Milan can be a great base to explore both Lake Garda and Lake Como. Certainly, do your shopping in the city and be perfectly dressed for a trip to timeless elegance!
Words by Carlo Rossi | Extract taken from June's 2023 Il-Bizzilla Magazine | Read more here
The lakes are located within a couple of hours of driving distance from Milan, and there are plenty of transportation options available, including trains, buses, and private and classic cars.
To explore Lake Garda, you can take a train from Milan to Desenzano del Garda, which is located on the southern shore. From there, you can take a ferry to visit the different towns and villages around it, such as Sirmione, Peschiera del Garda, and Garda. Alternatively, you can rent a car and take in the scenic views, stopping at various points of interest.
Top things to see and do around Lake Garda include:
Sirmione: Visit the charming town of Sirmione, located on a narrow peninsula that juts out into Lake Garda. Explore the medieval castle and the Roman ruins, including the impressive Grotte di Catullo.
Gardaland: Enjoy a day of family fun at Gardaland, one of the largest amusement parks in Italy. It features thrilling roller coasters, water rides, and live shows.
Wine tasting: Take a tour of the vineyards around the lake and taste the local wines, such as Bardolino, Soave, and Valpolicella.
Water sports: Try your hand at windsurfing, kiteboarding, or sailing, or simply enjoy a refreshing swim in the clear waters of the lake.
To explore Lake Como, you can take a train from Milan to the city of Como, which is located at the southern tip of the lake. From there, you can take a ferry or a bus to visit the different towns and villages such as Bellagio, Varenna, and Menaggio. You can also rent a car and drive around taking in the beautiful scenery and exploring the charming towns and villages.
Around Lake Como you’ll also find elegance and beauty; try these suggestions:
Visit Villa del Balbianello: Located on a wooded promontory overlooking the lake. It has been featured in several movies, including "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones".
Bellagio: Explore the picturesque town of Bellagio, known as the "Pearl of Lake Como." Stroll through the narrow streets lined with shops and restaurants, and admire the beautiful gardens and villas.
Funicular ride: Take a funicular ride from Como to the scenic town of Brunate, located on a hill overlooking the lake. Enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Boat tour: Take a leisurely boat tour of the lake and visit Varenna, Menaggio, and Tremezzo.
There are many beautiful spots to choose from to stay, but a must do is packing a picnic and taking an "Inglesina" traditional wooden rowing boat out for a few hours.
These are commonly found on the Italian lakes, the name comes from the word “English", as these boats were originally built by English craftsmen who brought their boat-building skills to Italy in the early 19th century.
The Inglesina is a graceful and elegant boat, with a sleek hull that glides smoothly through the water. It is typically made of wood, with a narrow beam and long oars that require skilled rowing to manoeuvre. The boats are often brightly painted and decorated with ornate designs, making them a beautiful sight on the lakes. Originally used for transportation and fishing on the lakes, today they are often used for recreational rowing and racing. There are many rowing clubs and associations around the lakes that organise races and events featuring the “Inglesina”, including the famous Palio delle Bisse race held each year on Lake Como.
If you decide to head home once again, now perhaps take a different transport option to the airport? The Lakes will steal a piece of your heart, so you may have to return soon to collect it!