20 Fun Things To Do In Lake Como (Italy)

Situated 48 kilometers from the hustling and bustling Milan, Italy’s commercial capital, the city of Como’s streets and lakes seem worlds away.

However, the town’s historic center is flanked by the remains of a Roman gate, and you can see its Roman origins on the streets.

In addition, you’ll find an example of Romanesque architecture in the medieval portion of the town, with the imposing tower gate known as the Porta Torre.

The town is easy to walk around, with its various tourist attractions only a few steps away from its train station and boat landing.

The main area of the town is the Lake of Como’s waterfront promenade. Follow the Via Plinio to the piazza del Duomo.

The article elaborates on the exciting and fun things to do in Lake Como (Italy).

Where Is Lake Como?

Situated in Northern Italy’s Lombardy region, the Lake of Como is an upscale resort area known for its dramatic scenery.

The lake’s primary characteristic is its upside-down Y shape and its branches that meet at the town of Bellagio.

At the lake’s southwest branch, you’ll find the city of Comune, home to Renaissance architecture, and a tram that goes up to the town of Brunate.

It measures approximately 146 square kilometers and is the third-largest lake in the country.

Measuring over 400 meters deep, it’s the fifth-deepest lake in Europe and the deepest outside Norway.

It also has one of the world’s lowest water levels at over 200 meters below sea level.

It’s a popular retreat for wealthy individuals and aristocrats, and it has many beautiful palaces and villas.

Some of these include Villa Serbelloni, Villa Carlotta, and Villa Olmo. Many famous individuals have also lived on its shores.

Things To Do In Lake Como (Italy)

There are several exciting things and interesting places to visit in Lake Como. There is something for everyone, and it is the ideal tourist destination. These are some of the things to do in Lake Como;

1. Duomo

The cathedral of Como is located in the town’s historic center, and it features a pure Gothic design. It features various carved and detailed statues and marble carvings.

One is a statue of Pliny the Elder, a Roman who was not friendly with early Christians. Other figures are located on the other side of the main door.

Entering the cathedral will give you a glimpse of why it’s regarded as one of Italy’s most significant examples of Renaissance-style church architecture.

The main altar and the rose window are adorned with gilding and polychrome paintings. Then, if you’re energetic, you can climb the 18th-century dome. 

Address: Duomo is at Piazza Duomo 6, Como.

2. Basilica di Sant’Abbondio

Take a walk from the center to the cathedral. It’s worth the trip to see this impressive structure, which was constructed in the 11th century in the style of the Lombard Romanesque.

The church’s interior is narrow and painted in a 13th-century style.

The church was constructed by skilled artisans known as the Maestri Comacini or the Masters of Stonework.

Most of the stone carving was carried out on the cathedral’s exterior. It was protected from environmental damage and harsh weather conditions. 

Address: Basilica di Sant’Abbondio is at Regina 35, Como.

3. Museo Civico

The two palaces near the cathedral are museums of history and archaeology. One of these is the Museo Archeologico, which features an impressive collection of Roman and Neolithic artifacts.

It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about the lives of the people in Lake Como.

One of the most exciting places to visit in Lake Como is the Museo Storico Giuseppe Garibaldi.

This museum features a variety of artifacts related to the Risorgimento, which occurred when Italy gained its freedom from Austria.

This area also features period exhibits that show the history of the region. 

Address: The Museo Civico is at Piazza Medaglie d’Oro 1, Como.

4. Tempio Voltiano

One of the most prominent structures in the area is the Tempio Voltiano, a Neoclassical building dedicated to the memory of local inventor and pioneer of the electric battery, Alessandro Volta.

This museum was constructed in 1927 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death. It features various equipment used by Volta in his scientific studies.

A beautiful monument close to the temple is known as the “Monument of the Resistance and the Victims of the Nazi War,” designed by Milan sculptor Gianni Colombo.

It features various inscriptions and stones from concentration camps operated by the Nazis.

Address: Tempio Voltiano is at Viale Guglielmo Marconi, 1, 22100 Como CO, Italy.

5. Boat Trips

Most boat services run across the lake during the early spring and autumn season.

The ferry across the lake makes it easy for people to reach the various areas in the region, such as Varenna and Menaggio.

Before taking a boat trip to the lake, you must know the trip’s schedule. Usually, the hydrofoil service is fast, but it’s not always possible to see everything on the way.

6. Cernobbio

One of the most prominent areas located in the lake is the Palatial Villa d’Este, which was built for an English queen.

This property features a variety of gardens and exquisite Art Nouveau-style villas. The rest of the town is not as grand, but it has a variety of shops and restaurants that are also very enticing.

One of the most lavish villas on the lake is the Villa Bernasconi; a short walk away from the boat landing.

This property was constructed during the 1900s for Davide Bernasconi, one of Italy’s leading silk producers. It features an interactive museum that tells the house’s story and its occupants.

Address: Cernobbio is Via Regina, 23 22012 Cernobbio Italia. 

7. Villa Balbianello

The Lenno property is located on the shore of the lake near Monte Crocione. It features a variety of gardens and villas that are situated on a peninsula that’s known as Punta di Balbianello.

This property was built during the 18th century for Cardinal Antonio Lenno. The gardens are set on terraces that feature columns and various other features.

Getting to the property can be done by taking a boat from Lenno. On certain days, you can also walk the trail to the property.

During the tourist season, this area is visited during guided tours. Although the house’s interior is only shown on these tours, the garden is the main attraction.

