WHAT TO DO AT LAKE COMO IN 2 DAYS
Are you planning your Lake Como itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Lake Como in 2 days? If you do, then you have found the perfect post as this quick guide will help you find out what to do in Lake Como – the most beautiful places to visit and fun things to do. Also, you will find some travel tips.
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TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR LAKE COMO ITINERARY
Before heading to the itinerary, here is some information for your Lake Como trip.
Lake Como Facts
Lake Como, located conveniently close to the Swiss and Austrian borders, has become a popular spot for travelers and tourists worldwide.
- 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!).
Where to Stay in Lake Como For 2 Days
After spending some time in Switzerland, I was still surprised to see that Como’s prices aren’t that different compared to Switzerland. Especially hotels are costly. 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 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:
- One of the most luxurious hotels in Como is this 4-star property: Click here to find the best rates for Villa Flori.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
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 for your Lake Como Itinerary
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 Lake Como in 2 Days
Getting around Lake Como by car is possible and allows you to be flexible. However, streets can be narrow, and finding parking spots at the main tourist spots can be difficult.
It is also possible to get around by public transportation like buses or boats. So, if you don’t depend on your car, I suggest using public transportation – buses and boats.
For boats and buses, you can buy day tickets or single tickets. The price depends on where exactly you go, 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 – 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.
- 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.
- 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. Prices for accommodation 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.
- 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
You can do 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.
I have added a few tours for you, so click on the links if you are interested in the activities.
THINGS TO DO IN LAKE COMO IN 2 DAYS
Lake Como comprises, among others, of 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 OF 2 DAYS IN LAKE COMO
Okay, one of the must-see places 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: It is located on the western shore of the southwest branch of Lake Como.
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.
Villa del Balbianello is 38 km (24 miles) from Como. You can reach it by boat or bus. You get to Lenno and then, regardless of which mode of transport you opt for, you have to walk for about 20 minutes to get to the actual garden. You can only skip that walking part if you take a small water taxi that will drop you off just at the garden.
- The entrance fee is 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.
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.
To enjoy those nice views, get the cable car that connects Argegno to Pigra (you can reach Argegno by boat or bus from Lenno). It is just a four-minute cable car ride to get to an elevation of 881 meters (2.890 feet) above sea level. The views from there are just gorgeous. 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).
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 – around 5€ for a return ticket.
You can then spend the rest of the day in Como and explore the town center there (more on Como a little bit later). Alternatively, you can stroll Argeno, this small village directly on the shores of Lake Como.
DAY 2 OF 2 DAYS IN LAKE COMO
For day 2, I have the following suggestions for you. You can with an excursion to Lake Pusiano.
If you are interested in visiting quieter places, I recommend Lake Pusiano, a hidden gem in the region of Como but not directly on the shores of Lake Como.Lake Pusiano, also known as Eupilio, is a lake in Brianza. It is just close to Como and is not visited by many tourists (yet).
On the lake, you will find a little island: Isola dei Cipressi (Island of Cypresses). It is a natural hill, and it is one of those little pieces on earth where time is standing still. Lake Pusiano is also well-known for its flat water: no wind and no currents beneath the lake’s surface. So, it could not be more tranquil and peaceful.
The island boasts an ancient history, dating back as far as the Neolithic period, approximately 10,000 years B.C.
Also, only a few (eco-friendly) boats are allowed on that lake – starting from Bosisio Parini or Pusiano.
The island takes its name from its numerous cypress trees and now is private property, available for visits just on guided tours. It is also home to many animals – including little kangaroos (I have not seen any, but there are some around) and different birds.
This is a good place to have a picnic or have lunch in one of the restaurants along the shores of Lake Pusiano.
Okay, time to visit my favorite area here, which is Bellagio. You can spend a few hours here, or skip Lake Pusiano and explore Bellagio in a day.
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.
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.
The stunning promenade of Bellagio is another place to visit.The promenade of Bellagio is another must-see. 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“. If you are not into cycling, then you will at least enjoy another great view of Lake Como.
- 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 restaurants there) and comes with one of the most beautiful views. Also, the prices are quite affordable (organic and regional food).
Make sure to call them ahead and reserve a table – the seats with a view were quite limited!
- Getting there by car – from Bellagio – takes about 10-15 minutes
- You could get there by bus, too, but you still will have to walk some parts and also buses do not run often and frequently.
Alternatively, you can also visit this beautiful village: Varenna. With only 2 days in Lake Como, you have to prioritize which places to add to your itinerary and skip probably one of the other places mentioned here.
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.
- You can easily reach Varenna from Bellagio (15 minutes away by ferry).
- There is an entrance fee for Villa Monastero (8€) and you can buy tickets on the spot.
- Visiting Varenna is much easier, compared to Lake Pusiano. If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path place then Lake Pusiano it is – but if you are looking for a quick trip from Bellagio, then add Varenna to your itinerary.
Alternative: One Day in Como
You should plan half a day to one full day for visiting the more prominent town (actually it is a city) – Como. It is located on the southern tip of Lake Como in Northern Italy.
Como Old Town and Cathedral
You can 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 from the interior. It is free to visit and the highlight in Como.
Small cafes invite you to have a drink and take a rest while watching people strolling through the streets. You have 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 1-2 hours in Como itself is enough.
- Tip: If you are into Italian food, why not do a Como Food Tour? Click here to find out more about food tours in Lake Como.
Market Square & Promenade
Definitely put the market square with the promenade in Como on your list. 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 is beautiful for (long) walks – depending on your preferences, you could spend a few minutes to several hours here.
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 tour is my must-do if in Como).The boat tour in Como is actually one of the best things you can do in Lake Como or better on Lake Como. It is fun, though not free, but great on a hot day because it includes Lake Como sightseeing and a cool breeze.
Since it can get really hot and humid, this is the best chance to have a fresh breeze and see those million-dollar houses at the lake. If you prefer it a bit calmer, you could do a Dinner Cruise Tour on Lake Como.
You can take public boat tours (day passes are around 25€ and you can combine it with a trip to one of the places mentioned above).
After exploring Como for more than half a day, it is time to visit this cute uphill town.
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. You should also walk around that cute village.
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:
- Cooking course in Lake Como with a local
- Sail Boat experience
- Food tour in Como
- Walking tour in Como
CONCLUSION: HOW TO CREATE A FUN LAKE COMO ITINERARY
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.
- Are you looking for day trips from Lake Como? Here is my idea for a day trip.
- Cannot get enough of Northern Italy? Then find out more about a perfect 10-day itinerary.
- I believe that Italy is a dream destination with many great places to see: Find out about the 25 most beautiful places in Italy.
- Here is an itinerary for charming Lake Garda.