Lake Como
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Things to do in Lake Como

Things to do in  Lake Como

Welcome to Lake Como

From James Bond to George Clooney, Lake Como has been a playground for the rich and famous for decades. Look past the opulent villas and Hollywood high-rollers, however, and you’ll find that this glacial lake remains a land of tiny fishing villages and humble polenta. Boat tours of lakeshore highlights like Villa Balbianello and Villa Carlotta, along with the jewel-like towns of Bellagio and Varenna, top the list of things to do on Lake Como. Visitors can also delve into the local cuisine with cooking classes, market tours, and winery visits.

Top 5 attractions in Lake Como

Villa del Balbianello

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Villa del Balbianello is one of a number of elegant historic villas that sit directly on the water’s edge at Lake Como. On the tip of a small promontory on the lake’s western shore, Balbianello is particularly lovely, with luxurious interiors, scenic loggia, beautiful gardens, and romantic lake views.More

Como-Brunate Funicular Railway (Funicolare Como–Brunate)

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This historic single-track funicular railway has been carrying passengers up and down the steep mountain slope between the lakeside city of Como and the village of Brunate since 1894. The 7-minute ride passes through a scenic stretch of countryside with sweeping views over Italy’s Lake Como as far as the Swiss Alps.More

Villa Melzi Gardens (Giardini di Villa Melzi)

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One of a clutch of historic villas that ring Lake Como, the 19th-century Villa Melzi d’Eril is surrounded by its lush Villa Melzi Gardens (Giardini di Villa Melzi. The villa is closed to the public, but the botanical gardens offer walking paths directly along the lakeshore that make for a peaceful respite from the crowds of Bellagio.More

Brunate

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Hop on the historic funicular from the city of Como and climb 2,362 feet (720 meters to the hilltop town of Brunate to take in the spectacular panorama over Lake Como as far as the Swiss Alps. If that isn’t enough of a bird’s-eye view, you can continue up the trail to the 1920s lighthouse for an even higher scenic perch.More

Fort Montecchio Nord (Forte Montecchio Nord)

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On the shores of Lake Como overlooking the Valtellina and Valchiavenna mountains, Forte Montecchio Nord is Italy’s only intact fort dating from World War I. Modern history enthusiasts will enjoy learning about Italy’s role in the Great War by exploring the fort’s powder room, subterranean tunnels, barracks, and original Schneider guns.More

Top activities in Lake Como

Como Food Tour
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Como Food Tour

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Share your Pasta Love: Small group Pasta and Tiramisu class in Como
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Bellagio & Varenna, Lake Como, private guided tour
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Wine & food tasting

Wine & food tasting

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Lake Como, Como city & Brunate, private guided tour
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Lake Como Food Tour - Do Eat Better Experience
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Fresh pasta and Tiramisù

Fresh pasta and Tiramisù

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$133.32
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All about Lake Como

When to visit

Lake Como is popular with A-listers (and celebrity-spotters) in the summer, so spring and fall are the best times to avoid the crowds and enjoy the area’s lush gardens and mild microclimate. In October, you can also experience the medieval Palio del Baradello, a historic reinactment that features costumed processions, games, and banquets. The most famous event of the year, however, is the Feast Day of San Giovanni (June 24th), is marked by a twilight boat procession and fireworks.

Getting around

Trains run directly from Milan to the towns of Como, Lecco, and Varenna. From there, an efficient local bus and ferry system can take you to the other major lakeside towns. You can also travel between towns (or head to a villa) in a taxi or taxi boat. The hills surrounding the lake offer some of the most scenic cycling in northern Italy; you can rent a bike or e-bike at agencies in the main towns all around the lake.

Traveler tips

Lake Como offers some of the most spectacular hiking in Italy’s northern Lake District, but most trails up to the peaks that line the lake shore require a good map and strong calves. The Greenway is an easy alternative suitable for more casual walkers and active families. The flat, scenic route hugs the lake for 6 miles (10 km) and passes through seven of the prettiest lakeside villages, making it simple to break up your walk into short legs.

A local’s pocket guide to Lake Como

Alexandra Badger

Born in Derbyshire and raised in London, Alex is now an Italy-based writer. When not writing, she enjoys the simple, sunny pleasures of life in the Italian lakes: swimming, hiking, and exploring Italy with family and friends.

The first thing you should do at Lake Como is...

get orientated with the ferry ports and buy your boat tickets early—preferably in advance. The fast boats often sell out quickly at peak times.

A perfect Saturday at Lake Como...

Cruise to Bellagio for a lakeside lunch, then take a dip in the water at San Giovanni beach. If you have the budget, hiring a motorboat is worthwhile as it allows you to dodge the crowds and cover more sights.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the Como-Brunate funicular. The fun, single-track journey is topped by unsurpassable scenery—classic lake vistas, framed by cliffs and mountains.

To discover the "real" Lake Como...

head away from the tourists in Como, Bellagio, and Varenna, and check out the southeastern “leg” of the lake where local visitors are more likely to go.

For the best view of the city...

Brunate wins hands-down for dramatic views, but another option is Castello di Vezio where you can see the lake stretch out in different directions.

One thing people get wrong...

Getting around isn’t as easy as in other tourist towns as there’s a lack of ride-hailing apps and limited taxi services, even in bigger towns like Como. If you stay out late, plan your way back in advance.

Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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