Experience the Italian paradise of Lake Como with this guide to the top attractions and activities. This beautiful northern Italian destination is surrounded by picturesque hills, charming villages, and luxurious lakeside properties. Lake Como is a must-see for any traveler and is the ideal location for a relaxing and unforgettable Italian vacation.
As Europe’s most glamorous travel destinations, Lake Como is a premier destination for luxury travel in Europe, known for its glamorous history and opulent villas that once belonged to Italian nobility. The lake has been a popular choice among the elite for centuries, from ancient Romans to contemporary celebrities like George Clooney, Lionel Messi, and Madonna. Lake Como continues to offer a luxurious and refined experience to visitors today.
Despite its luxury and exclusivity reputation, discover the best of both worlds at Lake Como. Lake Como also offers a glimpse into traditional Italian life through its charming fishing villages and authentic local cuisine.
The perimeter of Lake Como is adorned with picturesque towns and villages, easily accessible by local transportation and allowing visitors to explore multiple locations in a single trip. Popular destinations include Bellagio, Varenna, and the namesake city of Como.
Lake Como offers breathtaking views, romantic getaways, boating excursions, and charming villages for visitors to enjoy. Experience the best of Lake Como with this guide to planning the top things to do for your dream trip.
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THE BEST TIME TO VISIT LAKE COMO
If you’re seeking an idyllic getaway, Lake Como is the place to be! Although the beauty of the region is a year-round affair, summertime reigns supreme. With balmy weather and nature in full flourish, it’s the perfect time to bask in the picturesque glory of Lake Como.
Plan your trip for May or June, when the lakeside gardens are awash with vibrant colors, making for a breathtaking sight that’ll leave you in awe. This is the perfect time to indulge in outdoor activities such as boating, hiking and cycling, making the most of the sunny and mild weather. Planning your trip during these months will allow you to fully enjoy the beauty of Lake Como in its prime.
Visiting Lake Como in Summer
Lake Como is a highly sought after tourist destination during the summer months, drawing in large crowds of visitors. July and August, when many Italians take their summer vacation, are the peak season for tourism. The lake’s alpine setting and refreshing waters make it a popular escape from the summer heat.
Lake Como attracts a lot of celebrities during the summer months, making it a popular destination for celebrity-spotting. To avoid the crowds, the best time to visit Lake Como is in spring or fall, when the weather is still mild.
However, to avoid the crowds, it is recommended to visit during weekdays as locals tend to visit the lake during the weekend. This way, you will be able to explore the region at a more leisurely pace and enjoy the beauty of the lake without the hustle and bustle of peak season.
Visiting Lake Como in Winter
If you choose to visit Lake Como in the winter, you will find the lake less crowded, but the weather may not be suitable for outdoor activities such as dining. During the winter months, the ferries run less frequently and many lakeside hotels and restaurants close for the season.
However, the region offers other activities such as skiing in the nearby mountains and enjoying the peaceful, wintry atmosphere of the lake. Wintertime on Lake Como can be a great opportunity to see the area in a different light, but it’s important to be aware of the reduced services and colder weather.
HOW TO GET TO LAKE COMO
Unsure of how to get to Lake Como? This guide will provide you with all the information you need to make your way to this stunning destination. Whether you are arriving by plane, train, or car, we’ve got you covered with tips and advice to ensure a smooth journey.
The most convenient way to reach Lake Como is by taking a train from Milan. The journey is quick and only takes 40 minutes from Milano Centrale station to Como San Giovanni station, which is located right in the heart of the town of Como.
Train frequency increases during the peak summer season but the tickets also tend to sell out faster, so it’s advisable to purchase tickets in advance to secure a seat and get the best deals.
If you’re comfortable with some adventurous driving, you could also choose to reach Como by car. Although a car is not necessary in Lake Como, and both parking and driving can be limited.
Some ferries do offer the option of taking your car on board and it’s important to keep in mind that to book a hotel that offers parking to avoid any inconvenience.
Which airport is closest to Lake Como?
The nearest airport for Como city and destinations on the western side of Lake Como is Milan Malpensa. From Malpensa Airport, you can take the Malpensa Express train to Saronno and then transfer to a train bound for Como Nord Lago. The total journey time is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
How long is the train ride from Milan to Lake Como?
The train ride from Milan to Lake Como typically takes 48 minutes, but can be as quick as 37 minutes on Trenitalia’s fastest services. With a frequent schedule of around 63 trains running on this route daily, it is a convenient and direct route for travelers, eliminating the need for transfer train lines.
How to drive from Milan to Lake Como?
The most straightforward way to drive from Milan to Como is by taking the A8 and A9/E35 toll highways. It’s important to note that both Milan and Como have a restricted traffic zone (Zona a Traffico Limitato or ZTL) and driving in this zone without proper authorization may result in fines. The drive from Milan to Como takes under an hour when using the A9/E35.
