Lake Como - the best city break in June

   I have a list with countries and cities I want to visit before the end of 2016, and Lake Como (together with few other lakes) has always been on that list, not only for this year, but for many years before.

   And this day has arrived - Mr A has booked our tickets, our hotels and off we went. For a 4 day trip to Italy...again.

We arrived to Malpensa airport at midnight, after our EasyJet flight was significantly delayed, and immediately went to pick up our pre booked car which we always get with Avis. We got our Toyota Yaris Hybrid, tried it out first, since none of us has ever properly driven an automatic car and off we went for a 1 and half hour night drive along Lake Como, through the small streets, with the moon shining over the lake and after every curve of the road we would see another reflection of that huge orange ball in the lake....mmm, how romantic.

   We pulled up by our hotel past 1am in the morning, looked out of the window to say good night to that moon reflecting on the surface of the calm lake and went to bed.

  One thing I like about staying in the hotels is the breakfast. It is always served and it is most of the times something I don't eat at home. And I always like to give a try to the new or rarely eaten food, especially if it is local.

And just look at this view... kept getting better with every click of the camera...
After a very filling breakfast, which included balls of ice-cream floating in hot chocolate, we went out exploring. The initial idea was to swim in the hotel's own floating swimming pool, but since it started raining and we saw some lightning too, we decided against this idea.

Everything behind that lonely boat is actually a mountain, but because its so foggy, it looks just like a piece of land...

Off we went downstairs encompassed by the hot search of food and then walkies.

Yes, this is the hot chocolate floating ice-cream. Ummm, I know you want to have some right about now as well :) I don't blame you, when I look back at this photo, I want a taste of this ice-cream again.

As you sit in the hotel Britannia Excelsior restaurant area, you are overlooking the sunny road and across that a belt of mountains on the opposite side of the lake, with the floating swimming pool by your feet. We came out to sit down, enjoy the scenery and also take some photos, as the lake was calm and the weather sunny.

My favourite Hydrangea flowers seem to grow here like a weed, while in UK they are not the cheapest to purchase.

Same is with all the types of succulents and the most amazing huge aloe vera plants. If I could I would bring all those plants home and plant them in my garden.

   As you proceed going up the mountain, you get a good exercise and you get to see locals getting on about their daily business. There are plenty of lovely bars and little taverns and shops on your way up. And then on your way down of course.

There was some park, full of hydrangeas and with some swings. And I have made sure I swung on those swings until I could take it no more. Some locals even sat down to watch us enjoying ourselves.

Once we had enough, we returned back to our hotel, which was 15-20 minutes walk away, showered and decided to go exploring a bit further this time. Our first stop was a walk two minutes down the road from the hotel to catch the ferry.

You pay 15 Eur each and you are good to ride on the ferry for the entire day. And for 9 Eur you will get yourself a one return trip to Bellagio or any other nearby town. I would strongly recommend to get a day pass. As you will have finish exploring Bellagio promptly and will want to see something else.
10 Minutes spent on the ferry, and we are on on the opposite side of the lake, off to explore a little town called Bellagio.

Yes, our hotel is left behind, right about there...

And loads of those work of art sculptures placed all the way along the main promenade street of the Bellagio town.

Having walked for a bit and taking enough photos and videos, we found an Italian restaurant right in the middle of the town. Bar Restaurant Carillon had a big selection of very yummy pizzas, even for vegetarians.

   Dont you just want to go down every little street of this town and see what is behind the corner, because sometimes you can find an unexpected oasis of calm or a super pretty villa, hiding from the pedestrian eyes and only presenting itself to the sailors and passing boats.

Many Bellagio residents own boats in order to be able to move around...

and some of the residents of the bird world own boats as well :)

This is the quiet place you find if you just go down one street, which does not even look promissing...

Refueled with some local gelato, we are off to catch the next boat and to see another town

We hoped on the local river mini bus, which delivered us directly from Bellagio to Varenna.

Travelling with the wind in our hair, on the open deck.

   And we are in Varenna, our next amazing town conveniently located on lake Como

With its toy train stations, dissappearing into the depth of rocky mountains. You can come to Varenna from the Linate airport in Milan by taking the two hour train into town.

As we walked through, deeper into Varenna, we have discovered it even has a beach and a Lido with sun beds. So keep that in mind. You can safely "loose" the entire day in this town, just strolling around and enjoying yourself and this town with the definite relaxed resort feel to it.
But then we saw this:

Which is a sure sign for a Castello. We got excited by a steep, and stony way up through the forest, which lasts about 15 - 20 minutes, depending on how fast you will walk and in the middle you even get rewarded with a fresh spring water directly from the mountain itself.

Promise me, you will not get disheartened half way up to Castello, because we almost did. And even when we arrived at the top, we though it makes no sense entering, as it did not look like there is much there. We were very wrong and I am glad we did go and entered to see the castle.

The Castle itself is very interesting and you can even go to the top of that tower, not for the faint-hearted,

The views alone are worth two or three trips up and down. You can also see birds or prey on the territory of the castle itself. They have their special places there. And all your path around the castle smells of rosemary, as big bushes of it grow there.

The magnificence of the landscape and the scale - are just breathtaking!

I had to take a selfie at the very top of the tower, because my other half decided it will be safer if he stays at the bottom. I warned you :) The stairs are very steep and look unreliable. My knees were a bit shaky too...

The way down was much more pleasant and easier, and we even met the small fluffy family of swans.

And went back "home" to our hotel for a good night sleep.
To add, there is an annual celebration of St.John's Eve, celebrating his birth, and it happens every June, on the 24th. With pretty fireworks over the lake and torch procession, both taking place when it gets dark.

Have you ever been to Bellagio and Varenna?
Is there something we should visit next time we go there? Because I am definitely returning.

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