A trip around Lake Como is what it takes for those who love nature and the sumptuous buildings of the past. There are splendid villages that rise on its banks, all rich in a artistic, cultural, historical and landscape heritage worthy of our beautiful country. From the main cities such as Como and Lecco, to the smaller and less known towns that hide some unique gems. All united by the Como charm characterized by flower gardens, woods, inlets, valleys, prestigious villas and medieval architecture.
Let's see together the main places in this area. Here what to see on Lake Como: the most beautiful locations, attractions and villages!
- The most beautiful locations and villages
- What to see: hidden places and attractions
- What to see in a weekend: recommended itinerary
- What to do on Lake Como: activities, excursions and tours
- Where it is
- User questions and comments
The most beautiful locations and villages
1 - Como
It is the city that gives its name to the lake and therefore the most important center to stop in. Reaching Como is very simple: by direct train from Milan (40 min) or with the numerous guided tours that always depart from the Lombard capital.
Absolutely worth seeing is in Como: the Cathedral, considered one of the most beautiful monuments in northern Italy, with the nearby Palazzo Broletto, Villa Olmo, the Voltiano Temple and the entire lakefront.
Among the many things you can do in the Lombard city, we suggest you take the Como-Brunate funicular, which connects the lake to the top of the mountain in less than 7 minutes, thus giving you a beautiful view during the climb and once you arrive.
2 - Tremezzo
Tremezzo is known as "the village of gardens", best represents the most authentic expression of the villages of Lake Como. Its name means "middle ground" and is due to its position, exactly halfway between the Swiss pass of the Canton of Grisons and the Po Valley.
This country is ideal for finding some peace in the open. The palaces, churches and villas that enrich its architectural and artistic value are all to be admired, such as Villa Carlotta and its beautiful and well-kept Italian garden, Villa Carlia, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo and the Church of San Lorenzo.
Moreover, thanks to its position surrounded by nature, the town of Tremezzo is a paradise for trekking lovers: it is in fact possible to venture along the Greenway, a 10 km route that crosses various municipalities.
3 - Menaggio
The town of Menaggio is located on the western shore of the lake, at the mouth of the valley that bears the name of the town. It is easily accessible by boat from Varenna or Bellagio.
A must see is theelegant lakefront that Menaggio offers, among flower beds, palm trees and a wrought iron railing with refined curlicues to enjoy the lake in a refined and peaceful setting. In the innermost area you can discover the churches and villas, like Villa Mylius Vigoni, immersed in an English garden.
For lovers of walking, in this charming country is It is possible to walk along the ancient Strada Regina up to La Crocetta, a panoramic point at 500 meters above sea level from which you can enjoy an enchanting view of Lake Como.
4 - Bellagio
Bellagio is known for its characteristic historic center and its enchanting location, so much to be called the pearl of Lake Como. It rises romantically on the tip of the promontory that divides the lake exactly into the two branches of Como and Lecco. If you are in Milan, Bellagio is often visited with a day trip that also includes a visit to Como.
Walking through its streets you will come across colorful houses, picturesque alleys, stairways and ancient churches. Among the stops not to be missed are Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni, they are the symbols of Bellagio and famous all over the world for their splendor and manicured gardens.
There are also numerous boat tour departing from Bellagio to go around the lake. Finally, you can also easily reach the village of Lezzeno, where the famous Devil's Bridge is located.
5 - Lecco
It is the city that gives its name to the eastern branch of Lake Como, and here a little 'everything recalls the famous Alessandro Manzoni and his novel I Promessi Sposi, which he wrote drawing inspiration from these places.
There are numerous important monuments of Lecco, among these the Basilica of San Nicolò with the symbolic bell tower of the city and called "Il Matitone", the Palazzo delle Paure, Villa Manzoni, which was the paternal residence of the writer and today a Manzoni museum, the Church of Santi Vitale and Valeria considered the parish of Don Abbondio.
The alleged house of Lucia Mondella is also very curious, is located in Via Caldone at number 19, while in via Resegone, from the courtyard of an ancient trattoria, one can clearly observe the hill of Don Rodrigo's Palazzotto. Finally, the Azzone Visconti Bridge, built in the Renaissance era, served to connect Lecco to the Duchy of Milan, and still today represents the access to the city for those arriving from Milan or Como.
