Rent Kayak & Paddleboard on Lake Como

>Rent Kayak & Paddleboard on Lake Como

The unique Lake Como landscape is a study in contrasts. Tree-topped mountains as high as 2,000 feet surround a lake with chilly depths as low as 1,400 feet. The lake measures approximately 29 miles from the northernmost tip to either southern toe, but only 2.5 miles from shore to shore at its widest point. Its winters with snow-sprinkled peaks and near-zero temperatures give way to a violent burst of lakeside blooms in the mild spring, before a hazy heat descends on the mirror-like surface of the water in the summer.

No matter what the season and no matter where you find yourself on Lake Como’s 56 square miles of water, nothing quite beats the 360-degree views from a boat. Over the past few months, we’ve shared some of the best ways to get that unique lake feeling, from renting a private boat to hiring a water taxi or taking the public ferries. While there’s a lot to be said for these sometimes practical and sometimes fashionable ways to explore Lake Como, nothing quite compares to skimming the lake’s surface in a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. With paddle in hand, you are so close to the water that you can touch it – and you are compelled to slow down, become part of the landscape and take in all the natural beauty that surrounds you without the buzz of an engine or the crowds of fellow tourists.

There is no one better than our friend Mich to give us some tips and recommendations on “keeping it real” in boats that are essentially modern versions of age-old watercraft. A native of the small fishing village Pescallo, Mich has been a competitive rower since his youth – and was still winning medals in a quad skull as recently as 2008. When he is not coaching up-and-coming rowers in the local crew club, he is out with visitors and locals alike, teaching them the ins and outs of rowing for pleasure, whether it is on a single or double sit-on-top kayaks, on the 11.4 foot SUP boards or the popular “oarboards”, which are essentially SUP boards with a detachable rowing rig that works just like a skull.

We would be happy to register Palazzo guests for Mich’s regular group tours that start each morning. Alternatively, we can arrange for a private tour or a private class in kayaking or SUP-ing that will have you paddling like a professional in no time. When you go out on the kayak with Mich, he provides state-of-the-art buoyancy aids (obligatory!), waterproof bags to keep your gear dry, light aluminum-fiberglass paddles and a 10-foot emergency rope stored in the hollow bow. SUP trips start with a thorough introduction to the mechanics of the board – which is likely to land you hilariously in the water until you get the knack! in addition to the height-adjustable paddle, the SUPs are equipped with a safety string to make sure you and your board are never separated. It also goes without saying that Mich provides secure storage for your valuables back on the shore.

Bellagio Coast Tour

One of our favorite kayak tours is the Bellagio Coast tour, which starts in Mich’s hometown of Pescallo. You’ll meet your guide at the quaint little harbor that looks like it has been frozen in time and enjoy your safety briefing and short introduction as pleasure boats bob in their berths nearby. Sticking close to the coast, set off and paddle your way around La Punta – the thumb-shaped point at the end of the Bellagio promontory. Mich’s educational and entertaining commentary gives you some of the area’s rich history, including interesting info on the Rockefeller Foundation’s elegant complex at Villa Serbelloni, where the best scientists and artists, theorists and practitioners on the planet gather to think the great thoughts and solve the world’s problems.

One of the highlights of the trip – and the perfect photo op – is the scattering of rocky outcrops as you near the tip of La Punta. You can paddle around these little islets and dream yourself on a desert island. The tree-lined shore on this side of the promontory couldn’t be more different than its counterpart on the Bellagio side. There are no houses on this steep slope and the vegetation alternates with sharp cliffs in a slightly otherworldly way. If it weren’t for the occasional ferry from Varenna and the odd motorboat cruising by, you might think you’re miles from civilization.

When you round the tip of the promontory, civilization returns with some lovely villas and a little harbor. Soon, the elegant façade of Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni comes into view and the busy promenade and ferry station of Bellagio. Passing the Lido beach club and the stunning gardens of Villa Melzi, Mich often stops for a little break at Loppia harbor with some refreshments. The return trip takes you along the same lakeside route, much faster now that you are familiar with the boat, and ends back at Pescallo Bay.

Stand-up Paddleboarding

Stand-up Paddleboarding is a completely different animal – we only recommend this sport for people with strong swimming skills, a solid level of fitness and ideally good core strength. And unlike the kayak tour, much of your SUP tour is taken up with familiarizing yourself with the board. You’ll practice various maneuvers, like turning around in place on the board, using the paddle to aid your balance and spinning the board using the paddle as a rudder. Then you will set off sticking pretty close to Pescallo until you have good command of the board. You’ll need to wear a swimsuit and leave the electronics secured safely on the shore – trust us, it would be rare enough to get through a SUP session without at least one tumble in the drink!

If you can fit it into your busy Palazzo schedule (of rest and relaxation!), you might want to schedule a second trip after the initial training, where you can use your new-found skills and venture further afield on the SUP. There is something quite peaceful and noble about gliding along the shore on a stand-up paddleboard. You might even fancy yourself a member of the ancient civilizations from Africa to South America who relied on this practical mode of transportation for millennia – or a member of Captain James Cook’s crew, who first described the natives in Hawaii paddling their massive surfboards through the waves.

