This popular tourist destination, famed for its spectacular setting, has so much to offer. Here’s my Lake Como in Italy guide for visiting.
How To Get To Lake Como
Lake Como is located in the Italy’s northern region of Lombardy, at the base of the Alps and close to the Swiss Border.
There are various ways of getting to Lake Como depending on where you start from including:
I was based in Milan and Lake Como is a straight forward drive from there on the A9 motorway. Taking approximately 2 hours.
If you have access to a car this would also allow you to explore all the beautiful towns, villages, beaches etc around the shores of this famous lake.
There are various pay-and-display car parks around Lake Como. However, be aware that the roads get pretty busy during the summer months.
If you are based in Milan, one of the best ways to get to Lake Como is by train. The ride is only 40 minutes from Milano Centrale Station to Como San Giovanni Station, right in the town centre.
It is actually pretty easy to get to Lake Como by train from most areas of Italy.
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
For example, the From Milan: Lake Como, Bellagio, and Varenna Day Tour is a good option. This takes you by luxury coach to some of the best spots and includes a 1 hour cruise.
Lake Como Entrance Fee
It is free to visit Lake Como.
Lake Como Opening Times
Open all day every day.
Best Time To Visit Lake Como + Tips
The best time to visit Lake Como and the surrounding areas is between April and October when the weather is warm/hot.
Weekends and the summer months of July and August is when Lake Como is at its busiest with tourists. So work around these times if you prefer less crowds.
However, during the summer season there are more things on offer like concerts, boat excursions and festivals. It is also a great time for swimming in the lake!
Many Italians also tend to head for Lake Como during the heat of the summer as the temperatures usually drop away in the evening giving cooler nights.
Don’t forget your raincoat as Lake Como gets a few summer showers.
If you fancy a day in the city, ‘Metropolitan’ Milan is less than 2 hours away by car from Lake Como. Or, if you are already based there, 1 Day In Milan Itinerary might give you some ideas.
What To Pack
History Of Lake Como
Dating back to the ice age, Lake Como takes the shape of an inverted letter Y, created by the movement of an enormous glacier.
The end of the two southern legs of the lake have the city of Como at one and the city of Lecco at the other.
The famous village of Bellagio (known as the pearl of Lake Como) sits on the promontory that divides the two legs.
Historically, the area of Lake Como has been home to many different races, including the Romans. Eventually joining the kingdom of Italy in 1859.
Due to its stunning scenery, Lake Como has attracted and inspired many poets, artists and composers over the years, including Shelley, Wordsworth, Byron and Verdi.
Furthermore, some of its historic villas have been seen the world over after appearing in the famous James Bond and Star Wars movies.
Things To Do In Lake Como
Lake Como in Italy is a stunning location with its 170km perimeter full of beautiful, towns, villages, beaches, buildings, and not forgetting the breathtaking scenery.
There is so much on offer at Lake Como including:
Situated at the southern tip of Lake is the vibrant and popular city of Como. Full of beautiful squares, interesting shops, lively restaurants and bars along with some breathtaking view points.
As well as historic monuments and buildings, including Villa Olmo, the Volta Museum and the impressive Gothic cathedral to explore, there is a scenic funicular railway and a delightful waterfront promenade.
Surrounded by picturesque views of lakes and mountains, Como is the perfect place to stroll around and take in all the amazing sights.
If you would like to learn more about this historic city the Guided City Walking Tour with Cruise Ticket would be perfect. You also get to choose a boat trip that suits your timetable.
You will find the Volta Museum inside the Volta Temple, a stunning neoclassical building close to Lake Como on the edge of Como City.
Built in 1927, this small museum is dedicated to the Italian scientist Alessandro Volta who was born in Como in 1745. He is famous for inventing the first electric battery and the museum has many exhibits relating to his experiments and work.
Apart from the museum, the actual building is worth visiting to see its beautiful tiles and carvings. As well as take a stroll in the pretty gardens.
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm, with admission costing €5. (You may need to make a reservation.)
Como, once called Silk City, is famous all over the world for its high quality silk, an industry that was hugely important to the economy of the area.
Located near the Como Borghi railway station in the outskirts of the city, the Silk Museum documents Como’s history of silk production. From silk worms to the spinning, dying and loom work, right to the finished product.
Everything is documented and displayed very clearly and attractively. With an amazing array of beautifully restored machines, from looms to bobbin winders set up to show how they would have worked.
The museum is open Tuesday to Friday 9:00-12:00 and 15:00-18:00. Entry €10.
There are many historical villas that you can visit around Lake Como. However, the neoclassical style Villa Olmo, on the edge of the city of Como, is definitely one of the most majestic.
The sumptuous interior has large stucco figures and paintings, walls richly decorated with stucco-work and gilding, grand frescoes, fabulous paintings and much more.
The huge park behind the villa is the main public park for the city of Como and covers about five hectares. This is the perfect place for a relaxing stroll.
Full of beautifully landscaped gardens, trees, statues and even a temple, it has amazing views of Lake Como and the mountains.
The park is open from 7am – 11pm in the summer season. The interior is open Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 6pm. Entry to the villa and grounds is free.
If seeing lots of beautiful villas is your thing, the Lakeside Villas Entry Tickets with Ferries is a must. This tour takes you to some of the most iconic villas around Lake Como.
