Top 10 Things to do in Varenna, Italy

February 24, 2018 Nobuko Falco

Varenna is a slow-paced destination—most visitors come here to relax by the lake. But even if "Working on my tan" is the #1 thing on your itinerary, take some time to explore the area. There’s the Castello di Vizio, a medieval fortress surrounded by an olive grove. And you’ll want to view the old, tiered gardens at the Villa Cipressi—they stretch all the way down to the water. Finally, visit the source of the Fiumelatte, a peculiar river—it’s only 250 m long and disappears from October to March.
Restaurants in Varenna

1. Ristorante Il Caminetto Cookery Lessons

Viale del Progresso 4 | Gittana di Perledo, 23828 Varenna, Italy +39 0341 815225
Excellent
94%
Good
3%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 301 reviews

Ristorante Il Caminetto Cookery Lessons

Reviewed By Paul M - Leicester, United Kingdom

My girlfriend and I attended a cookery class a couple of days ago. We were greeted at the port by Moreno, the restaurant owner, who took us to his lovely traditional Italian restaurant up in the hills above Varenna, the decor is very much rustic and charming with large beamed ceilings and stone fireplaces, in keeping with the area.
We started with a well received coffee before Moreno went over the days activities and menus. Our menu consisted of handmade tortellini stuffed with recotta and porchinis and a tomato sauce and for main, prosutto wrapped veal loin, he did ask us if any of us had any issues and any dietary requirements were dealt with, one lady was lactose intolerant for example. The manner of the class was extremely friendly and jovial, with any question answered with a touch of Italian poetry, Moreno discussed his family history and the history of the area, all very fascinating. The food was prepped and we all joined in making the torts. A plate of antipasti was given along with wine, all of which was seemingly unlimited, then the now cooked food which was stunning, very traditional and extremely good.
Overrated the experience was fabulous, Moreno was brilliant and very funny and entertaining. I would 100% recommend anyone to take this class, the value for money is superb in comparison to other classes in the area.

2. Taxi Boat Varenna - Day Tours

Vecchio Porto di Varenna, 23829 Varenna, Italy +39 349 229 0953
Excellent
83%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 282 reviews

Taxi Boat Varenna - Day Tours

Reviewed By lfbmonkey - fort lee , new jersey

They have a dock in Varenna and do not show up until a few moments before the tour. Narration is very poorly heard as his amplifier was not working. Free water. They take you to Villa Balbaniello for the included very nice tour. I would take it again but maybe sit closer to hear him. He should face you when he talks rather than speaking towards the front of the boat. Boat sits about ten and is comfortable.

3. Boats 2 Rent

Contrada dei Sarti, 4, 23829 Varenna, Italy +39 347 367 4624
Excellent
90%
Good
7%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 121 reviews

Boats 2 Rent

Reviewed By Clauclau_9 - Ville-la-Grand, France

We rented a double kayak for 3 hours and went over to Bellagio, took a stroll through town and went back. The rental team were friendly, all very uncomplicated and the kayak itself in good condition. It took us while to get used to the kayak, I would say to really enjoy a trip on the lake you should have a bit of experience, otherwise it can be a bit frustrating.

4. Villa Monastero

Varenna, Italy +39 0341 830129
Excellent
59%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 981 reviews

Villa Monastero

Reviewed By lfbmonkey - fort lee , new jersey

A very nice walk that descends for quite a bit so be prepared for the graduated ascent. Old growth trees with a panoramic Lake Como view. Many specimens and even in late October there was many flowers in bloom.

