Travel Guide for Lago di Como 2024: Best things to do & useful tips

Lago di Como

Lago di Como is one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy. Celebrities such as George Clooney, Giovanni Versace, Lionel Messi and Madonna have their homes here. To help you plan your holiday, the complete guide will tell you everything you need to know – the best things to do and see at Lago di Como, swimming, hiking, transport, boating on Lago di Como, accommodation and other useful information and tips.

I only discovered Lago di Como a few years ago. I was looking for tips on interesting places to visit around Milan. Uncle Google advised Lake Como and I must admit that he advised perfectly.

Why visit Lago di Como

Lake Como, it’s one big kitsch. Picturesque towns with narrow streets, colourful houses lining the coast and clear water reflecting the snow-capped peaks of the Alps. Not for nothing is it one of the most beautiful Italian lakes.

Lago di Como offers a wealth of activities. You can relax by the water with a delicious Italian gelato, stroll along the promenade in the evening, take a ferry trip to the surrounding towns or hike to one of the peaks where you’ll have Lake Como in the palm of your hand.

View of Bellagio from the ferry / Lago di Como / what to see at Lago di Como
View of Bellagio from the ferry

Points of interest about Lago di Como

The shape of the lake resembles an inverted letter Y. At the left end you will find the largest town on the lake – Como and at the right end lies the town of Lecco.

Lake Como has an area of 146 km², a length of 51 km and a width of 4.5 km. These measures make it the third largest lake in northern Italy after Lago di Garda and Lago di Maggiore. With a depth of 410 m below sea level, it is the fifth deepest lake in Europe. The first four positions are occupied by Norwegian lakes.

On the lake is the 146 km² island of Isola Comacina, where the Lombard kings hid from the invaders.

View of Lago di Como from Bellagio / Lago di Como guide
View of Lago di Como from Bellagio

Best Things to do at Lago di Como: Must-see places

Here it is clear – among the most beautiful places are the resorts of Varenna and Bellagio in the central part of the lake. The resorts are connected by ferry and the journey between them takes about a quarter of an hour.

Bellagio – the most beautiful town on Lago di Como

The pearl of the island, according to many, is the town of Bellagio. This is mainly due to its ideal location, thanks to which you can enjoy all sides of the lake.

Bellagio is characterised by steep and narrow streets full of small shops and cafés. You can also take a walk along the local promenade, from where you can enjoy beautiful views. If you like history, visit the Romanesque Basilica of St. James and the Church of St. George.

Things to see in Northern Italy / Lombardy Lake Como / Bellagio promenade
Promenade in Bellagio
Bellagio / things to do near Lago di Como
Bellagio / things to do near Lago di Como

There is no doubt that Bellagio is a beautiful place. But as beautiful as it is, it’s crowded. In the summer, it is literally a headache, which is further enhanced by the narrow streets.

The best time to visit is winter or late autumn and early spring. On the other hand, some shops and restaurants may be closed during this period.

Bellagio / things to do near Lago di Como
Bellagio / things to do near Lago di Como

Varenna – the must-visit resort on Lago di Como

Varenna is a resort on the eastern shore of the lake. It is called the City of a Thousand Opportunities and a Thousand Reasons to Visit. For myself, I have to say that I’m thrilled with this city.

What I missed at Bellagio, I found at Varenna. Peace and tranquility emanated from every corner. Plus the beautiful colourful houses that lined the coast.

Varenna Lago di Como
Varenna Lago di Como
Varenna Lago di Como
Varenna Lago di Como
Varenna Lago di Como
Varenna Lago di Como
Varenna Lago di Como
Varenna Lago di Como

For beautiful gardens, head to the Monastero and Cipresi villas. Another piece of history can be found above the town on a 150 m high rock outcropping, where the ruins of the Vezio Castle stand. It will take you about 1.5 hours to go up.

In Varenna you will find the shortest river in Italy – the Finmelatte, which is only 250 metres long. You can see it only from March to October. It is so short that you won’t even find it on Google maps.

Are you going to Varenna by train? From Lecco, the train runs at regular intervals at least once an hour. The ticket will cost you 3 €. Get off at Varenna-Esino station, and then just run down the hill to the city centre.

