Style guru Marie Hindkær’s perfect Lake Como stay
Boat trips, morning swims and stunning art collections.
How to get there
Milan Malpensa airport is a 45 minute drive away from Como – or you can take the train which will take you around 1h 30m.
When to go
Ask the locals and they will all tell you the best time to visit Lake Como is during spring or autumn, when it’s less busy and less warm.
The place to stay
Truth is, I would go back to Lake Como just because of Villa Lario. Nestled in the shore of Pognana Lario, the classical villa is a suite-only hotel boasting 18 suites – and a view of the lake and the surrounding mountains that will relax you from the moment you arrive.
I checked into the garden suite, a two-floor guest house that felt a bit like a gem hidden away in the garden, and with a view of the lake. All suites are almost as picturesque as the lake itself – and they are the perfect place to unwind in-between lake swims, hikes, lunch hour or whatever activity you have planned for the day.
Lake Como is known for being one of the deepest lakes in Italy but also one of the cleanest (you’ll be convinced by the crystal clear water). A refreshing dip in the lake is an absolute must when visiting and the direct access from Villa Lario to the lake makes it impossible to resist – this comes from someone who is usually afraid of deep water, but ended up going for both morning and evening dips.
More of a pool person? Nessun problema. You’ll find the heated infinity pool a bit up the cliff – there’s no better place to spend the late afternoon. Around the corner from the pool is the hotel restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here you’ll be served homemade pasta and fresh seafood – and a parmesan cheese that is so delicious that even though it came as an appetiser I would’ve been happy to have it as a main together with some of the freshly baked bread and locally sourced olive oil. The chef also makes an excellent tiramisu so make sure to save some room for it.
Discover the lake
In my opinion, the best way to fully experience Lake Como is by boat. The lake is surrounded by scenic mountains, charming old towns and impressive villas, and going by boat around the lake is an amazing way to get a bit closer to some of the most famous (and sometimes celeb-owned) villas.
Como Classic Boat will come pick you up at your hotel or villa (if there’s a dock) in a classic wooden boat and you’ll be sailing around for 2–6 hours depending on what kind of tour you have booked.
Another option is to take the ferry. This is not only the cheapest way to explore Lake Como but also the quickest way to get around the lake. However, make sure to plan a bit ahead. The ferries don’t sail too often, especially out of peak season, so don’t forget to check the timetable beforehand.
Where to shop
With Milan only a short drive away you might not think of Lake Como as a place to go for shopping – at least not when it comes to fashion. But with several locations around Lake Como, Tessabit has become a bit of a household name. The multi-brand store carries a range of high-end contemporary brands such as Bottega Veneta, Jil Sander, Saint Laurent, Coperni, Loewe – and even had a dedicated Jacquemus pop-up store in Cernobbio over the spring and summer.
If you’re on the lookout for something more local to bring back home look no further than to Abstract – a completely home-grown Como brand that makes the most beautiful scarves and bath towels.
A Lake Como specialty to try
You can’t go to Italy without having at least one scoop of gelato. Italy is known for many things, one of them the country’s delicious ice cream. Make sure to stop by Gelateria Rosetti in Como and ask for “Uva fragola” – a flavour that has won the family-owned gelateria several awards. “Uva fragola” literally translates to strawberry grape, but is a type of grape. I promise you the taste is heaven – especially when mixed with a scoop of chocolate.
Pasta in Como city
Lake Como might be famous for its polenta, but if you’re anything like me, pasta is life. However, with pasta being served on every corner in every town you’ll need some advice from the locals if you don’t want to end up in a tourist trap. I decided to put my trust in a good-looking Italian guy who suggested that I go to Latteria S.Fedele – a busy but charming spot in the middle of Como city. I always try something local when traveling so for starters I chose sciatt (can best be described as fried cheeseballs) as well as a caprese salad. While sciatt wasn’t my thing, the caprese delivered. The taste and freshness of both the tomatoes and the mozzarella was unreal. I stayed with the classics for my main course and went for a pesto pasta which I highly recommend. In the restaurant you’ll also find the door to Rumi Rooms – a small luxurious boutique hotel with only 4 rooms. Perfect if you plan to stay a night in Como.
Out of Como city I was recommended to try the ravioli al Limone at Locanda La Tirlindana – it’s supposedly beyond delicious. Also Al Centrale in Moltrasio is rumoured to serve the best pinsa (similar to pizza) and bruschetta while you can enjoy a stunning view of the lake – making it the perfect lunch spot.
The historical place to visit
One of the most impressive villas you’ll find around the lake is Villa Carlotta with its surrounding botanical garden. The villa was built in the late 17th century by the milanese marquis Clerici – and named after his wife Carlotta. Here you’ll find a selection of masterpieces by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen and the Italian painter Francesco Hayez, as well as by the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. Make sure you have at least a few hours to spend here, as the garden is almost as impressive as the villa itself – no matter what season you come to visit.
Via Matteotti, 27, 22020 Pognana Lario CO
Gelateria Rossetti Como
27, Via Francesco Muralto, 39, 22100 Como CO
Ristorante Latteria San Fedele
Via Francesco Muralto, 39, 22100 Como CO
Via Francesco Muralto, 39, 22100 Como CO
Locanda La Tirlindana
Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, 5, 22010 Sala Comacina CO
BAR AL CENTRALE Cantina e Cucina
Piazza S. Martino, 1, 22010 Moltrasio CO
Via Regina, 2, 22016 Tremezzina CO
Text by Marie Hindkaer