The best things to do in Lake Como 2022:
- Explore Bellagio’s Narrow Streets
- Visit an Italian Villa
- Do the Lovers’ Walk in Varenna
- Try Lake Como’s Most Authentic Italian Restaurants
- Discover Como’s Romanesque Architecture
- Swim at Lake Como’s Stunning Beaches
- Chase Waterfalls in Nesso
- Wine Tasting at Lake Como’s Best Winery
- Absorb Lake Como’s Culture at a Museum/ Art Gallery
- Enjoy Some Watersports
1. Explore Bellagio’s Narrow Streets
A trip to the lake town of Bellagio is the best thing to do in Lake Como.
Bellagio is definitely the most famous town on Lake Como and often described as the ‘pearl of the lake‘.
A wander down Bellagio’s charming narrow streets is a must-do activity when visiting Lake Como to appreciate the architecture, history and culture of the lake.
Whether you shop for Italian leather or drink wine on the steps of the famous Salita Serbelloni cobbled street, you won’t be disappointed by Bellagio’s beautiful buildings and relaxed atmosphere.
Bellagio gets busy in summer. Therefore, it’s good to have an Airbnb with a balcony so you can escape the crowds.
Alternatively, you may just want to visit for a day trip on the ferry, and stay in a quieter area like Lenno or Menaggio.
2. Visit an Italian Villa
Lake Como is famous for its grand historic lakeside villas, which were once owned by noble families and wealthy Europeans.
Today, some of the legendary villas are open to the public, whilst others have been turned into luxury 5-star hotels.
One of the best things to do in Lake Como is visit the most famous villa, Villa Balbianello (where Casino Royale and Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones was filmed) for around €15.
Depending where you’re staying on the lake, you can visit Villa Carlotta, Villa Melzi or Villa Monastero and their gardens too for a small entrance fee.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to visit George Clooney’s Villa L’Oleandra, but you can see it in all its glory when you get the ferry between Como and the central lake towns.
3. Do the Lovers’ Walk in Varenna
Varenna is a traditional medieval centre on the shores of Lake Como, where tourists and locals flock to promenade the ‘Walk of Lovers’.
Lover’s Walk is a pedestrian path which juts out over the water offering stunning views of the lake, the small village with its colourful buildings and the commanding Castle of Vezio on top of the mountain.
The path begins at Varenna ferry terminal and clings to the rocks until it reaches the village filled with lake-view restaurants, gelaterias and boutiques.
4. Try Lake Como’s Most Authentic Italian Restaurants
A trip to Italy is all about the food and wine, and Lake Como isn’t short of brilliant Italian cuisine.
Yes, there are many tourist trap restaurants in Lake Como, so you need to head to these trattorias and osterias for authentic local cuisine:
- Bellagio: Dispensa 63
- Varenna: Al Prato Restaurant
- Tremezzo: La Fagurida
- Como: Ristorante Sottovoce
- Lenno: Antica Trattoria del Risorgimento
- Griante: La Cucina della Marianna
- Menaggio: Pizzeria Lugano
- Lecco: Mamaioa Bistrot
- Perledo: Il Caminetto
- Careno: Trattoria del Porto
- Lezzeno: Ittiturismo Da Abate
5. Discover Como’s Romanesque Architecture
The city of Como is steeped in history and a great place to admire romanesque architecture.
Wandering the ancient cobbled streets and piazzas of the lakefront city will uncover several old churches made with stone of Moltrasio, some of which date back to the 6th century!
Don’t miss Basilica di Sant’Abbondio and Basilica of San Fedele.
If you head to Como Cathedral, you can see Como’s architectural evolution for yourself.
The Broletto building and bell tower is romanesque style from the 13th century, whilst the duomo, which was built next to it over 100 years later, has gothic and renaissance influence.
Whilst in Como, you should also check out the funicular that takes you up to the mountain town of Brunate.
Alternatively, try really good homemade pasta to takeaway from L’Ora della Pasta.
6. Swim at Lake Como’s Stunning Beaches
If you’re visiting in summer, swimming in Lake Como is an absolute bucket list activity.
The best way to swim in Lake Como is to hire a boat and find some tranquil swimming locations.
If you’re visiting Lake Como on a budget, you can go to one of Lake Como’s pebble beaches for a refreshing dip and a spot of sunbathing.
My favourite beach in Lake Como is Lenno Public Beach, which is nestled in a natural bay nicknamed ‘Venus Bay’.
To get to Lenno Public Beach, follow directions for ‘Public Beach’ here (go through the green gate to reach the beach – don’t worry, it’s not private property!).
Other great beaches in Lake Como include San Giovanni Bellagio Beach, Lierna Beach and Onno Beach.
7. Chase Waterfalls in Nesso
Nesso is a picturesque village between Como and Bellagio, which is home to a very famous bridge.
Ponte della Civera is a Roman bridge built out of stone in a perfect arch.
Behind the bridge, you’ll find Orrido di Nesso, a rocky gorge with a towering waterfall that flows from the mountains underneath the bridge into the lake.
Many people arrive at Nesso’s best attraction by venetian limousine (traditional Italian mahogany speedboat), which provides the opportunity for some great photos and videos.
8. Wine Tasting at Lake Como’s Best Winery
Wine is one of the best things about Italy, and there is an amazing winery on Lake Como that you need to visit.
Azienda Agricola Sorsasso is the best winery on Lake Como, found in Domaso at the northern end of the lake.
The authentic family-run wine estate/ vineyard is set just above the town, offering brilliant views of the lake.
You can visit the wine estate and enjoy a tour of the wine cellar, followed by a generous tasting paired with local delicacies from the Lombardy region.
You’ll learn about viticulture in this area, and taste some great wines.
If Domaso is a bit too far north, and you want to stay around central Lake Como (the upside-down Y on the map) then you can do wine tasting at Cantina Follie in Tremezzo.
The highly-rated wine bar does wine flights and charcuterie boards to be enjoyed on the vine-covered outdoor terrace.
9. Absorb Lake Como’s Culture at a Museum or Art Gallery
Museums are always a great way to learn about the history and culture of a place, and there are some great cultural institutions on Lake Como.
Alternatively, there is a brilliant art gallery in Varenna showcasing landscape paintings of Lake Como and some good theatres/ cinemas in Lecco if you want to test out your Italian skills.
10. Enjoy Some Watersports
The waters of Lake Como are bliss and a great place to do watersports.
The lake has heavy boat traffic (especially in the warmer months), so always book watersport activities with a qualified guide.