Open Close
Varenna, Lake Como in Italy, what to do, what to see? - Blog Voyage - Découvrir Ensemble

Varenna, Lake Como in Italy, what to do, what to see?

Last update : 7 May 2024
Planning your next trip to Italy and looking for information on Varenna, one of the most beautiful villages on Lake Como? You've come to the right travel blog!

Varenna was our favorite of the Lake Como villages, with its colorful alleyways and breathtaking views over the lake. We had an excellent stay there, and it reminded us a little of the villages of the Cinque Terre, discovered a few years earlier. We came to discover Varenna in the morning, ideal for a short ride. We tried out several addresses for you, from restaurants to villas with incredible gardens. You’re sure to fall in love! Discover in this article our must-see and must-do addresses in Varenna, Italy.

Where to sleep in Varenna, Italy on Lake Como?

Albergo Milano

If you want to sleep in the heart of Varenna to fully enjoy the atmosphere of this iconic Lake Como village, we recommend the hotel Albergo Milano. The hotel is located right in the heart of the village and offers breathtaking views of the lake and Mennagio. Sleeping in Varenna will enable you to discover the village first thing in the morning, when there are fewer tourists, but also to easily reach other emblematic lake villages such as Bellagio and Lenno (to visit the famous Villa Balbianello) by ferry. We recommend it! 

hôtel Varenna Italie

What to do in Varenna, Italy on Lake Como? Our must-sees

The old town of Varenna

We suggest you start your exploration of the village with its old town. You’ll find that it’s very hard not to immediately fall under its spell. Narrow, colorful streets, terraces offering magnificent views of the lake… Welcome to Varenna, one of the pearls of Lake Como! If you come by ferry, you’ll enter the village via the superb “Degli Innamorati di Varenna” hanging ledge, a real delight. During your visit, we suggest you wander through the heart of the village and then head for Varenna’s Villa Monestero.

Varenna Varenna lac de côme

Villa Monestero in Varenna

Villa Monestero is one of Varenna’s must-sees, and you’ve probably already caught a glimpse of it in photos or videos, so trendy is the place on Instagram. Unfortunately, the villa was closed for renovation when we visited in May 2023, so our visit was limited to its gardens. We loved strolling among the palms and fruit trees, with Lake Como in the background. There are plenty of benches on site, ideal for picnicking or stopping to admire the view. A refreshment bar is also available on site, for a little cappucino break! Allow €10 per person for an average 1-hour visit. If you had to choose just one garden to visit in Varenna, we’d recommend this one. For us, it really is one of Lake Como’s must-sees. 😍

Villa Monestero Villa Monestero

Villa Cipressi di Varenna

A few steps away, you’ll find another botanical garden that’s well worth a visit. Villa Cipressi is now a hotel with a beautiful botanical garden open to visitors. We recommend you start at Villa Monestero, and if you’ve enjoyed your visit, continue the experience in Villa Cipressi’s neighboring gardens. The price is also €10 for an hour’s visit on average. Reduced rates are available for students and senior citizens. 

Villa Cipressi

Chateau de Vezio

During your visit to Varenna, you’ll also have the opportunity to visit Vezio Castle. It offers a beautiful view of the village heights and the Lake Como. It takes around 20 minutes to reach it from the village. The path to get there is quite steep! Instead, we opted for a stroll through the old town, while enjoying some excellent pistachio ice cream (ok, we admit it 😂). 


View this post on Instagram


A publication shared by Castello di Vezio (@castellodivezio)


Where to eat in Varenna, Italy on Lake Como? Our good addresses

  • Restaurant Bar Il Molo: a very good address for dining with a view over Varenna. We recommend getting there as early as possible, as the restaurant is often packed. It has to be said that the view from the terrace is sensational! 
  • Alma Bistrot: a good address located close to Bar Il Molo where we enjoyed a delicious risotto, and a burrata with a beautiful view of the lake. We’d recommend this address, although the prices are quite steep (but like everywhere else on Lake Como).
  • La Passerella: this is the address for you if you’re looking for a good ice cream parlour in Varenna. We loved their pistachio and almond ice creams.
Restaurant Varenna

How to get to Varenna in Italy on Lake Como

By car from Milan

Allow 1h30 by car to reach Varenna from Milan. If you’d like to rent a car during your visit to Lake Como, we recommend you take a look at the RentalCars website. This will enable you to find the best prices and conditions for your rental. Just one word of advice if you’re coming to Italy by car: watch out for ZTL zones and orange parking spaces, which are zones authorized for residents only. The best places to park are those with white markings, but these are very rare. Otherwise, park in the blue-marked pay spaces;

Varenna Italie

By train from Milan

Varenna is easily reached by train from Milan’s central station. Allow 1 hour on average on weekdays to make the journey. The round trip will cost you €14. If you choose this option, we advise you to get to Varenna early so you can travel around by ferry. All you have to do is take the ferry to make the crossing. You’ll be able to discover Bellagio and Villa Serbelloni, for example. The crossing between Varenna and Bellagio costs €4.50 for a 20-minute trip;

Varenna Italie

By ferry from Como or Bellagio

If on your Lake Como vacation you’re staying directly in one of the lake villages, you can easily reach Varenna by ferry. On our last visit to Lake Como, we stayed in Bellagio and easily reached Varenna by ferry. Tickets and timetables are available from the ticket offices at the various landing stages, and we recommend that you go there in advance to make sure of the ferry crossing times and organize yourself accordingly.

Ferry Varenna

Day trip from Milan



Thank you for reading

We hope the tips and good addresses on our travel blog will help you visit Varenna, Italy!

You can also follow our daily adventures on Instagram 🙂
Clem & Alex

5/5 - (8 votes)
Add your comment