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Few destinations in all of Italy have the cinematic allure of Lake Como. Overlooked by the glowing summits of the rugged Rhaetian Alps, the far-reaching branches of its waters range from the crumbling Roman ruins of Como town in the south to the steep-sided valleys that rise to the Swiss border in the north. Booking a private boat and bobbing on the sky-blue surface of the lake is a fine way to enjoy the scenery, especially when you set eyes on A-list villas and the outline of beautiful Volta Lighthouse on the hill. Meanwhile, uber-romantic Medieval towns like Bellagio beckon with cypress-peppered gardens and enticing gellatarias, and there's always a chance to break into the hills with hikes to craggy Monte Grona or Vetta Gazzirola.
There's really only one way to follow in the footsteps of George Clooney and the other celebs who've made this corner of the Italian Alps their home, and that's by booking holiday rentals in Lake Como. With features like sprawling gardens and private waterside lidos, you'll be able to feel like a true VIP as you sunbathe on your verdant lawn. What's more, Lake Como holiday villas tend to offer far more room than your conventional alpine chalet or hotel, making them the perfect place to retire to after hiking in the Rhaetian peaks, flitting between Roman ruins, wandering cobbled Bellagio, or whizzing on windsurfing boards across the waters themselves.
There are oodles of things to do during a languid, relaxing visit to Lake Como, whether you’re a history buff, a culture vultures or outdoorsy adventurer. You could start with a jaunt up the famous via ferrata climbing routes that meander over the ridges of the surrounding mountains. Or, you could get on 2 wheels and explore between the picture-postcard towns of Bellagio, Varenna and Lecco, exploring the cobbled streets, chocolate shops and handsome villas by bike. Boating and sailing, windsurfing and swimming are also top of many visitors’ to-do lists, and you're bound to be near a local café for that bout of Italian espresso and people-watching.
There's surely no better way to navigate between the high mountains and rippling waters of Lake Como than by water taxi. These depart from different communities around the lake every day, and flit between must-see spots like Bellagio and Varenna, so you can easily check off the lakeside jewels on your itinerary. Alternatively, main roads connect most of the destinations on Lake Como's banks, meaning a hiring a car is the perfect choice if you're looking to go off-the-beaten-track, or want to take in the whole region in just a couple of days – be ready for a couple of hairpin bends, though.