From lakeside towns to medieval churches, excellent views, funiculars and hiking trails, Lake Como has it all. For this reason, it attracts millions each year to soak up the culture and history of some of Italy’s most beautiful towns. If you’re looking for a weekend of relaxation and recuperation, check out one of the vacation houses in lake como. Or you can take a day trip to one of the towns from Milan. Whichever option you choose, you won’t be disappointed by what’s on offer at the gorgeous Italian lake.
Como, the town giving the lake its name, sits at the southern tip. Often a popularspot for day trips from Milan because of its proximity, the town sees a large number of tourists by day and feels deserted after dark. Some tourists view Como as the gateway to reach the other towns. But it’s worth stopping by for the night to see the 15th–century cathedral in the centre as well as the San Fedele. A beautiful boardwalk hugs the lake’s shore,and the funicular goes to the hilltop village of Brunate. Visitors will find lots of accommodation and restaurants in Como too.
If you take the Como-Brunate Funicular, you’ll reach the small hilltop town of Brunate sat at 720 metres above sea level. From a distance, the residential zone hugs the wooded hills, and when you arrive, you can see for miles. After entering, check out the Chiesa di San Andrea before exploring the steep roads through the village. You can also use this region to get onto the Dorsale Hike and follow trails through the hills and woods. If you do want to go hiking, be sure to visit Lake Como tourist office first for a map and advice on trails.
Bellano on the eastern side of Lake Como provides a more rustic escape away from the crowds. The town itself is small with a compact old town and houses dotted around the front of the lake. Head to the most famous attraction: Orrido di Torrente Pioverna, a ravine formed millions of years ago for the best photos. And after exploring, head back to the lakeside and grab some lunch in one of the many restaurants. If you’re looking for an afternoon of cultural immersion, landscapes and capturing the essence of tiny Italian towns without the crowds, head to Bellano.
According to many, Bellagio is one of Europe’s most beautiful towns. Sat in the middle of Lake Como, the town’s streetsare full of flowers, charm and viewing spots. Tourists can stroll through the historical streets, dine in world-class restaurants or snap photos of the stunning Lake Como in front of them. But because of the town’s attractiveness, it’s also one of Italy’s busiest. Expect masses of tourists in the summer along with relatively high prices.
Once a small fishing village, Varenna has transformed into a tourist hotspot with a beautiful boardwalk and colourful houses and villas lining the shore. While the town is among the quieter spots at Lake Como, it does provide the perfect place to unwind for a few days. You can rent a villa and relax with views of the lake. Or enjoy the lush gardens at Villa Monastero before hiking to Vezio Castle. But another appeal is the accessibility by train directly from Milan and its ferry connections to Bellagio.
Lecco sits on the eastern leg of Lake Como. The bustling city houses a total of 48,000 in the latest consensus, which is the equivalent of a megacity for the people living in the villages here. With the straggly hills of the Alps behind and views of the lakes in front, Lecco offers an alternative to Como to base yourself for a trip. Not only will you find an easy connection to Milan and other parts of the lake but you’ll also find regular ferries connecting to other parts of the lake. And because of its relatively large size, expect to find more hotels, restaurants and cafés.
Located on the central shores of Lake Como, Menaggio is a favourite town to use as a base to explore the northern sections. In medieval times, a wall surrounded the town; today, the resort bursts with entertainment, shops and hotels. Whether you want to explore the old town, stroll along the lakeside promenade or justuse the town to get to more remote parts of the lake, you’ll find Menaggio an ideal spot.
Or for a different experience, why not head across the Swiss border to Lugano? Lugano combines art, architecture and a slice of Swiss culture that’s easily accessible from Lake Camo. Stroll through the streets of the old town or enjoy the views from the surrounding mountains. Expect to find arcades, squares and several parks throughout Lugano. One of the most popular times to visit is in spring to see the flowers bloom. But apart from enjoying the ambience and sophistication, you can also visit one of the many art galleries. Or make the most of nature and go hiking in the nearby mountains. Few take the time to visit this tiny Swiss charm in Ticino, but those who do rarely regret their decision.
The Best Places to Visit in Lake Como
Lake Como boasts several towns and villages varying in size and population that hug the coastline. Most head to Como or Lecco as a base for further exploring. Be sure to read more into the places before planning your trip to make sure the region is perfect for you. And for something different, head over to nearby Lugano.