On one of our Euro trip, my husband wanted to repeat a destination we went two years ago. It was for this particular reason. Haha!  So I put a requirement that we must go to at least one new country, and one new place of my choice. We’ve agreed about a new country, which was Greece. Both of us wanted to go there since a long time ago.


One of my special requirements

In the initial plan, we would go straight to Rome after we completed Greece. Then I got an idea to fly to Milan first before Rome as I happened to discover a discounted flight ticket.

On another note, we’ve passed Milan before on other trips, but didn’t get to stop for a visit. So that’s another good reason to go there. There are also possible day-trips we could do from Milan to places in my bucket list! After Milan, we could head to Rome, which is not far at all! So husband agreed! This is one of the ways my husband and I plan trip route, to work on each other’s wish list. Hope you get some idea (:

varenna Lake como off beaten path italy hidden gem lecco lombardy
Varenna, Lake Como Italy off the bitten path and true hidden gem italian village

The plan to Lenno and Varenna

The day trip we did from Milan was to a small town at north of Lake Como (Lenno).

Lake Como itself is a repeat destination too, where we previously only went to one of the many towns (Como). If you are not yet aware, I would like to share that there are a few towns at Lake Como. The shape of the lake is like an inverted “Y” or a tree branch. Location of  Como town is  at the southeast and Lenno is at the “Y” junction.

There’s no direct route by public transport from Milan to Lenno. One of the options is to go to nearby town (Varenna), then get on a lake cruise to Lenno from there.

Varenna lake como italy off beaten path hidden gem lombardy
The stunning Varenna lake vide

Our initial plan was to go on a relaxing daytrip to the lake, and go ‘village-hopping’. Unfortunately our flight was cancelled. The replacement flight was about 24 hours after the original schedule. We had not much time. Once we reached Varenna we had to quickly go to Lenno. No time at all to chill in the area, otherwise we might miss the villa we (I) wanted to go in Lenno. Haha I was that determined to go there.


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Unexpected Discovery of Varenna – Lake Como Italy’s off the beaten path (and hidden gem) 


Enroute Varenna to Lenno, I was surprised to see how beautiful and charming Varenna is. The village should be more than just a passing-by. Varenna was really stunning that it slowed me down as I couldn’t stop snapping photos from the moment we got out from the train station all the way to the jetty to get on the lake cruise!  Varenna is photography heaven! Don’t rush like me if you are visiting. The town is very quiet though, not many amenities, and secluded. So it is important to get your traveling necessities and supplies if you decide to overnight here.


Getting to Varenna from Milan by public transport

Get a train to the direction of Varenna-Esino. This is where you should get off.

Getting to Varenna from Como by public transport

One of the options is by lake cruise to Varenna. Check the schedule here, at the official website.

Another option is to get a train from Como towards Varenna-Esino. You have to make one additional stop at Monza as there is no direct train from Como town, then from Monza head to Varenna Esino station.

Varenna lecco Lake Como boat ferry cruise schedule jetty
Varenna jetty in front of Hotel Olivedo
milan day trip off the beaten path lake como
Waiting for lake cruise whilst enjoying the lake view
Varenna Lake Como boat ferry cruise schedule jetty
Latest lake cruise schedule available at jetty


My recommendation and how I would plan Varenna if I had the chance to come again

If you are coming all the way from far like me, my recommendation is to include Varenna as part of Lake Como trip plan, or more.  May be not as single destination on its own. The village can be a nice base for Lake Como trip if you are into a beautiful and secluded locations. It’s very secluded, you guys.

However, if you are staying at other Lake Como’s villages, my recommendation is to come to Varenna and spend one day here, relax or go on a hike. I heard the hike here is awesome.

As for me, possibly a one-week stay, with a visit to other parts of the lake, plus a daytrip to other places like Milan or neighbouring country. You know, in case I get bored. Haha.

I think I can stay here in Varenna for a maximum of four straight days. Then I will hop on the lake cruise to other villages, and come back in the evening. But that is just me! 🙂  I would rent a place with kitchenette or cooking facilities, as I find the restaurants are pricey for my traveling standard. Have you been here or stayed here? Comments and ideas are most welcome.

Read my other post about my travel to Italy here.


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  1. Lets wander Reply

    This is so beautiful and I love how you just happened to find this hidden gem! Will keep that in mind for any plausible trip to that side

    • Nina Reply

      Thanks dear, we find many wonderful things when we least expected them. So much to see ?

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