Bellagio view from Lake Como
A shopping and foodie treat
The “Pearl of the Lake”, Bellagio, is known around the world as a must-visit town on Lake Como. And that is absolutely right, it is a beautiful town with a host of eating, shopping and historic opportunities. It is easily reached for a day trip by ferry from Argegno, Lenno and Menaggio on the western shore and there is absolutely no need to take your car across – best to travel as a foot passenger.
We started our day with coffee and brioche in Bar Motta just around the corner from the ever-popular Piazza Roma in the heart of Argegno. Bar Motta, in our opinion, serves the best coffee in Argegno and is conveniently opposite the ferry terminal. We watched the high-speed ferry (the hydrofoil) speed in and out of the port and stayed relaxed, enjoying our cappuccinos as we watched our slower, more leisurely ferry approach in the distance. We bought our one-way tickets for €6.90 each and boarded the ferry – managing to get seats at the front in the beautiful spring sunshine and warmth. By April there are plenty of visitors to Lake Como!
The ferry made its way north on the lake in a leisurely manner, calling at the pretty towns of Lezzeno, Sala Comacina, Lenno and Tremezzo to take on more passengers and drop off a few. The ferry provides a relaxed way to travel and is ideal for taking some great photos. Some of the views and aspects of the lake can only been seen from this vantage point and the view from the lake of the town and villages is wonderful. People were pointing out their dream homes whilst children worried their parents by excitedly being that bit too close to the edge of the ferry. After an enjoyable hour beautiful Bellagio comes to view.
Bellagio, famous for its location on the triangular land mass separating the two legs of the lake, looks hugely impressive as we approach. The crew on board stay relaxed as we approach the pier and they attach us with the ease of those who have done it a thousand times before. We disembark as the entire boat disgorges every passenger – Bellagio is a hugely popular tourist destination. Cameras out, snapping at the beautiful spring wisteria which is in blossom everywhere. We decide to head for a coffee.
Knowing that coffee served on the lake front can be very expensive we head up one of the many cobbled side streets running up from the lake to find a popular café (Caffe Bar Sport) next to the Basilica of San Giacomo. We later discovered that the café occupies the former monastery. Some of our group explore the Basilica, while the rest enjoy another coffee in the warm sunshine and soak up the views.
Less than 10 metres from the café is one of our favourite shops in Bellagio – Bellagiosetta. Specialising in silk products, you simply won’t find a friendlier shop in Bellagio. The products from here are incredible – silk ties, scarves, shirts, jumpers, bags and even shoes! On this occasion my self-restraint was working well until I spotted an incredible pair of brown men’s shoes – €200 later I left very happy and feeling very Italian with the most fabulous pair of shoes, two scarves and a new top. If you want more recommendations on this shop – just check Trip Advisor – the reviews say it all. Plus, this shop is ideal for buying presents for friends and family who couldn’t be with you as all purchases are beautifully gift wrapped!
After we had all explored the Basilica and the shop it was time to find a suitable spot for lunch. Once again, we decided to avoid the lake front and explore the side streets where we found a wonderful little pizzeria – the restaurants in the side streets in Bellagio offer the best value and often the best food and service.
After lunch, we continued exploring up and down the traditional cobbled streets and found “I Vetri Di Bellagio” a unique shop that has been specialising in glass ornaments since 1952. Here we found a colourful glass clock ideal for the wall in our new Argegno apartment and great value compared to London prices.
Time passed all too quickly as we wandered the pretty streets until we realised we only had twenty minutes until our ferry back across the lake was due to depart. I whisked all my guests back down to the waterfront where we spotted the water taxis. Beautiful wooden vessels holding up to 10 passengers. As a treat we took one of these private taxis for our ride back across the lake to Menaggio (€90 for 5 of us) where we’d be meeting the rest of our party for apertivi. What a treat it was – we felt like royalty, whizzing across the lake, wind in our hair, oh so comfortable and pulling up to a private jetty. We were all grinning from ear to ear as we got off the boat. What can beat leaving Bellagio on your own private boat and arriving in another lake town looking like stars? If this is Lake Como living I’m never going home.