I have had so many amazing travel submissions lately, that the Real Travel feature will be weekly event on the blog for the next few weeks. Last week Michelle from SilverStarphotographic shared with us her amazing trip down Route 66. Today it is the turn of Wendy and Damion from Bridson Photography as they share with us their stunning photos form a recent trip to Lake Como in Italy. Lake Como is somewhere I have always wanted to go and looking at these photos makes me want to go even more, they are just beautiful!
Real Travel: Lake Como
For years Lake Como had been on our ‘places to visit’ list so we were really excited to be packing up our camera equipment last September to explore one of Northern Italy’s famous Lakes. Making your way to the lake requires commitment and a bit of a tour of Italian public transportation which needs to be planned in advance of your trip but the minute you arrive, Lake Como will hold a spell over you and the stress of travel washes away immediately! We were just utterly captivated by the stunning and dramatic views and were itching to start exploring!
Of the many enchanting towns surrounding Lake Como, we based ourselves in Menaggio as it was a close link to all the other towns we wanted to see. Menaggio is located in the heart of Lake Como, on the western shore of the lake. We stayed in a lovely apartment which we would highly recommend to anyone www.corimenaggio.com. The owners Alessio and his family were the perfect hosts and could not do enough for you. It was quite a walk into town (so we would definitely recommend hiring a car unless you are extremely fit) but the trade off was the amazing view from our balcony. It was seriously breath-taking. We would sit for hours on our balcony just taking it all in, completely mesmerised by the it all.
When we were finally able to tear ourselves away from the balcony we spent our days discovering Menaggio, hopping on the ferry to discover Bellagio, Lenno, Tremezzo and the extremely picturesque Varenna. Each town steeped in history and just as wonderful as the last and all surrounded by gracious villas, beautiful gardens and the snow capped peaks of the alps which are a sight to behold! Menaggio is one of the larger towns surrounding the lakes and offers a selection of hotels, shops and cafe’s. The heart of the ‘old’ town is in the square, Piazza Garibaldi, which can get quite busy but it’s nice just sit outside with a drink and watch the pace of life go by. There are also quite a few little lovely churches in the square, which are intricately and ornately decorated – some of the most beautiful we’ve seen. It’s only a short walk to the lovely little harbour and if you enjoy walking you can make the most of the tree shaded lakeside promenade which is bordered by colourful flowers.
After spending some time in Menaggio, we hopped on the ferry to Varenna, an ancient little fishing village on the eastern shore of the lake. This was by far our favourite place, so much so that we are returning this year and staying in Varenna itself. Not only was the approaching view on the ferry just completely idyllic not to mention colourful, the town itself was just so tranquil. We felt even more relaxed if that was actually possible?! Varenna is a very small town consisting of a few novelty shops, cafe’s and lots of cobbled stairways. We must also mention the fantastic gelato shops there – definitely worth a try! We would also highly recommend visiting Villa Monastero, which is a short walk from the centre. The Villa itself was formerly a nunnery but is now used as a conference centre but it was the botanical gardens that we found fascinating. Luckily for us it was a very quiet day and we practically had the gardens to ourselves. We spent hours, yes hours, wandering around.
After this, we hopped on the ferry again to bustling Bellagio. A lot of people call this town ‘the Pearl of the Lake’ but for us Varenna had already captured our heart. There’s a lot more going on in Bellagio, a lot more shops to peruse, particularly craft shops and some lovely restaurants serving up the finest of Italian food.
Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo is worth a visit and can be reached by bus if you are staying on western shore. It’s a gorgeous Villa that was built in 1690 and has a maze of stunning gardens that you can walk around which is why it’s quite popular for couples to have their wedding pictures taken there. The Villa holds quite a few masterpieces inside so understandably there is no photography allowed. After visiting the Villa we explored a little of the town although it was perhaps a little too quiet for us. One of the best things about it was Hotel Grand Tremezzo which actually had a swimming pool in the lake – very cool!
One of the last places to visit was Lenno and Villa Balbienello. Any Star Wars / James Bond fans out there will know that this is where they filmed Attack of the Clones and Casino Royale. The gardens here are meticulously manicured and out of all the Villa’s we saw this is perhaps the most charming of all. It’s also an extremely popular wedding venue and we can see why! To get there after the bus ride you have two options, a long hike up a very steep hill or a speedy boat trip. We cheated and took the boat shuttle to save our legs!
In summary Lake Como really is one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited and lends itself to some gorgeous photo opportunities. By the end of our holiday we had pretty much adopted and embraced the Italian way of life and wanted to lounge on the shores of Lake Como permanently, eating delicious olives and drinking glasses of prosecco!
For more information on Wendy and Damion’s work go to