a nice dinner where I had a traditional Italian dish of saltimbocca (veal wrapped in prosciutto and sage) as a rare deviation from my usual pasta.
The next morning, we took the ferry with Jay back to Varenna where we parted ways after a short walk.
Jay was gone and it was back to just the four Winters. We walked over to the Villa Monastero for a visit to the gardens and mansion.
The views from the Villa were beautiful, but my favorite part of Varenna (despite its name and being there with my brother and children 🤣) was The Walk of Lovers. Here’s a short video so you can see why I love it so much!
We returned to Bellagio for a nap (me) and some lakeside playtime (Scott and the kids). I’ve always been a power-napper but on this trip, naps have become especially essential for me so I don’t turn into sleep-deprived grumpy Molly. Not a pretty sight.
Later that day, we went across the lake to the town of Menaggio for a quick kebab dinner (when we want to branch out from Italian food, we’ve found kebab to be the best option) and a passeggiata (an Italian custom of an evening stroll) through the town square.
We came across a playground, and as I’ve mentioned before, they’re a little hard to come by in Italy so we usually try to stop. The kids were playing, and Scott and I were just chillin’ on a bench when I asked him what time the next ferry was. (Scott is our very skilled and much-appreciated transportation consultant for all things planes, trains, and automobiles.)
After a moment of looking through his phone, I noticed his body language immediately changed and he sat upright with a start.
“Ummm, guys? We have to go!” We suddenly realized there were eight minutes left before the final ferry of the day back to Bellagio!
As it wasn’t even eight o’clock, we weren’t prepared for this surprise! Everything in Italy runs a little (or a lot!) later. Restaurants often don’t even open for dinner until 7:30, so we just assumed there’d be a later ferry.
Well, you know what they say about assuming . . .
They say if you high tail it from the park back to the ferry terminal, you’ll make it JUST in the knick of time for your ride back across the lake.
What did you think they said?
Here’s a short video of the ferry ride.
Despite the jolt of the near-miss ferry situation, we loved our time on Lake Como. Stay tuned for a Morning Walk With Molly around Bellagio while the town is still quiet.
Up Next: Take your quiet Morning Walk With Molly through the town of Bellagio.
This is part of a series about our Winters Family Summer Adventure through Italy and beyond. You can start from the beginning of the blog series here or follow along on Instagram.