10 Unmissable Things to Do in Lake Como (Beautiful Places)

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The tranquil beauty of Lake Como, with its alpine lake scenery, is undeniably captivating.

As I gazed upon the pristine waters of the lake, reflecting the majestic snow-capped mountains, it was hard not to wonder about the countless individuals who have found a sense of inner peace and renewal in this serene landscape. The scenic views alone provide a clear understanding of why Lake Como was the preferred retreat for ancient Roman aristocrats, who constructed magnificent villas around its shores.

While the Roman aristocrats are long gone, the villas they constructed continue to grace the shores of Lake Como. Amazingly, these beautiful villas, once exclusive to the affluent, are now open for all to explore and appreciate. Whether you’re an ordinary person or a traveler, these villas can be your retreat for a day or two, allowing you to experience the rejuvenating ambiance that was once the privilege of ancient Roman aristocrats.

However, the villas represent just a fraction of the beauty that Lake Como has to offer. The region is replete with architectural beauties, awe-inspiring viewpoints, and quaint villages that collectively make a trip to Lake Como a rewarding experience.

If Lake Como is on your travel itinerary, there are several must-visit places such as the historical Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta in Como, the picturesque Villa del Balbianello in Lenno, and the scenic Punta Spartivento in Bellagio. We will delve into these three and seven more such places in this post.

Quick fact: Lake Como, nestled in Lombardy in northern Italy, holds the distinction of being the country’s third-largest lake.

It’s among Italy’s premier natural attractions, drawing over a million tourists annually in the past decade. Interestingly, the enchanting landscape of Lake Como has captivated not just ordinary travelers, but also multimillionaires and celebrities. Icons such as Madonna, Gianni Versace, and Richard Branson were so taken by its charm that they invested in properties here.

If you’re looking for accommodation in Lake Como, here’s where you can find the best hotel deals in the area. The hotel browser, equipped with a map feature, is designed to assist you in identifying hotels situated in the most accessible and convenient locations. Here’s the go-to for an array of activities in Lake Como, including guides, cruise trips, dining experiences, and more.

Lake Como

In this compilation, I’ve organized the beautiful places in Lake Como geographically from west to east, starting from the town of Como and ending in Lecco. The selection of my must-see attractions in Lake Como was influenced by three factors: captivating scenery, historical significance, and an overall enchanting ambiance.

1. Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta in Como

The Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, also known as the Como Cathedral, holds the distinction of being the last Gothic cathedral constructed in Italy. Nestled in the vibrant center of Como city, it’s merely a stone’s throw away from the serene lake.

Como Cathedral in Lake Como, Italy
Como Cathedral in Lake Como, Italy
Como Cathedral in Lake Como, Italy

The Como Cathedral, with its grand scale and splendid interior, is a must-see attraction around Lake Como. While it may not rival the basilicas of Venice or Rome in grandeur, the artistry and ornamentation within the church are undeniably breathtaking. These will undoubtedly be the focal point of your cathedral visit.

The cathedral’s nave boasts a high ceiling adorned with exquisite portraits of saints and golden embellishments, evoking the sensation of stepping into a regal palace. It has a magnificent ceiling and dome, decorated with golden octagons, captivate visitors with their mesmerizing lighting and symmetry.

Among the many features of the cathedral, what captivated the most me was the nave. Adorned with ancient tapestries, it exudes a medieval charm that is simply enchanting. The golden altars and the array of diverse paintings within the Como Cathedral are also sights to behold.

During the Christmas season in Como, from late November to early January, the city hosts the Como Magic Light festival. This event transforms Como into an enchanting winter wonderland as colorful lights illuminate the facades of Piazza del Duomo and other parts of the city.

You can find Como Cathedral at Maestri Comacini Street, 6, Como. It’s open from 07:30 am to 7:30 pm on weekdays and from 07:30 am to 9:30 pm on Sundays. There’s no specific best time to visit or time. As for tickets, entry is free.

Here is the exact location of Como Cathedral on Google Maps.

