Day excursions guide

Brunate

Walking – Panoramic view – Typical food

If you have the chance to be in Como on a sunny day, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the mountain of Brunate, which offers great views of the city and the lake. If you don’t have the chance of a sunny day, come to Brunate during the evening and take a look at the lighted city before having a typical dinner. The best way to come to Brunate is to take the cable railway which starts in A. De Gasperi square, 200 metres after the bus terminal and 5 minutes walk from Piazza Cavour.

The cable railway is open daily from 6 am to 10.30 pm  (until midnight during summer) with a train every 15 minutes during peak hours or 30 minutes.
The return ticket costs 4,50 € and 2,50 € for children under 12.
It’s possibile to buy a cumulative ticket for 20 € which includes: return cable car ticket, return bus to the lighthouse or Capanna Cao  and lunch with fixed menu in some local restaurant.
It takes 7 minutes to go up or down in Brunate.
More info.  http://www.funicolarecomo.it

It’s also possible to reach Brunate by car in 10 minutes from the city center, but remember that big cars (width more than 184 cm) can’t enter the village and find a parking can be quite hard. We think car is better than cable railway only if you want to go to S. Maurizio lighthouse without waiting for bus connection.

Once in Brunate we recommand you to go to the lighthouse of S. Maurizio, where you have the best view of the city and the lake. You can arrive here on foot: it’s about 2 Km, but it will take half an hour because the road climb up. Otherwise you can take the public bus C-39 (1 € single ticket).  The lighthouse of San Maurizio, erected in 1927,was planned by the engineer Gabriele Giussani to commemorate the centenary of the death of Alessandro Volta. It is possible to take a look inside:

Winter timetable (from October to March) from hours 10.30. to hours 15.30., Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday.

Summer timetable (from April to September) from hours 10.30. to hours 19.30.: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

In S. Maurizio square you can have a great typical dinner at “La Polenteria”, don’t miss their special “polenta”: cornmeal mixed with water, slowly cooked in a copper pot and seasoned with butter.  Polenta is usually served with meat stews or “missoltini”, dried lake fish. But the best one is “Polenta uncia”, seasoned with lots of butter and cheese.

On the way back to the center of Brunate take a look at S. Andrea church and  Pissarottino fountain: from here you can enjoy a very nice view.

For walking lovers Brunate is certainly a paradise: experience the one hour and half panoramic walk which starts in S. Maurizio and takes you along Bolletto and Bollettone mounts. Expert walkers can continue until Bellagio, one of the most romantic villages of the lake, but be sure to have food and water because it takes about 10 hours.


East branch of the lake: from Blevio to Bellagio +madonna Ghi

Panoramic view – Architecture

This itinerary can be made by car or by boat to better admire the villas on the lake (Stake the tour “Sakura” from Piazza Cavour, which let you see all the villas of east and west branch until Lenno in about 1,5 h for 5€). This branch is less populated than the other, the villages have kept their isolated characteristic and also the road which follow the lake is more tortuous and narrow than the one to Menaggio. For this reason, even if the kilometers to Bellagio are not so much, you will take one hour to get there. The first village you will find after Como is Blevio, where you can admire many beautiful villas such as Villa Ravasi, Villa Cornaggia Medici, Villa Val Scura, and the nicest one Villa Troubetzkoy. Next to Blevio is Torno, with the beautiful Villa Pliniana. Continue to Faggeto Lario, Nesso and Lezzeno, small typical villages not so much truistic but with very fascinating. Once in Bellagio, you will understand why there is a copy of it in Las Vegas…. we sincerely think it’s marvelous and so romantic! It has a unique position, on the promontory where the 3 branches of the lake Como meet. The village is characterised by century-old buildings, stone lanes and picturesque cobbled stairways filled with shops showcasing the finest Italian wares. Make a walk on the lake promenade, have lunch on a terrace restaurant and than go to “Punta Spartivento”, from where you will see the 3 branches (take the left road after Hotel Villa Serbelloni). Than visit “Vialla Melzi” which is located above the village, it has a nice view on the lake and gorgeous gardens.

