Discover Lake Como

Have you ever dreamed of a getaway so enchanting, it feels like stepping into a postcard? Nestled in the heart of Northern Italy’s Lombardy region, Lake Como (or Lario as it’s locally known) is that dream destination—gorgeous villas, serene waters, and lush gardens included! Known for its inverted Y shape, thanks to glacier activity and the sculpting Adda River, Como is not just a treat for the eyes but also a playground for luxury.

With its blend of natural beauty and cultivated sophistication, you’ll leave with more than just pictures—you’ll take a piece of Italy’s heart with you. Ready for an unforgettable voyage? Lake Como eagerly awaits.

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Top 3 Facts about Lake Como in Italy

01

Glacial Origins

Lake Como is one of the deepest lakes in Europe, with a maximum depth of approximately 410 meters (1,345 feet). It was formed during the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago as glaciers carved out the deep basin, resulting in its distinctive “Y” shape.

02

Celebrity Retreat

Lake Como has long been a favored retreat for the rich and famous, with celebrities, artists, and dignitaries drawn to its serene beauty and secluded ambiance. Notable figures such as George Clooney, Madonna, and Sir Richard Branson own or have owned properties along the lake’s shores, adding to its allure as a glamorous destination.

03

Funicular Railway

The town of Como, located at the lake’s southern end, is home to a funicular railway that transports visitors from the lakeside promenade to the hilltop village of Brunate. The funicular offers breathtaking views of Lake Como and the surrounding Alps, making it a popular attraction for tourists seeking panoramic vistas of the region.

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Must See Attractions

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Bellagio

Town

Often referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Lake’, Bellagio is a must-visit, with its cobblestone streets and stunning views. Here’s a tip: stroll through the town’s quaint alleys, or enjoy a gelato by the water’s edge. Don’t miss the Villa Melzi gardens for a dose of serene beauty!

Villa del Balbianello

Villa

This stunning villa on a peninsula near Lenno is famous for its terraced gardens and breathtaking lake views. It has been featured in several movies, including James Bond’s “Casino Royale.”

Como Cathedral (Duomo di Como)

Cathedral

Located in the city of Como, this magnificent cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Admire its intricate facade, elaborate interior, and stunning stained glass windows.

Annual Events and Festivals

July 16 – September 6 2024

Settimane Musicali di Stresa e del Lago Maggiore

Held in nearby Stresa, this renowned classical music festival features concerts by world-class musicians and orchestras.

The festival typically takes place in late summer, offering a chance to enjoy exceptional performances against Lake Como’s stunning scenery.

May

Palio del Baradello

This historical reenactment occurs in Como and commemorates the medieval era with jousting tournaments, parades, and traditional costumes.

The event usually occurs in May, attracting locals and visitors alike to witness the spectacle and immerse themselves in the region’s history.

June

Festival di San Giovanni

Held in late June, the Festival di San Giovanni in Como is a vibrant celebration featuring music, dance, food, and cultural events.

Highlights include concerts in Piazza Duomo, street performances, and a colorful procession honoring Saint John the Baptist.

Top Hiking Trails

Sentiero del Viandante (Wayfarer’s Path)

THE TRAIL STARTS IN Abbadia Lariana, located on the eastern shore of Lake Como

This historic trail follows ancient footpaths used by traders and travelers along the eastern side of Lake Como.

It offers spectacular lake views and passes through charming villages, lush forests, and olive groves.

Greenway del Lago di Como

THE TRAIL STARTS IN Colonno, a village located on the western shore of Lake Como

The Greenway is a scenic walking route that stretches for approximately 10 kilometers (6 miles) along the western shore of Lake Como, passing through picturesque villages such as Lenno, Mezzegra, and Tremezzo.

The trail offers panoramic views of the lake and passes by historic villas, churches, and gardens.

Rifugio Menaggio to Monte Grona

The trail STARTS at Rifugio Menaggio, a mountain hut located near the town of Menaggio on the western shore of Lake Como

This challenging hike takes you from Rifugio Menaggio to the summit of Monte Grona, offering stunning views of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains along the way.

The trail passes through forests and alpine meadows before reaching the summit, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views.

Best Golf Courses

Golf Club Menaggio & Cadenabbia

Via Golf 12, 22010 Grandola ed Uniti CO, Italy

Situated on the western shore of Lake Como, this 18-hole golf course offers breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The course is known for its challenging layout, with narrow fairways, strategic bunkers, and undulating greens.

Facilities include a driving range, putting green, clubhouse, and restaurant.

Golf Club Villa d’Este

Via per Cantù, 13, 22030 Montorfano CO, Italy

Located near Lake Como in Montorfano, this prestigious golf club boasts a historic course dating back to 1926. Surrounded by lush parkland and ancient trees, the 18-hole course offers a challenging yet enjoyable golfing experience.

Facilities include a driving range, practice areas, clubhouse, and dining options.

Golf Club Monticello

Via Volta, 100, 22070 Cassina Rizzardi CO, Italy

Located near Lake Como in Cassina Rizzardi, Golf Club Monticello offers two championship courses: Red and Blue. Both courses provide a scenic and challenging golfing experience, surrounded by rolling hills and woodland.

