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Traveling: Unlocking Como Lake and Cinque Terre, Italy

    Italy
    Como Lake, Cinque Terre, Milan
    Como Lake, Cinque Terre, Milan

    The second trip to Italy this year was to the north-western part where Lake Como and Cinque Terre areas are found. Even if it wasn’t initially planned for 2019 after my best friend recommended it, I had to add it to the list. On the way back I even managed to get a glimpse at the beautiful Milan cathedral. All in all a vacation filled with beauty, rain, laughter, and waves. This is how a week in one of the most beautiful places on Earth was planned.

    We landed on the Milan Bergamo airport at 10 pm so the first night we spent in this little coquette town. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to see much of it, but from what I can tell it might be worth a day’s trip. From there we took the train to Lecco, the first town from Como Lake.

    Como Lake

    Our initial plan was to take a boat trip from Lecco to Varenna, but unfortunately, in May the boats were only sailing in the weekends, so the train was once again the solution. Fear not, the view of the lake was just as beautiful and totally worth it. Also, even if we were told that Lecco is one of the less pretty towns from the lake we found it extremely beautiful and quiet, perfect for a coffee with an amazing view.

      

    After a short train ride, we found ourselves in Varenna, a place that looks like the heaven I imagine. Old buildings, coffee shops and the exquisite view of the mountains. my personal favorite from the area, it can be best seen when either approaching or departing with a boat.

      
      
      

    As we left Varenna and took the boat to Bellagio, the weather took a turn for the worst and it started to rain, not heavy rain, yet it became a little bit cold. Fortunately, it was only for a few minutes and by the time we have reached our third destination from the lake, the rain had stopped.

        
      
      

    Bellagio is probably the most famous town from this part, mostly because of the villas that are surrounding this coquette place. Since we only had a few hours until the last boat left form Como town, where we had our accommodation, we didn’t manage to visit the inside of villas, but we did enjoy the beautiful architecture and gardens. On the ride to Como Town, we did see the other towns from the area, and all of them looked gorgeous, definitely worth seeing at least from the boat.

      
     

    In order for the connections to be optimum, we rented an apartment using Airbnb in Como Town. If you happen to have some time and find yourself here, take the funicular to the top of the hill from where you can get a glimpse of the town and the lake. If you are extra lucky as we were, you can see some wild goats on the rocks.

      
      
      

    Initially, we planned to also visit Lago Maggiore, but since getting there was no way to get there with public transport, we gave up and went to Lugano lake in Switzerland.  Just a 2 hours train ride away, you will find yourself in paradise. Not even the rain or the cold could make it less spectacular, perhaps the only downfall would be the prices, but for a half day trip, you can bring your own sandwich and enjoy the view.

      
     
      
        

    Cinque Terre

    From Lake Como, we took the train to La Spezia, the town situated after Cinque Terre, that also has the best connections to those, and Portovenere and Portofino. It was a very long ride, around 5 hours, so make sure you have a book or something that can keep you busy if you plan on doing it.

      

    The natural park of Cinque Terre includes the 5 towns: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Between Monterosso al Mare and Vernazza you can hike, so bring appropriate clothing and shoes, also if you are not a big fan of climbing, I suggest you take the train between the two, the path is not an easy one especially if you add a little bit of rain.

      
     
      
     
      

    Given the fact that you can hop on and off the train to go from one place to another, I suggest you visit them all if you have the time. My personal favorite is Manarola, especially during twilight, also if you are lucky you can get a table at a restaurant overseeing the bay. We weren’t, but maybe it was for the best since we got to eat at an amazing restaurant where I had the best pasta with octopus from my life. 

      
     
      
     

    Another way to see those amazing places is by water, you can take the boat trips that have multiple options depending on how long you want to stay or where you want to stop. Since the water was rough due to the rain, we had the option to go to Portovenere only. Cannot say that I was impressed, compared to the other ones ( Manarola and Portofino) but it’s a great place to go and have a coffee overseeing the sea.

      
     
      
        
      
      

    In the last day, the boats finally started to go to the Cinque Terre, with a single stop in Monterosso. Until then I was never afraid of sailing, but this trip is one that I will remember for sure. When the boat left the Portovenere bay and got into the sea, the waves were so big that the boat started to swing like crazy, giving me a panic attack. Many people from the boat felt sick and I ended up staying in terror for about 2 hours until the boat finally got to the last stop. After the bumpy ride, they canceled all the other trips for the day and I learned that I will never be a sailing captain.

      
     

     Portofino

      
     

    If you want to see how the other half lives, I suggest you book a trip to this little piece of heaven. Portofino is clearly from a different movie than the one that I am living, boats, private banks, a Louis Vuitton shop, and Ferrari’s, prepare yourself for a scene from old mafia movies. Apart from the obvious reasons that I felt out of place, the small town is just amazing.

      
     
      

    Pit stop in Milano

    On our way to Bergamo airport, we had to switch trains in Milano, so we decided to do a pit stop to the city center and have a glimpse of the famous Milano Cathedral. I was expecting big and fancy, but it left me stunned. The architecture and the amazing sculpting is one of a kind. Also, to get to the cathedral you will have to pass through Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, a place filled with history, paintings, and (duh) expensive shops. Since our time here was limited to only half an hour, we only got to see those briefly, but I am planning a city break here in the upcoming period.

      
     
      

    When it comes to coats I have to say that a week spent in all of those amazing places cost us around 800 euros, to this we added the 120 euro cost of the plane ticket and another 300 euros the cost for the accommodation, using Airbnb and Booking. All of the prices are for 2 adults. From the 800 euros that we had for the expenses around 300 were spent on train tickets, so if you plan on doing the same itinerary I suggest renting a car since it will be faster and at about the same price. The total cost of the trip: 1220 euro.

    Italy will always be one of my favorite places in the world, so I am already thinking about the next destination that I want to unlock. How about you? Do you love Italy just as much as I do? What’s your favorite part of it?


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