2 DAYS IN LAKE COMO ITINERARY – WHAT TO DO & TRAVEL TIPS

WHAT TO DO AT LAKE COMO IN 2 DAYS

Lake Como is a beautiful destination in North Italy. It is so pretty, I kept coming back and will probably visit again soon. So far, I have visited Lake Como about 3 times and normally spend around 2-4 days there.

And so I have created this Lake Como itinerary, talking about the best things to do in Lake Como in 2 days. If you plan to visit Lake Como for 2 days, then you have found the perfect post as this quick guide will help you find out what to do + travel tips. 

PLAN – 2-DAY LAKE COMO ITINERARY

Before heading to the 2 days in Lake Como itinerary and talking about all the wonderful places, here is some information for your Lake Como trip.

Disclaimer: This post might contain affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission if you buy a product or service via my link (at no extra cost).

FAQ – LAKE COMO TRIP

WHERE IS LAKE COMO?

Lake Como is located conveniently close to the Swiss and Austrian border.

Lake Como is in Northern Italy – more precisely, it is located in the region of Lombardy. It is easily reachable from places like Milan or Bergamo and takes about 50 minutes from Milan to Como by train.

Lago di Como has an area of 146 square kilometers, so it is the third-largest lake in Italy just after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. With a maximum depth of approximately 410 meters, it is also one of the deepest lakes in Europe.

Lake Como has been a popular destination for aristocrats and wealthy people since Roman times, and now for people from all around the world (the high prices here might scare many people away!). So, of course, I had to visit as well (the first time in 2015 or 2016).

Things to do in Lake Como, Italy, Arzo Travels, Pinterest
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Where to Stay in Lake Como

Okay, bad news first: Lake Como is not really a budget-friendly destination. After spending some time in Switzerland, I was still surprised to see that Como’s prices aren’t that different compared to Switzerland. Especially accommodations is costly, so be warned.

I have visited Lake Como three times. Once I stayed in a hotel in Como directly, once in an eco-hotel near Como, and once in my van on the shores of Lake Como in Como. 

However, if I visited Lake Como again, I would book a room in the town of Bellagio because Bellagio is prettier than Como and you can do some nice trips from there.

Here are some of the best places to stay around Lake Como:

WHERE TO STAY IN COMO

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 One of the most luxurious hotels in Como is this 4-star property: Click here to find the best rates for Villa Flori.

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 If you want something more budget-friendly and decide to stay in Como, check out this affordable but very well-rated hotel, where you get good value for money.

WHERE TO STAY IN BELLAGIO

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 If you stay in Bellagio and want to splurge, then check out one of the most luxurious hotels in the area. Click here to get the best rates for Hotel Grand Villa Serbelloni.

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 For a more budget-friendly accommodation in Bellagio, you might want to check out a 2-star hotel which is simple but comes with fantastic views. Click here to get the best rates for Il Perlo Panorama.

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 Find out more about an eco-hotel I stayed at, or check out my accommodation guide for Lake Como – the best areas and hotels to stay in for all budgets.

What to Pack 

The region of Lake Como can become extremely hot in the summer, so do not forget to pack some sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and many spare tops to change clothes for a hot summer day.

Italy is a country of beautiful and very stylish while still classy people. While I think you should dress as you wish, Italy – and Lake Como in particular – is the place to dress up. Click here for my full packing list.

How to Get Around

Getting around Lake Como by car is possible and it allowed me to be flexible. However, streets can be narrow, and finding parking spots at the main tourist spots can be difficult. So, I preferred using public transportation – buses and boats – around Lake Como. If you do not depend on your car, I suggest using public transportation – buses and boats.

For boats and buses, I bought day tickets or single tickets. The price depended on where exactly I went, so here are just some numbers.

  • A boat day ticket is about 25€ and you can get off as often as you want. You can get all the way to Varenna with your boat ticket. However, it takes about two hours to get to Bellagio from Como – and to get to Varenna it takes even longer. It might make sense to buy the fast ticket for the boat – for an additional 4€ (per route) you will get from Como to Bellagio in about one hour.
  • Alternatively, you can buy a single ticket for the boat and take the bus for the return.
  • A bus day ticket to Lenno is about 11€ – single tickets are about 4€. Buy them at the ticket station to avoid an additional fee (yes, buying tickets from the bus driver is possible but you will have to pay some extra money).

Best Time to Visit Lake Como

The best time to visit Lake Como is in the warm months. However, it depends on HOW warm you like it.

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 SUMMER: I visited Lake Como twice in summer (July) and it was wayyyyyy too hot. July and August are the warmest months, but it is also very humid and – honestly – very unpleasant. However, if you want to swim or love the heat then July or August are the best months to visit. Keep in mind, that this is also the peak season, and in addition to the heat, you will experience crowds of international tourists.

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 SPRING/FALL: I visited Lake Como again in April and it was a perfect time – my whole trip turned out much better because of the more moderate climate. May, September, and early October should be great, too. Accommodation prices will drop, tourists are mostly gone, and the temperature should also drop while it is still warm.

Check out my summer packing list for Europe.

