Things to do in Lake Como

Itineraries for Your Trip to Lake Como

Lake Como locals share their perfect days.
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3 Days in Lake Como for First Timers

Curated by Alex Badgera lover of Italy and Lombardy local.

Shaped like an upside-down Y, Lake Como offers three different branches to explore. I often head to Como at the southwestern tip, and use it as a base to visit the central lake area, home to the romantic lake towns of Bellagio and Varenna. If you want to skip the summer crowds, I’d recommend checking out the lake’s eastern and northern branches where you’ll find terracotta-hued villages and the lovely, low-key town of Lecco.

Pack bug spray when traveling to Lake Como during humid summer months.

If you only have time for one thing, make it a visit to Como town.

Day 1

Take to the water to see the sights using the public ferries. English is widely spoken around the main Lake Como towns, but it helps to know some Italian terms so you don’t end up on the wrong boats. Battello is a slow vessel, aliscafo is a quick hydrofoil, and traghetto is a car ferry that also takes foot passengers.

Guided cruises and day trips cut out the risk of confusion and include planned stops at must-see towns like Bellagio and Varenna. If you book online, you’ll save time waiting in the sun at the pier ticket offices, too.

Day 2

View the lake from Lake Como Greenway trail, a 6-mile (10-kilometer) walking route between Colonno and Griante. Mid-route, at Lenno, you can visit Villa del Balbianello and its manicured gardens—filming locations from the James Bond Casino Royale and the Star Wars films.

Note that the walking route isn’t circular. If you’re staying in Como without transportation, you can reach Colonno by bus, then finish the walk in Tremezzo to cruise back to Como. Or if you’d prefer simpler logistics, there are tours from Como that combine visits to Villa del Balbianello with time in Bellagio or tours of Como town.

Day 3

Enjoy a lazy morning with a slow boat ride to Bellagio, a journey that offers meandering lake views but gets you there in time for lunch. From the pier, walk away from the center to the furthest tip of the promontory where the La Punta restaurant awaits. The views and food are equally impressive; just note, it’s best to book in advance.

Walk off the food with a stroll around Bellagio’s streets—favorite backdrops for photos posted to social media. When you’re ready to break from the crowds, the botanical gardens of Villa Melzi offer respite with sculptures, azaleas, and rhododendrons.

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