Before heading to Italy, I came across Mandello del Lario on Google Maps. I was wondering what this place would be like. There was hardly any information about this Lake Como village to be found on the internet.
Except for the fact that it’s home to Moto Guzzi, a famous motor producer and motor museum. That’s why I decided to visit this mysterious village myself.
Read on to find out more about Mandello del Lario, including what to do, where to eat and drink and where to stay.
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Mandello del Lario happened to be one of the train stops on our way from Lecco to Varenna. After heading to beautiful but very crowded Varenna during peak season, we were desperate to find a place less travelled.
This is when we decided we would head over to this mysterious little village. Soon after, we realized we had discovered a real hidden gem.
When we arrived at the train station, we walked into the town and noticed there were only two other tourists walking around. This was such a relief after being surrounded by loads of people in Varenna on a hot summer’s day in August (especially post-COVID).
Even though there were hardly any tourists there, it was hard to see why. Perhaps because it’s difficult to know what to expect as a tourist, as there’s not much information available on the internet. Because of this, the town still feels very local.
Where is Mandello del Lario located?
Mandello del Lario is located in the province of Lecco, Italy. It lies on the shores of Lake Como and is home to around 10000 residents.
The name of the town actually consists of the ancient name of Lake Como, as this used to be called Lario. The distance from Milan to Mandello del Lario is around 65 kilometers.
It only takes 12 minutes by train from Varenna to get there, while it’s only 15 minutes by train from Lecco. A train ticket to Mandello del Lario from Varenna or Lecco approximately costs 2 euro.
Where to stay in Mandello del Lario?
Mandello del Lario can be a good alternative to other popular towns around Lake Como if you’re looking for a more local experience. So where should you stay in this quaint town?
If you would like to stay in a unique place, which is conveniently located, I would recommend staying at Villa Guzzi. Have a look at the photos of this place here to see why this is a must-visit accommodation.
For a more quaint stay in the old town centre, I would recommend you to stay at Mamma Ciccia. For more information, have a look here!
Another great alternative would be to stay at Casa Liberty, which is located nearby restaurants and the lake. Breakfast is included in the price. If you’re interested, have a look over here to check out its prices.
What to do in Mandello del Lario?
So… what is there to do here? Well, the town is not to be compared to places like Como or Bellagio. It’s not touristy at all.
Even during peak season in August there were no crowds to be found here. However, to me this is what makes the town extra charming. A number of things to do in Mandello del Lario are the following:
Wander around Mandello del Lario
To our surprise, the pretty little town is home to a lot of magnificent houses. Houses with very special architecture.
This makes the small town even more characteristic. It’s worth it to just wander around, walk through the old town centre and soak in the interesting architecture of the different houses.
Go to the beach
The quaint town is home to a lovely beach located near the lake promenade (Lido di Mandello del Lario). It’s surrounded by a shady green area, which makes it even more attractive to spend a day here. Here you can rent sun beds and the public gardens are also within reach.
Visit a local restaurant
One of the best things to do is to head over to Porto di Riva Grande harbour area. From here it’s a short walk to Piazza Italia, where you will find a picturesque square with a few nice restaurants with wonderful views of the lake. Most of these restaurants are really affordable.
For example, head over to Riva Grande, Osteria Colombo or Ristorante Il Giardinetto. And if you’re after good pizza, head a little inwards towards Pizzeria Bar Derby.
Unfortunately, I got stung by a wasp here, but besides that I had a wonderful dinner and the food was delicious.
Take a ferry to neighboring towns
Even though Mandello del Lario is not touristy at all, there is actually a ferry stop located here. This makes it easy to go on day trips to neighboring towns, such as the lesser known town of Onno or the more popular town of Bellagio.
It only takes 8 minutes to reach Onno by ferry, while it takes 55 minutes to get to Bellagio by ferry.
Visit Chiesa Di San Giorgio
Another great place to visit is Chiesa Di San Giorgio. This is a catholic church situated between Abbadia Lariana and Mandello del Lario. It lies on an ancient trail called Sentiero del Viandante.
This little church is worth visiting and has a beautiful view of the lake.
Hop on the train to neighboring towns
As mentioned earlier, Mandello del Lario is conveniently located. If you want to head more South, you could head to Lecco. In case you want to head more North, you could for instance discover Varenna or Colico (the latter takes around 52 minutes by train).
It takes no more than fifteen minutes to reach neighboring towns such as Varenna and Lecco by train. And it doesn’t have to cost much either (around 2 euros for a train ticket). These neighboring towns are very beautiful lakeside towns worth visiting.
Visit Moto Guzzi in Mandello del Lario
As you may have noticed by now, the town is the birthplace of the Moto Guzzi Eagle, which was established in 1921. There is a Moto Guzzi Museum located here, which can be worth visiting if you’re interested in motors or museums in general. The museum showcases the history of Moto Guzzi over the years.
A last word
If you’re looking for a beautiful, yet small and non-touristy town around Lake Como, look no further. Mandello del Lario is the perfect combination between beautiful Lake Como views, mountain scenery and a more local feel.
For more travel inspiration in Italy, have a look over here.
Have you ever been to Mandello del Lario? Or have you been to other towns around Lake Como? Let me know about your experiences in the comments!
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