Heading to Northern Italy and looking for the best things to do in Lake Como? Keep reading!
Lake Como is one of Italy’s most exclusive and romantic regions most well known for its upscale villas, dramatic lush landscapes, and Renaissance architecture. Located one hour North of Milan, Lake Como is the perfect place to visit for a holiday like no other. Some people only plan to visit as a day trip from Milan, which is fine if you have limited time, but Lake Como is best visited within 3-7 days. This way you can fully see and experience more of the beautiful towns, villages, villas, and hikes.
Lake Como really has a charm like no other place and is very different from other cities in Italy. Discover the 15 best things to do in Lake Como and fall in love with this region!
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15 Best Things to do in Lake Como, Italy
Bellagio, also known as “The Pearl of Lake Como” is one of the most beautiful and picturesque villages on Lake Como. With its hilly cobblestone streets, romantic architecture, delicious restaurants and various villas, Bellagio has it all. This village is home to some of the most iconic Lake Como spots and if you want to get a complete taste of Como in one village Bellagio is it.
The small streets are easy to navigate with beautiful hidden gems all around. Bellagio is also conveniently located and easy to reach by car and ferry! Visiting Bellagio to explore and admire its magic is one of the top things to do in Lake Como that you do not want to skip.
Admire Villa Melzi
Villa Melzi is a beautiful botanical garden located just a short distance from Bellagio. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in Lake Como to escape the busy village streets and enjoy a few hours of tranquillity. Here you will find the Villa, marble statues, the Chapel, botanical specimens and more. Everything is built in a Neoclassical style only adding to its charm.
Villa Melzi d’Eril dates back to 1808 and is full of history. Every aspect of the gardens has a story that is interesting to read and learn about. In fact, Villa Melzi has been declared a national monument.
Tickets cost €8 for adults for a full day admission 10 AM – 7 PM. You can also enter and exit the gardens as you please so feel free to enjoy them in the morning and in the evening!
Varenna is one of the most beautiful villages in this region and visiting it is one of the top things to do in Lake Como. This charming village looks similar to the very famous Cinque Terre (one of the most beautiful places in Italy) coastal area of Italy and really is a feast for the eyes.
Here you will find a quaint promenade, lakefront restaurants, and one of Lake Como’s most beautiful Villas called Villa Monastero (more about this in the next section).
Spending a day or two roaming the streets, walking along the water and enjoying Varenna’s Italian charm is ideal. The village is sure to be one of your favourites. I fell in love with it immediately and think it is my favourite place in Lake Como!
Lake Como’s Most Beautiful Villa: Villa Monastero
One of the things Lake Como is so popular for is its plethora of opulent and majestic villas. There is much debate on which villa is the most beautiful on Lake Como but in my opinion, it is Villa Monastero. With its botanical garden, ornate architecture, waterfront views, and museum Villa Monastero is one of a kind. Visiting this villa is one of the best things to do in Lake Como for the utmost Como experience.
Entrance to this villa is €8 for the gardens and an extra €2 for the museum. The gardens are the real star of the show and the museum isn’t all that impressive so I suggest you skip that unless you are very interested. There is more than enough to see with the gardens alone!
Spend a Day in Cernobbio
Cernobbio is a quaint town located near Como Town and the border of Switzerland. It is a popular resort town with some of the most beautiful villas in Lake Como like Villa D’este and Villa Erba. Spending a day in Cernobbio is one of the best things to do in Lake Como for a day of romance and beauty.
Explore Villa Balbianello
Villa Balbianello is one of Lake Como’s most brilliant and breathtaking villas. Exploring Villa Balbianello is one of the best things to do in Lake Como for the ultimate Villa experience. This villa is known for its meticulous gardens, ornate architecture and magnificent lake views.
The best (and most fun) way to get here is via boat. Or you can drive and park your car but you will have to walk 2.5km to reach the villa from the parking lots. This villa is only open from mid-march to mid-November and is closed Mondays and Wednesdays.
Tickets to the gardens only are €11 and for the gardens and the interior of the villa tickets cost €22. Viewing the gardens is more than enjoyable and is the highlight of Villa Balbianello.
