Lake Como: where to stay and go on vacation

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Alejandra Rangel
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wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Lake Como is one of the most popular Italian destinations to go on vacation, not only during the summer, but also during the rest of the year. In this guide we will see and know what the best places to stay on Lake Como, to spend a pleasant holiday and comfortably visit the lake.

The lake has a characteristic shape of an inverted "Y". The two southern branches start from the towns of Como in the west and Lecco in the east and meet at mid-height, where the holiday resorts of Bellagio, Varenna and Menaggio are located, to continue in a single branch up to Colico in the north.



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È the third largest lake in Italy, with an area of ​​146 square kilometers. It has a maximum length of 51 km and about 170 km of coastline where some of the most important Italian holiday resorts are located. The southern areas are flatter, while the northern areas are more mountainous, especially those at the foot of the Alps.

Where to stay on Lake Como

Como: the best place to stay

How - Pixabay Photo

Como is the main tourist city and a must see on Lake Como, from which the lake also takes its name. There are so many attractions, places to visit and things to do, to allow you to spend long and pleasant holidays at the lake. Como is only 40 minutes by train and approx 1 hour drive from Milan.

This elegant city is the best place to stay for various reasons: it is one of the most lakeside cities easy to reach, has the most wide and varied tourist accommodation offer of all the locations on the lake, there are so many things to do and see, and it's a good starting point to visit the lake and to make numerous excursions.



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It is the best location if you want to find one good variety of accommodation and the best prices. The most beautiful area to visit is the one overlooking the lake, where there are numerous shops, bars and restaurants overlooking the lake. On the lakefront there are also many agencies that carry out ferry excursions to visit the lake.

One of the coolest things to do is take the cable car from Como to Brunate, from where you can enjoy a splendid view of Lake Como. The city is also a good starting point for visit Switzerland. The city of Chiasso, located just after the border with Switzerland, is only 5 km from Como.

Lecco: for families with children and for its beaches

Lecco -

Lecco, located on the southern tip of the right branch of the lake, is one of the easiest lakeside locations to reach. The city of Lecco also has a particular charm for its places, which they inspired Manzoni in the famous novel of "The Promessi Sposi".

The visit of the city it is very interesting at any time of the year, especially from mid-spring to early autumn. This quiet town it's a great choice to stay on the lake for those seeking relaxation and especially for families with children who want to avoid mass tourism.


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Surrounded by high mountains, Lecco is a city very picturesque and a perfect starting point for mountain activities, such as trekking, climbing and cycling. The location also allows you to fully experience the lake, relaxing on its own beaches, practicing the various watersports or making one boat ride towards the other places on the shores of the lake.


The tourist accommodation offer is very wide and varied, with generally good quality facilities and they also offer a good value for money. Lecco is one of the easiest areas of the lake to reach, both by car, by train and by plane. It is located approx 40 km from Bergamo Orio al Serio airport, used by many low cost airlines such as Ryanair.

Do not miss the climb with the Piano d'Erna cableway, which leads from Lecco to 1375 meters above sea level, from where you can enjoy a splendid view of the lake. The area is an important summer and winter entertainment area, as well as a good starting point for excursions to the Resegone. In summer an adventure park is active, as well as a treadmill that serves a tubing track. In winter the treadmill is used for snow-tubing, bobsleigh and toboggan runs.

Bellagio: to stay in a central position

Bellagio - Photo from Piqsels

Bellagio, located in the picturesque intersection of the "three legs" of Lake Como, is one of the most beautiful cities on the shores of the lake. Lot of celebrities, like George Clooney, they have chosen the location to rest and spend pleasant stays in this splendid tourist and cultural destination.


Bellagio, also known by the name of "The Pearl of the Lake", offers views of incomparable beauty. It is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, with prestigious villas and large hotels with wonderful parks, which testify to the tourist importance of this enchanting lake center.

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Stroll on the lakefront it is very pleasant, especially on sunny days, when you can stop and relax in one of the many cafes and restaurants, and enjoy a unique view. The ancient architecture of the historic buildings and villas overlooking the lake give the town a particular charm, a magical aspect, as if time has stopped, bringing the tourist to live a fantastic and unique experience.


