MUST-SEE PLACES IN LAKE COMO, ITALY
Are you planning your Lake Como vacation and wondering about the best places to visit in Lake Como? Well, today‘s your lucky day because, in this blog post, I will provide travel tips on where to go in Lake Como – here are the best towns and villages in Lake Como and some of the best things to do and see.
Located in Northern Italy, close to Milan and Bergamo, Lake Como is easily reachable and since it is surrounded by towering mountains and gorgeous shorelines that are dotted with picturesque villages and gorgeous parks & botanical gardens, it‘s easy to understand why this beautiful lakeside oasis is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe!
Lake Como, or Lario as it’s lovingly called by locals, is the third largest lake in Italy (after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore) and arguably one of the most beautiful. No matter where you turn your head at this foot-of-the-Alps paradise there’s something wonderfully romantic to take away!
Not only is Lake Como (Lago di Como in Italian) adored for its stunning lakeside views, but also for its warm and desirable Mediterranean climate. And with so many interesting sites and gorgeous views, from Bellagio to Argegno, there is plenty to do and something for everyone in this charming corner of Italy.
So, it is not surprising that George Clooney bought a villa in this beautiful region of the world, is it?
TIP: Please keep in mind, that most (if not all) parks and gardens are closed on Mondays. Also, in the winter months, some attractions are not open. Please double-check when planning your trip.
10 Most Beautiful Places in Lake Como
Without further ado, here are the top places to visit in Lake Como.
Bellagio | A Must–See in Lake Como
Situated at the tip of a rugged peninsula that juts out into Lake Como, Bellagio has long been prized for its stunning natural setting. In my opinion, Bellagio is the most beautiful town in the Lake Como region.
The town’s winding streets and alleyways are filled with quaint cafes and shops, while its lakeside promenade offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
Enjoy a variety of activities, from exploring the stunning old town with the famous staircase to lakeside boat rides or even hiking in the nearby foothills!
This town has so much to offer and is a must–see for anyone visiting Lake Como! And since no trip to Bellagio would be complete without taking a dip in the refreshing waters (there is a lido just a few hundred meters from the harbor), be sure to set some time aside for a short swim.
Also, the famous Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni are worth a visit! Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an action–packed vacation, Bellagio is one of the most beautiful places at Lake Como. Here is a one-day itinerary for Bellagio.
HOW TO GET THERE:
- From Como town, you can take a regular ferry (2 hours), a fast ferry (1 hour), or a bus (about 1). By car, it takes about 1 hour as well.
Varenna | The Beautiful Villa Monastero
Located on the eastern shores of Lake Como, Varenna is a charming medieval village that offers visitors a wealth of things to see and do.
From exploring the charming streets and walking along the lakeshore to visiting the Villa Monastero, there is no shortage of ways to spend a day in Varenna! The Villa Monastero, in particular, is a must–see for anyone visiting the area.
The Villa is owned by the Province of Lecco – this stunning villa dates back to the 12th century and is known for its beautiful gardens and lakeshore views!
With its serene botanical garden that cascades over two kilometers along Lake Como, it’s one of nature’s greatest gems. Inside hides another treasure – an incredible museum and internationally renowned conference center just waiting to be explored. So go ahead…dive into this spectacular natural paradise for unforgettable memories!
And for those looking for a more active experience, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking and biking in the area surrounding Varenna. So if you‘re looking for an ideal place to relax and enjoy Lake Como‘s beauty, Varenna and Villa Monastero are the places to be!
HOW TO GET THERE:
- The best and easiest way to get to Varenna is from Como: You can take a regular ferry (15 minutes). Getting there by car/bus only will make your journey extremely long (50 minutes) due to the geography of the lake.
Como | The Main City in the Area
Como is a beautiful city in Northern Italy that sits on the shores of Lake Como. Splendid views abound with rolling hillsides and glimmering lake water as far as your gaze can stretch. Incredible natural sights await…But let´s start with a man-made landmark in Lake Como.
The Cathedral of Como is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, and it is well worth a visit. The cathedral is situated in the center of Como, and it dates back to the 14th century.