HOW TO GET AROUND LAKE COMO
To fully experience all that this region has to offer, it is important to know how to get around. Visitors can choose from a variety of transportation options such as trains, buses, ferries, funiculars and car rentals.
Once in Como, ferries and buses are a great way to explore the different towns around the lake. However, be aware that ferries run only during the day.
Additionally, renting a car is an option for those who wish to have more flexibility and explore nearby areas on their own. But parking can be limited.
To fully experience the diverse beauty of Lake Como, many visitors choose to explore multiple towns, and the convenient mode of transportation is by ferry. These ferries run frequently and are an affordable option for getting around the lake and visiting different towns.
It’s important to note that ferries on Lake Como typically only operate during daylight hours. Keep in mind that the last ferries of the day are often around 7 or 8 PM, so you should plan accordingly to avoid getting stranded in another town during dinner time.
To ensure you have the most up-to-date schedule, you can check the ferry schedule online.
In addition to trains, there is also a bus network that connects the various villages around the lake and several funiculars that take you for a scenic ride up the hills. These options offer a different perspective of the region and are a great way to explore the area.
If you wish to have more flexibility and explore the neighboring areas at your own pace, it’s possible to rent a car in Como. However, it’s important to keep in mind that many of the local villages are pedestrian-friendly and parking can be difficult to find.
This option is recommended for those who are familiar with the area, or if you plan to explore places out of the lake Como.
WHERE TO STAY IN LAKE COMO
Lake Como offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences, from hostels to historic villas to luxurious five-star retreats.
Bellagio, one of the most popular and elegant towns on the lake and is home to some of the best luxury hotels, including some of the oldest in the area.
For those looking for a more budget-friendly option, Menaggio is a great choice, known for its stunning views that are considered among the best in Europe.
To explore more of the top-rated hotels around the lake, be sure to check out our list of the best places to stay in Lake Como.
THINGS TO DO IN LAKE COMO
Lake Como is a must-see destination on any trip to Italy, and while it is known for its luxurious reputation, it offers plenty of options for budget-conscious travelers as well.
Lake Como offers a variety of fun activities for visitors. The area boasts some of the most romantic and scenic views in the world, and visitors can explore charming villas and gardens, take a private boat tour, relax on a secluded beach, indulge in delectable Italian cuisine and even go for a refreshing nature walk.
Lake Como is both a luxurious and budget-friendly destination that offers a wide range of attractions and activities to suit every traveler. With so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to decide which experiences to include in your visit.
A Scenic Escape: Immerse Yourself in the Gardens and Villas of Lake Como
Experience the allure of Centro Lago’s enchanting gardens and stately villas, a visual feast for architecture and nature lovers alike.
Immerse yourself in the epitome of elegance and grandeur at Lake Como’s premier botanical haven, Villa Carlotta, and the picturesque Villa Melzi lakeside walkway. Don’t miss out on the cinematic setting of Villa Balbianello and the enlightening guided tours, offering insights into the region’s history and those who once inhabited it.
Whether it’s summer or winter, Lake Como’s opulent villas and idyllic gardens never disappoint.
Villa del Balbianello
Experience the timeless splendor of Villa Balbianello, one of Lake Como’s most awe-inspiring villas, nestled in Lenno, on the western shore of the lake.
Marvel at the perfectly manicured gardens and sweeping lake vistas that have been featured in Hollywood films such as James Bond’s Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
Take a scenic hike or boat ride to access the villa and explore its elegantly appointed interiors and rich history, including its renovation by American businessman Butler Ames and the unique character added by Italian explorer Count Guido Monzino.
A guided tour is highly recommended to truly appreciate the beauty and grandeur of Villa Balbianello.
Villa Carlotta, located in the charming town of Tremezzo on the Tremezzina Riviera, is a must-visit for nature and art enthusiasts who are exploring Lake Como.
The villa, built in 1745 by an unknown architect, is a perfect blend of architecture and nature, surrounded by 17 acres of stunning gardens, including an extensive collection of rare trees and plants. In May, the gardens come alive with vibrant rhododendrons and ancient cedars, providing a colorful and fragrant symphony.
After a leisurely stroll, head inside the mansion to explore the impressive ancient art collection, enjoy a good book from the well-stocked bookstore, or relax with a cup of coffee in the comfortable café while admiring the picturesque vistas.
Villa Monastero is a luxurious villa situated in the idyllic village of Varenna, Province of Lecco, on the shores of Lake Como.
Nestled just south of the village, this grand estate is a harmonious blend of history and modern-day opulence, featuring a stunning botanical garden and an upscale hotel with a restaurant.
The century-old garden offers a serene retreat for nature lovers, complete with breathtaking lake and hotel views and an impressive array of flowers and plants.
