LAKE COMO – TOP 10 THINGS TO DO
Are you planning on visiting Lake Como during your trip to Italy and you want to make sure you cover all the best spots? You have come to the right place!
In order to help you plan your visit, I have interviewed Giacomo from @giacomo.sonzini, a true Italy expert, and prepared this Guide to the 10 Top things to do in Lake Como.
In this Guide, we have outlined everything you need to know to plan the perfect Lake Como itinerary, regardless of whether you’re spending one night or one week there.
Your itinerary includes places not to miss, the most beautiful little towns and restaurants, and even a boat trip! Lake Como may not be very big, but it surely has lots of places (also some more secret ones) which you should not miss out on!
So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in and plan the perfect Lake Como itinerary for you!
Lago di Como is certainly one of the most enchanting places in Italy that will gift you with incredible moments and memories from the spring blooming to the autumn foliage. And using our list of Top 10 Things to do in Lake Como will make sure you experience all the best it has to offer!
Embraced by the mountains falling deeply into the greenish lake, Lago di Como offers unique landscapes as well as the most memorable stays thanks to its stunning properties and historical villas that you will have the chance to visit during your trip.
A Key tip for planning your trip to Lake Como is to plan it during the week, and not during the weekend! Its proximity to Milan represents a big drawback, as all the Milanese like to spend their weekends on the lake.
What may surprise you – October could possibly be the most magical time to visit Lake Como! Why? Because the colors during this time of the year are insane. The orange and yellow shades of the trees, a clear blue sky, and maybe even a nice cooler breeze.
10 TOP THINGS TO DO IN LAKE COMO
- BELLAGIO & VILLA MELZI GARDENS
- VILLA BALBIANELLO
- LAGO DI COMO BY BOAT
- LUNCH AT MANDARIN ORIENTAL
- STAY AT CA SPIGA
- DINNER AT LE LUCI DEL LAGO
- VILLA FOGAZZARO ROI
- LUNCH AT PASSALACQUA
- VARENNA & VILLA MONASTERO GARDENS
- DINNER AT VILLA D’ESTE
1. BELLAGIO & VILLA MELZI GARDENS
Once you have arrived in Lake Como, take your car and drive to one of the most picturesque villages of the lake: Bellagio. Unfortunately, the village is plagued by mass tourism, but don’t be scared, there is a way to avoid the crowds: the visit to Villa Melzi Gardens. Once through the gate, let a row of shady plane trees lead you up to the villa, protecting you from the bright lights of the lakeside summer.
2. VILLA BALBIANELLO
Villa del Balbianello. Honestly, it could easily be part of the 7 World Wonders. The beauty of this place is indescribable: the gardens, the views, the villa, the Riva boats around. We have two tips to make your visit here even better. First, make sure to join a guided tour, it’s absolutely worth it! Second, come early in the morning or late in the afternoon, clearly to escape the crowds but also for the colors that will give you the impression to be part of an Impressionist painting!
3. LAGO DI COMO BY BOAT
Boarding a so-called Riva boat is probably one of the most exciting experiences you could have on Lago di Como. Once onboard you will feel like starring in an 80s Hollywood movie, with the wind blowing and all the beauty around embracing you. If you want to make it even more memorable, start and end your journey from Il Sereno or Grand Hotel Tremezzo and enjoy an unforgettable lunch or dinner.
We recommend using Como Classic Boats company, they really have the most beautiful wooden boats!
4. LUNCH AT MANDARIN ORIENTAL
Mandarin Oriental Lago di Como, situated in between the fisherman’s villages of Blevio and Torno, is a luxurious property representing one of the flagships of Italian hospitality. If you can, spend an incredible moment at the MO Bistrot. The outdoor terrace is the perfect location for a midsummer dinner by the lake, while the indoor historical salons will be the best spot for sipping a tasty afternoon tea when the mesmerizing autumn colors hit the lake.
