Long Weekend review: Take a dive into the placid blue waters of Lake Como in Italy

Kick back with a cocktail by Como

First impressions:

If you're hoping to catch a glimpse of Mr and Mrs George Clooney, who were married here, you're probably better off at home with a DVD. But if you want rolling views of Lake Como, fine hospitality, delicious food and a whole lot of lakeside, there’s no better place in Italy than here. As the morning mist clears, you’re woken by the gentle ripples of the lake and blinded by the glimmer of the sun’s reflections on the water.

The hotel:

Located in the very heart of Lake Como, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo sits on the Azaleas Riviera and offers the best views of the lake and Bellagio, the pearl of Lake Como. For hundreds of years the hotel has been a destination for the discerning international traveller, combining the heritage of great European culture with the modern concepts of luxury. It has a new spa, plenty of pools and landscaped gardens that will leave you feeling euphoric in mind and spirit.


Bobo, the Hotel Grand Tremazzo's mascot

Where to eat:

You can eat at the first ever fondue restaurant to open on Lake Como, which is part of the hotel complex, or venture a little further afield by hopping on a rather impressive period Venetian motor launch boat (or “Ruy”) to glide in complete sophistication to the nearby island of Isola Comacina, once the site of a Roman fort and medieval settlement. Jump on to dry land and meander your way up the narrow lane to Locanda dell'Isola, a family run restaurant that’s been going strong since 1947, all thanks to the owner Benvenuto, who muddles ritual with tradition. Theatre is big here, with every meal having its own ceremony to banish a curse allegedly laid on the island in 1169 by the Bishop of Como. Expect simple, hearty and generous platefuls of delicious food. Oh, and lots of wine.

What to do:

Take the short ferry ride (I prefer the Ruy, but it depends on how much you want to spend and how cool you want to look) across to the other side of the Lake to Bellagio. Suspended like a pendant on the promontory where the lake's western and eastern arms split and head south, the beauty of this town will surprise you. It’s a maze of steep stone staircases, red-roofed and green-shuttered buildings, dark cypress groves and pretty little gardens. Wander out of the old town to Punta Spartivento and gaze up to the Alps for some stunning views. Get yourself lost in this pocket-sized town and stumble upon hamlets such as Pescallo, a small one-time fishing port, and Romanesque churches built in the 12th century by master builders from Como.


A room with a view over Lake Como isn't easy to get, but it's worth the hassle

Need to know:

This sophisticated hot-spot gets booked up super-fast. Book with Classic Collection holidays, classic-collection.co.uk, for a three night break at Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como from £1,164 per person in September, based on two adults sharing a prestige park view room on a bed & breakfast basis, and includes return flights from London City to Milan Linate and private transfers. The lake views are magnificent, but chances are they will have already gone, but it’s worth trying your luck.

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