2. Tempio Voltiano in Como

Another unmissable spot in Lake Como is the Tempio Voltiano in Como. Nestled on the lakeshore, to the north of the city, this white edifice with its neoclassical design is quite striking. As you journey from the train station and traverse past the docks, it’s one of the first landmarks that will greet you.

Tempio Voltiano in Lake Como, Italy

The Tempio Voltiano, located in the picturesque setting of Lake Como, is a museum dedicated to the life and achievements of Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the electrical battery. Its accessibility and stunning architecture, set against the awe-inspiring backdrop of Lake Como, render it a must-visit destination.

This magnificent structure was unveiled to the world on 15th July 1928, marking the first centenary of Volta’s death. Did you know that this iconic building was once featured on the 10,000 Liras bill? Today, it stands as a testament to Volta’s scientific contributions, housing a permanent exhibition dedicated to his life and work.

If you’re an engineer or simply someone intrigued by revolutionary inventions, like myself, then Tempio Voltiano is a must-see.

Although small in size, it’s home to captivating artifacts related to Volta’s groundbreaking work on batteries. Be sure not to overlook his batteries or the initial voltaic piles!

The museum welcomes visitors from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm from Tuesday to Sunday for a small fee. Entry is free on the first Sunday of every month. You can pinpoint Tempio Voltiano’s exact location on Google Maps. For more information about Tempio Voltiano, please check its official website.

3. Faro Voltiano in Brunate (Como Viewpoint)

Nestled in the hilltop village of Brunate, east of Como, you’ll find an unmissable gem – the Faro Voltiano. This Lake Como lighthouse, dedicated to the illustrious Alessandro Volta, is a testament to the region’s past and a must-visit on your Lake Como itinerary.

Faro Voltiano in Lake Como, Italy
Faro Voltiano in Lake Como, Italy
Faro Voltiano in Lake Como, Italy

Towering at a height of 29 meters, Faro Voltiano is an octagonal beacon that stands guard over Lake Como.

Its presence might be subtle during the day, but as night falls, it comes alive, bathing the lake and its neighboring towns in the vibrant hues of the Italian flag – red, white, and green.

The panoramic views from Faro Voltiano are nothing short of breathtaking. From the southwest expanse of the lake to the distant Alps, the scenery is truly a feast for the eyes. As the sun sets, Faro Voltiano offers one of the most spectacular views around Lake Como. You can unwind on one of the benches and soak in the beauty.

On certain days, when the clouds hover below the viewpoint of Faro Voltiano, you’ll witness a mesmerizing ‘sea of clouds’ – a sight so heavenly, it’s almost surreal.

For a small fee, you can gain entry to Faro Voltiano and enjoy an elevated view of the surroundings. The interior staircase of the structure is quite a sight, particularly when viewed from below – a perfect backdrop for your Instagram feed.

To reach the Volta Lighthouse, begin with a funicular ride from Como to Brunate. From there, you have the option to embark on a 30-minute walk or take bus T3, which reduces the journey time by half. If you choose to walk, Google Maps coordinates will guide you to your destination.

Faro Voltiano welcomes visitors every day (except working Wednesdays) from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm. For news and announcements, please check the official website of Como.

4. Villa del Balbianello in Lenno

Are you on a quest to discover the magic of Lake Como? Your journey would be incomplete without a stop at Villa de Balbianello in Lenno. Its beauty, arguably unparalleled, makes it a standout among the villas of Lake Como. It’s an experience you wouldn’t want to miss.

Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como, Italy
Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como, Italy
Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como, Italy
Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como, Italy
Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como, Italy
Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como, Italy

Nestled in a picturesque location, Villa del Balbianello graces the tip of a hilly peninsula on Lake Como’s western shores. Its elevated position offers delightful views of the lake, and its seclusion from the town ensures a tranquil visit.

The villa’s history dates back to the 13th century when it was a Franciscan monastery, a past still visible in the chapel present today.

It was only in the late 18th century, after being purchased by a cardinal, that it transformed into the villa we see today. Numerous ownership changes led to significant enhancements, including the addition of a loggia and a secret passage.

