Lake Como is an alpine lake in northern Italy surrounded by mountains. Known for its dramatic scenery, it is nestled in the foothills of the Alps and not too far from the Swiss border. The lake is shaped like an inverted Y with two arms extending to the south. At the center of the Y shape is the famous town of Bellagio.
Accommodation – Where are you staying at Lake Como?
Many of the towns around the lake are luxury resort towns with luxury hotels and villas. There are also smaller but equally charming towns with more affordable hotels and inns. For a few nights of accommodation, we offer you the following options:
- Inn Sant' Anna – The hotel dates back to the second half of the 19th century when it was used for short stays and meditation breaks by prelates from the province of Como. The inn was renovated in 1998, preserving the ancient structure. The price of one night's accommodation starts from 60 euros per person with breakfast.
- Hotel Argegno – This 3-star hotel located on the shores of Lake Camo, awaits its guests with modern rooms and a comfortable atmosphere plus fabulous views of the lake and surroundings. For one night's accommodation, rates start from 68 euros per person, with breakfast included.
- Hotel Bellavista – The hotel offers its customers the famous Ristorante del Porto, as well as comfortable rooms for a special holiday in the enchanting setting of Lake Como, and the cost of a night's accommodation with breakfast starts from only 60 euros per person.
Tourist attractions - What to visit in the surroundings of Lake Como
Villa del Balbianello
Villa Del Balbianello sits on a wooded peninsula that juts out into Lake Como. It was built in 1787, on the site of a French monastery, by Cardinal Angelo Durini. Steps lead from the jetty to a terraced garden with a beautiful loggia. It was renovated by American General Butler Amos and given to the Fondo per l'Ambiente Italiano (FAI) in 1988. The garden is also used as a wedding venue.
Bellagio is a lovely town with lots of character on the shores of Lake Como in Lombardy. It's also one of the popular ferry stops on the lake, so most visitors to Lake Como will find themselves here sooner or later! The town is quite centrally located on Lake Como, at the point where the lake splits into two "branches" to the southeast and southwest, and is often referred to as the "pearl of the lake," partly because of its beauty and partly because of its position between the two branches of the lake.
Como Cathedral is one of the most important buildings in the region. It is commonly described as the last Gothic cathedral built in Italy: construction on the site of the old Romanesque cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Maggiore began in 1396, 10 years after the founding of Milan Cathedral. Construction work, begun under the supervision of Lorenzo degli Spazzi di Laino, was not completed until 1770 with the completion of the rococo dome by Filippo Juvarra. The imposing west front was built between 1457 and 1498 and has a rose window and portal between two statues of Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, originally from Como. It is 87 meters long, 36 to 56 meters wide and 75 meters high to the top of the dome.
Villa Carlotta is a unique sanctuary of art and beauty, with its magnificent botanical specimens and masterpieces of art in over 70,000 square meters of gardens and museum. It is located in the most picturesque part of Lake Como and is famous for its spectacular gardens, which are visited by almost 200,000 people every year. Villa Carlotta was built at the end of the 17th century by the Milanese Marquis Giorgio Clerici in a natural basin between the lake and the mountains. The architect created an important but sober building with an Italianate garden decorated with sculptures, stairs and fountains. With Gian Battista Sommariva, the next owner, the property in Tremezzo reached the height of its splendor. The villa became a temple of 19th century art with works by Canova, Thorvaldsen and Hayez and part of the park was transformed into a fascinating garden.
Menaggio is a town located in the province of Como, Lombardy. It is located on the western shore of Lake Como, at the beginning of a valley that connects the city to Lake Lugano. Due to its position, Menaggio is a lively town in Italy that offers many typical places to eat and drink, in addition to the wonderful view of Lake Como. Indeed, starting from the central Piazza Garibaldi, the city is scattered with cafes and restaurants and enriched with a unique and relaxing lakeside area. Menaggio is also an interesting place to visit in Italy because of its history, which can be discovered simply by walking around the city center, through the three hamlets of Loveno, Nobiallo and Croce and the surrounding area.