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 WINTER: A less busy and unique time to visit Lake Como are the winter months. It is not the usual time to visit this region, which – however – makes a trip even better because it is the time to experience it without the crowds.

P.S. I know, in Central Europe, we can never rely on the weather, so you might experience coldish and rainy days in the summer and warmer days in winter.

Booking Tours in Lake Como

I did many activities mentioned here without any tour guide. Most activities are even free or do not cost a lot.

If you plan to do guided tours, I recommend GetYourGuide. I have become a fan of GetYourGuide, and so I mostly use their site for my own tours. If you do not know them yet, try them out. You can book many activities all over the world via them. GetYourGuide allows you (most of the time) to cancel tours for free – and let´s face it, sometimes things just come in between. A great alternative is Viator, which is my second favorite booking site.

I have added a few tours for you, so click on the links if you are interested in the activities.

THINGS TO DO IN 2 DAYS LAKE COMO

Lake Como comprises, among others, Como and Bellagio. There are many villages and towns along the shores of Lake Como but with only 2 days in the area, I had to focus on some places. Here is what my perfect itinerary for Lake Como looks like (I also added a few alternative ideas for you, just in case).

  • DAY 1 – Villa del Balbianello, Pigra, Como
  • DAY 2 – Lake Pusiano or Varenna, Bellagio

DAY 1 – LAKE COMO

Okay, a quick reminder: please double-check opening hours, etc. before you set your itinerary into stone. Some places might be closed on certain days, so you might want to/have to tweak the itinerary.

Okay, one place I highly recommend to add to your itinerary is Villa del Balbianello near Lenno.

Villa del Balbianello

One of the main attractions at Lake Como is the stunning Villa del Balbianello with its beautiful garden. This elegant, romantic 18th-century mansion with its garden has hosted writers, scholars, and travelers and was also the filming location for the James Bond movie Casino Royale in 2006.

It is located on the western shore of the southwest branch of Lake Como and is a great place to start your Lake Como itinerary.

Villa del Balbianello at Lake Como
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Villa del balbianello near Como
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Villa del Balbianello near Lenno
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Villa del Balbianello at Lake Como
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I have not watched the 007 movie (at least, I cannot remember), but I still loved it and highly recommend visiting.

Villa del Balbianello is 38 km (24 miles) from Como. You can reach it by boat or bus. I got to Lenno by bus and then walked for about 20 minutes to the garden. You can only skip that walking part if you take a small water taxi to drop you off just at the garden.

  • I paid an entrance fee of about 11€ for the garden and another 11€ for the villa.
  • I booked my ticket in advance (definitely recommended from May to September) but saw some who bought their tickets on the spot – however, that was in the shoulder season (April).
  • Closed in the winter months.

Pigra

Then it is time for some more stunning views of Lake Como but this time from high above the mountain. Pigra is a small commune located between Como and Villa del Balbianello.

Pigra at Lake Como with Arzo Travels
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The easiest way to enjoy those nice views is to get the cable car that connects Argegno to Pigra (you can reach Argegno by boat or bus from Lenno). At least, this is how I did it.

It is just a four-minute cable car ride to get to an elevation of 881 meters (2.890 feet) above sea level. I loved the panorama from there – it is just gorgeous and it is also a quite quiet place – this will probably be one of your most tranquil times during your Lake Como trip.

You can see some of Lake Como (not all though) and walk to the village of Pigra or do some hikes in the area (or you could just hike down).

Pigra at Lake Como
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If you take the bus from Lenno, you will just be dropped off at the cable car station (to your left) in Aregno.

  • Tickets are very affordable – I paid around 5€ for a return ticket.

AFTERNOON – EVENING – COMO

Spend the rest of the day in Como and explore the town center there. Plan a few hours to half a day to visit the more prominent town – Como. It is located on the southern tip of Lake Como in Northern Italy.

Como Old Town and Cathedral

Start with Como’s cute old town. It is home to a beautiful cathedral – the Como Cathedral and has a small old town.

The cathedral is quite impressive – from the outside but also the interior. It is free to visit and way my highlight in Como.

Things to do in Lake Como, Switzerland, Arzo Travels
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Como

Como Cathedral
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Small cafes were quite intriguing so I sat down and took a rest while watching people strolling through the streets.

I found some cute shops and I actually did some shopping here. However, though Como is lovely, I admit that it is not mind-blowing. For me, spending 1-3 hours in Como itself is enough. 

Market Square & Promenade

Another place I recommend is the Market Square. It is one of the main tourist attractions in Como – where a lot of cafes and restaurants allow you to overlook the gorgeous lake. Again, the market square is nice but not the most beautiful one I have been to in that region. 

The promenade in Como is beautiful for (long) walks – depending on your preferences, you could spend a few minutes to several hours here.

lake como promenade in front of brunate cable car
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Boat Tour

The most prominent resident of Como is George Clooney. If you want to see his house (or better, the villa of George Clooney), you can do a boat tour and see his and many more beautiful villas lined up at Lake Como. 

boat tours on lake como, Lombardy itinerary - Lake Como boat tour
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The boat tour in Como was one of the highlights of my first 2-day Lake Como trip. It was fun, especially as it was on a hot day because it included Lake Como sightseeing and a cool breeze.