The locality enjoys a truly exclusive geographical position. By ferry you can easily reach the towns of Menaggio, Varenna and Cadenabbia, but also the other towns on the lake. Finding good accommodation will not be difficult, there are hundreds of accommodations, including many good hotels to experience a fairytale stay.

Varenna: the town with the most beautiful landscapes

Varenna -

Varenna is a pretty fishing village in the central part of Lake Como. One of the most beautiful features of this city are the colorful houses and villas built next to each other, on a small piece of land just below a mountain.

Il Old Town of Varenna, made of stairs and steep alleys, is pleasantly welcoming with its bars with panoramic terraces overlooking the lake and a beautiful pedestrian boulevard along the shore of the lake. To make your stay even more pleasant the nice hotels and the many prestigious restaurants.

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There are also interesting places to visit, such as the remains of the Vezio Castle where a falconer occasionally gives shows, or the suggestive and relaxing botanical gardens of Villa Cipressi and Villa Monastero.

Le boat trips on Lake Como are an essential part of any holiday in these locations. His central position allows you to easily reach Bellagio, Cadenabbia, Menaggio and the other towns on the shores of the lake. Varenna can be reached even by train. There are express trains that depart from Milano Centrale station, stop in a few stations including Lecco and reach Varenna in just over an hour.

Menaggio: for excursions and for relaxation

Menaggio -

Menaggio is a small but beautiful village centrally located on the western shore of Lake Como. The beauty of the town and its location, excellent for visiting the nearby towns of Bellagio, Varenna and Lenno, make Menaggio an interesting choice where to stay on the lake.

The locality has an interesting tourist accommodation offer with over 200 accommodations, mostly hotels, bed & breakfasts, holiday homes and tourist apartments. Menaggio is one of the most touristic places on Lake Como, with many hotels, bars, shops and restaurants along the lakefront. Being a small town, you can easily get around it on foot.

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From the Menaggio pier it is possible to take the Ferries to Varenna and Bellagio, located on the opposite banks, or take a boat to theComacina Island, the only island on Lake Como. From Menaggio you can also reach Como in about two hours by boat.

Staying in Menaggio allows you to easily visit the Lugano lake. The town is less than 30 km from Lugano and just over 10 km from Porlezza, a renowned tourist destination on Lake Lugano, very popular both in summer and in spring and autumn.

Colico: for beaches and water sports

Colico -

Located along the shores of the northern arm of Lake Como, where the Adda river enters the lake, Colico is the most important tourist resort in the northern part of the lake. Although located in the northern part of the lake, it can be reached easily, even by train. From Milan or Bergamo it is about 80 km (1 hour and 20 minutes). It is also the terminus of the ferries departing from Como and Lecco.

Dominated by Monte Legnone, near Colico there is an important nature reserve, the Pian di Spagna and Lake Mezzola Nature Reserve. The small town is known for the famous Abbey of Piona, a sublime architectural complex with a Romanesque church built in the mid-XNUMXth century.

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Staying in Colico it is a good choice for various reasons: to visit the northern part of the lake, you can also reach it by train, it is a very nice city to stay and there is a good hotel offer with over 20 hotels and over a hundred accommodation various types. In addition, the location, in addition to beautiful beaches, is an excellent destination for lovers of water sports such as windsurfing and kite surfing.

Lenno: for couples and romantic trips

Lenno -

Considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Lenno is a splendid choice to stay to fully enjoy the tranquility and nature that surrounds Lake Como. Lenno is also a good starting point for beautiful excursions.

Located inside a dessert natural inlet, Lenno attracts for its beautiful villas on the lake, the small streets, and the many bars and restaurants on the beautiful lakefront. One of the most beautiful villas is Villa del Balbianello, located at the tip of the Lavedo peninsula.

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From the nearby Sala Comacina pier it is possible to take the ferries to Varenna and Bellagio, located on the opposite banks, or take a boat to theComacina Island, the only island on Lake Como.

