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Hello everyone! In my previous post I gave you a glimpse of the picturesque village of Bellagio. Today’s post will focus more on Bellagio’s sister villages; Menaggio and Varenna. If you are a fan of picture perfect landscapes and quaint little towns, then get your pen (or iPad) out and put Menaggio and Varenna on your list of things to see while at Lake Como.

Here are my reasons to visit Menaggio…

Menaggio is like Bellagio’s big sister

Boat harbour at Menaggio

Menaggio is a larger village with a larger population. There are significantly more cars driving through the narrow streets and when you walk around Menaggio, it feels slightly more touristy. However, this is the beauty of Menaggio. You don’t stay here, but if you feel like leaving Bellagio for a day trip to a busier place, then Menaggio hits the spot. There are more people around but the views of Lake Como are just as amazing.

Rick and I in Menaggio

I love the way that Menaggio has a busier feel but the buildings remain untainted by modern life. Just as it is like in Bellagio, the buildings are kept relatively consistent and look almost exactly as they did 100 years ago.

The “busy” roads of Menaggio still have a village feel

The architecture remains untainted by modern life

We also enjoyed the view of Lake Como from Menaggio.

Views of Lake Como from Menaggio

If you like these pictures of Menaggio, then I can guarantee that you’ll love Varenna, which is like the fairy tale kingdom that every child has wanted to live in; whether you are the knight in shining armor or the princess!

Varenna is a fairy tale…

This is one of my first moments in Varenna… I already started to love it!

Gorgeous views of Varenna behind us.

We loved walking through Varenna’s unpaved, windy roads. Every few minutes, we’d stop to catch our breath and marvel at the view. I remember stopping by a random corner and asking for directions and smiling at the fact that the locals were so friendly. They would greet you like you were family and not some silly tourist who was trying to climb up the mountain in a pair of ballet flats!

This is the random church that the village women were sitting near as they gave us directions to the top!

See that castle in the background, that is Varenna’s very own castle and I walked 15 minutes up the mountain on an unpaved road just to reach it…

Castle of Vezio with the view of Lake Como in the background

The views were priceless!

Rick and I at the top of Castle of Vezio

View of Varenna from Castle of Vezio

Varenna’s beauty does not stop there. We also went to Varenna for a cooking class with Chef Moreno at Ristorante Il Caminetto (another wonderful suggestion from a friend!).

Chef Moreno making pasta sauce

We learnt how to cook fresh pasta and risotto while sipping wine and snacking on cold meats and cheeses. We were also given the pleasure of sampling these dishes. My favourite was the risotto with veal and white wine sauce.

Which dish do you fancy?

Freshly made pasta with red sauce, basil and ricotta

Risotto with veal in white wine sauce.

The cooking class was a lot of fun and we ate more than we could handle. I really enjoyed learning more about Italian cooking and about the Italian way of life.

We also enjoyed the atmosphere of the area that surrounds the restaurant. The houses had such old world charm.

The village like feel that seems untouched by time

If you get a chance, make your way to the bottom of Varenna, find a quiet spot, and just sit. Sit, watch and listen to the waves of Lake Como. It is such a relaxing feeling and for a moment, all your worries will disappear.

What village is your favourite: Varenna or Menaggio, and why?

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