The result is an architectural gem that attracts nearly 140,000 visitors annually. Its beauty has even caught the eye of filmmakers, featuring in “A Month by the Lake” (1995), “Casino Royale” (2006), and even “Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones” (2002).

While Villa del Balbianello’s white façade, terracotta roof, charming balconies, and porticoes are truly impressive, in my opinion, the garden is the crowning glory of Villa del Balbianello.

The sight of plants adorning the villa’s walls and vines entwining the loggia’s columns is reminiscent of a scene from a fairytale. The immaculately manicured trees and grass, coupled with blooming flowers, create an atmosphere that can only be described as heavenly.

The garden, with its meticulous Italian-style landscaping, is sure to have you reaching for your camera repeatedly. And if you’re fortunate enough to visit on a bright, sunny day, the sparkling blue waters surrounding the villa will enhance your experience manifold.

Visiting Villa del Balbianello is an experience in itself. You can reach it by a small boat shuttle from Lenno town or on foot. The villa is located on the Lavedo Peninsula next to Lenno along Lake Como’s western shores.

It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Tickets can be bought at the venue with garden access costing 8 Euros and a guided tour costing 17 euros. You can read this page for more information about Villa del Balbianello.

5. Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo

Make the most of your trip to Lake Como by visiting Villa Carlotta, an essential stop on any trip to Lake Como. This location, which doubles as a museum and a villa, boasts a visually stunning garden that will undoubtedly satiate your desire for travel and discovery.

Villa Carlotta in Lake Como, Italy
Villa Carlotta in Lake Como, Italy
Villa Carlotta in Lake Como, Italy

At Villa Carlotta, you’ll be immersed in an Italian experience that combines art, history, and botany. The main building and its surroundings house an array of artworks that tell the tale of the villa’s past and its previous owners.

Contrary to what photos might suggest, Villa Carlotta is not just a “small” place with one main building and a front garden. In fact, it covers an impressive vast area and could take up to two to three hours to explore thoroughly.

Similar to Villa del Balbianello, Villa Carlotta offers breathtaking views of Lake Como. While Villa del Balbianello has its own magical allure, Villa Carlotta sets itself apart with its botanical garden and remarkable collection of sculptures from the 17th and 18th centuries. Its use of natural materials in harmony with the traditional materials of the old building is truly noteworthy.

The villa’s 8-hectare botanical garden is a haven for nature lovers with its diverse flora along different trails, some offering panoramic views. This leisurely walk is made even more special by the beauty of Italian botany.

The museums at Villa Carlotta house an array of masterpieces, sculptures, and antiques from the past three centuries. Among these fascinating pieces, the view from the small balcony, with its panoramic vista of the lake, is particularly breathtaking.

For those seeking an Instagram-worthy spot at Villa Carlotta, the front garden is an absolute must-visit. The beauty of the fountain and staircase is undeniable. A good angle and a touch of creativity will result in a captivating image to share with your friends or followers.

The villa is located in Tremezzo, on Lake Como’s western shore. It’s open from March to November between 10am and 7pm. Tickets can be bought at the venue and include access to both the museum and gardens, along with a self-guided audio tour. For more information, please check Villa Carlotta’s official website. If you’re curious about where Villa Carlotta is on the map, you can use this link to Google Maps to find it.

6. Punta Spartivento in Bellagio

Bellagio holds the distinction of being one of Lake Como’s most stunning towns. Its awe-inspiring location, picturesque streets, fantastic dining options, and delightful details have earned it the nickname “the pearl of Lake Como”.

Lake Como is home to numerous picturesque towns, but Bellagio stands out as a must-visit destination. Its quaint streets are ideal for relaxed strolls. However, the true gem of this charming town is Punta Spartivento.

Known as the Cape of Split Wind, this park is situated at the tip of the Bellagio peninsula, where the three branches of Lake Como converge.

Its central location offers an almost panoramic view of the lake’s stunning scenery. On a clear day, the shimmering waters and majestic mountains of Punta Spartivento are truly breathtaking. If you’re spending the night in Bellagio, consider making Punta Spartivento your first stop the next morning, weather permitting.

