Lake Como with children: a day in Menaggio and Varenna
Our day at Lake Como with the children starts in Menaggio, one of the most beautiful villages on the lake lying on the central western shore and easily accessible from Parco San Marco (about 20 minutes by car; a dedicated article will follow about the option available to reach Menaggio by bike).
Menaggio is a delightful and very child-friendly village with its historical centre directly overlooking the lake. Its central square is Piazza Garibaldi, from which a labyrinth of narrow alleys with old shops and small clubs branches off.
To start the visit, our advice is to go to the tourist office and ask for the map (for the adults and also a map for children) in order to get the most out of your visit and explore the best areas for the children to play. Don’t miss a stop at the playground in the village located 200 meters from the lake and equipped with swings, seesaws, a castle and slide. The children can play while parents rest on the benches under the palm trees before resuming the tour.
For those who want to spend more time in nature, just above the village of Menaggio there is a green oasis where children can run free, walk and breathe good air. It is Parco Val Sanagra , in the small village of Piamuro. From here there is simple walk, that’s even ideal for children, which runs alongside the Sanagra river and leads to the Vecchia Chioderia holiday farm where there is a ‘troticultura’ restaurant.
On returning to Menaggio, the advice is to go to the lakefront and walk along the promenade from the lido to the small port. From here, one can embark towards another village on Lake Como that’s also wonderful for children: Varenna.
The boat crossing from Menaggio to Varenna offers one of the most spectacular views of the entire lake: here the two branches of Lake Como meet and the landscape created by this meeting is truly unique.
On arrival in Varenna, at the landing dock, the children will see a small colourful play area with a couple of swings and a slide and they are bound to ask to stop for a break before starting to discover the new village. From the small playground, begin the lovers' promenade (very evocative and surrounded by red): a short walk along a footbridge overhanging the water, which - from the Varenna landing stage - leads to the centre of the village. The village is characterised by ups and downs of narrow streets overlooking the lake and a small beach where it is impossible not to stop for a second game-break in an exceptional setting.
In the village of Varenna, there is another unmissable place that is always very child-friendly. Villa Monastero, with its splendid gardens, is worth a visit both for the views that the gardens have to offer and for the rare botanical species which are always luxuriant thanks to the mild climate of the lake.
If you still have some time before taking the ferry back to Menaggio, we suggest you also visit the Castle of Vezio.
The castle, which dates back to the 13th century, can be reached on foot from the landing stage in about thirty minutes of constant ascent. The effort of the climb, however, is rewarded by the view over the lake and the falconry shows that are organised almost daily when the castle is open.