5. Giardini Botanici - Hotel Villa Cipressi

Via IV Novembre, 23829 Varenna, Italy +39 0341 830113
Excellent
56%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 141 reviews

Giardini Botanici - Hotel Villa Cipressi

Reviewed By John D - Limerick, Limerick, Ireland

There are many famous villas and Gardens around Lake Como; Hotel Villa Cipressi is one of two notable villas / Gardens in Varenna. The Gardens are part of the hotel, accessible to guests; others may also visit, for a small fee. The Gardens are very good, offering an interesting and relaxing place to visit. The information provided is very good too. If we ever return to Varenna, this is the hotel we would prefer

6. Sentiero del Viandante

Varenna, Italy
Excellent
47%
Good
43%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 212 reviews

Sentiero del Viandante

Reviewed By hibou22 - Grenoble, France

This is an easy hike with some steep steps from Varenna to the castle, and I am 75. Use a GPS with the free Cycle map with android ViewRanger (screenshot) - maps from the tourist office are not detailed enough. It takes 30+ minutes to climb to Vezio Castle, which is well sign-posted from the main road in Varenna. After lunch, descend again to pick up the Viandante track north. It is well kept, and not much more of a climb to Bellano about 3.5 km away, with splendid views of the lake below. There is an interesting old church halfway that plays tunes on its bells, before descending beside old properties, an olive grove and small streams on the way to Bellano. Two years ago we took the boat back to Varenna. There is now only one boat at ~16:30, but there is a train every half hour.

7. Chiesa di San Giorgio

Piazza San Giorgio 25, 23829 Varenna, Italy +39 0341 830228
Excellent
38%
Good
50%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 125 reviews

Chiesa di San Giorgio

Reviewed By MichelleLeeCK - Hong Kong, China

It's located on the main driving road with an information centre right beside it. There are a few restaurants nearby. The church and the bell tower are beautiful especially at night. We were lucky enough to see the Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali from Milan performing classical music in the church on our first night in Varenna. It was a great and memorable performance.

8. Green Way dei Patriarchi

Tra Olivedo, Varenna centro, Fiumelatte e Pino, Varenna, Italy
Excellent
55%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 85 reviews

Green Way dei Patriarchi

Reviewed By LafayetteHill - Philadelphia

This is really what you come to Lake Como to do. The walking is the thing. However, be warned, some of the walking is very steep. It's safe but can be extremely challenging to anyone with knee problems. You can do parts of it at a time. The Varenna side goes up to a castle. The Menaggio side is steep but easier. Even if you do parts, it is well worth it.

9. Paul DEMARIA - The Open Lake & Landscape Studio d’Arte

Contrada Del Prato, 6, 23829 Varenna, Italy +39 335 608 6530
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 38 reviews

Paul DEMARIA - The Open Lake & Landscape Studio d’Arte

Open afternoons and evenings mid-April thru mid-October (and happily by appointment in the mornings or during the Off-Season). We have a permanent display of original oil paintings for Paul Demaria Guaitamacchi collectors worldwide featuring landscapes, still lifes and paintings of Lake Como in the many possible settings and seasons. Our prices include our Florentine frames, all taxes/fees and international shipping is free of charge. We are pleased to offer complimentary wine and snacks with all painting purchases. Feel free to check out our website to view our available paintings (marked by a Green Dot), and client testimonials and to contact us if you have any questions! (Private viewings are available. Please contact us for an appointment.)

Reviewed By Janine V - Wollongong, Australia

What a lovely surprise walking into this gallery. The warm welcoming. from Melita and Paolo's exceptional paintings.
After a long time chatting and admiring the art, our eyes kept being drawn to an enchanting still life of aubergines( egg plants).
Melita was happy to let us take a photo so we could have a think before purchasing.
A few months on and here I sit in Australia in frount of our beautiful painting, which to our surprise arrived within a week of money transaction.
We are sooo happy with our purchase and will always be reminded of a genuine and unforgettable experience. Thank you Melita and Paolo

10. Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista

Piazza S. Giorgio, 23829 Varenna, Italy
Excellent
55%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 61 reviews

Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista

Reviewed By JKerr88 - Cambridge

This small medieval church is worth popping into when in Varenna. It's on the main square, just a couple of minutes walk from the lakeside. Free to access and small, but with beautiful part-frescoes inside - there is information in English just by the door.

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