view of Villa Balbiano from the boat


Things To Do in Lake Como: A Lake Como Travel Guide

June 19, 2023

Looking for things to do in Lake Como? While Lake Como is one of Italy’s most picturesque destinations, it can, at the same time, feel rather overwhelming. You want to make sure you are getting the most out of your visit, not missing anything, and taking in all that you can during your stay.

Since we’ve stayed here many times, we can offer some valuable advice. From understanding Lake Como, to getting there, to exploring the towns and destinations, our guide will be sure you’re in the know. Know where to stay and get our inside tips and practical advice to navigating this northern Italian gem.

Without further ado, here is our comprehensive guide for visitors looking to explore the beauty and charm of Lake Como.

An Overview of Lake Como

Lake Como is in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. It is revered as a jewel of natural beauty renowned worldwide. Its geography is defined by its distinctive shape, an inverted ‘Y’, with rugged mountains and green hillsides. Just a short drive north of Milan, Lake Como sits at the foothills of the Alps, offering a dramatic backdrop of snow-capped peaks against the serene expanse of the lake.

Lake Como’s charm lies in its picturesque towns and villages. Each of which with its own unique allure. We have the vibrant city of Como in the southwest to the romantic ambiance of Bellagio in the north. At each stop, you will find a wealth of historic landmarks, centuries-old villas, and enchanting gardens.

How To Get There

You can reach the area very easily from the major metropolitan city of Milan. There are several daily options for routes by bus which are easily accessible and affordable. You may even want to consider booking a private charter bus and enjoying the scenery with a guide along the route.

Once you are in the area, you will find the ferry and boat system not only well connected, but a very scenic way of getting around. Consider purchasing a day pass or multi-day ticket for unlimited travel on the ferries, allowing you to hop on and off at various stops along the way.

If you are curious about a car, we don’t recommend the need for one. You’ll find that navigating Lake Como is very easy without one, unless you are venturing off the beaten bath.

The availability of cabs is also limited, so we wouldn’t count on them. Instead, plan out your day along the ferry routes and you will be very pleased!

In any case, your trip should include a mix of transportation to make your trip the most flexible and enjoyable.

Things To Do in Lake Como: Exploring the Towns

There are many charming towns and villages around Lake Como, such as Bellagio, Varenna, and Como. And of course, you must explore them all. However, I don’t recommend more than 2 per day. You’d want to be able to enjoy a coffee, take in the view, and stroll each place in the slow pace it deserves.

I recommend the following itinerary:

  1. Como (Morning):
    • Begin your day in Como, exploring its historic center, landmarks like the Como Cathedral, and enjoying a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade.
    • Visit the Tempio Voltiano, dedicated to the inventor Alessandro Volta, and take in panoramic views of the city and lake from the nearby Brunate Funicular.
    • Take time for a slow lunch at Ristorante La Veranda for panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
  2. Bellagio (Afternoon/Evening):
    • After lunch in Como, catch a ferry to Bellagio, known for its elegant villas, charming streets, and stunning lake views.
    • Spend the afternoon wandering through the town’s boutiques, art galleries, and gardens, and perhaps visit Villa Serbelloni or Villa Melzi.
    • Enjoy dinner at the lakeside restaurant, Bilacus, savoring traditional Italian cuisine while watching the sunset over Lake Como.

Insider Insights

After traveling all over Italy, we know that inside tips and recommendations are invaluable for unlocking the true essence of each destination and creating unforgettable experiences. For things to do in Lake Como, keep the following in mind:

  • As much as Lake Como is about fancy boat trips and restaurants with a view, you’re not a true local if you haven’t been to the mountains, and I advise you to try something in this style if you want to have a truly rich experience. You don’t have to be in the best physical shape – there are many things you can do and visit even if you don’t like to walk a lot.
  • When doing your research, search for Italian results on Google and have it translate the page. You may find less touristy, more authentic results for places to go and things to do.
  • Try visiting Lake Como during a festival like Sagra de San Giovanni in June. The whole area comes alive with celebration and it’s such a fun way to experience the region.

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One of our favorite places to book excursions is with a company called Get Your Guide. Try them out!

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MEET Jennifer

An Artist, Traveler, and Storyteller

Trained in film photography with an eye for all things beautiful, I take an authentic approach to my work and my life. Both fun loving and detail oriented, with a background in travel and language, I see every scene and situation as a chance to create something beautiful. I bring deep connection and meaning to my work, and on my lucky days I get to capture it with my camera with you.

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