Menaggio, Lake Como. Definitely one of my TOP favorite towns on this alpine mountain lake. I have visited Menaggio so many times, I’ve lost count. Today’s blog highlights why I love it, where you can stay, what you can do, and GREAT EATS! I know there are so many choices when you visit Como, but for me it is Menaggio.
How to get there
Menaggio is located in Northern Italy in the provinces of Como and Lombardy. Because of its location, you might be surprised that it has a little Swiss influence. It was a walled city and you can see some of that still today. I accidentally walked part of it one time along the lake’s edge, that story is a bit longer and I had to ask for forgiveness from Jon because I thought the road had a sidewalk. Oops!
Its location is so great to visit the lake. Daily ferries run from nearby Cadenabbia and Menaggio to Bellagio and Varenna as well as other destinations around the lake. This makes for creating great day trips.
Menaggio is also a bit quieter than neighboring towns. Not during the day of course, because it’s vibrant market area along the Promenade and main Piazza bustles.
Where to STAY?
My favorite place to stay in Menaggio, Lake Como is Hotel Garni Corona. When I bring small groups to Italy for cooking, wine tasting, and exploring, this hotel is my go-to place. Their rooms have incredible views of the lake, a wonderful breakfast buffet, and superb customer service. The location of Hotel Garni Corona is great for the city and parking is close by.
Another Hotel I have stayed at is Hotel Villa Hadeel. Incredible views of the lake and great breakfast as well. Our room was very nice with a great view of the lake. The room rates range between €120-150 per night.
This past month we stayed at the Albergo il Vapore. We needed something simple and near the city. Our room had a beautiful view with a window looking at the lake and it was close to the center of town. There is also a pastry shop right downstairs Pasticceria Cassera Moretti that I recommend. Breakfast is not included in your stay. I would categorize this as a budget-friendly, family-owned place.
An upscale option in Menaggio that is right on Lake Como is the new Grand Hotel Victoria. This RC Collection Hotel was under construction for the past few years. This castle and estate are regal and majestic. It is closed from Wednesday 02 Nov 2022 to Thursday 09 Mar 2023. The prices range between €350-550 for most room choices.
WHERE to EAT?
So… Where to eat is one of the challenges of Menaggio, Lake Como, mostly because there are several GREAT places to eat. From gelato to pasta to afternoon aperitivos, this town has it all.
The Italian Aperitivo is an Italian tradition that usually takes place between 6:00p.m. and 8:00 p.m., however, in tourist areas it is earlier. Around 2:00 p.m. typically bars/Enotecas serve to light appetizers for the purpose of socializing with friends while drinking cocktails at sunset and snacking on cheeses, salami, bruschetta, and sometimes fried foods.
Café del Pess
Right off the Piazza Garibaldi is Café del Pess with lovely tables in the courtyard and great appetizers. Enjoy an Aperol Spritzer or a Prosecco with some chips and peanuts. In Italy between noon and 6:00 p.m. it is a perfect time to sit, people watch and relax. Café del Pess is in the heart of Menaggio where you can catch some sunshine and enjoy an afternoon cocktail.
This is from my Google Review: Wonderful little pub/enoteca in the heart of Menaggio – tucked away in an alley is Bar Al Paladar – wonderful attentive service, great wine selection, the first time I’ve seen Barbera on a list in Como 🙌🍷and it was only €4 a glass – 😳 great little appetizer snacks some pizza slices, chips, and crackers. A great chill place away from the crowds – search it out, and you’ll be glad you did.
This Enoteca (tavern) is located right on Via Calvi between the gorgeous St.Stephen’s Church and the Piazza Garibaldi. This year was the first time I was able to enjoy an aperitivo and snacks because they are always busy. Their charcuterie boards are amazing. You will not be very hungry after your stop. You may just want to walk around the town before dinner time to work it off.
Katy and I enjoyed a lovely break here and they had music playing. There were so many people that wanted to join in, the owners created a table with wine boxes and folding chairs. Brilliant! Friendly and affordable we really had a lot of fun.
TRAVEL TIP: Make a dinner reservation. Whether your traveling party is for two people or five, you will need to make reservations. Try to make then at least 24-48 hours prior to needing them.
In Menaggio, Lake Como there are up-scale restaurants with incredible views and creative menus. There are also restaurants tucked down alleys that are secret little gems where the family is still cooking away.
Also from my recent Google Review!