More info. http://www.giardinidivillamelzi.it/

After visiting Bellagio you can decide:

1. to return to Como, following the same road
2. to take a ferry to Menaggio and to explore the left branch of the lake
3. to take a ferry to Varenna, and than follow the road to Lecco and Como
4. to take the road to Civenna – Asso – Canzo.

In this case you will pass through Madonna del Ghisallo, a famous spot for cycling lovers. The ascent of the Ghisallo is traditionally covered by the Tour of Lombardy and is also often been included in the route of the Tour of Italy. For this reason, the Madonna del Ghisallo is particularly revered by cyclists, and in 1948 Pope Pius XII proclaimed her the universal patroness of cyclists.

More info. www.museodelghisallo.it

West branch of the lake: from Cernobbio to Menaggio

Panoramic view – Architecture

This itinerary can be made by car, following “Via Regina”, or you can take a ferry from Como. The second option is better if you want to have a look at the villas on the lake, the first option is better if you want to stop and have a look in shops and cafés. The third option is to make a car trip and the next day we suggest you to take the cruise “Sakura” from Piazza Cavour, which let you see all the villas of east and west branch until Lenno in about 1,5 h for 5€.

Cernobbio is the nearest village from Como. It has an enchanting location,  a superb lake promenade and some of the most wonderful villas of the lake.  At the entrance of the village there is Villa Erba, which is used for expo and private events. At the end of the village you don’t have to miss Villa d’Este, which is now one of the best hotel in the world. Remember that  it’s quite hard to have a look inside those two villas unless you have a boat.

Continue following the old road and make a stop in Moltrasio. Explore the small village climbing up the narrow cobbled streets, than continue to Laglio where you may have the chance to meet George Cluney, who bought  the beautiful Villa Olandra. Make a stop in Brienno if you to experience the feeling of a small village, not very touristic as the ones listed before. Next stop is Argegno, with its chaotic café on the streets and its sailboats on the lake. Follow the water noise to find freshness on the back of the village, on the foot of the mountain. Continue driving until you arrive in Lenno. Don’t miss the visit of “Villa Balbniello” built on a promontory overlooking the lake. Gardens are undoubtedly the best part of the visit.

The villa is open from 14 march to 15 november, daily 10-18h.
On tuesday, saturday, sunday and public holiday you can enter the villa from the pedestrian road in the wood (1 km), otherwise you have to take a boat from Lenno.
Garden fee is 5 €
Garden + villa fee is 8€ only with guided tour (1h)

During july and august, every thursday there is a happy hour with music in Villa Balbianello for about 25 € but you need to book you table at least 1 month before

More info.http://www.fondoambiente.it/beni/informazioni-villa-del-balbianello.asp

Relax yourself on the lake promenade or sunbathe at Lido di Lenno on a sandy terrace on the lake.

Continue until Tremezzo, where you don’t have to miss “Villa Carlotta”, a masterpiece of XVII century. The gardens of Villa Carlotta chiefly owe their reputation to the rhododendrons’ and azaleas’ spring flowering, consisting of over 150 different sorts. But the gardens are worth to visit in every period of the year: old varieties of camellias, century old cedars and sequoias, huge planes and tropical plants, the Rock garden and the Ferns valley, the Rhododendrons wood and the Bamboos garden, the agricultural tools museum and the wonderful views on the lake built in the ages the celebrity of this place, still today consider “a place of heaven”.

The Villa is open from 13 March to 14 November, daily 9-18 h during summer, 10-16/17 other periods
Entrance fee is 8,50€

More info. http://www.villacarlotta.it

Last stop of this itinerary is Menaggio, an important town in the central lake area with many large hotels and a nice lake promenade. Enjoy the view and refresh yourself with icecream, before coming back to Como.

