5-Days of Relaxation and Culture in Lake Como and Milan
Arts & Culture
Food & Wine
I studied abroad in Rome and made a few trips north to Lombardy – I immediately fell in love with the culture and scenery of the region! Como town itself is so underrated; I wouldn't skip a night or two in this romantic little city on your way up to a longer stay on the lake. MXP is also such an easy airport, and it's relatively seamless to get to Milan pre-or-post-Como for a wonderful few days exploring both the historical and modern sides of Italy.
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Where to stay
DBH Duomo Boutique Hotel
An elegant hotel with modern, local furnishing and 14 rooms and 5 suites.
Palazzo Albricci Peregrini
A family-operated hotel operated in a 15th century palace located in the historic center of the city of Como.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo
An iconic accommodation sitting on the western shores of Lake Como with three pools, a lakeside private beach and lavish private park.
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Day 1: Arrive in Milan and journey to Como Town
After arriving at MXP in the morning, transfer to Como via private car or train. Once you arrive in Como Town check in at your hotel – both Palazzo Albricci Peregrini and DBH Lake Como are fabulous boutique properties where you can admire views of the Duomo, or the quaint streets of Como from your room.
Grab an espresso doppio and take a quick stroll around town to get your bearings, then do some shopping at Peter Ci or any of the other boutiques along Via Vittorio Emanuele II. Reward your walk with a scoop or two from Gelateria Giudi for the best flavors in town (trust me – I've tried most!).
There are plenty of great dinner options considering the small scale of Como. Head to Ristorante Rino for tuscan specialties in a low key setting, or try Kitchen for a Michelin-starred tasting menu experience.
Day 2: Como Town and Lago di Como
Wake up with a cappuccino and breakfast at your hotel (both recommended hotels have lovely breakfast spreads included with your stay), and then transfer to your hotel on the lake via car or boat.
You can't go wrong with any of the absolutely gorgeous properties I've recommended above. They're all very Italian in their own right (and also very much in the category of "splurge") so if you're having trouble deciding keep in mind that Villa d'Este is the most dressed up of the bunch, catering more toward couples and cocktails than kids. If you want more of a family friendly vibe, I'd recommend the Grand Hotel Tremezzo for its in-lake pool and more relaxed scene. Finally, Il Sereno is a design-focused modern retreat perfect for those looking for well, more serenity as the name suggests.
At each hotel, you'll find an array of activities, dining, and spa treatments – you may never want to leave! Enjoy a cocktail and lake views during sunset, and have dinner at your hotel. The restaurant at Il Sereno is a standout – try to snag a table in the section built right over the water!
Day 3: Lago di Como
Take today to explore the lake, and a few of the quaint little towns along its perimeter. I'd suggest taking a boat tour with a guide – or there is a great network of public ferries if you'd like to pop from town to town throughout the day.
If enjoying the scenery from above is more your thing, you can take a guided hike or conquer the famous "holy staircase" in Moltrasio, where you can reward yourself with a meal at Trattoria La Moltrasina.
Torno is a favorite for exploring steep cobblestoned streets -make your way to Acqua del Lario for locally crafted perfumes and colognes, all inspired by the different prevailing winds of the region.
In Cernobbio, there's see-and-be-seen Harry's Bar along the waterfront, as well as the more understated Trattoria del Glicine.
Day 4: Como to Milan
Transfer to Milan via private car or train and check into a hotel. (If you're staying at the Hyatt Centric it's walkable from the train station and also has a great little rooftop bar!)
I always make the Duomo my first stop in Milan – well, after a quick coffee of course. Try Pave along the way for great pastries to pair with your caffeine fix. Once you reach the Duomo, you can admire the architecture and scale of the Cathedral from the adjacent piazza, or if you'd rather get a closer view of the buttresses above, venture inside and take a rooftop tour. If you're short on time, head straight to La Rinascente (the most famous department store in all of Italy), where you can get eye-to-eye with the structure from the store's rooftop restaurant.
For lunch, try some of the best paninis in town at Panini de Santis. Then, do some window shopping and people watching at the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
Take an afternoon stroll to Santa Maria delle Grazie, where you can see Michelangelo's Last Supper – and visit La Vigna di Leonardo across the street where you can see a restoration of Da Vinci's garden and vineyard.
If you're up for some late night adventure, Nottingham Forest is a sure bet for interesting cocktails and molecular drinks served in a unique setting.
Day 5: Milan
On your final day in Milan, take a bit of a deeper dive into Milanese culture. Head to the medieval Castello Sforzesco in the morning, where you can tour through its many galleries and museums.
Continue your day of art and culture at Pinacoteca di Brera to view Milan's most extensive collection of Italian art – Raphael, Caravaggio, and Boccioni to name a few.
If you're lucky enough to snag tickets, spend your last night in Milan at Teatro alla Scala – if an Opera isn't on while you're in town, there are themed tours of the space during the day at the Museo.
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