The sunrise views over alpine lakes are often enchanting. The park also features a small garden and a restaurant, providing a serene setting for a peaceful breakfast. And keep an eye out for the wild swans that inhabit Punta Spartivento.

7. Madonna del Ghisallo in Magreglio

Are you seeking a one-of-a-kind discovery in Lake Como? Look no further than Madonna del Ghisallo in Magreglio. This place is not just unique, but it also offers a blend of scenic beauty and mysticism. It’s an essential stop on any Lake Como itinerary.

Madonna del Ghisallo in Lake Como, Italy

Madonna del Ghisallo serves as a triad of attractions: a museum, a picturesque location, and a shrine reputed for a Marian apparition. If cycling is your passion, this place is tailor-made for you.

The legend of Ghisallo, a medieval count who was saved from bandits by the apparition of the Virgin Mary during his journey to Magreglio, is the reason behind this.

This apparition, known as La Madonna del Ghisallo, became a protector of local travelers. Over centuries, the shrine has become a favored stop for cyclists participating in Lombardy’s cycling events. Recognizing its popularity among cyclists, the local priest of Magreglio proposed to the pope to declare La Madonna del Ghisallo as the patroness of cyclists. The pope consented, and it has since been dedicated to cyclists.

A visit to the small chapel in Madonna del Ghisallo reveals an unexpected sight: walls covered in pro-cycling memorabilia. Believe it or not, it has the largest collection of pink sweaters in the world!

At the heart of the chapel, an eternal flame burns in memory of cyclists who have tragically lost their lives. The vicinity boasts a selection of cycling museums and eateries.

While a brief visit can cover the main attractions, the panoramic views from Madonna del Ghisallo are truly breathtaking. Visit in early spring, and you’ll be treated to a vista of distant Alps crowned with snow.

Here is the exact location of Madonna del Ghisallo on Google Maps.

You’ll find the sanctuary at Via Piano Rancio 2, Magreglio. It’s open for visitors every day from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm starting from March. If you’re in Bellagio, you can take bus #C36 straight to Madonna del Ghisallo in Magreglio. The bus leaves every two hours starting at 10:40 AM.

Here’s the bus schedule from Moovit.

8. Villa Monastero in Varenna

Varenna, situated on Lake Como’s west coast, ranks among the lake’s most picturesque towns. A visit to Varenna, akin to Bellagio, is indeed an essential part of any Lake Como itinerary.

Villa Monastero in Lake Como, Italy
Villa Monastero in Lake Como, Italy
Villa Monastero in Lake Como, Italy
Villa Monastero in Lake Como, Italy
Villa Monastero in Lake Como, Italy

Varenna is an essential stop on any Lake Como itinerary for three main reasons.

First off, it’s incredibly picturesque. The colorful village set against both distant and nearby mountains is a sight to behold, especially when sunlight hits the houses and their colors reflect onto the lake.

Next up is Villa Monastero, a captivating villa with a unique design that houses an impressive collection of optical, electronic, and mechanical instruments.

Lastly, you can visit Castello di Vezio located above Varenna. This 12th-century castle with its unusual ghost sculptures also hosts an exhibition dedicated to Lariosaurus, an extinct sea reptile from the Middle Triassic period.

Among these, you’ll probably find Villa Monastero most appealing. Located south of the village of Varenna, it’s akin to Villa Carlotta with its museum and botanical garden. Like the other villas, Villa Monastero is nestled on the shores of Lake Como, promising stunning lake views. Its unique west-facing position makes it an ideal spot for sunset viewing.

While it may not possess the allure of Villa del Balbianello or the expansive gardens of Villa Carlotta, Villa Monastero distinguishes itself with its eclectic design. Its location is another draw, as is its intriguing collection of electronic, mechanical, and optical instruments.

Here is the exact location of Villa Monastero on Google Maps if you need directions.

9. Orrido di Bellano

One simply cannot overlook the Orrido di Bellano when visiting Lake Como. Nestled in the town of Bellano, just north of Varenna, this gorge is a natural spectacle. A testament to the artistry of nature, this 15-million-year-old marvel is a sight to behold.