I Giardini di Villa Melzi
Villa Melzi d’Eril, the “pearl of Bellagio,” is a 19th-century neo-classical mansion located amidst the lush Villa Melzi Gardens, one of the most beautiful gardens in Italy, with picturesque trails, statues, pavilions, and stunning views of Lake Como.
Though the villa itself is not open to the public, the serene botanical gardens provide a tranquil escape for visitors who want to indulge in the beauty of the surroundings. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the garden or opt for a specialized tour, and capture the serene beauty of the gardens with the help of photography enthusiasts.
Please note that the villa is not always open to the public, and typically opens in late March.
Nestled on the tranquil shores of Lake Como in the northern Italian city of Como, Villa Olmo is an awe-inspiring example of neoclassical architecture.
Originally constructed as a lavish summer residence for the aristocracy, the villa’s serene lakeside gardens are free to the public, while access to the building itself is restricted to special exhibitions due to its acquisition by the Como municipality in 1924.
Make sure to add Villa Serbelloni to your itinerary when visiting Bellagio, as this magnificent historical villa offers stunning views of Lake Como and the distant Alps.
Although the villa is not open to the public, you can explore the meticulously manicured gardens, including the serene rose garden and the lush woodland areas. Guided tours are also available to help you fully appreciate the beauty of this hidden gem.
Located at the southern tip of Lake Como, the charming city of Como is a true gem waiting to be explored. Serving as the main gateway to the surrounding areas, Como is the perfect starting point for an unforgettable tour of Lake Como.
Many visitors arrive in Como after a short drive from Milan, drawn to its enchanting historic center with its narrow cobblestone streets, delightful piazzas, and an abundance of artisanal shops and antique stores.
As the renowned “Silk City,” Como is famed for its exquisite silk production, recognized worldwide for its quality and beauty. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover the many delights of this enchanting city on your next trip to Lake Como.
Bellagio, a charming small village located just 50 minutes from Como, is a top destination for anyone touring Lake Como. With its breathtaking views from every angle, visitors can spend an entire day exploring its narrow streets, picturesque parks, high-end shops, and waterfront promenade. Photography enthusiasts can capture some of the best photographic opportunities in the area of Bellagio.
Its location at the point where the three branches of the lake converge provides a unique vantage point to see all corners of the lake. Be sure to allocate enough time to explore Bellagio’s charming ambiance fully. Bellagio is one of the most beautiful towns to visit around Lake Como that visitors must explore.
Experience the Beauty and Serenity of Punta Balbianello: A promontory walk through the Heart of Lake Como
This promontory offers a beautiful stroll and is reachable via a charming trail that meanders from the bay of Lenno through lovely vegetation. You will be treated to breath-taking panoramas that stretch miles to the opposite coast and the cities of Vergonese and Bellagio. Along your leisurely stroll, you will also have the opportunity to admire stunning architecture.
Celebrating Tradition: The Sagra di San Giovanni Festival The Sagra Di San Giovanni
Lake Como offers many unique experiences and the region’s largest festival is definitely one not to be missed. Occurring annually on the weekend closest to June 24th, this celebration in honor of St. John the Baptist is a vibrant event filled with music, dance, storytelling, and a spectacular fireworks display to close out the night.
Make sure to include this festival in your itinerary if you’re looking for an exciting and memorable experience in Lake Como. The annual festival dedicated to St John the Baptist is an unmissable event in Lake Como, especially at night.
The towns are adorned with sparkling lights and fireworks, creating a magical atmosphere. The highlight of the event is the natural theater set up on the water, where hundreds of boats gather to provide a front-row view of the celebrations. It’s one of the best ways to experience the beauty of Lake Como and the local culture.
Cruise Along the Shores of Lake Como: Take a Scenic Boat Tour
Experience the stunning beauty of Lake Como with a private boat tour, where you can discover hidden gems like secluded beaches and grand mansions. Choose from a range of boat options, from speedy motorboats to quaint sailboats, or even public ferries, to fully appreciate the lake’s serene beauty.
Whether you’re short on time or have all day, a boat excursion is the perfect way to take in the lake’s highlights and capture beautiful photographs.
Lake Como boasts a plethora of tour and boat operators, each offering a unique means of exploring the lake’s splendor. Whether you opt for a public or private excursion, the lake’s natural beauty will be presented to you in all its glory.
There are typically three options for boat transportation, each with their distinct characteristics and benefits. Allow yourself to be transported along the lake’s tranquil waters and take in the breathtaking views it has to offer.
PUBLIC FERRY SERVICE
For a budget-friendly and convenient means of transportation during your Lake Como vacation, the local public navigation company, Navigazione Laghi, offers a variety of routes connecting the lake’s most sought-after towns.
This service is an ideal way to easily travel from one city to another and discover all that the lake has to offer. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the public boat service on Lake Como.
