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Best Things To Do In Varenna Como Lake

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Varenna, a picturesque town located on the eastern shore of Lake Como, is renowned for its picturesque beauty and captivating charm. Nestled amidst the lush mountains and azure waters of the lake, Varenna is a delightful escape for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and those seeking a tranquil getaway.

With its rich history, stunning landscapes, and myriad of activities, Varenna has something to offer everyone, especially if you are looking for the best place to stay in Lake Como. So if you’re wondering what to do in Varenna, I’ve got the perfect list!  Let’s explore the best things to do in this idyllic Italian town of Varenna 

best things to do in varenna como lake

best things to do Varenna Como lake

Things to do in Varenna Italy 

Varenna is a true gem nestled on the eastern shore of Lake Como. What sets it apart from other towns in the area is its authentic Italian charm. Unlike the more touristy spots, Varenna has managed to preserve its traditional character and offers a more laid-back and intimate atmosphere. Its colorful houses, narrow cobblestone streets, and picturesque waterfront create a postcard-worthy setting that will capture your heart from the moment you arrive. So if you have one day in Varenna or a few days, here are the best things to do in Varenna Italy.

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Getting From Milan To Varenna

Varenna enjoys a prime location on Lake Como, making it easily accessible from various parts of Italy. If you’re flying in, the closest airports are Milan Malpensa and Milan Bergamo. From there, you can take a train or hire a private transfer to reach Varenna. Veranna has a train station in town so it’s one of the best towns to stay in if you’re arriving from Milan by train. The town is also well-connected by ferry services, allowing you to explore other charming towns around the lake at your own pace.

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Best Hotels in Varenna :

Where to Stay in Varenna

choosing Varenna as your base offers numerous benefits. Firstly, its central location allows for easy to get to the surrounding towns, such as Bellagio and Menaggio, which are just a short ferry ride away. Varenna’s smaller size ensures a more intimate experience, away from the bustling crowds. You’ll have the chance to mingle with the friendly locals, discover hidden gems, and truly immerse yourself in the local culture. Here area the hotels I recommend:

  1. Luxury: Hotel Villa Cipressi
    • Located in a historical villa surrounded by beautiful gardens
    • Spectacular lake views, elegant rooms, and a refined restaurant
    • Perfect for a romantic getaway or special occasion
  2. Mid-Range: Hotel Olivedo
    • Family-run hotel with a charming lakeside location
    • Comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and a delightful lakeside terrace
    • Great value for money and a warm, welcoming atmosphere
  3. Budget: Hotel Montecodeno
    • 3 star affordable accommodation with simple rooms and a friendly ambiance
    • Convenient location near the town center and the ferry dock
    • A great choice for budget-conscious travelers without compromising on comfort

Things to do in Varenna Italy 

1. Visit Villa Monastero:

A Botanical garden wonderland

Originally a Cistercian convent, Villa Monastero is now a renowned villa and botanical garden. Discover the villa’s rich history and explore its beautifully manicured gardens, where you’ll find a diverse collection of plants and flowers from around the world. 

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran

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2. Visit Castello di Vezio: A Fortress with a View: things to do in varenna

Perched on a hill overlooking Varenna, Vezio Castle is a fascinating historical site that will transport you back in time. Climb up to the castle and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains.Climb to the top of the castle’s tower for a breathtaking vantage point, and if you’re lucky, you might even witness a falconry show. The castle’s rich history and stunning views make it a favorite. Sadly I didn’t have enough time to make this trek as it was raining when we visited. But I would definitely do this hike next time! I would go early morning or during golden hour. 

Good To know: The hike is a steep 30 minute hike uphill with dirt walkays and stairs. make sure you have the right footwear!

3.  Explore Varenna’s Old Town: things to do in varenna

One of the first things to do in Varenna is to explore its captivating Old Town. With its narrow alleys and quaint houses adorned with colorful flowers, this charming neighborhood offers a delightful glimpse into the village’s history. Marvel at the well-preserved medieval architecture, and don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Church of San Giovanni Battista, a magnificent Romanesque church dating back to the 11th century.

best things to do in varenna como lake

4.  Lay out and Swim at Varenna’s Beach Club: things to do in varenna

If a vibe of relaxation and a bit of indulgence is your jam, head to the Olivedo Lido. The swanky beach club  offers a swimming pool, sun loungers, and direct access to the lake. Spend a leisurely day basking in the sun, taking refreshing dips in the lake.

5. Enjoy Gelato or an Apertivo by the Lake

After a day of exploration, treat yourself to a scoop (or two) of authentic Italian gelato! Stroll along the lakefront promenade and savor the creamy, artisanal gelato while enjoying the panoramic views. There are also tons of cute cafes you can sit at and enjoy an apertivo!

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran

6. Sunsets at Varenna’s Promenade

As the day draws to a close, make your way to Varenna’s promenade to see the breathtaking sunset over Lake Como. The sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant hues, casting a golden glow over the water. The romantic ambiance and the stunning natural beauty make it a perfect spot to take in all the lake como vibes!

7. Take A Lakeside Stroll

What’s better than taking a stroll and people-watching and admiring the beautiful vistas from Varenna’s lakeside promenade? Enjoy the tranquility of the lake as you stroll along the promenade, surrounded by colorful flowers and charming cafes. Take a moment to sit on one of the benches and absorb the peaceful atmosphere, watching the boats gently glide across the water! 

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran

8. Indulge in Wine Tasting

When in Varenna, wine lovers are in for a treat. The town and its surrounding area are home to several renowned wineries, offering the perfect opportunity for a delightful wine tasting experience. Take a tour of the vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, and savor the distinct flavors of the local wines. Raise a glass and toast to the beauty of Varenna while enjoying a panoramic view of the picturesque vineyards.

This winery tour takes you to a exclusive UNESCO world heritage site winery where you will enjoy some of the best local wines grown right in Varenna. As you sip vino and enjoy the slow pace of La Dolce Vita! Snag a reservation before they sell out!

9. Stay at Hotel Villa Cipressi

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran

Step into a peaceful oasis at Villa Cipressi, a stunning villa surrounded by terraced gardens and overlooking Lake Como. Meander through the beautiful landscaped gardens, adorned with cypress trees and vibrant flowers. Discover hidden grottos, fountains, and terraces offering captivating views of the lake. The villa also offers comfortable accommodation, providing an idyllic retreat for those seeking a tranquil escape.

10. Visit the Church of San Giorgio

Situated in the heart of Varenna, the Church of San Giorgio is a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts. This Romanesque church, dating back to the 14th century, showcases intricate frescoes and exquisite marble work. Step inside and let the serene ambiance wash over you as you admire the beautiful religious art and craftsmanship that adorns the interior.

11. Stroll the Passeggiata Degli Innamorati (Lover’s Walk)

Along the promenade, you’ll find this cute walkway with archways next to the water’s edge. I accidentally stumbled upon this on our way to villa monastero. It was sprinkling so we hid out in this overpass. Even though it was sprinkling it was so serene and beautiful. 

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It’s a beautiful town that should not be missed! It’s easily explored within 1-3 hours so I definately recommend checking Varenna out if you’re visiting Lake Como.

Yes! The water is clean and crystal clear. You can go to the public beach or Lido Di Varenna or the beach club.

The cute promanade and the town center is unique. As well as Castello Di Vezio vantage point and the beautiful gardens at Villa Monastero

Yes, slightly cheaper accomodations but food and drinks are relatively the same.

Expect to pay 80-100 euros depending the time of year.

in the summer months every 30 minutes. The first departure is at 8:30 am and last departure is 23:20 pm

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