I gotta tell you, I didn’t know much about Lake Como prior to our visit. Derek was quite adamant about exploring this part of Italy, so for this leg of the trip I was just along for the ride. He heightened any expectations I had the more he went on and on about how gorgeous the lake was. “You just wait,” he’d kept telling me, “You’ll see.”
He was right — like always — the wait was worth it. SO worth it.
Located in the foothills of the Alps in northern Italy, it’s no wonder why so many flock to this sliver of paradise. Plunging mountainsides. Sparkling waterfronts. Hilltop villages. This area takes the word ‘picturesque’ to a whole new level.
What made our visit in Lake Como so unforgettable was our B&B. It was a sweet, romantic cottage located on the hillside of Brunate, a small town up on the mountain above Como. While this place offered breathtaking views of the magical lake, it was how we arrived that made it so special.
In order to get to the cottage, we had to take a funicular, which is basically a train car built to climb up the mountainside.
And let me just tell you, this was one steep ride.
The B&B was about halfway up the mountain. However, what made it so unique was it had its own stop on the funicular. So you had to request the stop before the ride began in order to be let out at the right spot.
We confused so many people though when we’d get off halfway on the ride. We could just tell by the dazed look on their faces, they had no idea why the funicular was stopping. Several people would follow behind us out of the car, thinking this was their end destination. Yet, little did they know the only accessible place off this stop was the B&B!
Each morning, our darling host brought us breads & pastries, along with freshly-squeezed orange juice. We’d sit outside, basically eating breakfast in silence, as we tried to take in all the beauty around us. Having the lake as a backdrop was pretty incredible. Definitely an amazing start to the day.
And the sunsets. Ah, so, so gorgeous. We’d stand on the ledge outside of our bedroom door and just watch the big ball of fire slowly disappear behind the mountain range.
To make the most of our time here — since we only had one full day — we embarked on a two-hour ferry ride to what some call the ‘pearl of the lake,’ the hillside village of Bellagio.
I can’t think of a better way to see this beautiful lake. This two-hour ride was relaxation at its finest. It was two hours of full on oohs and aahs, as we took in the astounding beauty of the alpine peaks and wooded hills.
The charming small Italian villages are what stole my heart though. All the colorful houses clustered along the hillsides looked so inviting. I just wanted to jump out, swim ashore and explore every inch.
Just look at those waterfront villas.
My heart was fluttering way too fast when we stumbled upon this gem below. Check out that unruly ivy and cobblestone bridge. So enchanting don’t you think!?
And then there was Bellagio.
As soon as we disembarked from the boat, we started having flashbacks from our time in Nice. The dockside dining. The narrow streets. The pretty promenades. It was such a pleasant place to spend the afternoon.
See what I mean about charming?!
Derek spotted this man while we were aboard the ferry. Something about the picture below seems so dreamy to me. I can only imagine the level of serenity his mind was at while boating around solo. With calm, still water at his fingertips, and the dramatic mountain range in his peripheral vision, how blissful that moment must have been for him as he slowly floated along.
Before packing up our things and heading on to the next destination, we woke up early that morning and hiked to the lighthouse located on the top of Brunate. What a trek that turned out to be!
We hiked up what-seemed-to-be a treacherous hill. It was super steep. And rocky. And my thighs were burning and screaming. Thankfully, they simmered down once we made it to the top and took in the gorgeous panoramic views. Because it was still quite early, we were the only two at the lighthouse. That moment of solitude made the hike extra rewarding. There, we stood just gazing, captivated by the view.
Looking back, I’m so thankful Derek had known about Lake Como, as it would have been disappointing if we would have skipped out on this stunning corner of Italy. I now know why so many call this place a slice of heaven. Serene. Picturesque. Romantic. I could go on and on, but to spare you of boredom, I’ll stop right here.
I couldn’t think of a more beautiful way to say goodbye to Italy.
*To read more about our European adventures thus far on our backpacking trip, click on the links below:
France: Nice: here.
Italy: Milan: here.