Facilities include a driving range, practice areas, clubhouse, and dining options.

Water Sports

Windsurfing & Sailing

Lake Como’s unique wind patterns provide the perfect stage for your water adventures. With the northern ‘Breva’ gracing the afternoons and the steady ‘Tivano’ winds in the morning, beginners and pros are in for a treat. Especially in the upper parts of the lake like Gera, Colico, and Domaso, conditions are just right to hoist your sails or catch that perfect gust for your windsurfing session.

Boat Tours

Not a fan of winds? No problem! Tranquil boat tours might do the trick for you. Picture yourself aboard a vessel, gently cruising and soaking up those stunning vistas.

And with Navigazione Laghi offering a fleet of ferries and boats, getting around Lake Como is a breeze.

Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

Stand-up paddleboarding is a popular activity on Lake Como, offering a fun and relaxing way to explore the water. Rent a paddleboard and glide along the lake’s surface while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and villages.

Winter Activities

Winter Hiking

Explore the scenic beauty of Lake Como’s surrounding mountains and valleys with winter hikes. There are various trails suitable for all levels of hikers, offering stunning views of snow-capped peaks, frozen waterfalls, and picturesque villages.

Popular winter hiking destinations include the trails around Bellagio, Menaggio, and Varenna.

Skiing & Snowboarding

Lake Como is within easy reach of several ski resorts in the Italian Alps, making it an excellent base for winter sports enthusiasts.

Head to resorts such as Madesimo, Aprica, or Bormio for skiing, snowboarding, and other snow-based activities. These resorts offer a range of slopes suitable for all skill levels and amenities such as ski rentals, ski schools, and mountain restaurants.

Snowshoeing

Experience the tranquility of Lake Como’s winter landscape with snowshoeing excursions. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and explore the snow-covered forests, meadows, and mountain trails surrounding the lake. Guided snowshoeing tours are available and provide a unique opportunity to discover the region’s hidden corners while enjoying nature’s peace and serenity.

Where to Eat

Ristorante Imperialino

$$ – $$$ • Fine Dining

Ristorante La Punta

$$ – $$$ • Italian, Seafood

Ristorante Materia

$$ – $$$ • Italian, Fine Dining

Where to Shop

Mercerie

Local crafts, clothing

Bellagio

Souvenirs

Dongo Market

Local products

Where to Sleep

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Tips on Renting a Vacation Home on Lake Como

Be Flexible with Dates

You might unearth some stellar off-peak pricing if you’re not bound by specific travel times.

Location, Location, Location!

Staying a bit further from hotspots like Bellagio could give you more last-minute options—and a different view of the lake!

Luxury or Budget?

Decide if you want lavish or low-key. Lake Como has it all, from picturesque stone-built Airbnb properties brimming with character to high-end villas with infinity pools that belong on postcards.

Check the Weather

Lake Como is charming year-round, but a sunny fall trip or a blooming spring stay could sway your decision on where to nest.

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Going Deeper: History and Cultural Significance of Lake Como

Lake Como, nestled amidst the stunning scenery of the Italian Alps, boasts a rich history and cultural significance that stretches back thousands of years. Formed during the last Ice Age, this glacial lake has long been revered for its natural beauty and strategic location.

Throughout history, Lake Como has been a favored retreat for nobility, artists, and intellectuals drawn to its serene shores and picturesque landscapes. The region’s cultural heritage is evident in its historic villas, charming towns, and centuries-old traditions. Lake Como has inspired countless works of art, literature, and music, including Pliny the Younger’s writings, Giuseppe Verdi’s compositions, and Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings.

Today, Lake Como remains a beloved destination for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the region’s rich history, stunning scenery, and timeless charm. Its cultural significance as a symbol of beauty, inspiration, and tranquility continues to captivate visitors worldwide, ensuring its enduring legacy for generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions about Lake Como

Boating on the lake is a must-do, granting you panoramic views of the stunning landscape. Hiking trails abound for nature lovers, while luxury villas and manicured gardens offer a taste of opulence.

The best time to visit Lake Como is spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) when the weather is mild, and the crowds are smaller. However, summer (July to August) is also popular despite being busier, as the weather is warmer and more conducive to outdoor activities.

Yes, you can swim in Lake Como during the warmer months, typically from May to September. There are designated swimming areas, beaches, and lidos (public swimming pools) around the lake where you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the clear waters.

Some traditional dishes to try around Lake Como include risotto al pesce persico (perch risotto), polenta uncia (polenta with melted butter and cheese), missoltino (sun-dried lake fish), and lavarello al cartoccio (lake fish cooked in parchment paper).

Some of the best viewpoints for panoramic views of Lake Como include the towns of Bellagio, Varenna, and Menaggio, as well as the scenic overlooks at Faro Voltiano in Brunate, Castello di Vezio in Varenna, and the Greenway del Lago di Como walking trail. Additionally, taking the funicular railway up to Brunate from Como offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Trains run regularly from Milan to Como, taking about 40 minutes. Alternatively, you can drive or take a bus, which allows you to enjoy the scenic route at your leisure.

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