Alternatively, you can do a Dinner Cruise Tour on Lake Como.

When I visited Lake Como again, I took public boat tours to get around and also enjoy some sightseeing (day passes are around 25€ and you can combine it with a trip to one of the places mentioned above).

If you do a boat cruise, you might not be able to add the below suggestion to your itinerary but in case you need another suggestion – visit Brunate, a cute uphill town.

Brunate

Besides the boat tour, I enjoyed my trip to Brunate the most. Brunate is a small village on the mountain. It is situated approximately 700 meters above sea level (Lake Como is located about 200 meters above sea level) – offering you great views.

This is also a great place to spend the rest of the day if Como town does not take your fancy.

Lake Como Best View
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@shutterstock

It has about 1,800 residents, but in the summer months, it gets much busier when tourists rent houses and apartments. 

How to get from Como to Brunate?

You can use a funicular to get up to Brunate. The funicular station is located quite centrally in Como, just next to the market square. 

  • Return tickets are around €6 and the funicular ride takes less than 10 minutes.

You hike up to Brunate, but I did not try that out due to laziness, which might take about one hour (4 km/2,5 miles). If you are more into real hikes, you can find some ideas for hikes in the Lake Como area here.

End your day with a cooking course (there is probably no need to talk the Italian cuisine up to anyone) or dine at the Lake Como promenade.

Tip: If you want to skip one of the above activities and are looking for an alternative, you can check out the following ideas:

DAY 2 – LAKE COMO

For day 2, I have the following suggestions for you. 

Varenna 

Varenna is one of the most beautiful places in Lake Como – I truly believe it. This small town is home to one impressive garden, which is one main reason I consider it a must-see.

Varenna harbour
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Varenna has fantastic villas (especially Villa Monastero is worth a visit), beaches, a charming promenade, a cute old town with historic buildings, and lovely restaurants.
Highlight in Varenna, Villa Monastero
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Villa Monastero in Lake Como
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I think, this garden was the prettiest at Lake Como. It was actually stunning. So, given that Varenna is rather small, it did not take me long to stroll the town.

  • There is an entrance fee for Villa Monastero (8€) – I bought tickets on the spot.

Bellagio

Okay, time to visit my favorite area here, which is Bellagio. You can spend a few hours here, or explore Bellagio in a day.

Old Town

The old town of Bellagio is the best place to add to your Lake Como itinerary – if you ask me. It is charming, colorful, lively, and – compared to Como – I would say, more beautiful. 

Bellagio staircase
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I fell in love with the old and prominent stairways of Bellagio. The stairways are probably the main attraction in Bellagio, and there is a reason – walking down the stairs makes you feel pretty cool, or at least I felt cool.

Bellagio side street
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Promenade

The stunning promenade of Bellagio is another place to visit in 2 days in Lake Como. 

bellagio promenade in lake como
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However, given Bellagio´s small size, you will not need a lot of time to explore these areas. So, you could add Giardini di Villa Melzi or Villa Serbelloni – the beautiful garden and park areas – to your sightseeing program. 

Madonna del Ghisallo

Depending on how fast/slow you have traveled, you could add this to your Lake Como itinerary – Madonna del Ghisallo.  Madonna del Ghisallo is a hill in Magreglio – at 754 meters above sea level (2,474 feet) – about 10 km (6 miles) from Bellagio.

Cycling fans will enjoy a visit to the museum Madonna del Ghisallo. As I am not so much into cycling, I just took a peek and then enjoyed the views from there.

Madonna del Ghisallo with best view over lake como
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  • You can get to Madonna del Ghisallo either by car or bus. If you are sporty you can cycle or hike up.

Dine at Trattoria Baita Belvedere

I recommend having dinner at Trattoria Baita Belvedere“ if you are looking for a unique place. It seriously is the best place to visit in Bellagio to eat (I can just guess since I have not tried all the restaurants there) and comes with one of the most beautiful views. Also, the prices are quite affordable (organic and regional food).

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Make sure to call them ahead and reserve a table – the seats with a view were quite limited!

CONCLUSION: LAKE COMO ITINERARY FOR 2 DAYS

As you can see, this Lake Como itinerary is quite busy if you only stay there for 48 hours but it is possible. You could spend more time in the area and do these things in 3 or 4 days – but again, 2 days are enough to see the above-mentioned places. If you stay longer than 2 days in Lake Como, you can even do some fun day trips to Bergamo, Milan, or Lugano.

As mentioned at the beginning, Como is pretty but did not blow me away – Bellagio and the parks – however -did blow my mind. While there are more tourist attractions, the above-mentioned places should definitely be part of your 2-day Lake Como itinerary.

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 Are you looking for day trips from Lake Como? Here is my idea for a day trip.

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 Cannot get enough of Northern Italy? Then find out more about a perfect 10-day itinerary.

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 I believe that Italy is a dream destination with many great places to see: Find out about the 25 most beautiful places in Italy.

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 Here is an itinerary for charming Lake Garda.

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