Best Things to do in Lake Como, Italy

From gorgeous lakeside views to picture-perfect villages and delectable Italian cuisine, a holiday to Lake Como has it all…

06 March 2023

things to do lake como

Lake Como, with its picturesque beauty, is a beloved Italian destination known for its stunning scenery, gourmet dining and ample outdoor activities. 

Situated in northern Italy at the foot of the Alps, Lake Como is the third largest lake in the country, second only to Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. Lake Como offers a huge wealth of things to do, ranging from leisurely boat rides along the spectacular lake, to hiking the nearby mountains and hills, and ending the day wining and dining on a terrace with a view. Flitting about Lake Como trends on the more expensive side of a trip to Italy, but its stunning and varied landscapes combined with buzzy lakeside towns and villages make it a great place for couples looking for a romantic escape. 

The best time to visit Lake Como is typically spring, from March to May, when crowds are lighter and the weather is milder and sunnier. September and October are also good choices for similar reasons, but it's recommended to bring layers and waterproof clothing in case of any showers.

A map showing the villages and resorts around Lake Como

The Best Places to Go and Things to Do in Lake Como 

In Lake Como, there are several beautiful lakeside resorts which lend themselves to some of the area’s best activities. If you’re into outdoor pursuits, you’re in luck as Lake Como is just the place for it, offering a fantastic array of tours including luxury lake cruises, cycling excursions, and even gourmet cooking classes

One of the best things to do in Lake Como though is to savour its breathtaking landscapes and stunning sunsets. It’s the captivating setting that make it one of the most remarkable destinations for a holiday. 

Now, get ready to discover some of our favourite spots in Lake Como to embrace the luxury lifestyle. 

Hot Travel Tip: Interested in one of our perfect pairings? Check out our Lake Como & Portofino itinerary!

1. Como 

City of Como by the lake

When searching for things to do in Lake Como, start with a visit to Como - the largest city on the lake. With a range of options from indulgent culinary and wine tastings to exploring sights and going on hikes, it's worth spending a day or two to fully experience the city. Highlights in Como include the historic Duomo, a 14th-century cathedral known for its Gothic and Renaissance architecture, the Tempio Voltiano Museum dedicated to artist Alessandro Volta, and the medieval Castello Baradello ruins. A visit to the castle provides breathtaking panoramic views of the lake, so be sure to bring your camera! 

We’d also recommend getting the funicular from Como to Brunate, which has a restaurant at the top and gives you incredible views of the Alps and Lake Como along the way.

2. Bellagio 

The town of Bellagio sitting on the lake

Known as the ‘pearl of Lake Como’ due to its beauty and opulence, Bellagio is another charming and romantic town in the area that’s well worth discovering. For those looking for things to do in Lake Como, Bellagio is an ideal place for wandering the picturesque streets and alleys, shopping, dining and long lazy afternoons spent admiring the lake view, Aperol Spritz in hand. If you’re keen to get out on the water during your trip, you can even hire your very own boat and sail the shores of Lake Como - the perfect sunset activity. 

3. Varenna  

Varenna perched on Lake Como

Arguably one of the most beautiful spots in Lake Como, there are countless ways to relax and enjoy the many things to do in Varenna. During the summer season, it's an ideal location to escape to with fewer crowds than Como or Bellagio. Stroll its medieval streets and the beautiful gardens of the Villa Monstero, or spend some time exploring the Castello di Vezio - a grand, walled castle featuring a drawbridge and battlements. For those looking to stretch their legs, the Sentiero Del Viandante - a 40 km hike that used to be an ancient Roman highway - winds along the hillsides on the eastern side of the lake, affording you consistently breathtaking views, particularly at sunset.

4. Menaggio 

The marina in the town Menaggio

In the Lake Como region, Menaggio is another charming town to discover, with things to do centred around relaxing sightseeing, strolling cobbled streets and enjoying the view from a lakeside café or bistro. The charming Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi is a lively square for a coffee or a glass of wine, while the walled marina on the waterfront promenade is undoubtedly one of the town’s most picturesque spots. The church of Santo Stefano is another highlight, featuring an altar of the Madonna where you can find a copy of the painting by Bernardino Luino depicting Maria with Jesus and an angel, the original of which is now at the Louvre. 

5. Tremezzo 

Tremezzo on Lake Como with mountains in the background

A quaint village sitting on the western side of Lake Como, Tremezzo is best known for its pretty villas and gardens, including the famous Villa Carlotta. This impressive lakeside villa and botanical garden offers scenic views and beautifully ornate interiors replete with artwork and sculptures, making it well worth a visit. The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is another lovely spot if you fancy a nice lunch or afternoon aperitif. 

The village itself is also a great place to stroll and explore if you have a couple of hours to spare, home to small public parks, a pretty fountain and churches to admire. Similar to some of the other spots on our list, from the shores of Tremezzo, you can take a private boat tour allowing you to soak up the scenery of Lake Como. 

6. Lecco 

Lecco on Lake Como with a valley in the background

Thanks to its location on the southeastern shoreline, Lecco is the perfect first or last stop during your holiday in Lake Como. When it comes to things to do in Lake Como, the fact that Lecco is surrounded by mountains makes it a great spot for keen hikers or cyclists, offering wonderful views over the diverse landscapes of the area. Other notable landmarks worth exploring include the Palace of Fears - a fascinating museum which houses contemporary art - and the Basilica of San Nicolò, a religious site which has stood for almost 1000 years. 

Meet our Italy Specialists 

Now armed with a list of the best things to do in Lake Como, you can start planning the perfect itinerary for your Italy or Lake Como holiday, with the help of one of our friendly travel experts today.

Hannah Ingle

Europe Specialist

I have always been captivated by the rich art, history and monumental architecture which encapsulates the diverse culture that saturates Europe. My sense of adventure is relentless. Whether it be chasing the Northern Lights in Finland while driving a team of huskies, exploring the unique architectural palaces adorning India and Istanbul, or galloping through the Atlas Mountains on horseback.

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