Lake Como, or as Italians call it Lago di Como, is such an idyllic place, it’s one of the most beautiful places in Italy that’s a must-see especially if you’re visiting the Northern Italy region. If you’re searching for things to do in Lake Como, well I’ve got the perfect list of the very best things to do in Lake Como! I visited Lake Como as part of a 12-day Northern Italy trip that’s part of my yearly vacation with my mom, and hands down, Lake Como is one of my favorite places in Italy!
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Best Things to do Lake Como
Lake Como needs no introduction, It truly has so much vintage Italian charm and exudes a “la dolce vita” so perfectly. From my experience, Lake Como is the perfect blend of breathtaking lake vistas, an abundance of things to do, and such a relaxing vibe. Now, there isn’t a shortage of things to do in lake como. It’s really a place you can spend a whole week in to soak in the vibe and beauty of this charming place. So if you are planning to spend a few days or a week in this region, I’ve compiled my field notes and research I did for my trip, I’m sharing only the VERY BEST THINGS TO DO at lake como and the best activities in lake como that are worth your time and really resonated with me. so I hope this resonates with you too and that it helps you plan your lake como things to do list!
BEST THINGS TO DO IN LAKE COMO
Lake Como Things To Do
1. Stay At a Boutique Lake Como Resort
Indulge in “La Dolce Vita” on your Italian vacation in Lake Como! Lake Como is a place that most Italians come to for a little R&R weekend. So do as they do, and enjoy stunning views and the relaxing vibe Lake Como offers. I stayed at the cutest boutique hotel with the most epic views of Lake Como for a day to really take in the views and relax before we started to explore the towns.
I’m glad we did because we got to fully enjoy our Lake Como luxury boutique hotel and the views and awesome amenities the hotel provided. I loved the hotel’s infinity pool, and our delicious breakfast at the gorgeous balcony with views of Lake Como, and we saw the most epic sunrises from our room and patio! The price is also very reasonable compared to the other luxury hotels in Bellagio.
Don’t Miss: See the Best Places To Stay In Lake Como
I couldn’t recommend this hotel more, It’s a small boutique hotel, and it really is an elevated place to enjoy a day or two before you get busy exploring the rest of the town. We met some local travelers who come to Lake Como and have told us they love staying here as it is so pretty and quiet.
Don’t Miss: my experience at the Best Luxury Boutique Hotel in Lake Como
How To Get There: Located on the West side of the lake in Oliveto Lario, during the summer months you can take a bus to the stop of “Limonta Scalotta ” but during May when we went I had a car and they have free onsite parking,
If you want to stay somewhere more central such as Bellagio I hear wonderful things about the luxurious grand hotel Villa Serbelloni
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni
2 . Visit The Charming Town of Nesso
Nesso is a small charming town that often gets missed by visitors since it’s a bit further down. There is the cutest little waterfall and bridge. It’s a great place to stop on your way to see the town of Como. If you’re visiting In the warm summer it’s a great place to cool off and take a swim! If you’re feeling adventurous you can even jump into the water from the bridge as many do.
Time Needed: 1-2 hours
3. Take A Scenic Boat Tour of Lake Como
Taking a classic boat tour of lake Como is one of the absolute must-do’s when you’re in Lake Como! You’ll get to see the villas and charming towns from the water, It’s the quintessential thing to do when you’re in Lake Como. So make you don’t miss this! There are many different options for boat tours, you can do a highlights tour or a tour with stops at the villas and gardens, or hire a private boat and make your own itinerary for a truly unique experience.
Don’t Miss: 5 Best Boat Tours in Lake Como
TIP: These boat tours are very popular and if you’re traveling in the busy summer season the days you’re in lake como may already be sold out! So reserve in advance. Know the tour providers have flexible cancelation policies and Reserve Now & Pay Later available!
4. Visit the famous town of Bellagio
It’s not a complete Lake Como visit until you experience the town of Bellagio, the quintessential and most famous town in Lake Como, which sits in the heart of the lake. It’s the cutest little town lined with shops and a beautiful lakeside promenade with cute cafes and eateries. Known as the “Pearl of Lake Como,” this charming town is a must-visit destination.
Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque promenade, soak in the stunning lake views, and explore the narrow cobblestone streets filled with boutique shops, cafes, and gelato stands. Don’t miss the iconic Villa Serbelloni, a historic villa surrounded by beautiful gardens.
The town is also one of the hilliest so prepare to use your quad muscles! There are cute small streets you can walk on and grab a drink or gelato at. it’s just a really pretty town to enjoy some of your time. You can also visit the beautiful and large garden and villa of Villa Melzi. This is one of the gardens I didn’t have time to see but it looks beautiful and is quite large.
Don’t Miss: Bellagio Things To Do
How To get there: If you have a car as we did, parking is on the street only or at this parking lot. or you can take the ferry to Bellagio it’s well-connected. If you’re visiting from Milan, take this day trip tour for a hassle free experience
TIP: Don’t miss just sitting at one of the cafes by the water during sunset while you talk and people-watch, the vibe, and ambiance is so relaxing and nice!
5. Visit the Beautiful Gardens and Villa at Villa Del Balbianello
If you’re looking for the most popular lake como attractions, there’s no other than Villa Balbianello. Villa Balbianello is truly one of the most beautiful villas and botanical gardens in lake como. It’s such a gem! It’s in the town of Lenno west of Bellagio. It’s also the filming scene in some of Hollywood’s largest blockbusters, it’s known as the “star wars villa” or “James Bond villa in lake como”. Don’t miss seeing Villa Del Balvianello, it’s a must-do! The gardens were my favorite and it was even better arriving at the boat dock. You can do a tour of the villa but you have to reserve your ticket. in advance.
Don’t Miss: BEST LAKE COMO GARDEN TOURS
How To Visit VILLA BALBIANELLO: see my detailed guide on how to visit.
Travel Tips: These boat tours are very popular and if you’re traveling in the busy summer season the days you’re in lake como may already be sold out! So reserve in advance. Know that tour providers must have flexible cancelation policies and Reserve Now & Pay Later available!
6. Visit the cute town of Varenna
Venture to the picturesque village of Varenna, where colorful houses cascade down the hillside to the lake’s edge. Wander through its charming streets, visit the medieval Castello Di Vezio, and take in the romantic atmosphere that permeates the town! Verenna has a cute town center where they have cute shops and one of the tallest churches in Como. From my experience, the towns are very charming and small.
How To Visit: Take the ferry to Verenna, one way ticket costs about $10 euros and it takes about 15-20 minutes.
Time Needed: 1-3 hours
7. Visit The Gardens of Villa Monastero
Verenna had one of my other favorite gardens, make sure you don’t miss going to Villa Monastero! It’s a massive garden and requires a bit of walking to get to. Villa Monastero has magnificent gardens and stunning lake views. When I went to it, the sun was going to set and it was lightly raining, it made the clouds and greenery even more beautiful!
How To Visit: Take the ferry to Verenna, one-way ticket costs about $10 euros and it takes about 15-20 minutes.
Time Needed: From my experience, I’d say 2-3 hours if you’re visiting the gardens.
8. Visit the cute town of Menaggio
Menaggio, located on the western shore of Lake Como, is a cute charming town. Take a leisurely walk along the lakefront promenade and admire the picturesque views. Visit the Menaggio and Cadenabbia Golf Club, one of the oldest golf clubs in Italy, for a round of golf in a breathtaking setting.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Menaggio offers access to numerous hiking trails. Monte Grona is a popular hike that rewards you with panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
How To Visit: Take the ferry to Menaggio, one way ticket costs about $10 euros and it takes about 15 minutes.
Time Needed: 1-3 hours
Don’t Miss: things to do in Menaggio
9. Explore the Historic Village of Tremezzo
Step back in time as you wander through the historic village of Tremezzo. Admire the charming architecture, visit the Church of Santa Maria, and explore the winding streets lined with local shops and cafes. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the grand Villa d’Este, a luxurious hotel that boasts beautiful gardens and breathtaking lake views.
10. Visit Villa Carlotta
Located in Tremezzo, this historic villa is famous for its vibrant floral displays, ancient trees, and romantic pathways. Lose yourself in the fragrance of blooming azaleas, stroll through the citrus groves, and admire the impressive sculptures that dot the garden.
How To Visit: Take a guided tour to Villa Corlatta (boat transportation included) or You can also take the ferry to the ferry stop Tremezzo. Walk a short 5 minutes to reach the entrance.
11. Do Some epic Hiking in lake como
Hike Lake Como & Enjoy Some of the Most epic panoramic views. If you’re a nature enthusiast and hiking is your jam, this challenging but rewarding hike in Lake Como offers stunning panoramic views of Lake Como, the surrounding mountains, and the charming villages below. Some of the most popular hikes are:
- Monte Grona: Above Menaggio, you can hike to the top and you can see epic views. Depending on which route you take it can take 5-6 hours to complete. It is all uphill!
- Mount Sighignola: A panoramic terrace just below the summit, and directly on the Italian side of the border. Gives absolutely epic views
- Monte Legnone: the highest peak in the immediate Lake Como area. The view from the top is definitely unforgettable.
Better yet, take a guided hiking tour and experience the hikes in comfort and safety with a knowledgeable guide with you every step of the way!
12. Take Epic Aerial Photos of Lake Como on a Helicopter tour
One of the most epic things to do in Lake Como is to splurge on an awesome helicopter tour and see and capture Lake Como which not many people get to experience! Since drones are not allowed in lake como, this is a sure way to get some epic photos and content to show to your friends and family!
13. See The Town of Como
Don’t sleep on the town of Como, aside from being the largest town in Como, there’s the magnificent Como Cathedral, a testament to the region’s rich history and architectural prowess. Marvel at the intricate details of the Gothic facade, step inside to admire the stunning interior and climb to the rooftop for panoramic views of the city and the lake. Don’t forget your camera for this one!
Don’t Miss: Things To Do in Como Town
14. Unwind on the Beaches in Lake Como
When the sun is shining, head to one of Lake Como’s beaches and soak up some rays. Relax and go for a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters, or simply enjoy the nice views. Popular Lake Como beaches include Lido di Lenno, La Punta di Gravedona, and Lido di Bellagio.
TIP: Don’t expect sand here! it’s a rocky and pebbly beach so bring some water shoes!
15. Rent A Boat and Explore Lake Como
No Boat license is needed here! If you want to explore on your own terms here’s a lake como activities that are awesome. The folks at the will give you a map and tell you about the best practices and best places to go. It’s a great way and budget-friendly way to see lake como on the water. It’s a great way to experience Lake Como on water especially if you have a group and can share the cost.
16. Take the Furnicular in Brunate
Not technically in Como, but very close. It’s a city above the city of Como and is known for its old funicular a historical cableway, up to the charming small village of Brunate that shows you some of the spectacular views in lake como. it’s one of the things to do on lake como if you have more than a few days. It’s worth it and makes some awesome photos! Take this awesome tour and experience the town of Brunate and the cableway with a food and wine tour!
17. Unwind while sipping on some Local WIne
If you are into a relaxing Italian experience while taking in the views, look no further than this wine-tasting experience in lake como! Seriously epic views with a few glasses of the regional vino, what can be better?
18. Go on a Guided History Walking Tour
There’s so much rich history in Lake Como, to get a glimpse of the past and depth of Lake Como’s unique history. You have to check out this walking tour, the guide is so insightful and fun! It’s a quick 2-hour tour and you’ll have amazing stories to share from your trip.
19. learn to make authentic Pasta in Lake Como
When in Italy, you gotta have pasta! So how about you take some of this Italian cooking home and learn to make your own authentic fresh pasta! This is so quintessential Italian thing to do, yes we all have attempted at making our own pasta before, but how often will you get to experience learning from an Italian chef in a beautiful town in Italy!? Book this fun experience and wow your next dinner guests with an epic story and pasta!
20 Kayak on Lake Como
kayak on Italy’s largest lake on this awesome guided tour. you’ll get a guide that will tell you about your sights. It’s such a fun experience for everyone. With 500+ 5 star reviews it’s really that awesome
Kayak Tour of Lake Como
21. Go on a sunset Boat Tour on lake como
enjoy the stunning views and sunset with your sweetheart or group and experience one of the most spectacular sunsets in your life! Its a once In a lifetime lake como experience you don’t want to miss. as you glide through the calm waters and sip on prosecco. what a wonderful experience!
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