The building is absolutely stunning, and it is filled with beautiful art and architecture. Inside the cathedral, there are three naves, and the ceiling is adorned with frescoes. There is also a beautiful clock tower that overlooks the city.
Take a boat ride on Lake Como, which is an incredibly stunning experience. The views from the lake are absolutely breathtaking, and it is a great way to see some of the other villages that dot the shoreline. Overall, Como Town is a nice place though not as gorgeous as other towns in the Lake Como region. However, the Cathedral of Como is definitely one of its highlights.
HOW TO GET THERE:
- Como has a train station which makes it one of the best accessible places in Lake Como. You can get there from Milan by train in just 40 minutes. Also, it is quite easy to get to Como from Ticino in Switzerland.
Brunate | A Hilltop Getaway
Embark on an adventure to Brunate, the little village overlooking beautiful Como! Nestled high on the hilltop of Northern Italy, the scenic town of Brunate offers panoramic views of Lake Como. The town is accessible by a funicular railway from the lakeside town of Como.
Boasting a stunning panoramic view of Prealps from its lofty perch and breathtaking altitude, no wonder it quickly became Lombard’s most desirable holiday getaway spot back in the 1800s.
Nowadays you can still feel that unique atmosphere among wonderful nature – take your time to enjoy every moment!
Explore the winding streets and charming shops, or take a cable car up to the observation deck for even more spectacular views. There are also plenty of hiking and biking trails in the area, making Brunate the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy some fresh mountain air.
And of course, no visit to Brunate would be complete without enjoying a delicious gelato or cappuccino at one of the many cafes dotting the town.
The best time to visit Brunate is during the spring or fall when the weather is warm and sunny – and not hot yet. However, even during the winter months, the town is still worth a visit for its stunning scenery and tranquil atmosphere.
HOW TO GET THERE:
- From Como, take the funicular to get to the top. It is just a short funicular ride (7 minutes) and a return ticket for adults is about 6€. Alternatively, you can also hike one way.
Pigra | The Place For the Views
Pigra is a municipality in the province of Como in the Lombardy region of Italy. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Como, about 10 kilometers north of Como, this small town has a lot to offer, but mostly it is about the views.
Pigra is located above the picturesque town of Argegno – get up via cable car and enjoy some of the best views in Lake Como.
Once you’ve taken in some stunning views, you can take an awe-inspiring two-hour hike down and make your way right into beautiful Colonno!
HOW TO GET THERE:
- From Como, take the bus to the town of Argegno and then take the funicular to get to the top. It is just a short funicular ride (4 minutes) and a return ticket for adults is about 5€. Hiking down is quite popular amongst visitors.
Villa del Balbianello | A History–Lovers Paradise
Villa del Balbianello is one of the most popular attractions in Lake Como. Perched atop a lush forest overlooking the picturesque Como Lake rests Villa del Balbianello, an 18th-century villa that has welcomed famous writers, scholars, and adventurers alike.
Its elegant beauty and romantic charm have captivated many visitors including Count Guido Monzino who was its last owner!
It is one of the most ancient villas on Lake Como and it dates back to the 16th century while it was completed in the 18th century.
Explore the villa´s gardens and enjoy a tour of the house that takes you through some of its most important rooms, including the library, which houses the 20th century‘s owner, Guido Monzino‘s collection of books on exploration!
It was also the filming location for the James Bond movie Casino Royale in 20o6. And if you‘re looking to slow things down, the gardens are beautifully landscaped with several walks available to enjoy.
Of course, no visit to Villa del Balbianello would be complete without taking in the views from the terrace – one of the best vantage points in Lake Como!
HOW TO GET THERE + TIPS
- From Como, take the ferry or the bus to Lenno. From there, you have to do an additional 20-minute walk to the garden. You can take a water taxi (not included in the day passes for ferries) that drops you off at the lower garden entrance.
- The ticket price for adults is about 11€ for the garden and another 11€ for the villa.
