Senior Travel to Lake Como, Italy

May 20th, 2011 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Lake Como, Lago di Como in Italian, is Italy’s most popular lake and also its deepest. The lake has been a popular retreat for aristocrats and wealthy people since Roman times, and a very popular tourist attraction with many artistic and cultural gems. It has many villas and palaces. Popular with senior visitors for well over 100 years for its combination of fresh air, water, mountains and good weather, it’s well worth a visit.

Lake Como is widely regarded as being one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy. Once an area completely covered by glaciers, today the Adda river makes its long 313 km journey from the Swiss alps into Lake Como Italy forming its distinctive “upside-down Y” shape. At 410 m deep and an area of 90 square miles, it’s Europe’s deepest and 3rd largest lake. 

Seniors have long admired the blue waters and relaxed in luxurious villas in the wooded lakeside slopes above. Today, most of the towns around the shores of Lake Como are popular with tourists, walkers, cyclists and swimmers. The northern branch of the lake begins at the town of Colico, while the towns of Como and Lecco sit at the ends of the southwestern and southeastern branches respectively. The small towns of Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna are situated at the intersection of the three branches of the lake: a triangular boat service operates between them. While the town of Como is referred to as “Como”, the lake itself is never referred to solely by this name.  The lake is well-known for the attractive villas. If you love to take photos, bring your Nikon or your Canon as it a popular destination since Roman times, is a top romantic travel destination and a great spot for photography. 

Having been featured in many movies such as Star Wars and Ocean’s Twelve, it has also hosted some of the most famous writers such as Byron, Stendhal, Shelley, Liszt and Rossini as well as diplomats and members of royalty for centuries. And your palate…You can sample some of the best cuisine in Italy, with mouth-watering dishes like “risotto con pesce persico” made from the lake’s fish. (mmmmm!)  The NY Times recently had a special feature on Lake Como and stated that “Lake Como is more than the sum of its celebrity interlopers, reclusive Swiss billionaires and their bashful Italian mistresses. It is also home to some of the most impressive scenery and food in Italy.”  The TIMES also had a feature on how to spend three days in Lake Como. 

Lake Como weather is generally mild. It is known for its Mediterranean-like climate where tropical and sub-tropical plants can grow year-round. In the winter, the lake helps to maintain a higher temperature in the surrounding region (since water releases heat energy more slowly than air). As a tourist destination, Lake Como is popular for its scenery, wildlife and spas. It is a venue for sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. In 1818 Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote to Thomas Love Peacock: “This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty, with the exception of the arbutus islands of Killarney. It is long and narrow, and has the appearance of a mighty river winding among the mountains and the forests.” 

Visit the beautifully ornamented villas scattered throughout the lake and don’t miss the most amazing fireworks (you simply must see the spectacular sky on ‘Ferragosto’ or ‘Assumption Day’ in August of each year). You will come to appreciate all of the above after dining in the finest restaurants and enjoyed lodging at comfortable hotels. You will always find time in the day to sip some delicious coffee (which will end up lasting a few hours), while having fascinating conversations with the warm-hearted local people. 

TripAdvisor will help you find a good hotel as well as long listing of Things To Do while visiting.  They also specify Know Before You Go with information on money, crossing the border, some short handy phrases to memorize and suggestions on tipping and etiquette. Como is on Italy’s main railway network, and trains run from Milan to Como frequently, taking around 40 minutes. They depart from Milan’s Stazione Centrale and Stazione Porta Garibaldi, and arrive at San Giovanni, Como’s main station. Ferries link the major villages and towns of Lake Como, providing both a good form of public transportation and a good way to do some sightseeing from the lake. There is also a bus system to villages around the lake. There are several funiculars to take you into the hills. You can rent cars in Como (Auto Europe rentals in Como) if you want to explore other nearby areas on your own. Spring and Fall are the best times to visit as it is less crowded and the weather is usually pleasant. Bellagio, the Pearl of Lake Como, is a top lakeside vacation destination in Italy. Set in an ideal position where the two legs of Lake Como come together, Bellagio has panoramic lake views.  And with a name like Bellagio…well, it has to be a super nice place!  Ciao!  jeb



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