The water taxi boat service offers the flexibility of short or long trips to a variety of destinations on the lake, allowing you to see most of Lake Como. The taxi boatman generally provide recommendations for dining or lunch options on the lake, making your trip even more enjoyable and stress-free.
PRIVATE BOAT TOURS
Whether you are indulging in a romantic excursion with your significant other or embarking on a leisurely tour with friends, a private boat tour allows you to fully savor the beauty of Lake Como at your own pace. When you have a private driver at your service, you have the opportunity to craft your own bespoke itinerary and determine the duration of your cruise, perhaps even as the sun sets, accompanied by a fine bottle of Prosecco.
Escape Lake Como’s Secluded Shores: Your Perfect Summer Getaway
For those seeking free things to do in Lake Como, budget-friendly activities include the beaches along Lake Como’s shores that offer the perfect opportunity to bask in the sun’s rays.
During the summer months, the picturesque beaches on Lake Como’s shores provide a serene setting for relaxation and rejuvenation. These beaches can be found throughout the lake, however, for the most pristine waters, I recommend visiting the central and northern regions of the lake.
It should be noted that the public beaches located in the more frequented towns tend to be particularly crowded during the summer season, attracting both tourists and locals alike. To secure a secluded spot, it is advisable to arrive early and claim your desired location before it becomes too crowded.
As an alternative, consider reserving a sunbed at one of the lake’s many lidos, providing the ultimate in comfort and relaxation during your day on the lake.
A Hiker’s Paradise: Discovering the Beauty of Lake Como’s Hiking Trails
The majestic mountains that surround Lake Como account for much of its allure and provide some of the region’s most breathtaking hiking opportunities. Hiking is one of the best free things to do around Lake Como.
The mountains surrounding the lake offer numerous trails for hiking and discovery, each one offering breathtaking vistas that are sure to make for unforgettable memories and Instagram-worthy moments.
For those seeking a more leisurely and family-friendly hiking experience, the Greenway offers an excellent alternative. This picturesque, flat route stretches 6 miles (10 km) along the lake, passing through seven of the most charming lakeside villages, providing the opportunity to segment the walk into shorter hikes. Along the way, one can find local eateries, where one can indulge in the authentic flavors of the region.
Bask in the Golden Hour: The Most Stylish Way to Watch a Sunset at Lake Como
Watching the sunset is one of the most popular things to do in Lake Como. An added bonus being it is the most budget-friendly activity. The sunsets around Lake Como are simply mesmerizing and made all the more dreamy with a tasty cocktail in hand.
Varenna, situated on the eastern bank of Lake Como, is a hidden gem that offers a unique and peaceful alternative to the more crowded Bellagio during the summer season.
Accessible from Milan via train, Varenna is the only town on Lake Como with a train station, making it an ideal destination for those looking to explore the lake’s charming villages. Visitors can also reach Varenna by boat from Bellagio or Cadenabbia, providing the perfect opportunity to discover the surrounding areas.
While in Varenna, don’t miss the chance to explore its enchanting medieval streets and marvel at the brightly painted houses. For a touch of history and culture, visit Villa Monastero’s magnificent gardens or Castello di Vezio’s ancient walls. These attractions provide a peaceful and relaxing experience while offering insight into Varenna’s rich past.
Feast by the Lake and Dine in Style: Satisfy Your Taste Buds at Lake Como’ Restaurants
When planning your itinerary for a visit to Lake Como, do not forget to include the gastronomic delights that the area offers. Lake Como is home to numerous exceptional restaurants that highlight the best of Northern Italian cuisine. To truly immerse yourself in the local culture, indulge in the culinary offerings and embark on a culinary journey of excellent fine Italian cuisine.
One of the many delightful aspects of Lake Como is the abundance of agriturismo restaurants and cafes, where meals are crafted by local home-cooks using the most authentic techniques. These establishments provide an immersive and authentic culinary experience, allowing visitors to truly taste the traditional flavors of the region.
Eating al fresco is a beloved tradition in Lake Como, particularly during the summer months when the promenades that encircle the lake are bustling with visitors relishing in the sun and the invigorating outdoor atmosphere.
However, it should be noted that dining in such a highly sought-after location, as is the case with many well-known squares and palaces throughout Italy, will come at a premium. Restaurants boasting views of the lake from their balconies may offer a picturesque setting, but often at the expense of average cuisine.
Prices in Lake Como are comparable to those found in Positano. It is worth noting that the cost of dining al fresco may be more expensive than dining indoors. To savor authentic and high-quality cuisine at more reasonable prices, consider seeking out eateries located further from the waterfront.
From Farm to Table: Sample the Best of Lake Como’s Local Cuisine on a Food Tour
One of the most enjoyable activities in Lake Como is visiting a food market and experiencing a food tour, where one can sample delicious local fare while taking in the stunning scenery of Lake Como.