- It is closed on Mondays
Lake Pusiano | A Peaceful Getaway
If you‘re looking for a breathtaking lake to visit near Lake Como, look no further than Lake Pusiano! This beautiful lake is surrounded by rolling hills and lush forests, making it the perfect place to enjoy some peace and quiet.
There are also plenty of activities to keep you busy, including hiking, swimming, and kayaking.
The best part about Lake Pusiano is that it‘s relatively unknown, so you won‘t have to worry about crowds of tourists – the little island in the middle of the lake (accessible via electric boats) is an absolute highlight.
However, there are still plenty of must–see attractions, such as the 15th–century church of San Pietro and the Sanctuary of Madonna del Lago. So whether you‘re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventure–filled vacation, be sure to add Lake Pusiano to your list!
HOW TO GET THERE:
- From Como, take the bus to Bindella – Canavèe (about 1 hour). From there, it is a short walk to the lake.
- By car, it should take about 30-60 minutes.
Nesso | Quaint Historic Charm
Nestled on the shores of Lake Como, the charming village of Nesso is a must–see for any visitor to the area. Located between Como and Bellagio, Nesso offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Visitors to Nesso can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, biking, and picnicking in the beautiful surrounding countryside – there is even a waterfall in Nesso, the Cascata del Budanchen.
The village is also home to a number of historical landmarks you can visit, including the Archpriest Church of Sts. Peter and Paul or the Chiesa Di Santa Maria di Vico.
And if you enjoy soaking up the charm of quaint tourist towns, prepare to be enchanted by Nesso‘s narrow streets lined with colorful houses, its picturesque stone bridges!
HOW TO GET THERE:
- Hop on the bus and enjoy a scenic bus ride (about 50 minutes) or take the ferry from places like Como or Bellagio.
Torno | A Taste of True Italy
Settled on the shores of Lake Como, Torno is a charming town that offers visitors a taste of true Italian living. Stroll through the cobbled streets and you‘ll find yourself surrounded by historic buildings and lively cafes.
Be sure to visit the historic church of Santa Tecla which is located in Torno’s Piazza Casartelli or the Cimitero di Torno. If you‘re looking for some lakeside relaxation, head to Lido di Torno, a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.
For those who enjoy hiking, there are plenty of trails to explore in the surrounding mountains. No matter what your interests are, you‘re sure to find something to love in Torno.
You can easily combine a trip to Torno with Nesso since both are located quite close to each other.
HOW TO GET THERE:
- It takes about 30 minutes by bus from Como or 20 minutes from Nesso. You can also take the ferry from places like Como, Bellagio, or Nesso and enjoy a lovely short boat trip.
Argegno | For The Outdoor Enthusiast
Let’s talk about one of the hidden gems in Lake Como. Argegno is a small town located on the western shore of Lake Como in Italy. The town is situated at the base of a mountain, and visitors can take a cable car to the top (Pigra) for breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding countryside.
There are also several hiking trails in the area, making it a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to its natural beauty, Argegno is also home to several restaurants and cafes, as well as a few shops selling local artisanal products.
Take a ferry from Argegno to other towns along the lake, making it an ideal base for exploring the region. Whether you’re after stunning scenery or beautiful architecture, Argegno has something to offer everyone.
HOW TO GET THERE:
- The best option to get here is by bus. It takes about 45 minutes by bus from Como or 20 minutes from Lenno (so you can combine it with a trip to Villa del Balbianello and Pirga). You can also take the ferry from places like Como, Lenno, or Bellagio.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TOWNS IN LAKE COMO
From luxurious villas to breathtaking views – Lake Como has something special for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an adventure, there are plenty of wonderful towns to explore along this picturesque lake.
From Brunate and Argegno to Villa del Balbianello and Pigra, there is something truly magical at each stop – making Lake Como the perfect destination for a lifetime of unforgettable experiences! From hiking to water sports at Lake Como – you surely will not get bored!
So what are you waiting for? Start packing and plan for a scenic, one-of-a-kind experience and visit the best places in Lake Como!
Need inspiration for your Lake Como travel plans? Check out my 2-day Lake Como Itinerary where I talk about the best things to do in Lake Como
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