Lake Como, nestled in the northern part of Italy, spans approximately 140 square kilometers. Its historic towns, known for their legendary mountain vistas, captivated me with their vibrant houses, quaint narrow streets, and exquisite gardens. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore this stunning region. With numerous towns dotting the shores of Lake Como and a wealth of sites to visit, I felt compelled to create a travel guide based on my own explorations and research, and your valuable suggestions. Here’s my Lake Como Travel Guide for your enjoyment and use.

Bergamo Day Trip Guide

Lake Como Travel Guide

This guide will cover various aspects of traveling to Lake Como, including transportation, accommodation, must-visit locations, dining options, and budgeting tips.

Lake Como Transportation

Getting to Lake Como

Accessing Como from Milan is most conveniently done by train. My journey took me from Milano to Varenna Esino station via the Tirano train, and for the return trip, I boarded the Milan-bound train at Como’s San Giovanni station.

Navigating Lake Como

With its unique inverted Y shape, Lake Como stretches over 171 kilometers. It’s surrounded by picturesque towns, accessible by either the hop-on hop-off ferry service or bus. Ferry tickets are available for specific destinations or as all-day passes, offering both slow and fast options, including a car ferry service.

Bus Routes Around Lake Como:

  • C10: Como-Menaggio-Colico
  • C30: Como-Nesso-Bellagio
  • D10: Lecco-Bellagio
  • D20: Lecco-Mandello & D21: Bellano-Varenna

For those seeking a more exclusive experience, private speedboat rentals are available, starting at 250€. However, I opted out due to solo travel.

Given the compact nature of the towns around Lake Como, walking is an ideal way to explore them.

Where to stay in Lake Como?

I preferred to stay in Varenna. I made my reservation immediately when I found a cozy and budget-friendly single room considering the prices around Como. I stayed at Albergo Del Sole. It was a clean little place in Varenna square, which also had a restaurant. I recommend it if you don’t expect any luxury. Now I will make some great accommodation recommendations for you in the towns around Lake Como for every budget.

Hostels in Lake Como: Ostello Bello Lake ComoLecco Hostel

Affordable Hotels in Lake Como: Officina RoomsB&B Hotel ComoEssentia Guest HouseBellavista con LocandaCasa LiLuHotel PlinioRumi Rooms

Mid-Range Hotels in Lake Como: Hotel FioroniHotel Borgo AnticoIn Centro Luxury RoomsHotel OlivedoDomus BellagioAlbergo Villa EdyHotel LennoHotel MeridianaHotel BellagioHotel du Lac

Luxury Hotels in Lake Como: Grand Hotel TremezzoHotel BelvedereVilla CipressiVilla SerbelloniMandarin Oriental

You can check all available hotels around Lake Como here.

Things to do in Lake Como

Simply strolling along any town’s waterfront around Lake Como guarantees a delightful experience. Although I couldn’t visit every town, each one we passed by ferry radiated beauty. I focused on the most acclaimed destinations, and now I’ll share the highlights of my two-day itinerary.

Lake Como 2 Days Itinerary

Spending two full days in Como allowed me to immerse myself in the region’s most captivating sights. My adventure began in Varenna, followed by a day trip to Bellagio. I spent the evening and the subsequent morning back in Varenna, explored a villa in Lenno, and concluded my visit in Como before catching a train back to Milan in the evening.

Visiting in the last week of March, I experienced varied weather—sunny enough for short sleeves on one day and rainy on the next. I suggest planning your visit for April when most villas reopen, flowers bloom, and the lush greenery enhances the beauty of the landscapes.

Things to do in Varenna

Walking along the Riva Garibaldi and then the Riva Grande and wandering the streets of Varenna Old Town is actually the best activity to do in Varenna, but let me also mention a few other spots.

Villa Monastero: Nestled beside the lake, this expansive villa is a haven for photography lovers. The gardens open in April, while the interior welcomes visitors by the end of May. Admission is 13€ for a combined ticket or 10€ for garden-only access. Entry is free for children up to 14 years old.

Castello di Vezio: For panoramic views of the lake and Varenna, ascend to this castle. Admission is 4€, with a reduced price of 2€ for children up to 7 years old; it’s free for those under 7.

Chiesa di San Giorgio: Located in the square adjacent to my hotel, this 14th-century church showcases internal frescoes, adding to its historical charm.