Sunset Tour

Our favorite tour with Mich has to be the late afternoon Sunset Tour. What better time to hit the water than when the day trippers have retreated, the boat traffic has slowed and the entire coast is bathed in that golden pre-dusk glow that renders all Instagram filters obsolete. For this tour, we meet Mich in Loppia harbor just outside the Villa Melzi gardens (spend some time in the gardens before the tour to experience Bellagio’s beauty by land and by sea – or lake!). The trip heads south towards Lezzeno, passing three of Bellagio’s most picturesque villas: Villa Gerli with its neoclassical façade, Villa Trotti with its Moorish details added by an adventurous, well-traveled aristocrat, and Villa Placida with its stately cypress trees and architectural arches originally built by a family of bankers from Hamburg. The slow pace of the kayak gives you plenty of time to really hone in on the details of these private villas and the lavish lifestyle behind those ornate doors – as well as the quaint hamlet of San Giovanni with its church. These are sights you simply cannot see from the road or the sidewalk, and with Mich’s charming running commentary, you get insight into the local culture and history that are missing from the guidebooks.

When the sun starts to sink behind the mountains on the opposite shore, when Isola Comacina and Villa del Balbianello across the way are bathed in the golden, late-afternoon light, Mich will crown the kayaking trip in quintessentially Italian fashion by popping open a bottle of bubbly and toasting this unparalleled scenery with his guests (fruit juice will be provided for the teens and tweens!). Charmed by your gracious host and cheered by the delicious prosecco, the paddle back to Loppia harbor is over before you know it – but the memories will last a lifetime!

Have it your way

For more adventurous kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders, we can arrange for Michele to design a trip just for you – maybe head into deeper waters and cross the lake to the sweet lakeside village of Varenna, or paddle across the Como branch to get a closer look at the cinematic setting of Villa del Balbianello with its romantic loggia and promontory perch. We can arrange for lunch in a special lakeside crotto or a tour of one of Lake Como’s must-see sights on your trip. The choice is yours and we’d love to help you make it happen.

If you rowed crew in your younger days or have always wanted to try out this demanding yet rewarding sport, have Mich give you a tutorial on the “oarboards”. These innovative boards can be used as standard stand-up paddleboards or equipped with a rowing rig that lets you sit on top and row with two oars like a conventional skull. What could be better than the satisfying slap of the oars on the surface, the gentle resistance of the water as you pull the oars back through the water and that silent glide while you pull your legs in and get into position for the next stroke. We know you are going to love it!!!

The unique Lake Como landscape is a study in contrasts. Tree-topped mountains as high as 2,000 feet surround a lake with chilly depths as low as 1,400 feet. The lake measures approximately 29 miles from the northernmost tip to either southern toe, but only 2.5 miles from shore to shore at its widest point. Its winters with snow-sprinkled peaks and near-zero temperatures give way to a violent burst of lakeside blooms in the mild spring, before a hazy heat descends on the mirror-like surface of the water in the summer.

No matter what the season and no matter where you find yourself on Lake Como’s 56 square miles of water, nothing quite beats the 360-degree views from a boat. Over the past few months, we’ve shared some of the best ways to get that unique lake feeling, from renting a private boat to hiring a water taxi or taking the public ferries. While there’s a lot to be said for these sometimes practical and sometimes fashionable ways to explore Lake Como, nothing quite compares to skimming the lake’s surface in a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. With paddle in hand, you are so close to the water that you can touch it – and you are compelled to slow down, become part of the landscape and take in all the natural beauty that surrounds you without the buzz of an engine or the crowds of fellow tourists.

There is no one better than our friend Mich to give us some tips and recommendations on “keeping it real” in boats that are essentially modern versions of age-old watercraft. A native of the small fishing village Pescallo, Mich has been a competitive rower since his youth – and was still winning medals in a quad skull as recently as 2008. When he is not coaching up-and-coming rowers in the local crew club, he is out with visitors and locals alike, teaching them the ins and outs of rowing for pleasure, whether it is on a single or double sit-on-top kayaks, on the 11.4 foot SUP boards or the popular “oarboards”, which are essentially SUP boards with a detachable rowing rig that works just like a skull.

We would be happy to register Palazzo guests for Mich’s regular group tours that start each morning. Alternatively, we can arrange for a private tour or a private class in kayaking or SUP-ing that will have you paddling like a professional in no time. When you go out on the kayak with Mich, he provides state-of-the-art buoyancy aids (obligatory!), waterproof bags to keep your gear dry, light aluminum-fiberglass paddles and a 10-foot emergency rope stored in the hollow bow. SUP trips start with a thorough introduction to the mechanics of the board – which is likely to land you hilariously in the water until you get the knack! in addition to the height-adjustable paddle, the SUPs are equipped with a safety string to make sure you and your board are never separated. It also goes without saying that Mich provides secure storage for your valuables back on the shore.