Como – Brunate Funicular
Running from Como City (close to the Como Lago train station) this scenic, 7 minute funicular railway takes you up to the village of Brunate, also known as the ‘balcony of the Alps.’
From here you have fantastic views of Lake Como, the city of Como and the Alps. Known as a favourite destination of hikers and bird watchers, Brunate is also a good place to escape the summer heat.
Picturesque Brunate village is mainly residential, with narrow, winding, cobbled streets and pretty churches. It is also home to the Voltiano Lighthouse.
There is a nice restaurant not far from funicular that has a balcony area, giving you great views over the lake as you enjoy your meal.
The cable car runs daily from 6.30am to 10.30pm and Departs every 30 minutes in both directions. Fares are €3 one way or €5.50 return.
The Easy Mountain Trek with Funicular & Boat Ride includes a trip up to Brunate on the funicular railway.
Lake Como has many beautiful beaches on its shores that are the perfect place to relax or partake in some water activities like sailing or windsurfing.
Found around every corner of Lake Como and varying in what they offer, you are sure to find one that suits your needs.
If you are looking for the cleanest waters, the central and northern parts of the lake are said to be the best.
Alternatively, if you are looking to relax in the sun, you could always reserve a sun bed at one of the lake’s many lidos.
Lido Villa Olmo, for example, has a beach with two swimming pools, a bar and beautiful views of Lake Como.
You can’t visit Lake Como in Italy and not venture out onto the famous lake. One of the best ways to explore the lake or reach other towns around the lake, is to take one of the various boat trips.
The Como: 2-Hour Lake Como Scenic Boat Tour & Sightseeing is highly recommended.
There is, as you can imagine, a vast assortment of different boat trips on offer, so you should be able to find one to suit your itinerary and your budget.
You have the local public navigation company Navigazione Laghi, who run several routes connecting all the most popular towns along Lake Como’s shores.
As well as private tours that will cost more but allow you to plan your trip. Along with smaller boats for private hire.
A boat trip is definitely one of the most popular and ‘must-do’ activities in Lake Como in Italy.
Located in its unique position in the middle of Lake Como, Bellagio is a popular and pretty little town to visit and is possible to reach via boat.
From Como, the Lugano & Bellagio Day Trip & Scenic Lake Cruise would be an ideal way of visiting if you have plenty of time.
Also known as the Pearl of Lake Como, it is famous for its beautiful villas overlooking the water. Including Villa Serbellon and Villa Melzi.
However, it is also loved by tourists for its charming, small alleyways, full of quirky shops, high-end boutiques and vibrant restaurants and wine-bars.
Bellagio is a very quaint and pretty town that you really cannot miss when visiting Lake Como in Italy.
Crotto Dei Platani for lunch
If you are looking for a perfect, high-end lunch stop, I can highly recommend Crotto Dei Platani. Literally built into the rock at the base of Mount Gringo, on the shores of Lake Como.
This lakeside restaurant has two levels with panoramic verandas and outdoor tables. All divided between a dock, a pier and a garden.
Offering locally sourced, delicious meat, fish and vegetarian dishes, they are happy to try an accommodate any dietary requirements. They are also famous for having a very large selection of the finest Italian wines.
For impeccable service, delicious fresh food, super ambience and breathtaking surroundings, Crotto Dei Platani ticks all the boxes.
If you are real foodie, you might like the Lake Como: Food Walking Tour. Offering lots of tasting opportunities to help you ‘discover the true essence of Lake Como’.
Where To Stay In Milan
Luxury – Sonder Missori
Well located in Milan, Sonder Missori provides a buffet breakfast and free WiFi. Built in 2022, this 4-star hotel is within 900 yards of Museo Del Novecento and 0.9 miles of Darsena. The property is non-smoking and is located 750 yards from Palazzo Reale.
Guest rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a coffee machine, a bath or shower, free toiletries and a desk. All guest rooms include a private bathroom, a hairdryer and bed linen.
Popular points of interest near the hotel include San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, San Babila Metro Station and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. The nearest airport is Milan Linate Airport, 5 miles from Sonder Missori.
Mid-Budget – 43 Station Hotel
43 Station Hotel is located in Milan city centre, 100 yards from Milan Central Train Station, and offers modern rooms with free WiFi.
All rooms come with a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bath or shower and free toiletries.
There is a 24-hour front desk at the property. The hotel also offers bike hire and car hire.
43 Station Hotel has excellent public transport links around Milan by bus, metro and tram. The cafes and restaurants of Brera are 1.2 miles away, while Milan Cathedral is 5 metro stops away.
Budget – Lucca 22
Situated within 2.5 miles of San Siro Stadium and 3.1 miles of CityLife in Milan, Lucca 22 features accommodation with a kitchenette.
The property is around 3.2 miles from Fiera Milano City, 3.4 miles from Santa Maria delle Grazie and 3.4 miles from The Last Supper. MUDEC is 3.6 miles away and Darsena is 3.7 miles from the guest house.
All units come with a fridge, kitchenware, a kettle, a shower, free toiletries and a wardrobe. Featuring a shared bathroom with a bidet and a hair dryer, units at the guest house also boast free WiFi.
For more places to stay in Milan, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.