If you’re planning on making a day trip to Lake Como during your Milan visit, you should definitely consider Varenna.
Most people choose either Lecco or the City of Como as day trip destinations, simply because they are the best known places around Lake Como. There are however other nice options as well and Varenna is definitely one of them. Especially during the high season I would strongly recommend one of the lesser-known towns.
Varenna lies on the eastern shore of Lake Como, about 60 km north of Milan and about 20 km north-west of Lecco. It’s a picturesque small town with beautiful villas and narrow alleys. Most of the restaurants and cafes offer a stunning view of Lake Como. The nature is fresh and pure and the atmosphere feels civilized in traditional Northern-Italian way.
The easiest way to reach Varenna is to take the direct train from Milano Centrale (www.trenitalia.com). The train ride is only 63 minutes and a return ticket costs around 13 euros.
One of the most interesting attractions is Villa Monastero and its Botanic Garden. At the core you have a historical and noble residence, which today serves as a house museum and a conference center. The surrounding 1 km long botanic garden is magnificent and it contains several rare species. At every time of the year you can enjoy a true explosion of colors, shapes, and scents.
Below you'll find a few photos from a day trip I made to Varenna in May 2016.