What to see on Lake Como in 1, 2, 3 or 4 days

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Alejandra Rangel
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Lake Como is one of the most beautiful places to go on holiday in Italy. One of the main reasons, which attracts millions of tourists every year, are its beauties, made up of beautiful villages, a flourishing nature and unique landscapes. Find out all in this short guide the most beautiful places to visit on Lake Como.

Located in Lombardy, Lake Como is the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore, with 170 km of coastline where they also arise beautiful beaches. It is also the deepest, with a maximum depth of 410 meters.



Lake Como is also known by the name of Lario, from the Latin Larius as the Romans called it. Its shape resembles an upside-down "Y", with three thin branches that converge at the city of Bellagio.

At the ends of the three branches there are some of the most important tourist destinations on the lake. To the west is the locality of Como, to the east that of Lecco and north Colico. In central partinstead, some of the most beautiful villages are located: Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna

Already in Roman times it was a popular holiday and relaxation place for aristocrats and the rich, and even today this lake continues to exercise a strong tourist attraction, thanks to a succession of spectacular views, historic villas, splendid gardens, characteristic and magical villages, so beautiful that they seem straight out of fairy tales, and the breathtaking views of the Alps.

On the shores of this large lake they are nestled 36 towns and villages. With such a wide choice of places to see, the question is spontaneous. What are the most interesting destinations to visit? To make it easier for you to visit and organize your trip or vacation, we reveal what they are the best places to see on Lake Como.



The most beautiful places on Lake Como

Como

Como – Lombardy – Pixabay photo

Como is the third most visited city in the Lombardy region, after Milan and Bergamo. AND a good starting point to visit Lake Como, it is only 40 minutes by train and about 1 hour by car from Milan. From Como you can also easily reach the Switzerland, the border is only 5 km.

The town and its squares are elegant and picturesque, but they are there large villas surrounding the shores of the lake, against a mountainous backdrop, which are truly magnificent. THE most famous monuments of the city are: the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Basilica of San Fedele, the Basilica of San Abbondino, the Villa Olmo, the Casa del Fascio, the Temple of Volta and the Baradello Castle.

Taking the funicolare for the mountain resort of Brunate, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the lake and the city of Como. The one-way ticket costs € 3, while the return ticket costs € 5,5. In the port (about five minutes walk from the train station) there is a ferry (costs about € 8) which takes passengers to some of the most beautiful villages on the lake: Argegno, Bellagio, Gravedona, Tremezzina.

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Cernobbio

Cernobbio is located 1,5 km north-west of Como. It is a small town of 7 inhabitants, on the western shores of Lake Como and at the foot of Monte Bisbino.


It houses the famous Villa d'Este, one of the largest hotels on the lake, but also in all of Italy. Originally built in 1568 as the summer residence of the Cardinal of Como, Tolomeo Gallio, it became a luxury hotel in 1873 and has hosted a wealthy and famous clientele ever since.


Cernobbio has acalm and cosmopolitan atmosphere, and is wider than many other lakeside towns, thanks to its relatively flat topography. Its church is the most emblematic monument of the city. However, you can also visit the beautiful one Villa Erba e Villa Bernasconi.

Going up on Monte Bisbino it is possible to see the city and the lake, for a postcard setting. For fans of trekking, the city is located near the beginning of the Monti Lariani trail, which extends for 125 km to the northernmost point of the lake.

Find a hotel in Cernobbio

Lenno

Lenno -

Lenno rises on the western shore of Lake Como, in a beautiful gulf called the Gulf of Venus. Its lakefront is perfect for a quiet walk or a relaxing break in one of the restaurants or bars with tables overlooking the lake.

Among the historic buildings to visit in Lenno, we point out the spectacular Villa del Balbianello, one of the most beautiful properties in Italy, featured in several films - including Casino Royal (2006) and Star Wars Episode II. The villa is now a museum and can only be visited on a guided tour.


Also not to be missed is the visit of the nineteenth century Villa Aureggi, Baptistery of the eleventh century, the Villa Cassinella of Mantegazza,Acquafredda Abbey church of Santo Stefanor, inside which there are frescoes of the fourteenth century and the suggestive beach located in front of the San Giorgio hotel.

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tremezzo

Tremezzo -

Located directly in front of Bellagio, Tremezzo is often referred to as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Since 1947 the town, together with Lenno and Mezzegra, has become part of a single municipality, known as Tremezzina. The wonderful villas he huge hotels built from the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth century, they made Tremezzo an international tourist reference point.


Tremezzo has two souls, the coastal one and the hilly one, both very beautiful and evocative. Something truly engaging is the visit of Villa Carlotta (500th century), famous for its gardens, composed of over XNUMX species of rare exotic plants, and an extraordinary art collection.

Also not to be missed Villa La Quiete, located in Bolivedro and built in the XNUMXth century, Villa La Carlia, remarkable building from the mid-1700s, Parco Meier and the church of Santa Maria, popularly known for the beautiful statue of the Black Madonna.

Another attraction of the city is the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, located on the seafront and offering a breathtaking view of the lake and Bellagio. Built more than 100 years ago, in the Art Nouveau style, it has retained a charm of yesteryear.

Find a Tremezzo hotel

Bellagio

Bellagio - Photo from Piqsels

Nicknamed "the pearl of the lake", Bellagio is considered one of the most beautiful and idyllic cities of Lake Como, but also of Europe and it is easy to see why. Ideally located between the two branches of the lake, Bellagio offers incomparable views.

The oldest area of ​​Bellagio, known as “il Borgo”, occupies the area at the end of the promontory. It is a beautiful combination of stairs lined with colorful shops, great restaurants, small squares and cafes.

Don't miss the garden of Villa Melzi and the park of Villa Serbelloni. A lookout point to visit is Punta Spartivento, for a beautiful view of the lake.

Bellagio is a strategic starting point to see the entire lake, thanks to the various public transport available, including boats, ferries or hydrofoils.

Find a hotel in Bellagio

Cadenabbia

Cadenabbia is a small fraction of the Municipality of Griante, located on the shores of Lake Como. It is home to lavish villas, grand hotels, beautiful gardens, historic churches, and hiking trails.

Unmissable stop when staying in Cadenabbia is definitely Villa Carlotta. Built in the early 1700s it is one of the most famous (and most visited) properties on the lake, thanks to its beautiful landscape and its art collection that displays works of extraordinary beauty. It is a 10-minute walk, between Tremezzo and Cadenabbia.

Other points of interest are certainly theComacina Island, Vezio Castle  Basilica of San Giacomo and the Gardens of Villa Melzi.

Find a Cadenabbia hotel

Varenna

Varenna -

Varenna is a small village perched on a promontory along the eastern shore of Lake Como. Traditionally a fishing village, Varenna has a nice old town composed of narrow alleys and colored houses, located one next to the other, and of the suggestive stairways that lead to the enchanting lakefront. It is one of the few accessible villages by train from Milan.

Worth a visit: the church dedicated to San Giorgio which preserves frescoes and paintings from the XNUMXth-XNUMXth centuries; there Villa Monastero from the XNUMXth century, originally a female monastery and now a museum; the wonderful gardens of Villa Cipressi, today a luxury hotel; and the Vezio castle, which overlooks Varenna.

Find a hotel in Varenna

Menaggio

Menaggio -

Menaggio is one of the most visited cities on the shores of Lake Como. The town is located near Bellagio, on the opposite side of Varenna, in the central part of the lake. As with almost all of the more famous towns in this area, Menaggio has a beautiful lakefront, a main square full of cafes and a small historic center to explore.

The city is famous for being a good starting point for hiking and cycling in the surrounding hills, or to reach other towns and villages on Lake Como.

Find a hotel in Menaggio

Bellano

View of Bellano -

Located east of the northern branch of Lake Como, Bellano is less visited than the nearby city of Varenna, but remains no less fascinating, with picturesque houses on the lake and a beautiful one pristine beach.

Its most famous attraction is theRavine of Bellano, a waterfall located in a 15 million year old gorge, formed by erosion. You can admire the gorge through a walkway anchored to the rocky walls that runs through the entire gorge.

Bellano is a good choice to stay on Lake Como. You can find a room with a balcony overlooking the lake at cheaper rates compared to Bellagio or Varenna.

Find a Bellano hotel

Lecco

Lecco -

The city of Lecco is located in a lovely location, on the southern tip of Lake Como. AND one of the main seaside resorts of the area and offers beautiful views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The locality is also famous i places that inspired the Manzoni in the famous novel "The Betrothed".