Read: The most beautiful places to visit on Lago di Garda.

Como – the largest resort on the lake with a magnificent cathedral

In Como you will find everything. Beaches, shops, restaurants, sights and attractions. Despite its location at the very south of the lake, it is an ideal starting point for exploring Lake Como.

From Como you can take a ferry to other towns along the lake shore. There are also a number of hiking trails that start in the surroundings, from which you can enjoy great views of the lake and the surrounding Alps.

Or take the cable car to the town of Brunate, high above Como and offering fantastic views.

Como is dominated by the magnificent Renaissance cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta or Duomo di Como. Just a short walk away is the Archaeological Museum, which displays artefacts and finds from Ancient Greece found in the area.

Duomo di Como

Boating on the lake

A boat trip gives you different views of the lake, the towns on its shores and the peaks of the Alps above. A breathtaking sight you want to experience.

View from the ferry to Menaggio / where to go at Lago di Como
View from the ferry to Menaggio

Ferries sail regularly throughout the year and the price varies according to distance. For example, the popular Varenna – Menaggio – Bellagio route will cost you €4.60. For ferry prices, visit the official Lago di Como ferry website. You buy your ticket directly at the dock.

Accommodation Lago di Como 😴

ubytování lago di como
Hotel Abbadia

Cozy hotel a short walk from the lake + great accessibility

ubytování lago di como
Residence Alessandra

Apartments with swimming pool in the north-west of the lake

Villa Balbianello

Villa Balbianello is set on a promontory that juts out into the lake near Lenno. It is a baroque villa complex from the 18th century. century, from whose terraces you can see to the opposite shore and the towns of Vergonese and Bellagio.

Villa Balbianello Lago di Como
Villa Balbianello

Many popular films such as Casino Royale and Star Wars: Episode II Clones Attack were filmed here. You can get here from the bay of Lenno on the western shore of the lake.

Swimming and beaches at Lago di Como

Lago di Como is an alpine lake. And the combination of the Alps and swimming doesn’t sound very appealing, I admit. However, Lake Como belongs to the so-called. Warm Alpine lakes where you can swim without any problems.

The water temperature here is a pleasant 23-25 degrees in summer. In spring, the temperature stays between 18-22 degrees.

Beaches at Lago di Como + map

Are you planning to spend most of your holiday by the water? Not all places around the lake are suitable for swimming, so it is good to choose your accommodation strategically.

The beach areas can be divided into 3 geographical areas:

  • south-western area around the town of Como
  • south-eastern area around Lecco
  • and the northern area around the town of Colico

Beaches around Como – southwest

  • Argegno beach near the small harbour in the town. Fully equipped grassy beach, which includes a snack bar. PAID
  • Sandy beach in Bellagio, where you will also find refreshments, sun loungers and free WIFI. PAID
  • Pebble beach of San Giovanni in Bellagio – public beach with free admission
  • Open grassy beach – Lido di Villa Geno in Como – you can rent an umbrella and sun lounger on site and have a snack in the restaurant. PAID
  • Lido di Faggeto in the resort of Faggeto Lario – it has the advantage of free entry, but it tends to be crowded
  • Rocky beach in Griante – you can rent umbrellas, sunbeds, canoes. Free
  • Careno Beach in Nesso is half grass and half sand. Admission is free.
  • Pognana Lario is a grassy beach with a free entrance fee, but there is a steep and long path to get there.
  • Beach in Tremezzina (Lido di Lenno) with all facilities. In the evening it turns into a nightclub. PAID
  • The grassy beach of Lido di Ossuccio is again in Tremezzina, with free entrance. It gets crowded.
  • In the same resort you will also find Mayer Park with a rocky beach and a volleyball court. PAID

Beaches around Lecco – southeast

  • The grassy beach of Lido di Abbadia (Lecco) with a beautiful and peaceful park and free entrance.
  • The sandy beach of Lido Orsa Maggiore is fully equipped and offers pedal boats and canoes for hire PAID
  • Sandy beach in Mandello del Lario with free entrance. Again, you can use deck chairs, umbrellas, refreshments.
  • Oliveto Lario beach with free entrance fee – a long pebble beach with crystal clear water and full facilities.
  • The sandy beach in Perledo (near Varenna) – like the other beaches, you can rent sun loungers and have a snack. PAID
city Lecco