Venture to Valsassina
Located in a valley of mountains surrounding Lake Como is the beautiful Valsassina. This lush green valley is known for its green meadows, waterfalls and impressive mountain peaks. Heading here is one of the best things to do in Lake Como to escape the luxurious towns and enjoy a connection with nature.
Join a Wine or Food Tour
There is no better country on earth to drink and eat food in than Italy. This is why joining a food tour, cooking class, or wine-tasting tour is one of the best things to do in Lake Como. This will help immerse yourself in the local drinks and food of Lake Como and show you how the locals live.
Wander the Streets of Como Town
Como is easily mistaken for Lake Como, but they are completely different. The entire region of Lake Como is made up of various towns, villages, and villas. Whereas, Como is one of the towns within the Lake Como region. This is the largest city on Lake Como and therefore holds the most attractions and things to do.
It is worth it to visit for an hour or two but I wouldn’t suggest spending too much time here. Como is pretty but not nearly as pretty as many of the other towns and villages on Lake Como.
Enjoy a Drink at Villa Serbelloni
Villa Serbelloni is the most exclusive villa located in Bellagio. It is the ideal place to go to for a delicious drink with a view of the mountains and lake in front. The entire villa is super luxurious and the 5-star feeling is very evident. Enjoying a drink at Villa Serbelloni is easily one of the top things to do in Lake Como, especially if you are staying in Bellagio.
Menaggio is a postcard-perfect town sitting o the shores of Lake Como. It is loved for its charming architecture, waterfront promonade, and relaxing vibes. This village is not quite as busy as other cities on Lake Como like Bellagio and Como so you can enjoy it with fewer crowds of people. It is also closely located to Bellagio and Varenna so jumping around from town to town is easy!
Go to Villa Carlotta
Villa Carlotta is a Villa, botanical garden and museum all in one. It is located in the village of Tremezzo and visiting this villa is one of the best things to do in Lake Como. This villa uniquely combines culture, history and art to give its guests a complete glimpse of the 17th century, perfectly preserved.
Embark on a Private Boat Tour
Going on a private boat tour was my favourite thing we did and one of the top things to do in Lake Como. You don’t need a boating license to rent a boat in Lake Como so you are free to rent your own and embark on your own private adventure! This is the perfect way to make your own tour and spend some quality time with whoever you are travelling with.
Visit the Charming Village of Nesso
Nesso is a majestic and mesmerizing village in Lake Como known for its peaceful and calming atmosphere. This village is easily one of the most beautiful in Lake Como with its vine-covered houses and attractions. Although this is one of Lake Como’s lesser-known and least-visited spots, it is a place you don’t want to miss. Especially if you are travelling in the summer and want to get away from the crowds.
Fall in love with Villa D’este
Villa D’este is one of Lake Como’s most popular and famous villas. With its giant villa and 10-hectare park is it something else! The best thing about Villa D’este is that it is also a hotel and you can choose this as your accommodation for the ultimate Lake Como experience.
This estate has been a place of the aristocracy for centuries and is now a place for you to enjoy a stay of pure luxury.
Is Lake Como Italy worth visiting?
100% YES! Lake Como is a super unique region in Italy and completely different from the other regions. With its mix of nature, opulence, luxury, and romance Lake Como is worth a visit.
What is the best month to visit Lake Como?
The best month to visit Lake Como is June and September. These months are when the tourist season is just starting and just ending respectively so there aren’t too many tourists. Plus the temperatures are still quite warm 15°C-25°C.
What is Lake Como Italy famous for?
Lake Como is famous for its huge mountains, charming villages, luxury accommodations, and various villas.
Do I need a car in Lake Como?
You don’t need a car in Lake Como but it is a very good idea to have one. With your own car, you can move freely from village to village without too much trouble. Plus, the closest airport to Lake Como is in Milan which is a 1-hour journey by car – and even more by public transportation.
You can get around without a car as there is public transportation and ferries running between villages. A car makes all of this much easier.
Where to Stay in Lake Como
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With so many amazing things to do in Lake Como an adventure awaits!
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