Exploring the vibrant neighborhood farmers’ market and savoring the diverse regional specialties is an essential aspect of any Italian holiday. Without experiencing the delicious regional cuisine, Italy would not be complete.
Not only will you have the opportunity to witness the lake in its natural state, but also gain an understanding of the local food culture.
Tasting Lake Como: Exploring the Region’s Best Wineries and Vineyards
If you’re a wine enthusiast looking for a dream destination to explore the world of Italian wines, Northern Italy is the perfect location for you. Boasting an abundance of vineyards, wineries, and wine tasting experiences, this region is a haven for those who love the grape.
Whether you’re a connoisseur or a casual wine lover, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to sample and learn about the rich variety of Italian wines. From famous red wines to sparkling wines, Northern Italy is a wine lover’s paradise that should not be missed.
I highly recommend visiting Enoteca Principessa, one of the premier wine shops on the lake, for a memorable wine-tasting experience. The shop is filled with an extensive collection of exceptional wines and the knowledgeable staff is always available to provide expert recommendations, tastings, and explanations, which makes it an ideal place to explore and discover new wines. The charming atmosphere of the store makes it one of the most unique and special attractions on Lake Como.
A Spiritual Haven of Ornate Beauty: Explore the Splendor of Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
The Como Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta), is a grand Catholic church and the administrative center of the Diocese of Como (Bishop of Como). It is dedicated to the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption, and stands as a proud symbol of faith and architectural excellence in the Lombardy region of Italy.
The Cathedral of Como, also known as the Duomo di Como, is a magnificent structure that stands as the undisputed architectural gem of the city. Its grandeur extends beyond its exterior, as the interior is equally impressive, showcasing an array of architectural styles that have been in the making for over four centuries.
The central dome, adorned with intricate gold artwork and other lavish embellishments, is a standout feature of the opulently furnished interior. The elaborate nave, with its detailed ceiling panels, arches, and dome, are a testament to the skill and artistry of the builders. The Cathedral is a must-see for visitors to the city, and a true marvel of architectural beauty.
A Scenic E-Bike Tour of Lake Como
Biking is an ideal way to take in the area’s natural beauty and is considered one of the top activities to do in Como. To fully experience the natural beauty of the area, consider renting e-bikes for a relaxed ride around the lake.
E-bikes are an excellent way to explore the area, providing an added boost for climbing hills while enjoying the scenery.Two-wheeled exploration is a wonderful way to discover all that Lake Como has to offer.
Scenic Tour from the Sky by Helicopter
Lake Como offers unique activities, including a helicopter tour over the lake. A bird’s-eye view of the lake is an exhilarating way to experience the area. Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter tour over Lake Como, where you will be able to see the lake from a whole new perspective.
Generally, helicopter tours are roughly around 15-minutes long and quite an investment, but the memories you will make will be priceless. The perfect tour is available and is an unforgettable experience.
From Brunate to Heaven: Riding the Funicular to Lake Como’s Best Views
Experience the historic single-track funicular railway, in operation since 1894, that takes you up and down the steep mountain slope between the lakeside city of Como and the village of Brunate.
The 7-minute journey offers scenic views of the countryside and sweeping vistas of Lake Como and the Swiss Alps. At the top, enjoy panoramic views of the lake, including Villa d’Este, Villa Erba, and Monte Rosa.
Take a return ticket for the funicular to Como or choose from the many hiking trails that lead down to the lakeshore.
From Kayaking to Jet Skiing: The Ultimate Water Sports Experience at Lake Como
Every visitor to Lake Como is sure to be drawn to the lake’s inviting waters at some point during their stay, and the lake offers a plethora of opportunities for outdoor activities and water experiences.
Whether it be sailing, water skiing, fishing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, or kite-surfing, the lake provides an array of options for those seeking exhilarating water activities.
Whether seeking an adventurous holiday or simply looking for a fun-filled vacation, engaging in outdoor activities is the perfect way to fully appreciate Lake Como’s stunning natural beauty.
Adrenaline Rush: Canyoning through the Spectacular Scenery of Lake Como
Lake Como’s diverse landscape is perfect for extreme sports enthusiasts looking for an adrenaline rush. Adventure tours offer a variety of outdoor activities such as canyoning, which involves descending canyons and cliffs through a combination of abseiling, jumping, and sliding.
This is a thrilling way to discover the region’s hidden gems, such as the canyons at Porlezza and Lenno, while enjoying the stunning natural surroundings of Lake Como.
Vertical Adventures: Rock Climbing in the Breathtaking Scenery of Lake Como
The mountainous terrain surrounding Lake Como offers a plethora of opportunities for rock climbing, with a wide selection of routes to suit climbers of all abilities, from novice to expert. The range of surfaces available, including granite and limestone, provides a diverse climbing experience and allows for the exploration of some of the most breathtaking areas of Lake Como.
Discovering the Best of Milan in Just One Day: A Perfect Excursion from Lake Como
Take a day trip to Milan, the fashion capital of Italy from Lake Como. Milan offers a great opportunity to indulge in shopping, as well as admiring the beautiful combination of Renaissance and modern art. The city is also known for its stunning architectural masterpieces, and a day trip here will give you a chance to explore and appreciate them.
Easily accessible by train, with round-trip tickets starting at less than $12. You can easily take a train from Varenna to Milan, which takes only an hour. Take an early morning train, spend the day exploring the top attractions in Milan, and return to Lake Como by evening for a memorable excursion.
Witness the Breathtaking Beauty of Duomo di Milano, Italy’s Iconic Cathedral
The Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of the Nativity of Saint Mary, commonly known as the Cathedral of Milan, is a grand ecclesiastical structure located in the Lombardy region of Italy.
Construction on this magnificent cathedral began in 1386, and spanned over nearly six centuries, with its completion in 1965. It is considered one of the largest churches in the world, and the largest in the Italian Republic, second only to the grand St. Peter’s Basilica, located in the independent State of Vatican City.
The Cathedral of Milan is a true architectural masterpiece, a testament to the skill and dedication of its builders, and a must-see for visitors to the city.
Nestled on the western shore of Lake Como, Menaggio is a charming lakeside town that’s easily accessible by boat from Bellagio. Although it may not have many tourist attractions, the town’s simplicity and unspoiled natural beauty make it a must-visit destination.
Menaggio’s promenade offers stunning views of Lake Como, surrounded by majestic mountains. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll, capturing the timeless charm of this idyllic Italian village. The town’s selection of excellent restaurants with lake views is ideal for relaxing and indulging in the local cuisine.
Boat rentals are also available for those who want to explore the lake and experience its true splendor. Menaggio is a serene location where visitors can unwind and enjoy the tranquility and beauty of Lake Como.
Explore the Monastery of Cistercian Abbey of St. Mary of Piona
The Piona Priory, also known as the Piona Abbey, is a secluded monastery complex situated on the northern bank of Lake Como, in the municipality of Colico, Italy. The complex is located on the Olgiasca peninsula, which extends into the lake like a crooked finger, providing a serene and secluded setting for the monastery. The location of the abbey is truly awe-inspiring, set in a natural oasis of peace and tranquility.
Experience the Medieval Magic: Explore the Fascinating History of Castello di Vezio
Perched high on a hilltop in Northern Italy, in close proximity to the charming villages of Varenna and Perledo, stands the majestic Castello di Vezio castle. The castle was once separated from the village of Varenna by imposing walls, a testament to its rich history and strategic location.
A Glimpse into the Past: Exploring the Forte di Fuentes Ruins at Lake Como
Experience the historical significance of Forte di Fuentes, situated near Colico, Lake Como. The ruins, surrounded by trees and set against the dramatic mountain background, serves as a lasting reminder of the 17th century Spanish presence in Northern Italy.
The Forte di Fuentes offers a unique opportunity to learn about Italy’s rich history and how various foreign interventions such as Spanish, Polish, Austrian and French have shaped the region. This fascinating site makes for an excellent day trip from Lake Como, with breathtaking views that are sure to inspire your inner photographer.
A Fortress of History: Fort Montecchio
Perched on the shores of Lake Como with a picturesque view of the Valtellina and Valchiavenna mountains, Forte Montecchio Nord offers a unique insight into Italy’s military history. As the only remaining fort from World War I in the country, it provides a glimpse into the events of both WWI and WWII.
Inside the fort, explore four rotating French 149-mm guns, each housed under a cast-iron dome and able to reach a distance of over 13 kilometers. During WWII, the fort prevented Mussolini’s troops from attacking the opposite side of Lake Como and was where the last artillery rounds were fired in Italy on April 28, 1945.
The Colico train station is a 10-minute walk from the fort, offering picturesque views of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains.
A Scenic Trek: Hiking the Stunning Sentiero del Viandante Trail
The Sentiero del Viandante is a must-visit destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts. This ancient Roman highway, now transformed into a scenic hiking trail, offers breathtaking views of Lake Como while providing a sense of tranquility and serenity.
Explore the picturesque natural landscapes of the Sentiero del Viandante, including historic mule tracks, lush chestnut woods, olive groves, and historic black marble quarries.
Take a stroll along the eastern side of the lake to admire the picturesque landscapes, End the day by catching a stunning sunset for an unforgettable experience as the vibrant colors illuminate the lake and nearby hills.
Get Your Adrenaline Pumping: Swing, Climb, & Zipline at Jungle Raider Park
Jungle Raider Park is an outdoor adventure park that offers a wide range of activities, including ziplines, bungee jumping, and more. The park has two locations in Civenna and Margno, and offers seven different levels of difficulty, including paths suitable for children, beginners, or those who prefer less intense activities.