Orrido di Bellano Lake Como, Italy
Orrido di Bellano Lake Como, Italy

The first time I saw the gorge, I was completely taken aback by the dramatic views it presented. The sight of sunlight piercing through a small opening above to create angelic rays was perhaps the most breathtaking.

You can have a similar experience at Orrido di Bellano. The meandering footbridges attached to the canyon walls, the towering cliffs, and the sound of gushing water make for an unparalleled experience when visiting Lake Como.

If there’s no rain prior to your visit, you might be treated to the sight of enchanting blue water flowing through the gorge!

What truly differentiates Orrido di Bellano from other attractions in Lake Como is a seemingly plain but intimidating building called Cà del Diavol. Situated at the entrance to the gorge, its walls are painted with images of the devil, evoking a sense of fear and an oddly mystical vibe.

Depending on your exact location in Bellano, you might be able to reach Orrido di Bellano on foot. The entrance to the gorge just minutes away from the train station. Here is the exact location of Orrido di Bellano in Google Maps if you need directions.

If you’re farther away or prefer not to walk, you could use local public transportation if available. I won’t recommend bringing your car since the parking is terrible.

Remember to check the opening hours (10:00 AM to 10:00 PM from Monday to Sunday) and the entrance fee (Euro 4.00 for adults and Euro 3.50 for children under 12) before your visit.

10. Belvedere Parco Valentino in Lecco

Last on our list, but by no means the least significant, is the Punto Panoramico located in Belvedere Parco Valentino.

This is an essential stop for any visitor to the eastern part of Lake Como, just north of Lecco city. It boasts the highest viewpoint, providing a sweeping view of the entire eastern expanse of Lake Como.

Awaiting you at Punto Panoramico, atop Mount Coltignone, are views that are nothing short of exceptional. The captivating transformation of Northern Italy’s landforms, from plains to alpine, is a sight to behold.

But that’s not all! From this vantage point, you can see not one, but three lakes – Lake Como, Lago di Garlate (connected to Lake Como), and Lago di Annone, all located beyond the city of Valmadrera.

I recommend visiting Punto Panoramico during the golden hour of a clear afternoon. It’s then that you can see Lago di Annone (and sometimes Lago di Garlate) shimmering like a molten pot of gold – a truly awe-inspiring sight.

Belvedere Parco Valentino is situated on the Pian dei Resinelli plateau, accessible only by car. Here is the exact location of Belvedere Parco Valentino in Google Maps.

Map of the Unmissable places to see in Lake Como

As an overview, here are the unmissable places to visit in Lake Como on Google Maps:

You may find a place to stay in Lake Como here.

Guides and Tours in Lake Como

If you’re in need of tours, ticket reservations, and guides to navigate Lake Como, consider checking out the discounted packages offered by GetYourGuide for a seamless travel experience. To make things easier for you, I’ve curated a list of essential tours for witnessing the highlights of Lake Como.

See more activities like cruises, romantic tours, electric bike tours, and day trips from Milan here.

When to Visit Lake Como

Eager to visit Lake Como? Hold that thought! Don’t hit the ‘book now’ button just yet. It’s crucial to consider a few things like the time of year, weather conditions, and potential crowds. As Lake Como is an open-air attraction, these aspects can greatly influence your visit.

Consider the season

Let’s first unpack the advantages and disadvantages of visiting Lake Como during each season.

Spring (March – May) is when Lake Como truly comes alive with vibrant flowers adorning the landscape.

If you’re keen on witnessing the beauty of the promenades of the villas in Lake Como, spring could be your season! The temperatures are quite comfortable, ranging from 10°C (50°F) in March to 17°C (62°F) in May. However, do bear in mind that spring showers are a common occurrence, especially in May. On the bright side? There are fewer tourists!

Summer (June – August) is ideal if you’re a fan of warm weather.

With temperatures hovering between 25°C and 30°C (77°F to 86°F), it’s an excellent time for swimming, boating, and indulging in other outdoor attractions. Just brace yourself for occasional thunderstorms and larger crowds as it’s also the peak tourist season.

When it comes to Autumn (September – November), the weather is generally mild and pleasant with temperatures between 10°C and 20°C (50°F to 68°F).

But do remember that autumn weather can be quite unpredictable with a higher likelihood of rain. The primary allure of visiting Lake Como during autumn lies in the stunning autumnal hues of the trees which render the scenery even more spectacular.

Finally, Winter (December – February) is characterized by being the driest season with only about five rainy days per month.

The temperatures can dip to -5°C (23°F) and rise up to +5°C (41°F). You might even witness some snow at higher elevations! While winter sees fewer tourists, I would not recommend visiting Lake Como during this season as most attractions around the lake are closed off to tourists.

Consider other factors

Looking for a budget-friendly trip?

The cheapest time to visit Lake Como is between January and early March. You’ll find colder weather, but accommodation prices are much lower.

For instance, a shared dorm at Menaggio Youth Hostel could cost around €20 per night. Compare that to the summer peak season when hotel prices can skyrocket to an average of €96 per night!

Now, if you’re all about capturing stunning photos and exploring villas, spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) are your best bets.

Spring brings blooming flowers and trees, while autumn showcases breathtaking colors. Plus, many impressive mansions and gardens are open to the public during these seasons.

How to Get to Lake Como

The adventures to the Lake Como starts often starts from the city of Milan.

This city, which is the closest major Italian city to Lake Como, boasts two airports: Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate. These airports serve numerous international and domestic flights, making Milan an ideal starting point for travelers.

Once you’ve arrived at Milan, your next stop is the town of Como. This town is often the first stop for many visitors due to its accessibility and well-connected transport links.

From Milan, there are several ways to reach Como. You can take a train, which is the most convenient option due to frequent services. Alternatively, you can rent a car and enjoy a scenic drive via the A9 motorway. There are also bus services available, although they might not be as frequent as trains.

If you’re in Switzerland and considering a visit to Lake Como, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s entirely possible.

You can take a train from various Swiss cities like Zurich or Geneva to Milan, and then another train from Milan to Como. If you prefer driving, you can also embark on a road trip from Switzerland to Lake Como, which promises beautiful views of the Swiss and Italian countryside.

How Many Days in Lake Como

Determining the duration of your stay in Lake Como is largely influenced by your personal interests. If you’re keen on immersing yourself in all that Lake Como has to offer – from exploring the towns and villas, to engaging in outdoor activities and taking time for relaxation – a stay of 4-5 days would be ideal.

However, if your visit is more about unwinding, perhaps with a visit to a villa, a leisurely stroll around Bellagio, and some water activities like swimming or kayaking, then a 2-day visit should suffice. Day one could be filled with activities, while day two is reserved for relaxation, ensuring you leave Lake Como feeling rejuvenated.

If time is of the essence, a day trip from Milan could be a viable option, although it may not fully satisfy your Lake Como experience. For the best day trips to Lake Como, click here.

Where to Stay in Lake Como

So, you’re planning a trip to Lake Como and wondering where to stay? You can find the best hotel deals in Lake Como here. Here are four towns that could be your home away from home:

First up, we have Como, the city at the southern tip of the western branch of Lake Como.

It’s a larger city with more urban amenities compared to the smaller towns around the lake. But keep in mind, it can be a bit removed from the romantic towns of Lake Como, both in location and in atmosphere. And oh, those city cons: traffic, cars, noise, and it can be warmer in summer. But don’t worry, it’s well-connected by boat services, so you’ll have no trouble exploring other towns.

Next is Bellagio, known as the ‘Pearl of Lake Como’.

It’s right on the peninsula that splits the lake into three branches. Bellagio is famous for its stunning location, rich history, and glamorous atmosphere. But keep in mind, it can be a bit pricey and tends to draw quite a crowd. And oh, those steep and narrow streets might give your calves a workout! But don’t worry, it’s centrally located, so you’ll have no trouble exploring other towns.

Then there’s Varenna, nestled on the eastern shore of Lake Como.

It’s less crowded than Bellagio but still has plenty to offer. Plus, it’s directly accessible by train from Milan – how convenient is that? Just remember, dining options might be a bit limited compared to Bellagio. But hey, who can complain when you can easily hop on a boat to visit other popular towns?