Bellagio Coast Tour

One of our favorite kayak tours is the Bellagio Coast tour, which starts in Mich’s hometown of Pescallo. You’ll meet your guide at the quaint little harbor that looks like it has been frozen in time and enjoy your safety briefing and short introduction as pleasure boats bob in their berths nearby. Sticking close to the coast, set off and paddle your way around La Punta – the thumb-shaped point at the end of the Bellagio promontory. Mich’s educational and entertaining commentary gives you some of the area’s rich history, including interesting info on the Rockefeller Foundation’s elegant complex at Villa Serbelloni, where the best scientists and artists, theorists and practitioners on the planet gather to think the great thoughts and solve the world’s problems.

One of the highlights of the trip – and the perfect photo op – is the scattering of rocky outcrops as you near the tip of La Punta. You can paddle around these little islets and dream yourself on a desert island. The tree-lined shore on this side of the promontory couldn’t be more different than its counterpart on the Bellagio side. There are no houses on this steep slope and the vegetation alternates with sharp cliffs in a slightly otherworldly way. If it weren’t for the occasional ferry from Varenna and the odd motorboat cruising by, you might think you’re miles from civilization.

When you round the tip of the promontory, civilization returns with some lovely villas and a little harbor. Soon, the elegant façade of Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni comes into view and the busy promenade and ferry station of Bellagio. Passing the Lido beach club and the stunning gardens of Villa Melzi, Mich often stops for a little break at Loppia harbor with some refreshments. The return trip takes you along the same lakeside route, much faster now that you are familiar with the boat, and ends back at Pescallo Bay.

Stand-up Paddleboarding

Stand-up Paddleboarding is a completely different animal – we only recommend this sport for people with strong swimming skills, a solid level of fitness and ideally good core strength. And unlike the kayak tour, much of your SUP tour is taken up with familiarizing yourself with the board. You’ll practice various maneuvers, like turning around in place on the board, using the paddle to aid your balance and spinning the board using the paddle as a rudder. Then you will set off sticking pretty close to Pescallo until you have good command of the board. You’ll need to wear a swimsuit and leave the electronics secured safely on the shore – trust us, it would be rare enough to get through a SUP session without at least one tumble in the drink!

If you can fit it into your busy Palazzo schedule (of rest and relaxation!), you might want to schedule a second trip after the initial training, where you can use your new-found skills and venture further afield on the SUP. There is something quite peaceful and noble about gliding along the shore on a stand-up paddleboard. You might even fancy yourself a member of the ancient civilizations from Africa to South America who relied on this practical mode of transportation for millennia – or a member of Captain James Cook’s crew, who first described the natives in Hawaii paddling their massive surfboards through the waves.

Sunset Tour

Our favorite tour with Mich has to be the late afternoon Sunset Tour. What better time to hit the water than when the day trippers have retreated, the boat traffic has slowed and the entire coast is bathed in that golden pre-dusk glow that renders all Instagram filters obsolete. For this tour, we meet Mich in Loppia harbor just outside the Villa Melzi gardens (spend some time in the gardens before the tour to experience Bellagio’s beauty by land and by sea – or lake!). The trip heads south towards Lezzeno, passing three of Bellagio’s most picturesque villas: Villa Gerli with its neoclassical façade, Villa Trotti with its Moorish details added by an adventurous, well-traveled aristocrat, and Villa Placida with its stately cypress trees and architectural arches originally built by a family of bankers from Hamburg. The slow pace of the kayak gives you plenty of time to really hone in on the details of these private villas and the lavish lifestyle behind those ornate doors – as well as the quaint hamlet of San Giovanni with its church. These are sights you simply cannot see from the road or the sidewalk, and with Mich’s charming running commentary, you get insight into the local culture and history that are missing from the guidebooks.

When the sun starts to sink behind the mountains on the opposite shore, when Isola Comacina and Villa del Balbianello across the way are bathed in the golden, late-afternoon light, Mich will crown the kayaking trip in quintessentially Italian fashion by popping open a bottle of bubbly and toasting this unparalleled scenery with his guests (fruit juice will be provided for the teens and tweens!). Charmed by your gracious host and cheered by the delicious prosecco, the paddle back to Loppia harbor is over before you know it – but the memories will last a lifetime!

Have it your way

For more adventurous kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders, we can arrange for Michele to design a trip just for you – maybe head into deeper waters and cross the lake to the sweet lakeside village of Varenna, or paddle across the Como branch to get a closer look at the cinematic setting of Villa del Balbianello with its romantic loggia and promontory perch. We can arrange for lunch in a special lakeside crotto or a tour of one of Lake Como’s must-see sights on your trip. The choice is yours and we’d love to help you make it happen.

If you rowed crew in your younger days or have always wanted to try out this demanding yet rewarding sport, have Mich give you a tutorial on the “oarboards”. These innovative boards can be used as standard stand-up paddleboards or equipped with a rowing rig that lets you sit on top and row with two oars like a conventional skull. What could be better than the satisfying slap of the oars on the surface, the gentle resistance of the water as you pull the oars back through the water and that silent glide while you pull your legs in and get into position for the next stroke. We know you are going to love it!!!

2018-07-10T18:01:23+00:00June 25th, 2018|Categories: Lake Como|0 Comments

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