Varenna is in the center of Lake Como, on the eastern shore of the lake, and is easily accessible by boat from the other towns around the lake. It's one of the few towns on the lake that's also served by a car ferry (as opposed to the "people only" ferries that serve most towns here), so it's a common arrival point for visitors staying on the west shore of Lake Como.
Tremezzo is a town in the province of Como, in the Italian region of Lombardy. It is located on the western shore of Lake Como between Mezzegra to the southwest and Griante to the northeast and about 20 kilometers from Como. Tremezzo is best known as a tourist resort, it was a favorite of Konrad Adenauer for its villas, the most famous of which is Villa Carlotta with its much admired gardens. The villa, a few minutes away from Tremezzo's pier, has some neoclassical features and is surrounded by a large terraced garden, where you can spend most of the day without the risk of getting bored.
Cernobbio stretches from the slopes of Mount Bisbino to the western shore of the lake, a few kilometers away from Como, along the ancient Via Regina, and is one of the most charming tourist resorts on Lake Como. The first information about the city dates back to the 12th century. Traces of the medieval castle remain in the urban system, which surrounds Piazza Castello: the tower of the fortress remained standing until the 17th century. Thanks to fishing, Cernobbio was so rich and wealthy in the Middle Ages that the hamlet was the residence of the Podestà and had independent legislation. By the 16th century, Cernobbio was very poor due to various wars and raids. This period also saw the beginning of the migrations of the inhabitants of Lario.
Lenno, a charming place with about 1700 inhabitants is located on the western arm of Lake Como. Its name is certainly of Greek origin and derives from Lemnos, the island of the Greek archipelago, the province of the first settlements. It is believed that Lenno, as well as the whole of Lario, dates back to prehistoric times, when the Golasecca civilization was flourishing, it was inhabited. As a result between the 6th and 5th centuries BC. in the year in which the Como area came under Roman rule, it became a real urban community.
Comacina Island is just a few hundred meters from the western shore of Lake Como, near Ossuccio, a small historic village famous for its church and Romanesque bell tower. 600m long and 200m wide, the island of Comacina now hosts an unmissable archaeological park, to spend a few hours walking in peace, surrounded by the greenery and harmony of the landscapes offered by Lake Como. This solitary natural gem is the only island on Lake Como and can only be reached by boat. The island preserves the remains of precious religious buildings, artists' houses, residences built in the 40s and now restored, all connected by comfortable paths that wind through the island's Mediterranean trees and flowers. The island can be visited for a fee, a ticket is 6 euros.
Gastronomy & Restaurants
The gorgeous area of Lake Como is full of natural beauty that vibrates with the hum of activity and joie de vivre. Residents of the area tend to move at a more leisurely pace and enjoy their meals in the company of friends and family.
As the culture and activities of Lake Como are centered on the water, so is the cuisine. Fish is a staple of the area, with the most popular fish considered to be whitefish, but other commonly eaten fish include shad, perch, pike fillets, maltagliati, line and eel. The fish offerings are the same in many Lake Como towns, but each place generally has a unique way of preparing the fish.
- La Vita è Bella Ristorante – Salad bar this restaurant offers daily numerous specialties prepared with first-choice ingredients, with a special inclination for the world of salads. In the menu you will find salads for all tastes, based on selected ingredients, but also other specialties from Italian and international cuisine.
- Polentoteca Chalet Gabriele is located in Piano Rancio, a small town at the foot of Mount San Primo. Characteristic restaurant, made of stone and wood, equipped with two dining rooms, whose windows overlook Lake Como and the chain of the Alps that surround the two branches of the Lario. Located at 1012 meters above sea level, it is easily accessible by any means of transport.
- At the Darsena a stone's throw from the center of Como, this restaurant stands out for the quality of its diversified menu based on traditional fish dishes.
Lake Como is one of the favorite places in Italy. It's the perfect weekend getaway and less than two hours from Milan. Even if you only have a few days, Lake Como is worth adding to your travel list, you will surely fall in love with its fairytale scenery. And if you have more days available to visit, we recommend you also visit Lake Maggiore, here you find all the details.