When I wrote my city guide for Milano, I couldn’t resist the urge to also make a little city guide for Como. Como itself is small but there are so many little spots and hidden gems all over the different villages surrounding the enormous lake. For my fellow Europeans, Como is so easily accessible. If I’m traveling from Brussels, I know I’ll be there in… less than 4 hours? Crazy. It just blows my mind how easily accessible this little piece of paradise is! Seriously, the sense of freedom that comes from moving around without too much hassle - and to witness such vast and dreamy beauty - is simply surreal.
Starting with - can you guess - the MANDARIN ORIENTAL! I remember spotting this hotel by accident when I took a bus from Pognana Làrio to Como. I had no idea they also had a hotel in Como! Needless to say, I stayed just to be able to check it out and it did not disappoint!
But the hotel that was the most memorable is VILLA LÀRIO. I highly suggest the penthouse for privacy with the most amazing balcony view! The Master Suite and Master Tower Suite, actually, the entire hotel is pretty amazing. There is not one room that doesn’t carry their brand DNA and I love how it’s not an enormous hotel that’s part of a chain but rather a small resort with high focus on customer service. Also, I loved the Bluetooth sound system (not something you often find in hotels?) and waking up to Lovely Day by Bill Withers, surrounded by luxury and the biggest luxury of all - the lake and mountains, while enjoying my breakfast has been something else. When my therapist tells me to go to my quiet and happy place, this is it, haha.
If you’re in the mood for something a little bit more ‘dolce vita’ with some ‘dolce far niente’ I totally recommend staying at VILLA D’ESTE. A place once built as a summer residence for a cardinal, later on, visited by Elizabeth Taylor while having an affair with Richard Burton, this place is packed with history and grandeur. You can’t really go wrong with this hotel. Equally stunning but with a completely different feel is SETA HOTEL, comfort, and coziness right in the center of Bellagio if you like to be connected to a city center. They have a restaurant that serves delicious modern Italian cuisine!
Now, if you want something more kitsch (hey, it has its own charm) for a good laugh but equally enjoyable to experience, book a room at the GRAND HOTEL TREMEZZO. Over 100 years of history and over the top but in the best way possible. You’ll be enjoying your breakfast on a balcony, overlooking the beautiful water while Bellagio sits right across the lake from you.
If you come to Como, Italy, to then go to a sushi restaurant or something…there is something very wrong with you. Lucky for you I sampled quite a bit of Italian restaurants and I recommend:
One of my favorite restaurants is located in Bellagio, ANTICHI SAPORI. When I came back to Como in February (low season aka everything is freaking closed, EVERYTHING) I was so disappointed I could not eat their food. Everything on the menu seems to be delicious. I devoured my pizza and spaghetti al Tartufo. Yes, why not. I sampled everyone’s plate when I was with friends. I looked at everyone’s plate in the restaurant and my God, I want to taste the entire menu before I die.
Anyway, moving on from my dramatic flair when talking about food, I totally recommend visiting ENOTECA CAVA TURACCIOLO. That was a mouthful, even my brain hurt from trying to type this without copy/pasting. It’s a cute little spot, also in Bellagio, where the staff is very knowledgeable about the wine. Their charcuterie board is delicious as well! It only seems right to sample different wines over cheese and cuts of dried meats while in a cave, right?
KITCHEN is a spot where you can enjoy modern Italian cuisine in a beautiful private court filled with greenery. The focus of the kitchen is fresh, seasonal food that they grow in their own garden! The restaurant has one Michelin *. :)
CRIANZA is a lovely little oasis very close to the train station Como S. Giovanni. It’s so cozy and cute, delicious Puglian dishes served by attentive waiters, what is there not to love? I know that I’ll be going back to this one when I plan my next visit!
TO SEE, TO ENJOY
One thing you MUST do is go to Como during truffle season and go truffle hunting. I had a BLAST being in nature like this and going truffle hunting with a guide (and cute dog’s ♥️♥️) followed (!) by a cooking class with our hunted truffles and it turned into an amazing dinner with locals that treated us so well, their hospitality was filled with love. ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️ a 10/10 experience.
Another thing I thoroughly enjoyed was visiting the many magnificent villas of the various villages around the lake. The boat rides alone are an experience to enjoy. I really wanted to see Villa del Balbianello, where James Bond Casino Royale was filmed! It was equally, if not, even more, stunning in real life. I went during the off-season and during peak season - loved it every time. One boat ride I remember being kinda funny was riding on a boat - with that INCREDIBLE view all around you - and casually passing by George Clooney’s villa (gotta need an invitation for dinner over at the Clooney's to better see the villa, hahaha).
Other villa’s I highly suggest visiting are; Villa Cipressi with such a rich history, Villa Pliniana which was built so interestingly, Villa Erba that has been used in different popular celebrities’ works, Villa Olmo which is situated in actual Como and is so extravagant and massive that it deserves the name of legendary. It’s a palace, not a villa lol. Villa la Gaeta was also really cool to see! A must to see from a boat and from visiting, the architecture is so different! There are many more, it’s overwhelming so I’m gonna need many back and forth visits to work on my villa list!
Another cool part of Como is their museum of silk (Educational Silk Museum). It’s really about the production of silk which was very interesting to learn about.
If you’re a lover of photography like I am, you’re gonna love taking long walks and photographing literally everything because it’s so beautiful. What is, you say?? E-ve-ry-thing, I say. During the entire trip, I was inseparable from my camera and needed to buy new batteries to take with me, pronto. I even filmed, like, documented my trips to Como.
Lovers of all things carbs: I went ahead and sampled many delicious bakeries around Como for you. 😘 PASSION COMO serves bomb-ass sandwiches if you want to eat an Italian snack for the sake of eating a delicious Italian snack. A place like this makes me want to quit everything, buy a villa in Como and then just live the rest of my life in peace while I devote my time to cooking and… eating. Working on art. Going for a sandwich snack in the sun cus I feel like it. Ya feel me??? Okay anyway, moving on, POLETTI bakery serves DELICIOUS food and it had the cutest garden spot where I enjoyed reading my book in peace while drinking fucking great coffee with comfort food that made me very, very happy. UL PAN DE COM seems to be a local favorite. I accidentally stumbled on this bakery while I was taking a billion pictures of Como and didn’t think about eating all day (I was starving and very pleased to learn why it’s a local favorite). Sweet and savory are equally delicious. BERETTA IL FORNAIO is another favorite. I simply had to visit every day during my stays since I had a hard time choosing so I chose to try everything, lol. It’s beautiful and mouthwatering.
Hopefully, you enjoyed reading this guide! I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, digging up some old pictures I took for inspiration and reliving my memories for a minute. ♥️ If you have any feedback or wish to share anything in regards to my writings, shoot an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .