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Destinations: Lake Como; the perfect three-day adventure

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Just over four hours away from Aviano Air Base sits the most beautiful lake I have ever seen – Lake Como.





The wish-bone shaped lake is over 120 kilometers long set against the foothills of the Rhaetian Alps, just an hour north of Milan. Littered with picturesque towns along its wavy coast, Lake Como has everything imaginable for the perfect three-day weekend, (which by the way, is this weekend).





I've had my fair share of travels throughout Italy during my time here. I must say, Lake Como has nearly everything Italy has to offer. As I walked the cobblestone streets I felt like I was in the middle of Florence and the coastline made me feel like I was standing in Amalfi.





I started my adventure walking through the village of Como, which is on the west side of the lake. The town has everything you can typically find within a city’s center, lots of shops and even a market on the weekends. The weather can be humid in the summers, but the lake and mountainous air keep it at a comfortable 65 degrees this time of the year, perfect for hiking.





So that's exactly what I did. As I was walked down the boardwalk taking all the scenery in, I noticed a huge lighthouse on a peak overlooking the lake – Faro Voltiano. After more exploring I found the Como-Brunate Funicular, or in other words, a tram that will take you near the top for an 11-euro roundtrip. From the top, there’re several street signs that'll point you in the right direction. I was a bit confused at first, but after you walk through the booths selling souvenirs there’s a church on the right side. Stick to the path and signs from there.





The first thing I realized on the hike was the internet lies, (besides this article of course), Google told me it was a short, easy hike to the lighthouse. Short? Yes. Easy? Far from it. It started off just fine. Once you get off the tram, you instantly feel like you’re put into a new world that floats over the region below; I felt like I was at a Disney amusement park on top of a mountain. Yet don't be fooled, once you start the trail on the uneven cobblestoned path of misery, you'll soon come back to reality.





After nearly being hit by a wild goat and breaking my camera, I reached the lighthouse, and the view made the hike all worth it. The view from that height was breathtaking. A local mentioned that the doors are usually open during the summer months to get a better view from the top, I guess I'm just going to have to make another trip up!









All of this sounds like it wouldn't take much time at all, but it'll take a full day to explore the streets and hillside of Como. The second day of my trip I decided to drive up the coast to the north end of the lake. It may take a while to get there, but you will not be upset with the view.



As I made my way through the scenic streets, I was hit with amazement at every corner. Like myself, you'll most likely find yourself taking photos after each turn.



You'll experience everything from small villages to landscapes that look like you're in Jurassic Park. One of the towns we didn’t have time to explore was Bellagio. It's been used in popular movies such as “Casino Royale” and “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.”



On the north-end of the lake we found something really worth seeing - Forte Montecchio Nord. Located in Colico, this fortress is one of the best preserved from World War I. Built from 1912 to 1914, the fort was built as protection against a possible attacks from Germany or Austria-Hungary through Switzerland. It doesn’t look like much on the outside because most of it was built into the mountainside.





For seven euro, you will get an in-depth tour of the entire fort and its four 149mm cannons which sit on top. For me, the tour was worth it. The Italian tour guide fortunately knew English and also gave us a packet to follow along with while she spoke Italian to the other guest.





Whether it's a three-day weekend, you're a WWI enthusiast or some family are visiting from back home, Lake Como offers the full Italian experience and is this perfect place for any adventurer.





To view other Destination's and to find Lake Como on your map, visit the Aviano Air Base app and click on the Travel tab.