Absolutely one of the best restaurants in Menaggio. Popular with locals and tourists alike, our food was amazing with every bite. Fresh pasta & tomatoes, chocolate divine dessert, and a ravioli made from scratch.
We were completely grateful to get a table at this busy busy restaurant, I think we saw them turn away five or six parties. Be sure to make a reservation it will be hard to get in.
I’ve visited Menaggio so many times and I have always wanted to eat here last week was the first time I was able 😳 The service was friendly with smiles and suggestions. Family feeling and every table filled up. Great menu too, you can smell this restaurant from the street. You won’t be sorry.
Located right in the marina is Ristorante del Porto. Whether you grab a dessert in mid-afternoon or dinner (also make reservations) you will surely enjoy del Porto. Be sure to indicate if you would like to sit on the terrace or inside when making the reservation.
Specializing in fine dining and seafood dishes, the menu is tasty and creative. Service is friendly and expedient. We weren’t able to eat there this past month and a few reviews are not so flattering but I am giving grace to restaurants and the hospitality industry in general as we all brace ourselves for the influx of tourism.
We really enjoyed our dinner at Il Ristorante di Paolo. My small group tour was thrilled with EVERYTHING from beginning to end. From service to dessert it was first class.
The presentation of the dishes was more like works of Italian art than dishes of food. Our seafood was fresh and very tasty with color combinations that popped and had delicious flavors.
Molto bene. Definitely a must for a romantic or impressive dinner. Make reservations during the summer as it’s a local fav too. The decor is sleek and professional with seating on the terrace as well. This restaurant is always, always busy. The menu consists of seafood, pasta, risotto, antipasti, different meats including pigeon, Osso Bucco, and classical desserts like tiramisu and limoncello. The wine list is fantastic with local and regional wines available.
My review: I love stopping in at La Trattoria Costantin when I visit Menaggio. Authentic pizza with simple, excellent ingredients for pizza and fresh salads. It is a favorite in Menaggio when I bring groups here because the prices are affordable and the food is plentiful and tasty.
If you have a large party, (5/6) you may have to wait, this is common in America too without a reservation. Also, they are accommodating if you arrive early for dinner but if you arrive before 6:00 p.m. you may only have aperitifs until they open for dinner. This is everywhere in Italy.
I love that they roll out the big umbrella if there is too much sun or it begins to rain. The staff is hard working and attentive, just busy.
Another tip is to order the Vino di Casa (House wine) it’s wonderful and you can have it in a small carafe (3 drinks) or a full carafe (more like 6) Clients have ordered fish here as well and have been very pleased.
TRAVEL TIP: If you would like your pizza cut into slices, ask for this when you order. It will not come sliced, this is not Italian/European.
Now that I have your bellies filled let me fill you in on what is around Menaggio if you would like to do a bit of sightseeing.
Walk around Town
Enjoy the MARKET
Enjoy the Friday night market along the Promenade all summer long. So much fun and lots of great vendors.
Hand-made crafts and local artisans who were super talented and fun to talk to, here is a bit more information.
If you are a Star Wars fan, you will be happy to know that the Villa Garden Balbianello is a very short drive from Menaggio and on the same side of the lake. Our visit here this fall was amazing. I will create separate content that will include my travel tips for our day trip because there is a secret in visiting this park to maximize your time there.
Take the Ferry
Menaggio has a marina that has a ferry that runs daily to Bellagio and Varenna. Two towns on the opposite side of the lake that also make lovely day trips. I will have more information on those two day trips in my vlogs as well. Both of these lake towns are unique and a bit different with Bellagio for the rich and famous, while Varenna has Villa Gardens, Monasteries and Castles.
Go to the Beach
Please don’t shoot the messenger. Beaches in Italy are not like the sandy beaches of Alabama or Florida or even those of Spain or Mallorca. In Italy, the beaches are rocky and pebbly and it’s best if you have aqua/water shoes. You will have a much more enjoyable time. Don’t get me wrong with the temps rising from Global Warming, you will totally enjoy the cold mountain glacier lake water in Menaggio, Lake Como.
Rent a Boat/Take a water Taxi
Although I have never rented a boat, I know that it can be done. You can also book a water taxi, but I could never find their prices online but know they also offer tours as well. Clients who have taken them, recommend this company quite a bit.
So that is an overview of my favorite town on Lake Como, Menaggio. If you are planning a trip to Como, I hope you add this idyllic northern Italian town to your list.
It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy
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