Beaches around Colico – north

  • Are you going with your family? Then the fully equipped sandy beach in Bellano will be ideal. Children can splash around in the adjacent swimming pool. PAID
  • Lido di Colico in the resort of Colico with full facilities including a tennis court, football pitch and a windsurfing and kitesurfing school. You can spread the towel on the grass or sand. PAID
  • Another beach in Colico is the grassy beach of Laghetto di Piona. Free admission and big shade trees, what more could you ask for :).
  • Sandy and grassy beach of Dervio without facilities.
  • Lido di Menaggio – a large beach including two swimming pools, ideal for the whole family. Refreshments are available in the restaurant, which can accommodate hundreds of guests. You don’t have to worry about going hungry :). PAID
  • Menaggio also has a pebble beach, Lerai, with free entrance. Services here are not as extensive as at the previous beach in Menaggio, but this is compensated by the possibility of renting pedal boats, canoes and rowing boats.

Hiking around Lago di Como

Do you prefer an active holiday? Then don’t forget your trekking boots, as there are wonderful hiking trails around Lake Como where you can enjoy great views of the lake and the surrounding Alpine peaks.

For beginners, the Sentiero del Viandante, which winds along the eastern shore of the lake, or the Greenway del Lago di Como on the western shore, are ideal. Both routes are long, so you can choose the start of the route according to your accommodation.

Ascent of Monte Legnone

Monte Legnone (2609 m) is the highest mountain in the area – the peak is 2400 m higher than the lake. And that’s quite an elevation. The summit is a vast plateau from which you can see Lago di Lugano to the west and Piz Bernina to the northeast in Switzerland.

view of Monte Legnone

You start your journey at the Rifugio Roccoli Lorla (1406 m), reached by car from Tremenico. The road is narrow but paved. There is no water available to fill up along the way, so take plenty with you.

Accommodation Lago di Como 😴

ubytování lago di como
Hotel Vista Lago

Cosy hotel with a wonderful view of the lake

ubytování lago di como
Hotel Il Loggiato Dei Serviti

Accommodation in Como with great availability

Ascent of Monte Bregnano

Monte Bregagno (2107 m) is known as the balcony above Lago di Como. You can choose between two routes. The starting point for the first route is Monte di Breglia, above the town of Breglia, which you can reach by car. The trip is charged with a symbolic 3 €. The vending machine is located right at the start of the mountain trail above Breglia. Parking at the top is then free.

An alternative is to take the bus to Breglia and then walk to the car park (1 hour).

Monte Bregnano

Head towards the Rifugio Menaggio hut (1383 m) and follow the red trail past the Chapel of St. Amate to the top. Total time for ascent and descent is about 5.5 hours without breaks.

The second route is more suitable in the winter and spring months, when the path to the top is still covered with snow. Pack your winter hiking gear. You leave the car parked above the town of Treccione, where the road turns into a hiking trail.

Read: The most beautiful places to visit in Northern Italy

Ascent to Monte Grona

Monte Grona (1736 m) is a peak near Monte Bregnano. The starting point is again the Rifugio Menaggio hut, reached from Monte di Breglia, where there is a large car park.

The alternative is to take the bus to Breglia and then walk to Monte di Breglia on the asphalt road (about an hour extra). From Monte di Breglia, you can take the Sentiero Panoramico, a panoramic route with views of the lake and the surrounding area. In 50 minutes you are at the mountain hut, which is wedged steeply into the cliff and the lake is just a stone’s throw away.

The route to the hut takes less than 2 hours and is easy. From there you can continue to Monte Grona (about 1 hour to the top depending on the route you choose).

Monte Grona

From the hut, choose one of 3 routes – divided by difficulty + links to download the route:

Ascent of Monte Palanzone

Monte Palanzone (1,436 m) is a peak between the spurs of the lake. There are several routes leading to it, the most popular of which starts in Brunate. To get here, take the cable car from Como and follow the red Dorsale del Triangolo Lariano (Lariano Triangle) trail past the Chiesa di Sant Andrea church and over the mountain pass.

