The Kensington Diary
La Dolce Vita: A Romantic Retreat in the Heart of Lake Como
Updated: Feb 26
As I arrive in Lake Como, I can't help but feel a sense of enchantment take over me completely. Lake Como, with its crystal-clear blue water lake and picturesque mountains, is the perfect romantic getaway for couples. Located in the heart of Italy's Lombardy region, it has been a popular destination for the elite since the Roman Empire, and it's not hard to see why.
We spent a long weekend here where the first thing that caught my eye is the stunning Villa d'Este, a 16th-century palace that has been transformed into a luxurious hotel. As I stepped inside, we were greeted by a grand entrance hall adorned with frescoes and chandeliers. The hotel's gardens are equally impressive, with terraced lawns, fountains, and views of the lake that are simply breathtaking.
For couples looking for the ultimate in relaxation, the hotel's spa is a must-visit. Set in a former chapel, the spa offers a range of treatments designed to soothe the body and mind. After a long day of sightseeing, we treated ourselves to a massage, and it was the perfect way to unwind.
Exploring the Beauty and Culture of Lake Como
No trip to Lake Como would be complete without a visit to Bellagio, a picturesque town that sits at the tip of the peninsula that separates the lake's two branches. The town is known for its narrow, cobbled streets, colorful buildings, and stunning views of the lake. We wandered around, taking in the sights and sounds of the town, before stopping for a leisurely lunch at one of the many restaurants that line the waterfront. The ice cream was also truly delicious!
Image Credit: The Hotel Guru
For those looking for a bit more adventure, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained. Sailing is a popular pastime on the lake, and there are a number of companies that offer private boat tours. We spent an afternoon cruising around the lake, taking in the scenery and enjoying the fresh air.
We were so pleasantly surprised that there are plenty of activities to choose from for couples. Hiking in the mountains that surround Lake Como is a popular activity, with a number of trails to suit all levels of fitness. One of the most popular hikes is the Sentiero del Viandante, a 45-kilometer trail that runs along the eastern shore of the lake. The trail offers stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains, and there are plenty of charming villages along the way to stop for a rest or a bite to eat. Cycling is a great way to see the sights at your own pace, and there are plenty of bike-friendly routes to explore, with a number of companies offering bike rentals and guided tours.
The Most Enchanting Villas and Hotels
For those looking for the ultimate in luxury, the Villa d'Este is the perfect choice. The hotel is set in stunning gardens, and the rooms are beautifully decorated with antique furniture and modern amenities.
The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is another luxurious and elegant hotels in Lake Como, offering a perfect blend of old-world charm and modern amenities. The hotel, which dates back to the early 20th century, is set in beautiful gardens overlooking the lake and the stunning Grigne Mountains. The rooms and suites are spacious and beautifully decorated, with antique furnishings, high ceilings, and marble bathrooms. The hotel also has a beautiful man made beach overlooking the lake which is perfect for relaxation. The hotel boasts several restaurants and bars, including the Michelin-starred La Terrazza, which serves gourmet Italian cuisine in a refined and elegant atmosphere. Other amenities at the hotel include a spa, a fitness center, and a beautiful infinity pool that seems to merge with the lake itself.
Image Credit: Lucy Till French Weddings
One of the must-do activities when visiting Lake Como is taking a boat tour of the lake. There are a number of companies offering private boat tours, as well as public ferries that stop at all of the major towns around the lake. One of the highlights of a boat tour is visiting the beautiful Villa del Balbianello, a stunning villa that sits on the tip of a peninsula overlooking the lake. The villa has been used as a location in a number of films, including Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
Image Credit: Lake Como Travel
Indulge in the Flavors of Lake Como
Lake Como is known for its exquisite cuisine, which features a blend of Italian and Swiss influences, with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients. One of the most popular regional specialties is risotto alla milanese, a creamy and flavorful dish made with saffron and Parmesan cheese. Another must-try is polenta taragna, a hearty and satisfying dish made with buckwheat flour, cheese, and butter. For seafood lovers, the local catch of the day, such as lake trout or perch, is a delicious and fresh option.
In the evening, the town of Como comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. There are a number of bars and restaurants that offer stunning views of the lake, as well as live music and entertainment. I ended my day at a local wine bar, sipping on a glass of Chianti and watching the sun set over the lake. To fully experience the flavors of Lake Como, there are several restaurants that are worth trying, including the Michelin-starred La Terrazza at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Il Gatto Nero in Cernobbio, and Locanda Sant'Anna in Argegno. Each of these restaurants offers a unique and unforgettable dining experience, with a focus on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and impeccable service. For a more casual dining experience, the Trattoria del Glicine in Bellagio is a popular choice. The restaurant offers delicious pizzas and pastas, as well as a great selection of local wines.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Lake Como is from April to October, when the weather is warm and sunny. July and August can be quite crowded, so it's worth considering visiting during the shoulder seasons of April-May or September-October.
How to Get to Lake Como
Getting to Lake Como from London is relatively easy. It's a 2 hour flight from London to Milan. From Milan, you can either hire a car or take a train to Como, the town located at the southern end of the lake, where each way is approximately 1 hour drive or train ride. Even though driving in Lake Como was relatively easy compared to the rest of Italy, it's worth noting that driving in Milan can be a challenge and I recommend you stay outside the city if you are not comfortable with lots of traffic and the Italian rules & regulations.
Lake Como is the perfect romantic getaway for couples looking for a bit of luxury and relaxation. With its stunning scenery, delicious food, and endless activities, it's no wonder that Lake Como has been a favorite of the elite for centuries. It is the perfect romantic retreat for couples looking for a bit of luxury and relaxation. With its stunning scenery, delicious food, and endless activities, it's no wonder that Lake Como has been a favorite of the elite for centuries.