6 - Cernobbio
Cernobbio is located on the western shore and it has a largely mountainous territory. It rises up to touch the 1.300 m asl with Monte Bisbino, which can also be reached via a carriage road.
Even this town, like all the others that characterize the lake, is full of prestigious villas and enchanting views. Villa Erba is the most famous, built in 1898, it is an extensive complex consisting of a manor house, guest house, greenhouses, dock, stables, service homes, and surrounded by a large park. It was the residence of the director Luchino Visconti who loved to spend his summer holidays here. Another gem of Cernobbio is Villa d'Este, dating back to the sixteenth century and in 1873 it became a luxurious hotel with princely furnishings and a beautiful Italian garden overlooking the lake.
But not only, the city also attracts trekking enthusiasts, from here in fact starts one of the most popular hiking trails in Italy, the Via dei Monti Lariani, which winds for over 100 km at a height between 600 and 1.200 meters.
7 - Comacina Island
Not a real country, but a strip of land entirely surrounded by Lake Como. It is located in the municipality of Tremezzina and can be reached by taxi boat in a few minutes from Ossuccio, a fraction of the municipality.
E' famous above all for the remains of the Church of Sant'Eufemia, dating back to the th century and considered one of the most representative monuments of the Como Romanesque. The division with three naves and three apses, the beautiful crypt and the front wing portico are still visible. Three o'clock is also worth seeing Houses for Artists, built in 1940 by the architect Pietro Lingeri, were intended to host artists, painters, sculptors and writers in search of inspiration for short periods.
8 - Brunate
Brunate is easily reachable with the Como funicular, a real attraction initially conceived for the rich Milanese bourgeoisie, owner of the prestigious villas located in this village at almost 800 meters above sea level. Over the years, the target has progressively internationalized and today tourists from all over the world take advantage of this means.
"The balcony on the Alps", this is how Brunate is called, known for its Art Nouveau villas, all to be admired by following a pedestrian path, which allows you to enjoy a spectacular view of the entire western Alpine arc, the Po Valley and the Apennines. the small churches in the town and the narrow streets of the historic center are characteristic, enriched by stone portals and various courtyards.
9 - Laglio
The town of Laglio has only 905 inhabitants, ed it is here that the famous actor George Clooney bought a mansion. It extends on the western shore of the lake and is located exactly on the route of the ancient Roman road Via Regina that connected Como to Chiavenna.
Absolutely worth seeing is in Laglio: the Church of San Giorgio and Villa Oleandra built in the eighteenth century and now the summer property of Clooney.
The whole town is perfect for walking thanks to the lakeside promenade and the surrounding hills planted with vineyards and olive groves that offer a breathtaking view. Furthermore the area of Monte di Torriggia is ideal for birdwatchers, here you can admire hawks and migratory waves of flocks headed for Switzerland and Northern Europe.
10 - Varenna
E' the village of lovers: if Lake Como already offers a certain charm, Varenna offers a very special one. It is 30 minutes from the city of Lecco, and can also be reached by boat via the lake from the opposite side, from Bellagio. In the past it was a small fishing village, with the dominion of the Visconti and Sforza families it soon became one of the richest villages in Lombardy, with a rich artistic heritage.
If you visit her with your sweetheart it is the Walk of Lovers is perfect, a short arched metal walkway set in the rock and overhanging the lake. But still worth seeing are Villa Monastero, the Church of San Giorgio and the Church of San Giovanni Battista that overlook the central square considered the heart of the town.