Lago di Como tourism
The road to Monte Palanzone

Ascent of Monte San Primo

Monte San Primo (1,681 m) can be found, like Monte Palanzone, on the Larian Triangle, just a few kilometres from Bellagio. There are several routes to it. The path is lined with large boulders or Pitera Lentina, which were formed by glacial erosion.

The time commitment varies between 4-6 hours depending on the chosen route.

Monte San Primo

Climb to the Grigna mountain massif

Grigna is a mountain massif reminiscent of the Dolomites. It is one of the most striking places around Lago di Como. Its distinct peaks are the North Grigna (Grigna Settentrionale) with its altitude of 2410 m and the South Grigna (Grigna Meridionale) with its altitude of 2177 m.

View of the lake from South Grigna

Ascent of South Grigna/Grignetta – the starting point is Piani Resinelli, reached by car or bus from Lecco. The journey up takes around 3 hours, but there are also shorter routes to lower peaks, mountain saddles or mountain huts in the area.


Climb to North Grigna – the trek to North Grigna is ideal especially for those who live in the central part of the lake (Varenna, Bellagio, etc.). Park your car in the small ski village of Cainallo near the Vó di Moncodeno mountain pass, where you can choose one of the trails:

Accommodation near Lago di Como

  • Hotel Abbadia: A cosy hotel a short walk from the lake, with a garden and excellent access to the lake (Varenna, Bellagio) and Bergamo
  • Residence Alessandra: Modern apartments in the north-west of the lake, with swimming pool, garden and parking
  • Hotel Vista Lago: Cozy 3* hotel in the mountain village of Brunate, ideal for hiking and spectacular views
  • Hotel Il Loggiato Dei Serviti: Clean and practical accommodation in the town of Como at the western end of the lake

Accommodation Lago di Como 😴

ubytování lago di como
Hotel Abbadia

Cozy hotel a short walk from the lake + great accessibility

ubytování lago di como
Residence Alessandra

Apartments with swimming pool in the north-west of the lake

How to get to Lake Como

Lago Como is located in the provinces of Como and Lecco in Lombardy – it is the western edge of the Bergamo Alps, which literally enclose the lake. They rise like fjords out of the water.

Como is well connected to Milan. Lecco is well connected to both Milan and Bergamo, where Orio Al Serio Airport is located. The most interesting tourist area is the centre of the lake with the towns of Bellagio and Varenna.

By air to Lago di Como

Lago di Como is very accessible by air, as there are 3 airports nearby:

  • Bergamo Orio Al Serio Airport (BGY) – Bergamo Airport is located on the outskirts of Bergamo
  • Malpensa Airport (MXP) – Malpensa Airport is located northwest of Milan.
  • Linate Airport (LIN) – this airport is located on the outskirts of Milan

How to get to Lake Como from Bergamo

At Orio Al Serio Airport in Bergamo, take bus no. 1 to Bergamo, which runs on frequent and regular services. You can buy your ticket at the information desk or at the ticket machine at the exit of the terminal. The price is 3 €. The ticket is valid for 90 minutes and can be used for other transport within Bergamo, including the cable car to Città Alta.

Get off at the train and bus station (15-20 minutes from the airport), where you can take a train straight to Lecco at the southern tip of Lake Como.

A ticket to Lecco costs €4 and the journey takes 40 minutes. Trains run regularly every hour between 6:08-22:08. You can also buy your ticket online.

It’s then up to you whether you stay in Lecco or continue north towards Varenna, where ferries leave for Bellagio. The Lecco-Varenna route costs €3.10 and takes 22-38 minutes depending on the connection.

Along the way, the train stops at several other towns along the east coast, including Mandello Del Lario and Lierna. From Varenna you can take the ferry to Bellagio or Menaggio.

How to get to Lake Como from Milan

Arriving at Malpensa Airport? Malpensa Airport is located north-west of Milan. You can choose between direct buses or Malpensa Express trains. Once you arrive at the airport, follow the signs to see which transport option you have chosen for the city centre.

The airport bus costs €10 and tickets can be booked online. Then you just show it on your mobile on the spot. If you miss the nearest connection, you can take the next one without any problems. It takes 50 minutes to get to the main train station in the city centre.

Buses from Malpensa Airport to Milano Centrale Station

The Malpensa Express costs €13, but on the other hand is more comfortable. It takes less than an hour to reach Centrale Station.

At Centrale Station, you take the train to Como, which lies at the end of the left end of the lake. The ticket costs €5.20 and the journey to S. Giovanni Centrale Station in Como takes 39 minutes. Direct trains run once an hour between 6:43 and 21:43.

Trenitalia’s Italian train website will help you find all train connections in Italy.

By car to Lago di Como

Lake Como is located in northern Italy in Lombardy, where there is an excellent network of good roads. There are fees along the way, which vary depending on where you are starting from and where exactly you are staying at the lake.

If you go via Innsbruck, Austria, you will incur the following charges along the way:

  • A motorway vignette for Austria for €11.50 for 10 days (motorbikes €4.60).
  • Payment for crossing the Brenner Pass between Innsbruck and the Austrian-Italian border 11 €
  • The toll in Italy is about 8-9 € per 100 km. You can pay the toll in cash or by card. Each payment gateway has a symbol at the top showing how you can pay.

The Brenner Pass vignette and payment for Austria can be purchased online in one place.

If you are driving from Vienna, you do not pass through the Brenner Pass. On the other hand, you will pay more in tolls. You can calculate the toll here.

Charges when travelling through Switzerland: The Swiss vignette for CHF 40. It is more expensive because only vignettes valid for 1 year are sold.

Petrol and diesel prices vary from country to country. For current fuel prices, please follow this link.

Follow this link for up-to-date information on traffic in Italy (tolls, closures, etc.). Google maps will also provide you with sufficient information.

Transport at Lago di Como

Water transport is a suitable transport option at the lake. Motor boats and ferries are on offer. It depends on where you need to get to and from.

Motorboats operate on the routes:

  • Como – Colico
  • Colico – Como
  • Resorts in the central part of the lake
  • Lecco – Bellagio – Lecco

The ferry connects the central resorts of Cadenabbia – Varenna – Menaggio – Bellagio and runs every quarter of an hour. The ferry price list can be found here. You can also find the current prices at the platform on a large sign.

Platform in Bellagio / ferry across Lago di Como
Platform in Bellagio / ferry across Lago di Como
Ferry Lago di Como
Ferry Lago di Como
Bellagio platform / Lago di Como ferry

Use the ferry to transport your vehicle. This saves you the hassle of a long detour around the lake. The price of tickets varies according to the length of the car. Here you will find detailed information after the ferries at Lago di Como.

Weather at Lake Como

Do you want to enjoy swimming and warm weather? Go to the lake June-August.

January is the coldest month, but on the other hand there are far fewer tourists and you can enjoy the otherwise crowded Bellagio all to yourself.

The compromise is then April-May and September-October. Temperatures are pleasant and there are just enough tourists. Especially autumn is ideal for hiking around the lake.

Accommodation Lago di Como 😴

ubytování lago di como
Hotel Vista Lago

Cosy hotel with a wonderful view of the lake

ubytování lago di como
Hotel Il Loggiato Dei Serviti

Accommodation in Como with great availability

Prices at Lake Como

Prices in Lombardy are generally slightly higher than in other parts of Italy. In Lombardy, this is especially true for Milan and the tourist areas of Lago di Como (Varenna, Bellagio). The following prices are valid for Milan and will be slightly lower for most of Lombardy.

You’ll pay around €20 for a meal in a cheap restaurant and around €80 for a 3-course dinner for two. The prices of basic foodstuffs are as follows:

  • Milk 1 l – 1,43 €
  • White bread 500 g – 2,27 €
  • Eggs 12 pcs – 3,53 €
  • Cheese 1 kg – 13,82 €
  • Chicken breast 1 kg – 10,30 €
  • Bananas 1 kg – 1,88 €
  • Water 1,5 l – 0,47 €
  • Potatoes 1 kg – 1,44 €

Practical information before travelling to Lago di Como

Currency: euro (EUR)

Payment: For small purchases and payments, it is smaller to have cash with you, but otherwise you will pay by card in most places. Take a look at what fees your bank charges and what exchange rates are in order not to overdo it. We can recommend the World card from mBank for us.

