VARENNA, Lake Como

Varenna, Lake Como

Varenna is a picturesque and traditional village, located on the eastern shore of Lake Como.

Varenna is an essential stop for anyone wishing to visit one of the most typical and quite towns of the lake. A must if you are in Milan (from where you arrive after an hour train ride) or in Bellagio, which is just 15 minutes away by ferry.

Varenna, Lake Como

Here’s my guide to the best things to do in Varenna, everything located within walking distance.

Discover what awaits you in Varenna, Lake Como!

THE TOWN CENTER | Church of S. Giorgio & Riva Grande

Piazza San Giorgio, the town center of Varenna, is home to the Church of San Giorgio.

The church was built in the 14th century in a style somewhere between Romanesque and Gothic, and hosts many paintings from the late 15th and 16th century. Look down and you will see the solid pavement, entirely made of local marble.

Church of San Giorgio, Varenna
Church of San Giorgio
Riva Grande, Varenna
Riva Grande

You can head toward the lake and walk along the narrow streets branching off from Piazza San Giorgio. Be careful when walking: their flooring is made of cobblestones, and some alleys are also quite steep.

If you happen to pass through a narrow alley called Contrada dei Sarti, you’ll have the chance to come across Pelletteria Denti, a very typical leather shop where you can buy something special to take home (leather wallets, belts and purses are all made in Italy).

Then, walk among the colorful houses that brighten the village and get to Riva Grande, the charming lake promenade of Varenna. You will come across a walkway that leads to the boat landing, where boats and ferries keep coming and going.

Looking for hotels or apartments in Varenna? Find the best deals on and start packing your bags!

VILLA MONASTERO | Botanical garden and museum

A visit to Villa Monastero is definitely one of the best things that you can do in Varenna. The villa was once an old monastery, that later became a patrician residence.

Besides being an international conference center, Villa Monastero attracts tourists from everywhere because of its beautiful botanical garden that collects many rare plant species.

Gardens of Villa Monastero, Varenna
The gardens of Villa Monastero in spring
Interiors of Villa Monastero, Varenna, Italy
Interiors of Villa Monastero

By visiting this famous villa, you will also have the opportunity to see Casa Museo, a museum that gathers four centuries of history within an elegant setting, characterized by refined decorations and furnishings.

Keep in mind that Villa Monastero is open to the public from March to November only (with the exception of some special winter openings).

VILLA CIPRESSI & CASTELLO DI VEZIO | Between secular trees and… myths!

Adjacent to Villa Monastero is Villa Cipressi. The complex is surrounded by secular terraced gardens that reach the shores of Lake Como.

The name of Villa Cipressi originates from the beautiful and ancient cypress trees that can still be found in its gardens. Unlike Villa Monastero, this villa is currently a luxury hotel that you can book for your vacations in Lake Como.

Villa Cipressi, Varenna
Villa Cipressi (picture:
Castello di Vezio, Varenna
View over Castello di Vezio (picture:

Then, if you don’t mind walking, you can follow the path along the Esino River and get to Castello di Vezio, an ancient medieval fortress overlooking Varenna.

The castle houses a permanent exhibition dedicated to the Lariosaurus – an extinct sea reptile from the Middle Triassic period, which gave birth to a legend similar to that of the Loch Ness monster – as well as a center for the training of birds of prey.

TOP 5 places to sleep in Varenna

Some personal tips on where you could sleep:


A few kilometers south of Varenna there is the locality Fiumelatte, where a river of the same name flows through it.

The Fiumelatte River is quite peculiar; besides having a white appearance that makes one think of milk, this short river only flows between March and September, whereas it is perfectly dry during the other months.

Fiumelatte springs, Varenna
The Fiumelatte River springs
Sentiero del Viandante, Varenna
Sentiero del Viandante

If you love nature, you’ll be happy to know that Varenna is the perfect starting point for doing some hiking through the Grigne mountains. Varenna is also crossed by a 45 kilometer path called Sentiero del Viandante, that winds around the eastern cost of Lake Como from Abbadia Lariana to Colico.

Featured trips by Get Your Guide

BEACHES & BOAT TOURS | Sit back, relax and enjoy the view!

If you are in Varenna and want to relax on a beach, you can choose between the public beach of Fiumelatte or the Lido di Varenna-Perledo, which is equipped with sun beds, deckchairs, and a boat dock.

Also, you have the chance to take a boat tour to enjoy Lake Como from a unique point of view. You can choose between a public or private tours, depending on your needs and the budget you have available. Notice that public boat service is perfect if you are on a day trip and want to start your journey from BellagioTremezzina or other towns of the lake.


Varenna's best beaches

Boat trips

Boat tours around Lake Como

Thanks for reading! Leave a comment and share this post!

Reach Varenna by car

Varenna is about an hour and a half drive from the airports of Bergamo (Orio al Serio) and Milan (Malpensa and Linate). Once you arrive in Varenna, you can find parking near the Varenna train station or along the main street that passes through the town center.

Experience Lake Como at its best! Traveling by car, you can quickly reach some of the nearest towns to Varenna: Colico, Lecco, Bellano, and many others. The best way to experience your holiday at your own pace!

Related posts

Villa Monastero

Villa Monastero, Varenna


Bellagio, Lake Como


Menaggio, Lake Como


Trains around Lake Como


Population: 784 (Jan 1, 2015)
Altitude: 220 m (721 ft)
Province: Lecco
Postcode: 22021
Neighboring townsBellagio, Esino Lario, Griante, Lierna, Menaggio, Oliveto Lario, Perledo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *