Being a country girl at heart, I find that from time to time I long to escape the hustle and bustle of the city! To inhale long deep breaths of fresh, clean air. I dream of an English meadow, filled with wild flowers, or a quiet beach in the Essex countryside with my dog, an overgrown wood and spotting a sly fox on the path ahead, before it scurries away into the undergrowth. When I can’t make it home to England, luckily enough the Lakes are only a hop, skip and a jump from Milan!
I think my favourite of the Italian lakes is Garda, as I have such lovely memories of my first visit there, but Como and Maggiore are both absolutely charming! In the last few weeks I have been to Como (on Lake Como) a couple of times and whilst I used to find it a little too busy and not particularly relaxing, it has grown on me!
The first trip was with my two friends who were visiting from England. We decided that rather than take a boat trip on the lake, we would instead go on the Funicular Railway to see the spectacular views from the top of the mountains! The Funicular was opened on the 11th November 1894 and the slope is apparently 46%. It certainly feels very steep when you are going up and I wouldn’t suggest standing by the windows if you get a little vertigo!
The views from the top though are amazing and just a short walk from the station is a wonderful spot to take panoramas of the lake. Conveniently there is also a charming little bar where you can enjoy a refreshing glass of Prosecco and take in the views!
If you are feeling energetic, further up the mountain is a lighthouse which you can walk to, I did so in October when a friend came to stay with me. The views are outstanding, but from my personal experience I would advise you to make sure you walk back down to the Funicular before sunset! The terrain in certain parts is a little steep and lose off foot, so in the dark can be quite dangerous – however you get some spectacular photo opportunities watching the sunset from the lighthouse!
The second time I visited recently with my two friends from Milan, we were feeling like a little adventure and exercise, so we rented a ‘Love Boat’ which is really just a fancy name for a pedalo and went out on the lake! Despite my friends doubting whether I was the best person to drive the boat, they did let me and if I do say so myself I did a really good job – we didn’t capsize or crash! It was hard work though cycling for an hour under the boiling sun – so a refreshing cocktail was greatly appreciated before heading back to Milan, tired but happy!
Have you ever been to any of the Italian lakes? Let me know where, and what you enjoyed most! I need new inspiration for the next trip as I am dreaming of a weekend at the lakes soon…..