Electric socket: In Italy they use electrical sockets type C, F and L. Types C and F are compatible with most sockets in Europe and are widely used in northern Italy (including in hotels). L sockets are mainly found in older houses. If you are travelling from the UK or Ireland, you will need a socket reducer. In Italy, the electrical sockets used are types C, F and L. Types C and F are compatible with most sockets in Europe. Hotels and other tourist places have them too. Type L sockets are mainly found in older houses. It’s better to pack a reducer, but you can buy it in almost any store for a few tens of crowns if needed.

Language: The official language is Italian. In tourist areas and hotels, you can usually speak English too.

Safety: Lago di Como is located in Lombardy, which is generally considered a safe area. In the more touristy places (e.g. Bellagio), there may be the usual risk of pickpocketing, so keep a close eye on your belongings and hide them well.

Varenna Lago di Como
Varenna Lago di Como

The best booking resources for visiting Lago di Como

Via we search for all accommodation. It is the largest accommodation portal in the world and you will find everything from modern hotels, cosy guesthouses to seaside villas.

Get Your Guide is a huge booking system for buying tickets, guided tours and all sorts of activities. In one place you can read other travellers’ experiences and book tickets to the Vatican Museums, a cruise on the Danube or a desert safari in Dubai.

If you are planning to rent a car in Lombardy, the best experience we have with which has the widest range at good prices. Insurance and free cancellation is a matter of course.

If you have a question about this guide on what to visit at Lago di Como, let us know in the comments below. Have a safe journey!

More information about Italy

LOMBARDIA: Lombardy has plenty of other beautiful places to see – see more in our list of things to do in Lombardy.

Milan is the capital of Lombardy, famous for its magnificent cathedral. For more tips and practical information on where to stay in Milan, read our guide to accommodation in Milan (budget accommodation, airport and sightseeing connections, map).

Or check out our 15 tips on what to see in Bergamo. Here are more than 30 tips on what to visit at Lago di Garda, including other useful information.

NORTHERN ITALY: Get inspired with this list for the most beautiful places to visit in Northern Italy, including a map.

ITALY: Get inspired by the most beautiful places in Italy.

ROME: Rome is one of the most popular cities in Europe. Here’s a list of the best things to see in Rome. Build your 3-day Rome itinerary and see how to save in Rome. Find out all about the Vatican Museums or the Colosseum.

VENICE: In the article What to visit in Venice we bring you tips on the most beautiful places and other useful tips.

TUSCANY: You can’t miss Florence on your visit to Tuscany. See the most beautiful places in Florence.

Pisa is another wonderful city to see in Tuscany.

DOLOMITES: One of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world can be found in northern Italy. What to see in the Dolomites is in a separate article. In the Dolomites guide we share useful tips on how to plan your trip to the Dolomites.

Read even more tips on travelling in Italy.

Summary: Lago di Como

Why visit Lago di Como?

Lago di Como is a beautiful alpine lake with crystal clear water surrounded by the peaks of the Alps. It’s also warm and you can swim in the summer without any problems. The shores of Lago di Como are lined with colourful houses, old boats and flowers. It is a wonderful spectacle at any time of the year.

How to get to Lago di Como?

Lake Como is very accessible by car and air. If you’re flying, you’ll take a train from the airport to Milan or Bergamo. In half an hour you are at the finish line. For a detailed description of the routes and fees (whether by car or by air), see the article.

What are the most beautiful places to visit at Lago di Como?

You will see the best in the central part of the lake – the towns of Varenna and Bellagio, which are connected by ferry. Wander the narrow winding streets and promenade, visit the charming squares and enjoy the view from the ferry. Lago di Como is also an ideal place for hiking on the surrounding peaks. For more tips on what to visit and where to go hiking, see the article.

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