TG Tips- Lake Como

You don’t necessarily have to be George Clooney nor have his bank balance to enjoy a stay at Lake Como, but as the saying goes… It does help.

I like the Italian lakes, and though quite possibly of the three main Northern ones; Garda, Maggiore and Como, the latter is my least favourite, a few days here would certainly be well spent and the food as well as people are great.

So, my knowledge of the area is expanding as I have now lead several tours to the Lake, staying in Cernobbio, Moltrasio, Cernobbio, Cadenabbia, Menaggio and of course Como itself. However most of the little shore villages are cute, have a bar and a restaurant and those interested in the history of the Second World War will enjoy visits further north to Domaso and Dongo, forever linked with the capture of Mussolini.

Tour Guide

Dott.sa Giusi Lucini – there is no doubt a good tour guide can bring any visit to life. Giusi is a guide to the whole of Lake Como and the best I know on the lake. She often gets booked as she is well known by those in the know, so contact her early at giusilucini@yahoo.com to find out more about Giusi check her site. Giusi Lucini

Cernobbio

Hotel Regina Olga – Cernobbio. Ok, so I stayed here for work and hence it’s probably a little out of my price range, but have a look and maybe there are deals available. The location is great- very easy into Como by bus or boat and regular boats North to Bellagio etc. A nice day trip takes you up the Maloja pass to St Moritz too.

 

Hotel Regina Olga, Cernobbio, Lake Como

 

The staff here are amongst the friendliest I’ve come across. Mauro leads the restaurant team excellently and hard rock fan (you’d never guess) GianCarlo seems to smile at any hour of the day. Chef Adriano’s tiramisu is truly amazing and Leo behind the bar is a real, genuine barman – ask him about whiskey… Hotel Regina Olga

Tea and Cakes

Pasticceria Poletti – Via Regina 34, Cernobbio. This is a gorgeous little tea room and shop perfectly located on the way back from a circular walk which takes in the remarkable ex-rubbish dump – turned botanical garden the ‘Giardino della Valle’. The cakes a delicious and the little garden out the back a haven of peace. This place is always popular with my English groups.

Buy

La Piazzetta – Via Regina 83, Cernobbio. This gastronomia – enoteca – catering food and wine shop on the main road is not the cheapest place you’ll come across, but they certainly have very very good stuff. From products of Valtellina to local products, there is polenta, unusual pasta, wonderful wines, obviously lots of grappa and even exotic looking balsamic vinegar. The neighbours and shoppers here are posh so you’ll pay accordingly, but you’ll come away with top quality.

Menaggio (and surroundings)

Eat

La Vecchia Chioderia, Via ai Mulini 3 (above Menaggio) – this translates as ‘the old nail factory’ which is exactly what it was. If you fancy and escape from the busy lake I can thoroughly recommend heading up into the hills behind Menaggio for the day. Go for a stroll into the forest and you’ll come across – make it it time for lunch – this fantastic agriturismo. Straddling a river, we ate fresh farm trout and pork (all zero foods miles) as the trout are farmed there and the pigs live out the back. Call ahead if you wish to book – tel 034430152

Cadenabbia

Bar Victoria – Via Regina 11, Cadenabbia. Enrico, Tina and Nina run maybe the best bar/pub on the lake. Wonderful terrace that sits above the lake. Great Yorkshire tea with real homemade scones, the pizzas are nice too.

Yorkshire Tea By The Lake

Yorkshire Tea By The Lake

Also the only proper Guiness for miles. The evenings see the place come alive with a mix of European live football and Enrico’s music passion – ask for any video you like.

Bellagio

Eat

La Divina Commedia, Salita Mella 43/45. There are not many places in Bellagio that adhere to the truly Italian philosophy of eating well and not paying a fortune for doing so. La Divina Commedia up a set of Medieval stairs from the main square is in fact the only one I know. The concept is simple and incredibly cheap; a drink and a buffet to which you can help yourself twice = €10.00. Can’t do much fairer than that. There are cold yummy bits and things too which you can heat in a micro wave. La Divina Commedia.

Ristorante Alle Darsene di Loppia, Via Melzi di Eril 1. This place is the perfect 2nd Cup Of Tea place in that it proves how well worth walking ten minutes in the opposite direction of everyone else can be – especially when it comes to the hunt for food.

Loppia Harbour by Night - View of the Restaurant

Loppia Harbour by Night – View of the Restaurant

Best to visit on a balmy summers evening and reserve to get an outside table overlooking the small harbour where traditional lake Como boats are still tied up. The lake still has around 150 fishermen earning a living – they surely reserve some of the best for here. Have an idea from their website Alle Darsene di Loppia.


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