What to see: hidden places and attractions/9
- Val Senagra Park: reachable from Menaggio. It is a mix of naturalistic beauty and important historical traces, here an old brick factory is now a museum, and an old needle factory is now a trout farm
- Lezzeno village: a few minutes from Bellagio, it is a mysterious place linked to a legend for some disturbing, it is said that the witches felt here at home. From the Ponte del Diavolo you can enjoy a paradisiacal landscape on Lake Como
- Ossuccio: fraction of the municipality of Tremezzina, the Sacro Monte di Ossuccio is part of the UNESCO World Heritage list and stands on a cliff at 419 meters above sea level in front of the Comacina Island, here there are 14 chapels
- Path of the Wayfarer: hiking route consisting largely of footpaths and mule tracks. On the eastern side of the lake, it starts from Abbadia Lariana, passes through Varenna, Bellano, Dervio and ends in Colico. The journey is approximately 45 km long
- Spina Verde Regional Park: it extends over the hilly area north-west of Como and mostly borders with Switzerland. Here the important historical traces of the Como area are present with the Baradello Castle and the Cadorna line
- Ravine of Bellano: it is a waterfall located in a gorge in the municipality of Bellano, which can be visited thanks to a walkway anchored to the rocky walls. According to a local legend, a warrior is buried here together with his immense treasure
- Path of Olives: takes its name from the Costiera degli Olivi, a stretch that extends for 8 km in the municipality of Oliveto Lario. Along the way there are expanses of olive trees from which a precious oil is obtained
- Troggia waterfall: with its 100 meters it crosses the whole Val Biandino. It is already visible by car from the road that goes up from Lecco to Valsassina, it can be reached along a path that starts near the Ciresa factory
- Civera bridge: it is one of the main attractions of the town of Nesso. It is famous because it is the set of many films, it crosses the mouth of two local streams, and during the summer season the bravest ones try their hand at acrobatics and dives
- Rezzonico: it is one of those little known towns on the lake. Behind snow-capped mountains until spring and ever-present wind, but the unique feature of this place is the secret beach that opens at the end of a path
What to see in a weekend: recommended itinerary
To be able to visit each of the places as it deserves it would take at least a week, even if thanks to the tours by lake by boat it is possible to enjoy the best even with a day trip. Here we recommend an itinerary to follow for a weekend.
The first day you leave Como, reachable by train from Milan. Visit the center with its picturesque streets, beautiful architecture and incredible views. Stop at the Duomo (7: 30-19: 30), and walking along the lakeside stop at Villa Olmo, which can be visited during exhibitions and events (10: 00-18: 00), and at the Volta Temple (10: 00- 18:00, € 4,00). The afternoon reach Bellagio by boat (2 h, € 10,40 each way).
On the second day, move to Lecco, from Como-Via Dante in just over an hour (ASF line C40). You will come across the places that inspired Manzoni for his most famous novel. Do not miss Villa Manzoni, former home of the writer and now a museum (Thu, Sat and Sun 10: 00-13: 00, Fri 14: 30-18: 30, € 6,00). In the afternoon enjoy the lakeside, where there is no shortage of refreshment points, benches and shops.
On the last day you reach Varenna by train from Lecco (40 min, € 2,90). Here you can visit the Lovers' Walk, Villa Monastero (9: 30-19: 30, € 10,00) and the town square where the Church of San Giorgio and that of San Giovanni Battista overlook. In the afternoon you could rent a boat and take an unforgettable tour independently (starting from 1 h € 80,00, 4 h € 230,00).
How much does a weekend on Lake Como cost?
It cannot be said whether Lake Como is a cheap or expensive location, it all depends on your needs and preferences. For example, the prices for eating out are around € 35,00 in the restaurants of the city centers, but if you go to the restaurants along the lakefront they will be much higher. Also with regard to accommodation, to save money choose small hotels within the villageOn the other hand, overlooking the lake, there are the wealthiest hotels.
The costs for the attractions are to be considered, rather than for the museums which are cheap, for the boat excursions and guided tours. Transportation is convenient, within the villages you can move on foot while to move from one country to another trust Trenord (starting from € 2,90) or on the ASF buses (starting from € 1,40).
The following figures are average or minimum costs for a weekend in these places following the recommended itinerary above.
- Costs to eat: about € 70,00 per day per person (including breakfast, lunch, dinner)
- Costs for museums and attractions: about € 100,00 per person following the itinerary we suggest (including boat ride on the last day)
- Transportation: about € 25,00 per person in total for the weekend
- Hotels, accommodation and b & b: from € 60,00 per room -
- Fun: from € 20,00 per person per day
- Total cost of a weekend: from € 450,00 per person (flights and private transfers excluded)
What to do on Lake Como: activities, excursions and tours
Where it is
Lake Como, or Lario, is located in the territories belonging to the provinces of Como and Lecco, 50 km north of Milan. Between the Po Valley and the Alps, it is the deepest lake in Italy, the two capitals rise in the two southern ends of their respective branches that give the lake an inverted Y shape.
Before leaving: useful tips
- by train from Milan with Trenord (40 min, € 4,80 each way)
- you can find cheap accommodation everywhere even in Bellagio or Lecco - compare accommodation on booking.com
- Getting around: you can move from one country to another with regional trains, with local ASF buses or, when available, with taxi boats