Four Fabulous Nights on Lake Como with Kids

April 17, 2018

On the final leg of of our two-week trip to Italy and France, we found ourselves in Como, a hub community on the south end of Lake Como. It proved to be a perfect jumping-off point for exploring Lake Como. It was also an easy day trip by train to Lugano, Switzerland, so the kids could cross another country off their list. You can read about our whole two-week trip to Italy and France here.

Lodging

While many people wing it when it comes to their lodging reservations, we decided not to roll the dice, knowing we needed to find lodging for five of us, three of whom are children. Our experience has been that hotel rooms in Europe are pretty small, and with five of us, one of whom was a teenager and only child, we were going to need more space. We also like the option of being able to do laundry while traveling, so we can pack lighter, and a kitchen so that not all of our meals were in restaurants. As a result we ended up getting a rental apartment in Como.

Our Como apartment was very nice and spacious. We booked it on booking.com, which seemed to work fine. It was modern and well equipped…except that it didn’t have air conditioning like advertised. It was hot. And it was located on Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini, a busy square that was loud at all hours of the night, which meant it was way too noisy with the windows open. Unfortunately our niece had to share a room with our kids in this apartment, but it was a large enough apartment that people could get their space if needed.

Transportation

We had taken the train to Como from Antibes, France. While in Como, we walked. From our apartment to the main Como destinations was very walkable. We also used the ferry around Lake Como and the funicular to Brunate.

 

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Four Days in Como, Italy and Lugano, Switzerland

We were on the home stretch of our European adventure, so our energy levels were a little lower than earlier in the trip, so being in a city that wasn’t too large but had access to groceries and transportation options served us well.

 

Ferry to Bellagio

Our first adventure in Como was to take a ferry to Bellagio. I’m not going to lie, this part of the trip was all about me seeing something that I hadn’t seen on prior Europe trips. The kids were tired and my husband was a good sport, but I adored this part of the trip. The boat ride on Lake Como was lovely. It was great seeing all the little picturesque villages along the lake.

Bellagio itself is as stunning as I’d imagined. Lots of tourists, to be sure, but lovely. The town is very hilly (not surprising), so it was a little exhausting for our tired young tourists. It’s not hard to understand why George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin have a home there.

 

Volta Lighthouse in Brunate

Back in Como we decided to take the funicular we’d seen along the lake to find Faro Voltiano, or the Volta Lighthouse in Brunate, a small village at the top of a massive hill outside Como. Below you can see the funicular track. You definitely would not want to walk up that hill!

 

Alessandro Volta grew up in Como, and there are several monuments to him, including the lighthouse in Brunate. The funicular was crowded, and the 30 minute walk from the station to the lighthouse was really grueling and uphill. But the views at the top of the lighthouse were worth the effort. Luckily, the walk back to the funicular station was a breeze!

 

Lugano, Switzerland

At the end of our trip, we took a day trip by train to Lugano, Switzerland. It is a very hilly town that definitely has an Italian feel to it. Mostly we went so the kids could say they’ve been to Switzerland. And of course, everyone got Swiss Army Knives (except me, because I still have one from my first trip to Switzerland in 1997). And chocolate. We definitely consumed some Swiss chocolate while we were there.

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Takeaways:

  • We had decided to stay in Como due to its location on the train line and access via ferry to other more charming Lake Como stops. Como itself was somewhat charming in places, but if you’re looking for a full Lake Como atmosphere you should probably look to other more charming little villages you can reach by ferry from Como.
  • Do not go to Lugano, Switzerland on a Monday! All of their stores were closed when we got there. Oops. We went back on Tuesday, and all was good.
  • Remember that Switzerland is not part of the EU, so they have their own currency, the Swiss Franc. You will not be able to use your Euros there.
  • We ended up having burgers at least twice on the trip to curb withdrawal symptoms for a few of our pickier eaters. Do what you need to do on an international trip. Not every meal needs to be an adventurous meal.
  • If you are taking a teenager on the trip, do everything you can to ensure they have some space to themselves. That worked pretty well for us (though I should ask her how she felt about it).
  • We have officially created international travel addicts! Our kids can’t wait to travel abroad again.