Awe-Inspiring Architecture: Explore the Basilica of Sant’Abbondio
The Basilica of Saint Addondio, located just outside the city center, is a grand and impressive church that is worth a visit. The church, dating back to the 5th century CE, is one of the oldest in the area, showcasing various architectural styles and trends throughout different historical periods, providing an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the history of Como.
In my opinion, the historic Basilica of Saint Addondio is truly remarkable with its 13th-century frescoes. The intricate and detailed frescoes are a visual treat and are sure to leave a lasting impression. It’s a must-see for art and history enthusiasts.
Preserving History: The Fascinating Exhibits at Como Archaeological Museum
The Como Archaeological Museum, located near the cathedral, is housed in the Palazzo Giovio. The museum features an impressive collection of artifacts from the Como region, dating back to ancient Greek times.
Visitors can explore a wide range of exhibits, including jewelry, pottery, stonework, agricultural machinery, and more. Each display is curated with care and provides detailed information about the items historical significance, making it an interesting and educational experience.
A Must-See for History Buffs: Visiting the Giuseppe Garibaldi Historical Museum
The Museo Storico Giuseppe Garibaldi is a must-see for history buffs. It is located on the same Piazza Medaglie as the Archaeological Museum, situated in a former palace. The museum features a number of beautifully decorated chambers that have been restored to depict typical Italian living from different eras.
Visitors can also explore a wide range of artifacts from Como and the surrounding area, including furniture, lace, and clothing. Together with the Archaeological Museum, the collection and renovated rooms provide an in-depth look into the history of Como.
For awe-inspiring views that will take your breath away, a visit to Brunate is a must-do when exploring the wonders of Lake Como. One of the top destinations in Como, Brunate is best experienced at sunset, when the sky is painted with a stunning array of colors.
To get there, visitors can take the funicular railway from the east end of the lakefront, an unforgettable experience in itself. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas of the southern part of Lake Como, as well as the charming villages and majestic mountains in the distance.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy a meal at one of the many fantastic restaurants, boasting beautiful terraces and breathtaking views. Brunate truly is a destination not to be missed on your next trip to Lake Como.
Lecco, a fascinating city that is just a half-hour drive from Bellagio, offers a plethora of exciting activities for visitors. The Palace of Fears is one of the city’s main attractions, featuring a vast collection of modern art and thousands of exhibits that will keep you engaged for hours.
The renowned Basilica of San Nicol is also a must-see, with a history dating back nearly a thousand years. For a cultural experience, book tickets to the Lecco Theatre, a magnificent venue that offers an unforgettable night out, even if you need to brush up on your Italian.
A visit to Lecco promises to be a rewarding cultural experience that offers plenty to see and do.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Lake Como, located in Northern Italy’s Lombardy region and situated at the base of the Alps. Also referred to as Lario, Lake Como is the third largest lake in Italy, following Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore.
The lake features an inverted Y shape created by the erosion of the ancient Adda river and melting glaciers, resulting in two southern branches that extend to the cities of Como and Lecco. Bellagio is located in the middle.
To fully experience all that Lake Como has to offer and see the beauty of the lake at its best, it is recommended to spend at least 3-4 days in the region. There are many picturesque towns and things to see around the lake, and you will need sufficient time to take it all in.
While two days may be enough to see a few attractions, staying for 3-4 days allows you to truly immerse yourself in the atmosphere and culture of the area. This will give you enough time to explore the towns, indulge in the local cuisine and enjoy the various outdoor activities available in the region.
Lake Como is renowned for its picturesque setting, characterized by its natural beauty and the grand villas that line its shores. The most famous towns on the lake include Como, Lecco, Bellagio, Tremezzo, Menaggio, and Varenna. The lake is also known for its luxurious accommodations, making it a popular destination for those looking for a relaxing getaway.
These towns are connected by regular steamer services, making it easy to explore the different areas of the lake.
Lake Como is special for several reasons, including its historic villas and their lush gardens, the stunning natural beauty of the region, the charming and elegant towns, and the surrounding nature that offers opportunities for relaxing walks.
The lake is also known for its luxurious accommodations, making it a popular destination for those looking for a relaxing getaway. The lake’s location in Northern Italy offers a perfect blend of history, culture and nature, making it an ideal destination for those looking for a unique experience.
Yes, Lake Como is definitely worth visiting. It is considered one of the most beautiful lakes in Northern Italy and offers a range of stunning views. The lake itself is surrounded by majestic mountains, breathtaking sunsets and elegant villas, as well as charming small towns.
It’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of big cities like Milan. With its natural beauty, rich history and luxury amenities, Lake Como is a must-visit destination for those looking for a unique and memorable experience.
