Back in the summer I took a solo jaunt to Milan for a few days and whilst I was there I figured I’d be silly not to hop on a train to Lake Como. The Italian lakes are one of the most popular destinations in Italy and with their reputation for being one of the most beautiful places in the world I had to see what all the fuss was about!
There was just one problem… like Paris, Lake Como is a destination known for being romantic. In fact it is a popular honeymoon destination, so solo travel there was bound to be awkward right? Wrong! There are actually loads of reasons that you absolutely should go in alone in Lake Como!
Getting to the lakes from Milan involves only one train ride! It is quick, super easy and the Italian rail network is straightforward.
Once you arrive in Varenna it is also easy to navigate between the different towns around the lake using the ferry system. You buy your ferry tickets from a person at the terminal so if you get stuck they will be able to advise you as to which ticket you need to get to your destination.. they probably speak to more tourists on a daily basis than Italians!
Things to do
While there probably isn’t enough to keep you occupied for a week’s holiday in Lake Como (unless you’re looking to just relax and enjoy the beauty of the place, for which I wouldn’t blame you!), there are plenty of different towns around the lake to visit and enough activities in each to keep you occupied for a few days at least. If you’re taking a day trip and plan on hopping between a couple of places you’ll definitely have more than enough to fill your time!
The most obvious activity (aside from eating) is shopping. There are a ton of small little boutiques and shops selling handmade crafts that make for a pleasant afternoon of browsing – I managed to find a gem or two amongst the more touristy items!
It is however worth getting away from the main streets and wandering around the backstreets for a real sense of the place. One of my favourite things about Italy is the beauty of the architecture, the buildings adorned with flowers, the brightly coloured buildings and ornate balconies… it just makes everything look so picturesque!
There are also plenty of churches to visit and a few castles and villas dotted around that are a bit like the equivalent of UK stately homes (ie. you can go in and nose at the furniture) they just have better views. Villa Monastero in Varenna is a great example – although I did not have time to go inside myself it is something I would have made time for had I known about it beforehand because it looked stunning from the outside!
Solo travel safety
Lake Como left me feeling super safe as a solo female traveller… in fact I would rate it as a safer place to be solo than even some of the big cities in Italy. The Italian lakes are definitely a big tourist draw and while there may not necessarily be more tourists the ratio of tourists to citizens felt a lot higher. This inevitably has led to people everywhere speaking English and being much more willing to help you out than I have found in other parts of Europe.