5. STAY AT CA SPIGA
Are you looking for an authentic stay on Lago di Como?
Ca Spiga, in Laglio, is the place to go. Here, every room is unique offering priceless views over the lake. But the greatest strength is the family behind the property. Alessandro and Andrea, the two brothers-owners, will make your stay unforgettable. Their vision is clear: to allow the traveler to experience Lago di Como as at home, without giving the idea of being a hotel’s guest.
6. DINNER AT LE LUCI DEL LAGO
Luckily, for your dinner by the lake, you don’t need to go too far. Just a few steps away from Ca Spiga, the lovely Relais Villa Vittoria houses the charming restaurant Le Luci del Lago. Above all, the wonderful terrace facing the lake will be the perfect setting for your summer evening “aperitivo” and dinner. Even in case of bad weather, don’t worry! I am sure you will fall in love with the indoor dining room that will accommodate you for the night.
7. VILLA FOGAZZARO ROI
Another dream spot on your list of top things to do in Lake Como is Villa Fogazzaro Roi. Escape the crowds of Lago di Como and reach the shores of its neighbor Lago di Lugano. The Villa is pied dans l’eau and every single room has enchanting views over the calm lake waters. This private villa has been accessible to the public since 2009, and it is still, without a doubt, an exclusive place that will take you on a journey into the past when the lake was the perfect refuge during the summer months!
8. LUNCH AT PASSALACQUA
Whenever you fancy, drive to the dreamiest lunch location on Lake Como. Villa Passalacqua, has now become a new icon for the Italian luxury hospitality. Located on the shores of Lago di Como, Passalacqua is a historic private villa originally owned by the Church, that has now been turned into a luxurious hotel offering its guests not only the most exceptional service but also the chicest and most refined style and design that perfectly embodies the Italian Dolce Vita vibe.
9. VARENNA & VILLA MONASTERO GARDENS
Varenna being located on a sunny peninsula surrounded by woods, this tiny colorful village looks like the perfect setting for a Disney fairytale. Make sure to include it on your itinerary of Top Things to Do in Lake Como. The best way to appreciate it is certainly from the lake, so get the ferry from Menaggio very early in the morning to avoid the crowds. Once in Varenna, Villa Monstero Gardens cannot be missed for its scenic landscapes, especially during the spring blooming.
10. DINNER AT VILLA D’ESTE
Dinner at Villa d’Este is one of those things you just have to do while in Lake Como. Make sure you get there when the sun is still up in the sky. Why? Because sunsets are priceless here. Take a seat on the terrace, where the aperitivo will be served: Negroni, Americano, Campari… the choice is up to you. Dinner will follow, whether in the ancient Veranda, the iconic room of the hotel, or on the gorgeous terrace. The festive season is another great time to visit, Christmas decorations are stunning!
To conclude, to make your trip to Lake Como perfect, try to cover as many, if not all, from our list of Top 10 Things to Do in Lake Como.
Additionally keep the mind the following tips:
- Firstly – Plan your trip during the week, and not during the weekend! It will help avoid crowds, and the prices and availabilities will be better!
- Secondly – Avoid visiting Lake Como in July and August, as would apply to the whole of Italy.
- Finally – Make sure to include a boat trip through the lake, it will give you the best perspective and will stay in your memories forever!
Above all, many thanks to our expert Giacomo from @giacomo.sonzini for sharing everything he loves about Lake Como and the nearby area. In particular, I’m thankful that he has shared some of the less obvious experiences and told us where not only you can eat well, but also have the best views!
Giacomo who is only 23 years old, born and raised in Milano, really is a travel expert. I have followed his journey for a few years and get so much inspiration from his travels.
I mean, we truly couldn’t get a better guide to Lake Como than him!
Make sure to check his Instagram Profile and follow his beautiful journeys!
In case you are searching for more inspiration for traveling, then perhaps some of my other Guides will be useful: