what to do in lake como

Where To Stay In Lake Como: Towns & Hotels

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Lake Como, nestled in the breathtaking Italian Alps and my absolute favorite place in Northern Italy, is renowned for its stunning landscapes, luxurious villas, and beautiful pristine lake.

If you’re planning a visit to Lake Como, you may be wondering where to stay in Lake Como. Because I I did the same research since I just visited. I will say that choosing the right town to stay in will make or break your Lake Como experience.

Keep scrolling to learn which are the best towns to consider, factors like driving, train stations, ease of travel, and the ideal time of year to visit.

Whether you’re traveling with or without a car, I’ve got you covered with personal tips and recommendations for three hotels in each budget category.

what to do in lake como

Where To Stay In Lake Como

Lake Como is a breathtaking destination that has captivated me and continues to do so!

 It’s a place where luxury, beauty, and amazing lake views all collide in the best possible way, Nestled amidst the majestic Alps, this pristine lake offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage. The region is dotted with charming towns that provide an idyllic retreat for a first-time visitor.

Let’s first start with the things you should consider when picking your home base in Lake Como, whether you like a boutique hotel, a luxury hotel, or an authentic homestay experience. 

Lake Como is home to several beautiful towns, each with its own distinct character and attractions. Three of the most popular towns to stay in are Bellagio, Varenna, and Como. Each is better suited depending on your main mode of transportation! More details are below. 

Also in this article, we’ll explore the best towns and hotels in Lake Como and discuss the key factors to consider when picking a town as your home base. We’ll delve into the ease of travel from Milan, distance, ferry availability, things to do in town, transportation options like driving or taking the train, and the best time of year to visit. So, let’s get started!

Best place to stay on Lake Como 

Choosing the best Town to stay in lake como :

Before you can make an informed decision about where to stay in Lake Como, several factors need to be considered! These include the town’s ambiance if you’re driving to Lake Como, proximity to attractions, availability of accommodations, proximity to train stations (if you’re coming from Milan), and ease of transportation to other towns. 

WHAT Month TO Visiting lake Como:

What Season to visit lake como

My experience visiting lake como:

I visited in May, Lake Como in spring is gorgeous and one of the best time to visit Lake Como. Especially the gorgeous gardens like Villa del Balbianello.

The best time to visit Lake Como depends on your preferences and the type of experience you seek. Each season offers a unique charm and different activities to enjoy.

Spring in Lake Como (March to May):

Spring brings pleasant temperatures and blossoming landscapes, ideal for exploring gardens in Lake Como and taking leisurely walks along the lakeside promenades. The crowds are relatively less during this season so it’s a quieter and more intimate atmosphere.

Lake Como in Summer (June to August):

Summer is the peak tourist season in Lake Como, attracting visitors from all over the world. The warm weather allows for swimming, boating, and outdoor dining. However, it’s important to note that popular towns like Bellagio and Varenna can get crowded during this time.

Lake Como in Fall (September to November):

Fall is a delightful time to visit Lake Como, as the weather remains pleasant, and the foliage turns vibrant shades of red and orange. It’s a great season for hiking, enjoying local festivals, and savoring the region’s culinary delights. But keep in mind that during the low season not many hotels and shops are open. It’s better to stay in Como town. 

Lake Como in Winter (December to February):

Winter brings a peaceful and tranquil ambiance to Lake Como. Although some hotels and attractions may have limited operating hours, it’s an excellent time for those seeking a serene getaway. Plus, if you’re a fan of winter sports, the nearby Italian Alps offer skiing and snowboarding.

Consider your preferred weather, crowd levels, and activities when choosing the best time of year to visit Lake Como! I personally think Spring is the best as you really get to see the greenery and blooms come alive and that’s what makes Lake Como so special.

Are You Planning to Drive or take the train to Lake Como?

If you are driving to Lake Como you’ll have the flexibility of staying anywhere, but if you are taking the train and ferry It’s best to stay in Varenna since it’s the only stop that has a direct stop from Milan. You could transfer via ferry to Bellagio but I think it’s most convenient to stay in Verenna, if you are going during the low season staying in Como town is probably best since the ferries don’t run as often. 

How Long are you staying in Lake Como?

If you’re going for a short visit for a day or two it’s best to stay centrally like Bellagio or Veranna for the ease to travel between the towns. 

What amenities are important to you: Are having lake views or a pool important to you? Make sure you keep that in mind when selecting your hotels. since these are both most important to most visitors the hotels do book up well in advance so reserving your hotel early is key!

  Accessibility and Transportation in Towns of Lake Como

When it comes to getting around Lake Como, both train connections and Lake Como ferry services play a major deciding factor in where to stay in Lake Como. The train connections in the towns around the lake offer convenient access to nearby cities and regions, while the ferry connections provide a scenic and convenient way to explore the various towns. However, if you are planning to take public transportation in Lake Como and use the ferries and trains, there are some towns better suited as a home base than others, We will talk about those below. But first. let’s talk about the pros and cons of driving to Lake Como.

Don’t Miss: 3 Easy Ways to Get From Milan To Lake Como

Going to Lake Como with or without a Car: Pros and Cons

Deciding whether to visit Lake Como with or without a car depends on your itinerary and the experiences you want to have.

I decided to drive from Milan to Lake Como, the Italian driving rules are easy to adjust to and  I would recommend it if you are planning to drive to the Alps or explore Tuscany after like I did. If you’re still deciding here are some pros and cons of both options:

My experience Driving to lake como from milan

Because I was driving to The Dolomites after Lake Como, having a car was easier for me since I picked up our rental from Milan airport. Driving in Italy is not hard but it is different. I wrote an article about it with tons of helpful tips so make sure you check it out.

In Lake Como, we split our time between two hotels  Villa Mojana in Oliveto Lario and Hotel Fioroni in Bellagio. We had complimentary parking at our hotel and found that leaving early in the morning and finding parking wasn’t too difficult When we arrived at our second hotel in Bellagio we decided to leave the car and take the ferry instead.

It worked great for us and made transporting our luggage a breeze. Make sure you communicate with your hotel in advance that you’ll have a car. most of the hotels will need to reserve your parking space. 

Don’t Miss: Driving In Italy (All You Need To Know

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visiting Lake Como with a Car:

PROS:

  • Flexibility: Having a car gives you the freedom to explore the region at your own pace and visit off-the-beaten-path attractions.
  • Convenience: With a car, you can easily transport luggage, groceries, and other items without relying on public transportation.
  • Accessibility: A car allows you to reach remote areas and enjoy scenic drives around the lake.

CONS:

  • Parking Challenges: Finding parking can be difficult in small towns, and paid parking can add to your expenses. 
  • Traffic and Congestion: During peak tourist seasons, traffic can be heavy, especially in popular towns and on weekends.
  • ZTL Zones: Some towns have restricted traffic zones (ZTL) where non-resident cars are not allowed, which may limit your access to certain areas.

Visiting Lake Como without a Car:

PROS:

  • Stress-Free Travel: Public transportation, such as trains and ferries, can provide a more relaxing travel experience, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the views.
  • Cost Savings: Without the need to rent a car or pay for parking, you can save money on transportation expenses.
  • Environmental Considerations: Opting for public transportation contributes to reducing carbon emissions and minimizing your environmental impact.

CONS:

  • Limited Accessibility: Some remote areas may be harder to reach without a car, and you may need to rely on public transportation schedules.
  • Less Flexibility: Depending on public transportation schedules, you may need to plan your activities and day trips more carefully. The Ferries get packed especially during summer, just because you have a ticket doesn’t guarantee room on the ferry, you won’t be able to stay late in towns and have to depend on the last ferry and risk the last ferry being full and having to pay for an expensive taxi.
  • Luggage Constraints: If you have large or heavy luggage, it can be difficult and hasslesome to transport them via packed ferries

Consider your preferred travel style, itinerary, and the experiences you want to have when deciding whether to visit Lake Como with or without a car. Both options offer unique advantages, so choose the one that suits your needs and preferences.

I recommend renting a car from Milan or any City here:

RESERVE YOUR RENTAL CAR NOW

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If you want to spend a day trip from Milan and don’t want to hassle with driving to Lake Como Check out this awesome day tour:

Milan To Lake Como Day Trip Tour

4.9 /5 898 reviews | $$

bEST PLACE TO STAY IN LAKE COMO IF ARRIVING BY TRAIN

Where To Stay In Lake Como If you are Driving

Lake como map where to stay in lake como

With the flexibility of having a car, you can stay in any town you desire! My recommendation would be to stay centrally and take your car around during the day starting early in the morning.

If you are driving from Milan to Lake Como, my recommendation is to stay centrally in Lake Como in Bellagio. I stayed in Bellagio with our car and it was the perfect location! (Check out my map below to get an idea of where the towns are located)

The best town to stay in without a car is Bellagio and the second best area to stay in Varenna.

The best town to stay at if arriving by train From Milan to Lake Como is in Varenna and the second best is in Como town. Since Varenna and Como have a direct train from Milan, it will be easiest and most convenient with luggage.

For an off-beaten path best area to stay in Lake Como but still very close to Bellagio, if you have the flexibility of driving, is in Oliveto Lario. The boutique hotel is the perfect mix of relaxation and elevated luxury: check out this cute boutique hotel near Bellagio where I stayed:

My Pick: Lake Front Lake Como Boutique Hotel with an Infinity Pool:

4.9 /5 198 reviews | $$

Best Hotels in the Town of Oliveto Lario

A small village on the East side of Bellagio, about 10 minutes drive away from the busy Bellagio. But close enough to easily visit for the day.

I stayed at a lovely small luxury boutique hotel in Oliveto Lario which had the best sunrise views over the lake. It has a stunning infinity outdoor swimming pool and the most delicious breakfast served on a balcony overlooking the stunning lake como. 

See my view review and more picture here.  It was a much more quiet and tranquil experience with an onsite restaurant with the best views of the lake. You have to stay here! It was truly one of the best experiences I’ve had in Lake Como just chilling out at the hotel for the day.

Mid-Range Hotels:


Villa Mojana: 4.9 / 5

Located near the lake, this boutique hotel offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities. It has a terrace with panoramic views, a bar, and a restaurant. It has a luxurious infinity pool and has the best sunrises in Lake Como.


Al Molo 5 : 4.9 / 5

Situated in a charming lakefront with amazing views of Lake Como in the quaint and quiet part of Como not too far from Bellagio. Al Molo is a cute family ran villa with 3 rooms all with lake view terraces that offer affordable accommodation with a lake view. It has comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a rooftop terrace. free parking is included. I was so sad to miss their balcony room as they were sold out.

Budget Hotels in Lake Como

Appartamento Narciso: 4.9/ 5.0

This budget-friendly 3 bedroom Lakeview apartment is perched higher up with stunning views of lake como. It offers luxury amenities and a modern balcony perfect for a couple and or family.

Best Hotels in Tremezzo (Tremezzina town)

Tremezzo is a small romantic village with some of Lake Como’s most famous sights like Villa Del Balvianello in Lenno, Villa Carlotta in Tremezina. It’s a great town if you’re looking for something low-key yet with plenty to do and an easy starting point to drive to other parts of Lake Como.

Luxury Hotels in lake como

where to stay in lake como
grand hotel Tremezzo from a boat

Grand Hotel Tremezzo: 4.9 / 5

A 5-star luxury hotel with breathtaking views of Lake Como. It offers elegant rooms, a private beach, spa facilities, and gourmet dining options. The lake Views are absolutely to die for. It’s a not to miss luxury if you can swing it!

Grand Hotel Cadenbbia. 4.0/ 5

A 4-star luxury hotel known for its exquisite location with amazing views of lake como. Conveniently located next to Villa Carlotta. It features spacious rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, a wellness center, and a restaurant serving local cuisine. Seriously the views are second to none.

Mid-Range Hotels

La Darsena: 4.5 / 5

A solid 3-star hotel with superb reviews and ratings. The hotel offers affordable accommodation with a lake view. It has comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a by terrace with lake views. Conveniently close by a ferry stop.

Budget Hotels:

Hotel Riviera: 4.7 /5

Located near the lake, this hotel offers comfortable rooms with simple amenities. It’s a comfortable budget friendly 3 star hotel. It includes an awesome buffet breakfast. Very well-rated and reviewed and popular among visitors

Best Places to Stay in Bellagio Lake Como 

Bellagio, often referred to as the “Pearl of Lake Como,” is a town that perfectly captures the essence of this enchanting region.

Nestled on the tip of the peninsula where Lake Como splits into two branches, Bellagio offers breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

The town boasts a unique charm with its cobbled streets, historic buildings, and vibrant promenade lined with shops and cafes. You’ll also find the Instagram-famous street in Bellagio! Make sure to arrive before the tours do, before 7 am is best !

When it comes to parking, Bellagio provides more options than another town. Bellagio has both public parking areas and private garages. Public parking typically costs around €1-2 per hour, while private garages charge approximately €20-30 per day. While parking can be a bit challenging during peak tourist seasons, go into town early to make sure you snag a spot!

Here are three hotels in Bellagio that cater to different budgets:

Luxury Hotels

Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni 4.9 / 5

A 5-star luxury hotel with breathtaking views of Lake Como.

  • Experience the pinnacle of luxury at this elegant five-star hotel.
  • Enjoy stunning lake views, lush gardens, and impeccable service.
  • Parking is available on-site for an additional fee.

Mid-Range Hotels:

Hotel du Lac: 4.7 / 5

4 star Luxury Hotel

  • A charming hotel located in the heart of Bellagio, overlooking the lake.
  • Comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and a welcoming atmosphere. Rooms with terraces
  • On-site parking is available at an extra cost.

Budget Hotels:

Hotel Fioroni:

Located in a peaceful area, provides affordable accommodation with clean and simple rooms. It has a restaurant and a about 15 minutes walk from the heart of Bellagio. Offers free breakfast! This is where we stayed the second part of our Como stay and it was perfectly clean rooms. No frills and very close to Bellagio town center.

  • A cozy and affordable hotel situated near Bellagio town center
  • Clean rooms, friendly service, and a convenient location.
  • Limited parking spaces are available at the hotel on a first-come, first-served basis.

best place to stay in Varenna lake como

Varenna is a picturesque town located on the eastern shore of Lake Como. Its narrow alleys, colorful houses, and charming waterfront create a postcard-perfect setting. Varenna offers a such peaceful ambiance, making it an ideal choice for those seeking tranquility and relaxation.

Parking in Varenna is available near the ferry terminal and along the lakefront. The cost for parking ranges from €1-2 per hour in public parking areas. Private parking lots may charge slightly higher rates, usually around €10-15 per day.

Here are three hotels in Varenna for different budgets:

best town to stay in lake como

Luxury Hotels;

Villa Cipressi: 4.8 / 5

 Villa Cipressi is a luxurious 4-star hotel housed in a historic villa dating back to the 14th century. It’s one of the best located 4 star hotels. Surrounded by lush gardens and offering breathtaking views of Lake Como, this five-star hotel provides an unforgettable experience. Relax by the pool, wander through the terraced gardens, and enjoy the hotel’s gourmet restaurant. It’s also conveniently close by the ferry stop.

Hotel Du Lac Varenna: 4.5 / 5

A 4-star intimate luxury hotel offering 16 rooms. It’s located conveniently in the town’s main center and is close to the train station. It’s great for couples!

Mid-Range Hotels:

Hotel Olivedo : 4.8 / 5

Hotel Olivedo is a charming three-star hotel located in the heart of Varenna, just a few steps away from the ferry terminal. The hotel features comfortable rooms with lake views, a terrace overlooking the lake, and a cozy bar where you can unwind with a drink. Its central location makes it an ideal base for exploring the town.

  • Located near Varenna’s train station, offering easy access to the town.
  • Comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and a charming lakeside terrace.
  • Public parking is available nearby at affordable rates.

Budget Hotels

Albergo del Sole: 4.8 / 5

 Albergo del Sole is a budget-friendly hotel that offers comfortable accommodation in the heart of Varenna. The hotel’s rooms are cozy and well-equipped, ensuring a pleasant stay. Step outside and you’ll find yourself in the charming streets of Varenna, with its picturesque views and inviting restaurants.

  • A budget-friendly hotel situated a short walk from the lakefront.
  • Clean and cozy rooms, helpful staff, and a pleasant atmosphere.
  • Limited free parking spaces are available on-site.

Best Place To Stay In Menaggio Lake Como

Menaggio is a charming town located on the western shore of Lake Como, known for its relaxed atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. It offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, golfing, and water sports. Take a leisurely stroll along the lake promenade, visit the historic Villa Carlotta, or enjoy a round of golf with stunning lake views. Here are some of the best hotels for all budgets in Menaggio:

Luxury Hotels :

Grand Hotel Menaggio: 4.8 / 5.0

Grand Hotel Menaggio is a luxurious 4-star hotel located in the heart of Menaggio. It offers elegant rooms, a rooftop pool with panoramic views, and a private beach area. Indulge in gourmet cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant or take a short stroll to explore the town’s shops and restaurants. It’s also right next to the ferry terminal. All rates include free breakfast and there is parking!


Mid-Range Hotels :

Hotel Bellavista : 4.7/ 5.0

Hotel Bellavista is a charming three-star hotel situated in a historic building in Menaggio. It offers comfortable rooms with lake views and a cozy garden terrace where you can relax. The hotel’s central location allows easy access to the town’s attractions and the ferry terminal.

Budget Hotels:

Hotel Loveno: 4.9/ 5.0

A very budget-friendly hotel very popular amongst couples and budget conscious travelers. They offer great comfort and are conveniently just 10 mins walk away from the main town center. Keep in mind, they have a min of 2-night stay!

Best Place to Stay in Cernobbio Lake Como

Cernobbio is a small town on the western shore of Lake Como, known for its elegant villas, lush gardens, and picturesque waterfront. This town exudes a sense of sophistication and offers a peaceful atmosphere for a relaxing stay. Visit the beautiful Villa d’Este, explore the charming streets, or take a boat ride on the lake. It’s one of the best places to stay if you don’t want to stay in Como town. It also offers some of the best rates. It is much further from Bellagio but you can take a fast hydrofoil and get to Bellagio in less than an hour. It’s also a good place to stay if you are driving. So, consider the following hotels in Cernobbio:

Luxury Hotels :

Villa d’Este: 4.9./ 5.0

Villa d’Este is a legendary 5-star hotel that needs no introduction. It is one of the most prestigious hotels in the world, offering luxurious rooms, impeccable service, and stunning views of Lake Como. Indulge in the hotel’s spa, exquisite dining options, and beautifully manicured gardens. If you’re looking to splurge on a truly spectacular experience, book a night or more at Villa D’Este, you will not regret it!

Hotel Asnigo : 4.9./ 5.0

Is a wonderful 4-star hotel that offers both value and the best price. It’s convenient location by the ferry and beautiful lake views is another great perk If you’re looking to splurge but don’t want to shell out major cash this is a great luxury choice.

Mid-Range Hotels :

Hotel Miralago: 4.7/ 5.0

Hotel Miralago is a charming 4-star hotel located on the lakefront of Cernobbio. It offers comfortable rooms with lake views, a terrace where you can enjoy breakfast or a drink, and a friendly and attentive staff. The hotel’s central location allows for easy exploration of Cernobbio’s attractions.

Budget Hotels :

Albergo Della Torre:

a budget-friendly hotel situated in a quiet area of Cernobbio. It provides simple yet cozy rooms, a garden, and a traditional and very popular Italian restaurant. Enjoy a peaceful stay while being somewhat closer to the lake. It’s a bit further out perfect if you have a car.

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Frequently
Asked
Questions

Don’t see your question? Ask in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer!

Help enter

Bellagio ist the most beautiful town in Lake Como.

Bellagio! It’s the prettiest and most central town. If you’re arriving by train I recommend Como town or Varenna since they have direct train stops without the need to transfer to a bus.

Bellagio is more central and easier to get around to explore other towns, Varenna is better connected to the rest of Italy with the direct train station in the center of town. So it depends on your mode of transportation.

The main town of Lake Como is Como town, it is the largest and most historic. The other main town and probably the most famous is Bellagio.

The nicest village on Como is Bellagio!

2-4 Full days is best to see all the highlights of Como.

You don’t need a car as Lake Como is fairly well connected with ferries. But you will be at the mercy of the packed ferries and their limited schedule. For the most flexibility consider renting a car and driving from Milan.

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