The lake is massive - 56+ square miles - and so it actually feels a lot like a seaside town in its personality. In fact, the architecture reminded me a lot of Bakar, the small Croatian town where I was born, on the northern coast of the Adriatic. There are boats all over the lake and, although the adventurous choose to swim in its frigid waters, most people opt for the public lidos, or lakeside pools. (Unless of course you're staying at a hotel or villa that has its own pool!)
There are several small towns clustered around the shores of the lake, each one just as charismatic and romantic as the next. We stayed in Como, the main, most metropolitan of the collection, and did a day trip to Bellagio. For as tiny as Bellagio is, it really, really packs in the charm. The best way to get acquainted with the area is to take a boat ride around the lake on your first day and then decide which towns you'll want to come back and visit. Just make sure to make note of them because there are so many!
One of Lake Como's main attractions are all of the beautiful villas that surround it. Yes, of course, George Clooney is probably the area's most famous resident. But the villas are really a mix of private homes, hotels and museums or gardens that are perfect for visiting. We stopped by Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo to tour the 18th century art and Italian gardens - stunning!
MORE INFO: Lago di Como
PHOTOS BY: Stjepan Alaupovic