Address: Villa Balbianello is Via Comoedia 5, Lenno.

8. Villa Carlotta

The area known as the Tremezzina Riviera is known for its mild climate and beautiful gardens.

Although the Villa Carlotta is full of paintings and sculptures, most tourists come to see its gardens, which are full of colorful flowers.

The gardens contain blooming camellias and massive massed rhododendrons during the spring.

One of the most popular areas of interest in this area is the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, located right next to the gardens of the Villa Carlotta. This property features magnificent mountain views and a variety of accommodations. 

Address: The Villa Carlotta is Via Regina 2, Tremezzo, Como.

9. Abbazia di Piona

The Piona monastery was constructed during the 13th century near the church of San Nicola.

This structure features a small enclosure that’s surrounded by elegant columns. Each of these columns has its capital carved with various animal and plant motifs.

The walls of monastery’s walls are covered in paintings that date back to the 14th and 15th centuries.

In addition, the monastery monks sell various products made from the abbey’s gardens. 

Address: The Abbazia di Piona is at Via Abbazia di Piona 57, Colico.

10. Villa Monastero

The Villa Monastero’s gardens are set on a long flight of stairs. This property features a variety of exotic and native plants placed on terraces.

The formal beds of these plants have various features, such as mini temples and statues.

The Villa Monastero is currently a conference center rented out during non-use periods. The gardens are a short walk away from the town and part of a cluster of pastel houses.

If you’re planning on visiting this area, stop by the church of St. Christopher. This structure has a massive mural of St. Christopher on its facade. 

Address: The Villa Monastero is at Viale Giovanni Polvani, Varenna.

11. Bellagio

The town of Bellagio is known for its beautiful setting on the lake. The town’s various buildings and gardens are designed to provide excellent views of the lake.

The views are always spectacular whether you look from the street or through the windows.

The town’s shops are located along one of the town’s main streets, a long flight of stairs connecting the upper part of the town to the boat landing.

Two of the town’s gardens are also popular tourist attractions. One of these gardens is situated along the lake, while the other is high above the city.

Address: Bellagio is located at 22021 Province of Como, Italy.

12. Villa Serbelloni

The Villa Serbelloni gardens are located high above the town and are designed to provide excellent views of the lake and the Alps.

This historic building was constructed with a variety of features that were made to maximize the views. One of the garden’s highlights is the rose gardens set in boxwood hedges.

Although the Villa Serbelloni is not open to the public, it can be visited through 90-minute guided tours. These tours can be arranged through the promo office of the town’s tourism department. 

Address: The Villa Serbelloni garden is at Piazza Della Chiesa 14, Bellagio.

13. Villa Melzi 

Upon reaching the town of Bellagio, the lake steamer will pass through the gardens of Villa Melzi d’Eril.

This property features a variety of gardens that were designed to provide excellent views of the lake. The villa’s gardens were designed to frame the views with various statues and plants.

The Orangerie, the water garden, and the neo-Moorish pavilion are some of the highlights of Villa Serbelloni’s gardens.

Although this property is not open to the public, it features art exhibits that are regularly changed.

Address: Villa Melzi  is at Lungo Lario Manzoni, Bellagio.

14. Brunate

One of the most popular things to do in Lake Como is to visit Brunate’s Terrace, which offers panoramic views of the lake.

This is a place that’s outside the city limits, but it’s still very nice to see.

Address: Brunate is at Piazza Alcide de Gasperi, 4, 22100 Como CO, Italy.

15. Menaggio

Situated on the western portion of Lake Como, Menaggio is a charming town that’s easy to reach by boat. Its promenade gives you amazing views of the lake.

The entire shoreline of the city is also beautiful. This is one of the best things to do in Lake Como.

Address: Menaggio is at 22017 Menaggio, Province of Como, Italy

16. Varenna

Varenna is a beautiful town and a great place to spend the summer without dealing with the crowds in the city of Bellagio.

Address: Varenna is at Piazza Venini, 1 – 23829 Varenna – Italy.

17. Lecco

When visiting Lake Como, stop by Lecco, around 30 minutes from the city of Bellagio.

After you’ve arrived, you can head to the Palace of Fears, a museum that features thousands of contemporary art pieces.

Address: Lecco is at Piazza Diaz, 1 – 23900 Lecco – Italy. 

18. Historical Museum of Giuseppe Garibaldi

Photo by Elliott Brown via Flickr

The Giuseppe Garibaldi Historical Museum will give you a deeper understanding of the lake’s history.

It features various exhibits highlighting the Italian traditions prevalent in the area during that time.

Address: Historical Museum of Giuseppe Garibaldi  is at Piazza Medaglie d’Oro Comasche, Como,Italy.

19. Taste Risotto with perch and missoltino

The main ingredient in the menus of Lake Como is fish. However, various dishes can be found in this area, such as risotto and missoltino.

20. Sagra di San Giovanni

This is one of the oldest traditions in Lake Como. It is celebrated on the 24th of June. This event is held on the weekends that coincide with the saint’s feast day.

Address: Sagra di San Giovanni is at 22010 Tremezzina, Province of Como, Italy.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Lake Como?

The best time to visit Lake Como is during the April to October season. It’s warm and mild during this period. There are various things to do in Lake Como during this period.

How Much Does It Cost To Visit Lake Como?

The average cost of a seven-day trip to Lake Como is $1,442 for a solo traveler, $3,769 for a couple, and $4,192 for a family of four.

Most vacation rentals in the area will set you back around $150 to $380 per night.