Things to do in Bellagio

Bellagio, just like Varenna, enchants visitors simply with its lakeside promenades and meandering streets through the Old Town. Yet, there are specific attractions I’d love to highlight.

Salita Serbelloni: Often the most photographed scene in Bellagio, following this route on the map leads you to a stunning viewpoint. It’s advisable to visit early in the morning during the bustling summer months to avoid crowds.

Parco Martiri Della Liberta: This splendid garden offers free entry. Make sure to take a moment to relax on one of the benches, soaking in the serene lake views.

Punta Spartivento: At Bellagio’s furthest reach, you find yourself surrounded by nothing but the tranquil mountains, the expansive lake, and the open sky—a truly sublime vista.

Villa Melzi: While the villa itself remains closed to visitors, its exquisite garden is open to the public, boasting an entrance fee of €8. Entry is complimentary for children under 12. The gardens welcome visitors from March through October.

Lenno – Villa Del Balbianello

This splendid villa, famously featured in scenes from Star Wars and James Bond films, stands out as a must-visit for anyone exploring Lake Como’s villas. My visit in March presented a still-charming though not fully verdant landscape, with the promise of breathtaking beauty by mid-April. The villa’s grounds house a 13th-century monastery complete with two towers. Managed by the FAI (Italian Environment Fund), the villa was open to the public for free the weekend of my visit, as part of FAI’s initiative to open its properties to visitors. While entry is complimentary during such events, donations are welcomed and can be made in designated boxes. Regular admission fees are 12€ for the garden and 23€ for a combined ticket to the villa and garden.

Things to do in Como

Como, nestled beside the lake, captivates with its Old Town charm and scenic lakeside walks. Below are highlights not to be missed in the city.

Duomo di Como: Construction spanning from the 14th to the 18th century marks this cathedral as the third largest in Lombardy—a must-visit for its architectural grandeur.

Porta Torre: Standing as a significant symbol of Como, this 12th-century gate tower is a remnant of the city’s historical fortifications, offering a glimpse into the past.

Villa Olmo: Among Lake Como’s celebrated villas, Villa Olmo stands out for its accessibility, welcoming visitors free of charge, a rarity among the region’s grand estates.

Though I missed the opportunity, the funicular to Brunate offers breathtaking aerial views of the lake, highly recommended based on the stunning photographs I’ve seen.

Lake Como Food and Drink Guide

Varenna Food and Drink Guide: My culinary journey in Varenna included an aperitivo at Cafe Varenna, delightful ice cream at La Passarella, and a delectable fried seafood platter at Albergo del Sole Ristorante Pizzeria—each experience comes highly recommended. Additionally, here are a few more spots on my list worth checking out: Osteria Quatro Pass, Il Cavatappi, Al Prato, and Bar Il Molo.

Bellagio Food and Drink Guide: I had lasagna and ravioli with pesto at La Lanterna, it’s mainly a pasta restaurant and it was delicious. They also have a very nice decor with the pictures they paint on all kinds of liquor bottles, they also sell them, you can buy them as souvenirs. I had ice cream at Gelateria del Borgo, the hazelnut and dark chocolate was really delicious. Let me write down the other places in my notes: Bilacus, Alle Darsene, Ristorante La Punta, Aperitivo Et Al

Como Food and Drink Guide: My time in Como was limited, but I managed to visit Figli Dei Fiori upon a friend’s recommendation from Milano, and it was a fantastic choice. Also noted was I Tigli in Theoria, a Michelin-starred place known for its luxury dining experience—perfect for those looking to splurge.

Is Lake Como expensive? – Lake Como Trip Budget

Contrary to popular belief that Lake Como is exclusively pricey, my delightful 2-day getaway totaled 191€. This figure excludes flight costs to Milan, as this trip was an extension of my Milan visit. Transportation expenses, including a round-trip train fare from Milan to Varenna and back from Como, were 12€. Ferry rides around the lake amounted to 28€, dining came to 59€, and a one-night stay with breakfast in a single room cost 92€. My visit to one of the villas was complimentary on that particular day, though typically, entrance fees to villa gardens range from 8-12€. Those planning to explore multiple villas should account for this additional cost. Nonetheless, each town around Lake Como offers its unique charm, ensuring a memorable experience even without villa visits.

I hope this Lake Como Travel Guide assists you in planning an enjoyable trip. Should there be details I’ve overlooked or if you have further inquiries, feel free to drop a comment. Additionally, I welcome any extra recommendations you might have. Wishing you a wonderful journey to Como!

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