The city is located at the end of the lake, where the water narrows and then forms the Adda River. Given that it is easily accessible by train from Milan, Lecco is the perfect arrival station for those who want to reach Lake Como not by car.

Lecco is a city with a commercial soul, where you can stroll peacefully, especially between Piazza XX Settembre and Piazza Cermenati. The large bell tower adjacent to the Basilica of San Nicola, 96 meters high, it is the symbol of the city. The Visconteo Bridge, dating back to the XNUMXth century, is one of the oldest monuments in Lecco.

Don't miss the Shrine of Our Lady of Victory Church of Santa Maria, one of the oldest churches in Lecco e the golden statue of St. Nicholas (actually in bronze and covered with gold leaves) which rises above the water at Punta della Maddalena and protects the city from dangers.

Find a hotel in Lecco

Gravedona

At the northern end of Lake Como is Gravedona, which retains its original medieval layout and looks like no other place to visit on the lake. The main attraction of the city is the church of Santa Maria del Tiglio from the XNUMXth century, where the mosaic floor dates back to the XNUMXth century.

Nearby is the church of San Vincenzo, where you will find a crypt containing XNUMXth century inscriptions. In addition, in Gravedona they can be done beautiful walks on the lake, among the most pleasant of all the cities of Lake Como. There are cycle paths, sandy beaches to relax in and public tennis courts.

Find a hotel in Gravedona

 

What to see based on the days

Getting to know Lake Como it is very important to better organize and plan your trip or vacation. The choice of which places to visit depends on the length of the holiday. Below we will give you a simple outline to help you choose what to see on Lake Como based on the days available.

What to see in 1 day

If you have it available just one day, maybe you are alone passing by the lake and you want to see something, the best choice is to focus the visit on the places that are easier to reach, that is Como or Lecco, or reach the central part and visit the villages of Bellagio, Varenna and Menaggio.

You can also choose to visit the morning Lecco or Como, and in the afternoon reverse the choice, or the pomeriggio visit one of the towns of Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna, in order to have seen both one of the large cities on the lake and one of the most beautiful and characteristic villages.

What to see in 2 days or short weekend

In two days or a short weekend, it is recommended to visit the first day Como or Lecco, or divide the day for both locations.

And the second day visit the three most beautiful villages in the central part, namely Varenna, Bellagio and Menaggio.

What to see in 3 days or long weekend

If you have a long weekend or three days available, we recommend the first day starting with a visit to Como or Lecco.

Il second day visit the central area and absolutely not to be missed is a visit to Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna.

Il third and last day conclude with the city that was not visited on the first day, between Como and Lecco

What to see in 4 days

In 4 days you can visit many of the most beautiful places and places on the lake. Here's how the four days could be divided:

  • il first day you can start the visit of Como in the morning, and then visit Cernobbio, Lenno and Tremezzo in the afternoon
  • il second day visit the villages of Cadenabbia, Menaggio and Bellagio
  • il third day the northern part of the lake
  • il fourth and last day see Bellano, Varenna and Lecco

Getting around

Lake Como has something that makes it recognizable to the naked eye on any map: his inverted Y shape, made up of the Lecco arm, the Como arm and the Colico arm.

By car

If you visit the lake by car, you will realize that this characteristic profile makes it difficult to visit the whole lake. Here are the various stretches around the lake, both the most interesting and the least interesting ones:

  • from Lecco to Bellagio: narrow and winding road, not very interesting.
  • from Bellagio to Como: narrow and winding road. There are some beautiful villages like Nesso or Torno, and very nice viewpoints on the lake.
  • from Como to Menaggio: it is one of the most suggestive road sections on the lake with many beautiful private villas. There are also beautiful villages such as Cernobbio, Moltrasio, Carate Urio, Laglio, Brienno, Argegno, Lenno, Tremezzina and Menaggio.
  • from Menaggio to Piona: this is the stretch of road in the best conditions. It is an area with fewer attractions and can be overlooked if you are short on time.
  • from Piona to Lecco: this section can be done along a secondary road near the lake or by taking the SS36 to take less time. There are some interesting villages, such as Bellano and Varenna, and beautiful views of the lake.

On a boat

You can also travel on the lake by ferry. It is certainly a very pleasant way to get around and visit the beauties of the lake, but the transport of the car is not always allowed. The routes that I also allow the transport of the car are those between Varenna, Bellagio, Cadenabbia and Menaggio.

Map of Lake Como
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