Varenna, Italy: Tips for Visiting

Beautiful Lake Como frequently comes to mind when people think of the Italian Alps. One of our all-time favorite trips combined Lake Como, Milan and Bergamo, all of which are around an hour from each other. Between the three towns we visited on Lake Como, we thought Varenna was the most beautiful.

Varenna, Italy from the ferry boat


The most famous town on Lake Como is Bellagio. The luxury Las Vegas casino named after it is also well known, so it draws many American tourists. Bellagio is also lovely, but we prefer Varenna because there are fewer tourists. Bellagio feels half American.

Lake Como from Varenna


Varenna Restaurant

We Stayed in Lecco and Saved Money

During our time in Lake Como, we stayed in the town of Lecco, at a lovely hotel overlooking the lake and mountains. Lecco is the closest town on Lake Como from Milan and because accommodation is cheaper, it’s a great spot for budget conscious travelers. But if you’re looking for the picture perfect place to spend your honmoon or a special anniversary, we recommend Varenna.



Varenna cafe lunch, looking out to Lake Como, Bellagio and Menaggio


Varenna Cafe
Varenna is like a quintessential Italian post card in real life. It’s stunningly gorgeous, romantic and quaint. There are amazing views of the surrounding mountains and towns around Lake Como, including Bellagio and Menaggio. The area can be conveniently explored on ferry boats, which operate regularly.

We enjoyed one of our favorite strolls around Varenna, followed by one of the most picturesque lunches we’ve eaten. Varenna Caffe serves the best pecorino and romano cheeses we’ve eaten in our lives. It was also the tastiest lunch we ate on Lake Como.

Varenna Arch
Lake Como park swing

Lake Como: Bucket List Destination

If you haven’t visited Lake Como or Varenna, you should add it to your bucket list. Whether you’re after a luxury experience or budget trip, Lake Como covers everyone looking for stunning beauty. For more inspiration, read our article on how to experience Bellagio, Italy cheaper.



8 thoughts on “Varenna, Italy: Tips for Visiting

  1. I agree I loved Lake Como and I stayed in Bellagio and it is a very beautiful place on this wondrous planet.

    1. We loved Bellagio too, Alex even more so as it was probably 50% American tourists and had comfortable amenities along with beauty. We look forward to featuring some great Bellagio photos in a future post!

  2. WoW, this looks amazing! What a way to spend your last days as residents of Europe. I have to agree the real town of Bellagio is more impressive than the upscale hotel one (for me anyway)…though I haven’t really been to Lake Como (yet!) 🙂
    Great to see you guys enjoying yourselves and having fun at the playground too!

    1. Thank you, Jean! Bell and I were last in Las Vegas in 2005 and swung into the Bellagio hotel just to look around and see the beautiful and famous fountain show out front. At the time we had no idea where the actual town of Bellagio was, even though both of us had already visited Italy and spent a couple weeks touring around the country (we spent a few days in Rome together in 2002, just after we first met). There’s just so much in Italy and neither of us made it up to the Lombardy province until 2 months ago. It’s amazing and in the future we look forward to visiting Sicily as we haven’t been yet…The very best of travels to you and thank you for stopping by! 😀

  3. I like when I see water that meets the hills or the mountains, because this way I have both: the chance to climb the mountains and the chance to sail on the lake.

    1. Absolutely agree! Alex grew up in Florida so there was plenty of water around but no mountains, and the closest mountains were the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, a 12 hour drive from Orlando…The combination of the huge lake and tall mountains in Lake Como is pretty magical.

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