You can decide to return, following different routes:

1. the same route of the morning,
2. you can take a ferry to Bellagio and then explore the east branch of the lake
3. you can take a ferry to Varenna and then follow the road to Lecco and Como.
4. you can follow the route to Porlezza – Lugano (Switzerland) and than Como

Milano (Milan, Mailand)

Sightseeing – Shopping – Museums

If you stay in Como for a long weekend don’t miss the opportunity to visit Milano, one of the biggest city of Italy. You can go to Milano by train or by car:

1) FS station from Como S. Giovanni, Albate Camerlata.  This stations are ok if you are staying in “Hotel Borgovico”, “hotel Plinius”, “Hotel Firenze”, “Hotel Posta”, “Grand Hotel di Como” and all the hotels located outside the city.

You can choose between to types of trians:

Local trains: they leave every hour (8.23 – 9.23 – 10.23……..) and it takes 60 minutes to arrive in Milano Porta Garibaldi, from here you have to take the underground n°2 to the city center (5 minutes). The single ticket costs 3.60€.

Rapid trains: they leave every hour (8.50 – 9.50 – 10.50……) and it takes 35 minutes to arrive in Milano Central, from here you have to take the underground n°1 or 2 to the city center (2 minutes)  . The single ticket costs 13.00 €.

2) FNM station: trains leave every 20 minutes and they take 60 minutes to Milan Cadorna (50 minutes from Grandate). From here you can arrive in the center with a 5 minutes walks or by underground. The single tickets costs 3.75€

Como Lago station: it’s ok if you are staying in “Hotel Barchetta”, “Hotel Metropole Suisse”, “Hotel Tre Re”, “Hotel Terminus”, “Hotel Palace”, “B&B In riva al lago”, , “Hotel IBIS”, “Hotel

Como Borghi station: it’s ok if you are staying in “Hotel Le 2 Corti”, “Hotel Como”.

Como Camerlata station: it’s ok if you are staying in “Mini hotel Baradello”.

Como Grandate  station: it’s ok if you are staying in “Hotel IBIS”, “Hotel Cruise”.

3) By car: we suggest you to take motorway A4 to Milan and to park the car at “Lampugnano parking”, which is well indicated from the motorway. You will take 30 minutes to arrive to the parking, depending on the traffic and then you have to take the underground n°1 (15 minutes to city center). The parking is good value: only 1 € for 4 hours or 1.60€ for 8 hours.

We suggest you to buy a day unlimited transport ticket for 3 €.

Don’t miss:

- Duomo: the great cathedral; it’s great to take the lift to go on the top; from here on clear days you have a nice view.

- Castello Sforzesco: medieval castle with nice gardens to relax during summer months

- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele: fine decorated gallery

- Teatro e Piazza della Scala: world famous theater

- S. Maria delle Grazie: here you can admire The Last Supper (Leonardo da Vinci)

- Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Via della Spiga: shopping district

- Brera district: plenty of art gallery and designer boutiques

- Navigli district: water canals surrounded by restaurants and cafés

Lugano, Campione d’Italia

Sightseeing – Shopping – Museums

If you stay in Como for a long weekend don’t miss the opportunity to visit Lugano, a posh city located in Switzerland on lake Ceresio. It’s a rich, dynamic city, so near but so different from Como. You better go by car in 30 minutes from Como city center (take A9 motorway) or you can take a train from FS station (every 2 hours, single ticket 15€). Parking in Lugano is quite expensive, we suggest you to follow the signs to “Autosilo Balestra”, which has an affordable cost. Even if you are in Switzerland euro is accepted everywhere; to pay the parking you better have a credit card.

Don’t miss:

- a walk in the pedestrian area

- a walk on the lake promenade

- a pic nic in the “Parco civico” – public garden

And if you feel lucky, enter the beautiful Casino and try with the slot machines….

If you have the whole day you can also visit Locarno and Ascona, two beautiful cities on Lake Maggiore. They are located more or less one hour from Lugano.

On the way back to Como you can make a stop in Campione d’Italia, a small italian village in the middle of lake Ceresio. It has a nice lake promenade and a big Casino. Another stop could be “Fox Town”, a huge shopping mall located in Mendrisio.