The top attractions to include in an ultimate Lake Como itinerary are immersing yourself in the enchanting beauty of Villa del Balbianello, delve into the stunning vistas of Villa Melzi Gardens, and indulge in a scrumptious cooking class or a serene sailing adventure on Lake Como’s crystal-clear waters.
Lake Como is a beautiful destination throughout the year, but the best time to visit is during the summer months when the weather is warm and nature is in full bloom. May and June are particularly ideal as the lakeside gardens are in full bloom, providing visitors with a picturesque view of the region.
Yes, swimming in Lake Como is possible. However, it is important to keep in mind that the lake’s water can be quite cold, especially during the spring and fall, and the beaches are mostly pebbled. Despite this, if you’re looking to cool off on a hot summer day, there are secluded spots around the lake where you can swim safely.
Yes, Lake Como is considered walkable. The towns and villages around the lake are designed for pedestrians and offer a great opportunity to explore the area on foot. You can stroll through the charming streets, take in the picturesque views of the lakes and mountains, and take in the local culture.
The towns also offer a good public transport system, so you can easily move around the lake and explore the different towns and villages.
Having a car in Lake Como is not necessary as parking and driving can be limited in the area. It is important to ensure that your hotel has a designated parking spot, as parking in the towns can be challenging.
Fortunately, getting around Lake Como is easy without a car as the towns are well-connected by an efficient local bus service. This means that you can easily explore the different towns without the need for a car, and enjoy the picturesque views of the lake and the surrounding areas.
Lake Como offers a variety of options for day trips, from charming villages to historic cities. Whether you’re looking to explore nearby towns, admire the beauty of the surrounding landscape, or immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the region, there are plenty of options to choose from.
The best day trips from Lake Como:
Scenic Train ride
When it comes to the nicest part of Lake Como, opinions vary, but many people consider the village of Varenna to be the most idyllic. Perched on a steep hillside, Varenna is known for its charming fisherman’s houses and its peaceful atmosphere.
The town offers a glimpse into the traditional way of life in Lake Como with its narrow cobbled streets, picturesque alleys, and beautiful gardens.
This quaint town offers a great contrast to the more grandiose villas and grandeur of other towns like Bellagio. Overall, Varenna is a must-visit destination for those who want to experience the charming and peaceful side of Lake Como.
For a truly romantic experience, Varenna is considered one of the most picturesque and charming towns on Lake Como. With its colorful houses, opulent villas, cobblestone streets, historic castles, and breathtaking views, Varenna creates the perfect ambiance for a romantic getaway.
The stunning lake views and charming atmosphere make it the ideal destination for couples looking to create lasting memories.
Bellagio is a must-visit destination for those looking for a luxurious and unforgettable experience in Lake Como. Bellagio is famous as the town offers a wide range of activities to enjoy, from delicious food and upscale hotels, to breathtaking views and a charming old town that is perfect for walking around.
Additionally, the town is well-connected to other top destinations around the lake, such as Varenna, Menaggio and Tremezzo, by a quick and affordable ferry ride. All in all, Bellagio is a perfect place to explore the best of what Lake Como has to offer.
When it comes to staying in Lake Como, the decision between Como Town and Bellagio comes down to personal preference.
Bellagio is located in the center of the Y-shaped lake and offers almost panoramic views of the water. If you prefer a more quaint and small village atmosphere with fewer nightlife options but a great selection of restaurants and wine bars, then Bellagio is a better choice.
On the other hand, Como Town is a larger city with more nightlife options, but less panoramic views. Both towns have their own charm and attractions, it depends on what you are looking for in your vacation experience.
When planning your wardrobe for a trip to Lake Como, it’s important to keep in mind the weather and the setting. Light, flowy clothing such as blouses, sundresses, and maxi skirts are ideal for the warm weather and will keep you comfortable while you explore the towns and villages. They are also versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.
Additionally, it’s important to consider the dress code for any specific events or activities you plan on participating in. For example, if you plan on dining at a fancy restaurant, it’s best to dress in something more formal.
While English is commonly spoken in hotels, restaurants, and tourist spots, picking up a few Italian phrases can greatly enhance your experience. Although the locals speak Italian, each village around the lake has its unique dialect, adding to the region’s allure.
When traveling to Lake Como, the euro is the official currency. While credit cards like Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, smaller businesses may only accept cash. It’s important to note that crossing the nearby border into Switzerland means a change in currency to the Swiss franc.
This travel guide has highlighted the best of Lake Como, showcasing the top attractions and activities in the area. Whether you’re looking for historical landmarks or outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone in this stunning northern Italian destination.
From the colorful streets of Varenna to the charming fishing village of Menaggio, visitors can experience the beauty and culture of this picturesque region.
I hope that this guide has inspired you to plan your next trip to Lake Como and create unforgettable memories. Start planning your ultimate adventure now and discover all that this destination has to offer.