Lecco to Bellagio by Boat: A Beautiful Day on Lake Como

The ferry runs from Lecco (on Lake Como’s southeastern tip) only from spring to fall. The slow boat to Bellagio (one and a half hours) is the best way to see this branch of the lake. With its steep, craggy mountainsides plunging down into the water, it’s reminiscent of a Norwegian fjord.

mountainside from boat on Lake Como, Lecco

The boat hops back and forth across the lake, stopping first at Mandello.

Mandello boat dock, Lake Como

Along the way you see gorgeous lakeside villas (no, not George Clooney’s!):

villa on Lake Como, Italy

Enjoy the fresh air, sparkling water…

view from boat, Lake Como, Italy

…and warm sunshine…

boat ride on Lake Como, Italy

…arriving in good time for lunch in Bellagio.

Bellagio: “Beauty and Comfort” on Lake Como

Bellagio, Lake Como’s best-known tourist destination, lies at the tip of the triangle between the two southern branches of the lake. You can get there by road or get there by boat from Menaggio or Varenna.

Personally, I find Bellagio a bit overrated. During the season it’s overrun with tourists, and the shops are accordingly filled with overpriced souvenirs, most of which have nothing to do with the region (okay, I’m a souvenir snob – I only want something that authentically represents the place).

I concede that the views are stunning – but there are views at least equally stunning from other points on the lake.

But I end up in Bellagio a lot whether I want to or not, because our foreign visitors usually want to see it. My favorite way, during the summer, is to take the slow boat from Lecco.

Bellagio’s charm, for me, is in its verticals – everything runs uphill from the lakefront. (Which means that, to really appreciate it, you must be prepared to walk.)Above is a view up Bellagio’s main salita, with the (justly) famous Bilacus restaurant on the right. Below is a shop whose sign I’m fond of – I love the antique typography you can still find on many shop signs in Italy.