LOCARNO, SWITZERLAND – MENAGGIO, LAKE COMO, ITALY
We stayed: At Camping Europa right in the centre of Menaggio on the waterfront of Lake Como. We stayed at this site for it’s location, which was easy walking distance into the centre of Menaggio with its shops, cafes and restaurants. The site also has its own private beach (a rarity in the area), although it was pretty dirty. Apart from that, the site doesn’t have a lot of plus points (unless you’re a fan of the 1970s, because I’m not sure this place has been updated since then!). You need to pay for hot water if you want a hot shower, there were only a couple of washing up sinks that had hot water, and everywhere was extremely run-down. The pitches were tiny and you were hemmed in by ancient static caravans (most of which appeared to be vacant and were actually quite spooky). Stuck in a time-warp, it’s only redeeming feature was all the photo opportunities the 70s decor offered!
We visited: We tried to spend the day at the lido di menaggio (right next door to the campsite) as the kids were desperate to use the pool, but it was closed for maintenance both times that we tried. It looked invited though! We took the ferry across the lake to see the gorgeous waterfront villages – unmarket Bellagio was stunning, and great for people-spotting, but I preferred Varenna with its quieter vibe. The twins scooted along the lakeside path, and we had delicious gelato by the lake.
Finding a free beach (one nicer than at Camping Europa) was a challenge. We drove about 5km north from Menaggio along the lake road where we found a little village called Acquaseria with a small public beach. It was pretty quiet, and had gorgeous views across Lake Como.
We ate: One of the main reasons for choosing a site walking distance from the centre of Menaggio was so that we could easily go out for a evening meal with the kids. We went to Pizzeria Lugano for pizzas – the food was excellent and they were brilliant with the kids. In Varenna, we loved the Gelateria Riva. Great ice-cream and they made me an affogato (which wasn’t on their standard menu).
Click here to read more from our Europe road trip last summer – 30 days of camping, covering France, Switzerland and Italy.