All you need to know about Lake Como Italy

Lake Como Italy is also known as Lago di Como or Lario and is one of the most beautiful places in Italy with amazing views of the lake and the Alps.

This stretch of water has 146 square kilometres, being the third largest lake from Italy. It is a glacial lake and the fifth deepest from Europe.

The lake was and still is a popular destination among rich people since Roman times. Many famous people from all over the world had or have residences around this stretch of water.

lake como Italy Isola Comacina
lake como Italy Isola Comacina

A particularity of the lake is its „Y” shape and the three sides of the letter form the „Larian Triangle” with the capital at Canzo.

Let’s discover together where this area is located and why it is so beautiful!

 

1. Location

The lake is located in the northern part of the Italian peninsula right at the foot of the Alps, in the province called Lombardy.

Milan is just 50 kilometres away from the lake, between the Province of Como and Lecco.

After Garda and Maggiore, Lago di Como is the third largest lake from Italy.

Lake Como Italy town on water
Lake Como Italy town on water

 

2. Best time to visit Lago di Como

Despite the fact that it is located close to the mountains, it has a Mediterranean climate, with mild temperatures.

The best time to visit Lago di Como is from April to September with summer considered to be peak season.

During summertime and especially in weekends the lake becomes very crowded, because of the tourists and locals who run from the Milanese heat.

Lake Como Italy Water
Lake Como Water

Spring and autumn are considered to be shoulder season. These two periods of the year are great for visiting this stretch of water because the number of tourists is still low, the prices are lower too and most of the days are sunny and warm.

If you decide to visit Lake Como Italy during shoulder season take with you a raincoat and a warm jacket as it might start to rain all of a sudden and when it rains the temperatures drop with a few degrees.

From May to September the temperatures are around 25 degrees Celsius during day time, perfect for water sports and sunbathing.

August and July are the hottest months of the year, with temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius.

The mountain breeze is blowing so don’t expect to extremely hot days even if the temperatures are high.

Winter is the time of the year when the tourists are gone and everything becomes quiet and peaceful.

The temperatures are usually between 5 to 12 degrees Celsius and on high altitudes snow appears. All the mountains’ peaks are dressed in white! Amazing scenery!

The lake is very clean during winter and the mountains from the nearby reflect in the lake as in a mirror!

This large stretch of water acts like a giant thermal reserve: the sun heat is absorbed by the water during summer and is released in winter. This is the main reason why Lago di Como has a mild climate.

 

3. How to get to Lake Como Italy

Starting point for most of the tourists who want to go to the lake is Milan.

And from Milan to get to Como you can choose from the train, the car and a private tour.

LAKE COMO GRAND HOTEL VILLA SERBELLONI
LAKE COMO GRAND HOTEL VILLA SERBELLONI

 

3.1 Getting to Lago di Como by train

There are direct trains from Milano Centrale to Lago di Como. In about 40 minutes to one hour, you reach the lake by train. The time depends on the train chosen.

All the trains go from Milan to Como town.

No matter if you choose to leave from Milano Centrale, Milano Porto Garibaldi or Milano Cadorna.

Not all the trains go directly to Como. Better check for train route before buying your ticket! The price for one ticket varies between 5 euros ( 6 USD) to 12 euros ( 13.2 USD).

Train Ticket to Lake Como Italy
Train Ticket to Lake Como Italy

If you want to reach the eastern part of the lake, more exactly to Varenna, Lecco or Colico, then you should take the train from Milan to Lecco. The journey lasts for about 40 minutes and the landscape is amazing.

To move around Lago di Como or to get to your final destination from Como or Lecco you can take the bus or the boat.

 

3.2 Getting to Lago di Como by car

The easiest and most comfortable way to travel around Italy is the car. You can book your car when you are still at home and pick it up directly from Milano airport. All the airports have car rental offices in the arrival terminal.

The prices of cars are pretty reasonable. Check the company’s site for the documents needed and book your car in advance.

Italy rent a car for Lake Como
Italy rent a car for Lake Como

You don’t have to worry about the train scheduler, or where you should change the bus. You go straight from the airport to your final destination.

Get the best price for your car rental today

 

3.3 A guided tour to Lake Como Italy

I recommend a guided to Lago di Como to those of you who don’t want to spend more than one day in the area. I mean if you arrive in Milan and have an extra day and want to visit the lake, then a guided tour is a great option.

Otherwise, consider the train or renting a car to get to the lake.

For a day trip, a guided tour is the most comfortable and the safest way to travel.

You know why? Because you don’t have to worry about anything! You have a knowledgeable guide who tells you everything you need to know about the lake!

Our recommendation for a day tour is Lake Como: Luxury Bus From Milan to Visit Como and Bellagio, a guided tour which starts at 8.30 in the morning and last until  6.30 in the evening.

Luxury Bus From Milan to Visit Como and Bellagio
Luxury Bus From Milan to Visit Como and Bellagio

You will travel on a luxurious bus and a professional guide is here to answer all your questions. You will visit the wonderful Como town, the world-famous Bellagio resort and amazing Madonna del Ghisallo, located in the upper part of the lake.

Indeed, this is a very interesting tour which gives you the opportunity to visit Como and Bellagio in a single day! Bellagio is the most beautiful and popular resort from the area, while Como is the most interesting and the largest town around.

In the tour you have included a boat trip from Como to Bellagio, a great way to see the area and admire its beauty!

 

4. Moving around Lago di Como

There is no railway and no airports around the lake. You can move around using buses, boats and your car if you have one.

The beautiful town of Como is the main departure point for most of the buses and boats.

There are daily ferries which leave from Como port and have a zig-zag tour to the eastern and western parts of the lake.

There are three different ferry routes and day passes are available.

You can take a ferry from Como to Bellagio, another one to Colico and another one to Lecco.

Lake Como Italy Mountains
Lake Como Italy Mountains

In this way you will visit the entire lake and if a day ticket bought you don’t have to worry about anything.

A complete tour of the lake takes about 8 hours and most of the ferries offer food if you want to eat something while cruising around.

 

5. Places to visit around Lake Como Italy

 

5.1 Como town

One of the most important towns from the lake is Como. It is the gateway to the area.

In Como arrive most of the trains which bring passengers to Lago di Como. From Como harbour leave most of the boats which cruise along the water.

Como town is located 40 kilometres away from Milan, on the northern part of the country.

From Milano Centrale and other 2 train stations from Milan the trains arrive at Como railway station. From here you can take the bus or the ferry to visit the lake.

Lake Como Italy Mediterranean waterfront
Lake Como Italy Mediterranean waterfront

While in Como, book some time and visit the most important attractions of the area:

  • Como Cathedral, one of the most beautiful construction from the entire town. It has a Gothic design and its construction started in the 14th century. The interior is vast and beautiful, covered with gold artworks and amazing decorations.
  • Basilica di Sant’Abbondio, a beautiful church located outside the city center dating from the XI century. The church was built during the Benedictines times and has a Romanesque style.
  • Funicolar to Brunate. Brunate is a small town located on top of the hills, close to Como. The easiest way to reach the town is by funicular. The view from the top is amazing and while the funicular ascent to the hill a wonderful scenery opens in front of your eyes!

Where to sleep

Vista Palazzo - Small Luxury Hotels of the World is the place where we stayed when we visited Como. It is a wonderful 5 stars hotel located right on the shore, just 100 metres away from the ferry terminal.

Vista Palazzo Hotel in Lake Como
Vista Palazzo Hotel in Lake Como

The rooms, the view and the services are amazing! It is for sure the best place to spend your nights when visit Lago di Como.

Vista Palazzo room interior Lake Como
Vista Palazzo room interior Lake Como

 

5.2 Bellagio

Bellagio is the most famous resort from Lake Como Italy. The pearl of Lago di Como is located right where all the three branches meet.

The resort is famous for its location, wonderful views and stylish hotels.

While in Bellagio don’t miss the opportunity to take a walk along the town’s narrow streets, drink a coffee in one of the many stylish coffee shops from the town or eat a delicious meal in a Michelin restaurant from luxury hotels.

Stop a few minutes at Chiesa San Giacomo, a beautiful church built in the XI century with beautiful interiors and a very old altar. By the way, the entrance to the church is free of charge.

At sunset take a walk along the Punta Spaltivento, the eastern point of the resort, the place where the lake splits in two.

GRAND HOTEL VILLA SERBELLONI Lake Como Italy
GRAND HOTEL VILLA SERBELLONI Lake Como Italy

A great way to explore Bellagio resort is to take a tourist train known as Bellagio Express and admire the resort. The train works between May to September.

Besides the train ride and the sunset walk, we recommend you to visit Pescallo, an old fishermen’s village hidden behind a hill not very famous among tourists.

Where to sleep

We recommend you to spend your night at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, a wonderful 5 stars resort with an amazing garden, which by the way can be visited by tourists for a fee.

GRAND HOTEL VILLA SERBELLONI
GRAND HOTEL VILLA SERBELLONI

The hotel has a Michelin restaurant, frescoes ceiling and amazing rooms. It is one of the best places to stay when in Bellagio.

 

5.3 Menaggio

The picturesque town of Menaggio is one of the ancient settlements around Lake Como Italy.

The town is located close to Varenna and Bellagio, a half an hour ride with the ferry and to Tremezzina, a 10 minutes ride by bus.

Menaggio has one of the most elegant lake promenades from all the towns located near this stretch of water.

After you arrive in town, take a walk on Via Calvi, one of the most popular streets from the town. Stop to buy some souvenirs from the boutiques and craftsmen shops.

A short to the Church of Santa Marta, located right in the middle of the street offers a good opportunity to gather your thoughts and then continue to explore this magnificent place.

Grand Hotel Menaggio Lake Como Italy
Grand Hotel Menaggio Lake Como Italy

For a hot afternoon, we suggest you head to the beach and cool off. In the town, there is a public beach, accessible to everybody called Lerai beach and Lido di Menaggio, a beautiful relaxing area with two swimming pools, a sandy beach, a volleyball field and three restaurants.

Where to sleep

Grand Hotel Menaggio is the place where we stayed when in Menaggio. It is a wonderful 4 stars resort located close to the ferry terminal.

The hotel offers a heated swimming pool, amazing views over the lake and great services.

Grand Hotel Menaggio Como Italy
Grand Hotel Menaggio Como Italy

The rooms are clean and comfortable and the breakfast is delicious.

 

5.4 Varenna

Located in the eastern shore of the lake, Varenna is a very popular destination among tourists looking for amazing sceneries and outdoor activities.

This town is one of the most elegant destinations of the lake.

The town is home of a medieval fortress, Castle of Vezio or Castello di Vezio. The castle is open each year from March to November and is host to many medieval events.

The castle dominated Lake Como Italy and the surrounding area and offers beautiful views of the mountains.

You can enter the castle, visit the ancient ruins and from the top admire the view over Bellagio!

Hotel Royal Victoria Lago di Como
Hotel Royal Victoria Lago di Como

A great way to spend your day in nature is to walk along the Sentiero del Viandante. This trail dating from Roman times connects Perledo with Abbadia Lariana. It is the road used since ancient times to reach the isolated villages from the shores.

While in the area book some time and visit the shortest river from the area. Its name is Fiumelatte or Milk River.

It has only 250 metres and a milk-white colour. The strange thing about this river is that you can admire it from March to October, then it disappeared.

Where to sleep

Hotel Royal Victoria is the place where we spend your holiday. Located in a 19th-century building, overlooking the lake, this 4 stars hotel is a great place to spend your holiday when in Varenna.

Hotel Royal Victoria Lake Como
Hotel Royal Victoria Lake Como

The hotel has a private dock and an outdoor swimming pool open from March to October.

 

5.5 Isola Comacina

This is the only island from Lago di Como and is almost inhabited.

This small piece of land is located close to Tremezzina, overlooking a wonderful bay known as Zoca de l’oli.

The name was given because of the local production of olives which is favoured by the mild climate from the area.

The only way to the island is by boat.

You can use the public boat service and reach the island from any part of the lake, or you can take a taxi boat from Tremezzina.

Isola Comacina Lake Como Island
Isola Comacina Lake Como Island

According to the legend, the island was cursed by the bishop of Como in 1175 and that is why it is also known as the Cursed Island.

On the island, there are three houses and a few archaeological sites.

These the 5 best places to visit around Lake Como Italy. The area is amazing! The views of the mountains and the colours of the lake are just breathtaking!

It is one of the best destinations in Italy!

No matter if you are looking for stylish holidays or for some time spend in nature, Lago di Como is the right place for you!