Last but not least, there’s Menaggio on the western shore of Lake Como.

If you’re looking for a local feel, this is your spot. And if you’re driving, parking is easier here. Plus, it’s just a short drive to Lugano in Switzerland if you fancy a day trip! Just bear in mind that Menaggio might not have as many attractions as Varenna or Bellagio. But with regular ferry services, you’ll have no problem reaching other towns.

How to Get Around Lake Como

There are several ways to explore Lake Como.

Firstly, you can hop on a bus. It’s a handy way to get from one town to another. Just keep in mind that buses might not come around as often as you’d like. You can find more information about the public transportation in Lake Como here.

If you’re planning to visit towns on the eastern side of Lake Como like Lecco, Mandello, Varenna, Colico and so on, then taking a train would be a good option. For the western branch, you can catch a bus from the train stations in Como.

Now, if you’re up for some sightseeing, the ferry service is your best bet. It connects the major towns, villages, and tourist attractions around Lake Como. Plus, it’s a great way to take in the breathtaking views of the lake. If you want a bit more flexibility (and don’t mind spending a bit more), you can also hire private boats or taxi boats.

Another option you have is to rent a car. This gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. But keep in mind, Lake Como can get quite crowded with tourists, so careful planning of your trips is advised (parking could be a hassle during peak season).

If your itinerary includes hopping from one side of Lake Como to another – say, from Como to Bellagio, then to Varenna and Lecco – renting a car might not be the best choice, given the unique Y-shaped geography of Lake Como.

Where to Go After Lake Como

Situated in northern Italy, Lake Como is a region that boasts an array of impressive architectural feats and breathtaking natural beauty. If you find yourself starting in Como, the cities and towns I suggest you explore next include Milan, Bergamo, Lake Garda, Verona, and Cinque Terre. See the brief itinerary overview below.

  • Milan (1-hour train ride from Como) then Bergamo (1-hour train ride from Milan)
  • Milan then Lake Garda or Verona (approximately 1.5 hours from Milan on a single train ride)
  • Milan then Cinque Terre (3-hour direct train ride to Monterosso)

Should you decide to extend your journey to Cinque Terre from Lake Como, consider venturing further southeast. I would recommend a visit to Florence, which is a half-day transit from Cinque Terre, followed by Rome, a mere 1.5-hour train ride from Florence.

Given that you’re already in Northern Italy while visiting Lake Como, it presents a perfect opportunity to venture further into the region and discover more of the natural splendors nestled in the Italian Alps. Venice, Trento, Bolzano, and Cortina d’Ampezzo could serve as excellent bases for such explorations.

Let’s say you took the Lake Como-Milan-Verona route. From Verona, you can try:

  • Verona to Venice (1.5-hour single train ride)
  • Verona or Venice to Trento (1-hour train ride from Verona), then to Bolzano (30 minutes away by bus+train from Trento). When you reach Bolzano, you can go to Cortina d’Ampezzo (the ultimate destination in Northern Italy).

If your European travels have you in search of destinations akin to Lake Como, consider exploring these alternative locations, each boasting beautiful towns and villages nestled by lakes.

  1. Lake Garda. The largest lake in Italy (Best alternative lake in Italy). Check out my Lake Garda itinerary.
  2. Lake of Sainte-Croix. The lake of the largest gorge in France/Europe near Moustiers Sainte Marie.
  3. Lake Geneva. Come here to see the stunning views of the Swiss/French Alps & UNESCO heritage vineyards. You can start exploring Lake Geneva from Montreux or Geneva.
  4. Lake Thun. It is the lake in the Jungfrau region with several castles, caves, and adventurous things to do. You can explore Lake Thun from Interlaken or Thun.
  5. Lake Lucerne. It is the lake of the beautiful city of Lucerne, one of Switzerland’s best destinations. Learn more about Lucerne: How Many Days in Lucerne.

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Unmissable Places in Lake Como, Italy
Unmissable Places in Lake Como, Italy

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