 

If you found this post useful, check out World is Wide’s other destination posts:

http://worldiswide.com/destinations/

 

18 Comments

  • Reply
    Christina
    April 25, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    Lake Como is so beautiful. We drove out to bellagio and visited many of the cities and small towns around it. The ferry is definitely a nice way to relax and see a lot of towns. I think we also did the,lighthouse too!

    • Reply
      Kristie
      April 25, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      Such a beautiful place! I just loved it. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Shreya Saha
    May 1, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Haven’t been there yet, but your pictures and description has started the itch inside me to plan something for this now. Thanks for the share.

    • Reply
      Kristie
      May 2, 2018 at 1:19 pm

      You should go, it’s amazing there! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    a speck in time
    May 1, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Love your photos! Is not it funny how people always add a comment about Clooney and Amal’s house while talking about Bellagio or Como lake πŸ™‚ We visited Italy last summer and explored a little slice of it. Perhaps next trip should be around Lake Como, Milan and Venice. How far away are the Dolomites from the lake?

    • Reply
      Kristie
      May 2, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      I think Lake Como is slightly closer to the French Alps than the Dolomites, which I believe are a bit further east. On a quick map search it appears to be just under 4 hours drive to the Alps, and about 5 hours to the Dolomites.

  • Reply
    Followingtherivera
    May 2, 2018 at 5:20 am

    I live between London and Italy, and know Lake Como well. It’s great you’re taking your kids to this beautiful places. They’re very traveller worthy, and memorable too.

    • Reply
      Kristie
      May 2, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks. We want to instill a passion for travel and adventure. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    amit
    May 2, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    Both Como and Bellagio look picturesque and appealing but just from your pictures You can practically feel the charm, love those quaint little streets although I’m sure the hills give your calves quite the work out – And good that you got to see something you wanted to. Did ya go and knock on Clooneys door for a coffee πŸ˜›

    • Reply
      Kristie
      May 2, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      We thought the Clooneys would pick us up from the ferry, but they stood us up. Would’ve been nice to couch surf there. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Adrenaline Romance
    May 3, 2018 at 1:00 am

    We love towns like these. The old charm is preserved, and the entire place is located on a scenic spot. Hope that it stays this way forever. πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Kristie
      May 3, 2018 at 7:53 am

      Agreed. Bellagio was full of tourists, but I hope they keep its charm.

  • Reply
    Travelhog
    May 3, 2018 at 7:06 am

    Wow, this trip looks amazing! We visited Italy on a 2 week itinerary, but we never got to the Lake Como, and every time I see someone going there it feels like a reminder to plan again a little trip especially for that part of Italy! ^_^

    • Reply
      Kristie
      May 3, 2018 at 7:52 am

      This was my third time in Italy, but first time on Lake Como, and it was so lovely! Definitely try to go. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Becca Talbot
    May 3, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    I have wanted to visit Lake Como for so long – I have heard so many good things! Obviously I wouldn’t be going with kids, but it’s great that you were able to take them πŸ™‚ looks like they really enjoyed it! x

    • Reply
      Kristie
      May 3, 2018 at 8:05 pm

      Oh kids are TOTALLY optional in Lake Como. πŸ™‚ In fact, they were kind of crabby in Bellagio, but I still had a glorious time. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Sara
    May 3, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Sounds like it was a great trip for your family. The photos are lovely as well! Thanks for the tip about Switzerland. I wonder if it’s just that city or everything gets closed on Monday’s?

    • Reply
      Kristie
      May 3, 2018 at 9:50 pm

      I don’t know! It never crossed my mind that a city’s businesses would close on a Monday. Oh well…lesson learned, always look up whether a city closes up on certain days before you get on the train. πŸ™‚

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