Do not miss a walk on the Greenway of Lake Como. Suitable for everyone and in all seasons, it leads to the discovery of the nature and history of these wonderful places and ancient villages, churches, villas and gardens. Very interesting is also the ascent by cable car from Argegno to Pigra to admire a breathtaking view of the lake and the nearby Pre-Alps.

What to see and do on Lake Como

Map of the best areas to stay on Lake Como

Lake Como is quite characteristic, appreciated for its beauty and uniqueness for several centuries, precisely from the Roman era. The the most beautiful tourist cities to reach with a boat ride on the lake are: Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna. But Gravedona, Colico, and Domaso (to the north) and Bellano, Lenno, Tremezzo and Argegno (center of the lake) are also worth a visit.

THEComacina Island it is the only island of Lake Como. On the island there is the church of San Giovanni and the remains of the Basilica of S. Eufemia, as well as a renowned restaurant which is the destination of many VIPs. The island can be reached by boat from Menaggio and by a small ferry from Sala Comacina.

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Spending a holiday on Lake Como allows you to enjoy its beaches from mid-spring to early autumn. In the summer it is possible to do pleasant swims in its clear waters or practice one of the many watersports, for a day of fun and relaxation. Lake Como is full of lidos and equipped beaches with sunbeds, umbrellas and rescue service.

Lake Como is surrounded by some imposing peaks, which are reflected in its waters and make the landscape unique. The valleys surrounding Lake Como are some of the most beautiful areas of the Prealps, rich in vegetation and populated by numerous animal species. In winter it is possible in the neighboring valleys ski, as in the ski resort of Piani di Bobbio.

How to get to Lake Como

Getting to Lake Como is quite simple and convenient, not only from all over Lombardy, but also from all over Italy. The main places to reach to visit Lake Como are the cities of Lecco and Como. The main access points to the lake are Milan and Bergamo.

By plane

If you want to reach Lake Como by plane you need to take a flight to the airports of Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate or Bergamo Orio al Serio, and then continue by rental car (recommended) or by public transport: buses and trains.

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Rent a car

By train

Trains to reach the towns on Lake Como leave from Milan. From Milan you can reach the city of Como, or with the Milan-Lecco-Colico-Morbegno-Sondrio-Tirano line the localities on the eastern coast of the lake.

By car

Today, with smartphones and navigators, it is very easy to reach any destination. However, to help you choose the places to stay or where to go on holiday on Lake Como, we list the distances and travel times by car from Milan and Bergamo.

  • Como: from Milan (50 km - 55 min.) - from Bergamo (90 km - 75 min.)
  • Lecco: from Milan (55 km - 65 min.) - from Bergamo (40 km - 50 min.)
  • Menaggio: from Milan (80 km - 90 min.) - from Bergamo (120 km - 110 min.)
  • Varenna: from Milan (75 km - 85 min.) - from Bergamo (55 km - 75 min.)
  • Bellagio: from Milan (70 km - 90 min.) - from Bergamo (60 km - 80 min.)
  • Lenno: from Milan (75 km - 80 min.) - from Bergamo (115 km - 100 min.)
  • Colico: from Milan (90 km - 90 min.) - from Bergamo (70 km - 80 min.)

How to move on the lake

By train

Trains run on Lake Como only on the eastern shore of the lake, with various stations present between Lecco and Colico. Direct trains depart from Milan Central Station, while regional trains depart from Milan Porta Garibaldi. Regional trains stop at all stations. The stations on Lake Como are: Lecco, Abbadia Lariana, Mandello, Lierna, Fiumelatte, Varenna, Bellano, Dervio, Dorio, Piona and Colico.

By car

The car definitely remains a very valid way to get around between the various locations, but the ferry in many cases could be a better and faster choice, especially to reach the opposite shore.

By ferry

The ferry is one of the most comfortable and suggestive means to visit the coastal towns. It is not only a means of transport, but also one of the most beautiful experiences you can have on the lake to fully enjoy it. The ferries that also carry cars allow you to cross the lake between Varenna, Bellagio, Cadenabbia and Menaggio.

Map of Lake Como
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