Central lake Varenna/Lenno itinerary

  • Lake Como

Lake Como: a riverboat tour ornamented with villas, botanical gardens and enchanting views

From Varenna to Lenno, passing through Bellagio: a journey on the water to rediscover the most evocative pearls of the Lario

Are you familiar with Lake Como? Yes, the basin described by Manzoni in The Betrothed. Here, he paused to describe a specific area of the lake, to be precise, “that branch of the lake of Como, which extends towards the south …” Remember? Very good!

We certainly cannot compete with Manzoni in describing the lake area that concludes in the south with the splendid city of Lecco, yet we have decided to go a little higher up, where there is little to no competition, and give you a glimpse of a different part of the lake, being just as evocative and fascinating at its centre, where the three branches of Lake Como unite.

And whilst the beautiful Lucia of the novel climbs aboard a “Batel” to ply the waters of the lake, you shall embark on a more modern riverboat operated by Navigazione Laghi.

The company organises a range of tours to discover the fantastic landscapes of the basin and today, we are going to present one truly impressive itinerary.

The central lake itinerary: Varenna, Bellagio and Lenno

The itinerary that Navigazione Laghi proposes starts from Varenna with all its lures, then stops in Bellagio before finally reaching Lenno. The use of the riverboat throughout the journey and the return crossing allows you to enjoy a unique and original view of the splendid landscapes that frame Lake Como.

Let’s explore the stops along the route designed for you …

Varenna: Prehistory, Middle Ages and Renaissance

Depart from Varenna, a small village replete with shops and restaurants, framing the two main attractions: the Castello and the Villa.

The Castello di Vezio is an ancient military outpost that has stood on the promontory above Varenna for more than a thousand years, occasionally hosting art exhibitions in its beautiful garden and, on a permanent basis, also home to an indoor exhibition dedicated to the Lariosaurus, a prehistoric marine reptile first found just a few hundred metres from the Castello.

Villa Cipressi, rather, offers a complex of buildings and gardens rich in history and built between the 1400s and 1800s. From here, the views of the lake and the town of Bellagio are truly incredible.

Bellagio: the Pearl of the Lario

And it is precisely Bellagio that shall be the first stop on the riverboat tour, after embarking at the Navigazione Laghi docks. Along the way, there will be the chance to admire the splendid scenery of Menaggio from the lake, with Monte Grona and Monte Crocione forming an imposing backdrop.

In any case, it takes just 15 minutes by boat to reach the Pearl of the Lario, Bellagio, with its narrow streets, characteristic shops peddling traditional wares, and the many typical restaurants where you can savour in typical refreshments. Worthy of special mention, here in the city are the Villa Melzi Gardens, a perfect example of an English garden created in the early-19th century with the contribution of artists, technicians, decorators, architects and botanists to be a place of inspiration for writers, artists and poets.


Lenno: a stroll amongst the greenery

But don’t get too distracted by the beauty of Bellagio because your riverboat shall await you, just a 15-minute walk from Villa Melzi, ready to set sail on the waters of the lake once again. This time, you will be taken to see Villa Carlotta, also home to a wonderful botanical garden and museum, and Villa Balbianello, in the hamlet of Lenno. Here, you can stretch your legs by strolling along the Baia di Venere (Venus Bay) pathway, an attractive green route that is, not surprisingly, part of the so-called Green Way, a 10-kilometre-long lakeside stretch.

This invigorating yet relaxing walk will conclude the tour proposed by Navigazione Laghi, your hosts on the water once more for about an hour on its riverboats, finally taking you back to Varenna and leaving you to enjoy the last stretch of the day’s navigation.

Thus, between relaxing strolls, lunches in lakeside restaurants and shopping in the villages, there is the splendid opportunity for couples seeking an intimate setting in the magical location of Lake Como, one also suitable for families eager to discover all the wonders of the area with a charming boat trip.

And it is precisely to family groups, consisting of at least 2 adults, that the HAPPY FAMILY promotion is dedicated. You can find all the details on the website but in summary, by purchasing 2 full-fare tickets, Navigazione Laghi offers up to 2 free tickets for children aged 4 to 12 years.

So, climb aboard and enjoy the spectacular spectacle of the lake!


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