I’m taking you back in time to the end of August when I was wrapping up the last two days of my travels through Italy. I know, it’s already January and I never expected to drag these posts out for so long. I kind of got overwhelmed with all of the content that I needed to put together for this trip and it ended up taking forever to get it all on here at the same time. It would’t be right if I left out Lake Como because it was easily one of my all-time favorite places that I’ve ever seen in person.
Before getting into all the details, I wanted to note that I’ve received some incredible messages from girls who have said that these posts have helped them with booking their own travels and even their own solo trips. This makes me so happy. Two girls even mentioned that they went to Venice by themselves and took a gondola ride alone like I did. YESSSS! That’s such an empowering thing to do and I’m thrilled that in some way I helped give that extra push to make it happen.
As we dive deeper into 2019, one of the things that I want to expand on is solo travel for women. I haven’t yet figured out how, but I know this is such an amazing topic. If in some way I can serve as a resource for other women, then I need to keep building on this type of content.
On my second to last day in Italy, I took a very spontaneous day trip to Lake Como. I never imagined that I would have been able to go there during my stay. It was always on my bucket list, but I thought that I would have visited at some point later in life. I literally booked an early morning train ticket at midnight the night before. It was the best decision because Lake Como is absolutely breathtaking.
I ended up going to two different towns and will give all the details below. All in all, I spent around 8-9 hours here. That doesn’t seem like enough time, but it still gave me such a freeing and empowering experience. It was that little taste of Lake Como that I had been craving for. And sadly no, I did not see George Clooney and Amal. Insert sad face.
How I Got There From Milan
When I was in Venice, I connected with Garrett, another content creator from NYC that I found via Instagram. He was also traveling solo through Italy, so I basically slid into his DMs. Not like that though! HAHA. I was watching his IG stories and saw that he made it out to Lake Como and I was like, “Ok. I need to go there while I’m in Italy.” He basically gave me the rundown on how to make the trip happen!
Since I had extended my stay and was using Milan as a home base, I took an early morning train to Varenna. Once I got off the train, I walked down into the main area of the town, which only took about 10 minutes. I spent the morning here and then hopped on the ferry and went across the lake to Bellagio, where I stayed for the rest of the day. Right before sunset, I took the ferry back to Varenna and got on the train for Milan. It was actually much easier than I had expected!
The good thing about coming here for the day only was that I didn’t have to worry about any luggage. As you’ll see in the photos, there are tons of narrow cobblestone steps in these towns, making it more difficult to get around with a suitcase.
As soon as I walked down into the town, I was literally blown away by the mountain views in front of me. I had to pinch myself to realize that I was actually there. There were not many people wandering around in the early morning, which was super refreshing. I basically had my pick of any seat at any of the open restaurants for breakfast. I, of course, picked one with the best view of the town!
I remember sitting there sipping on my espresso and taking in everything around me. I was literally hit with this sudden wave of emotion that I couldn’t explain. There are moments during my solo travels when this happens and I truly believe it’s my father’s presence letting me know that he’s with me. That morning gave me so much inner calm and peace that I so desperately needed.
After I ate and shed a few happy tears, I allowed myself to get a little lost in the town and tried to explore as much as I could. I walked up so many cobblestone steps to see what I could find. The streets were filling up with more people, little outdoor shops were opening and I even caught an incredible performance as I was walking through one of the tunnels. It was my favorite morning in Italy. Varenna is such a quaint little town. When I looked up their population it was only 770 as of 2017. It’s a must-see in my opinion, even if it’s just for a quiet morning for breakfast and wandering around aimlessly.
An Afternoon In Bellagio
Bellagio is one of those places that I would see on my Instagram feed dozens of times. I have always dreamt of going there. I would literally envision myself standing on the steps in that infamous spot you always see on IG. (There it is to the left!) It had a very different vibe than Varenna, with a ton more shops, restaurants and people, but it’s still a small and charming town. I believe their population is under 4K. As much as I enjoy larger cities, the smaller ones always tend to be my favorite.
There are so many wonderful things that I could write about Bellagio. It brought so much joy to my heart to simply walk around the main area of the town eating gelato and going inside all of the shops. I enjoyed sitting outside at one of the restaurants drinking white wine and indulging in a cheese platter.My stomach was full and my heart was happy. Everything felt better just by being there. I especially enjoyed my own company in Bellagio.
Everywhere you turn there is another little street to explore. I probably walked the main area of the town a dozen times, but each time I came across something new. There is so much beauty there and I wanted to take it all in. Everyone was super friendly too. I made friends with these two girls as soon as I arrived and they did a little photo shoot session on the stairs for me. Interacting with other travelers and the locals is always my favorite part about solo travel.
I had no set itinerary on this day other than to explore whatever I could in that short amount of time. This day consisted of walking thousands and thousands of steps in Bellagio, but it also gave me the opportunity to be still and to be ok with that. I remember sitting by the lake in Varenna for about an hour before walking back to the train station. It was an hour for me to reflect on my entire time in Italy and how far I’ve come over the years. That’s another one of my favorite things about solo travel. It really allows you to soak in your own solitude.
This pretty much sums up my time in Lake Como and I hope these photos did it justice. It’s definitely a place that I would love to go back to for a longer amount of time. If you decide to make this a day trip like I did, then I highly recommend using Milan as your home base since it’s only an hour and a half away by train. I was a bit nervous in the morning to make this trip, but it was actually super easy and quick. If you have any questions, let me know!
In case you missed them, you can find all of my other Italy posts here. My last stop was a very spontaneous visit to Lugano, Switzerland and I will be sharing that too! Then that will be it for this solo adventure in Italy. The travel bug is biting hard as usual and I am in the process of figuring out where I want to go next. Can’t wait to take you all on another solo journey. Promise I won’t take 5 months again to recap the experience on here. Hope you enjoyed!❤️