Explore Lake Como
Explore Como at your leisure, relax in the cafe’s, people watch, drink pure Italian coffee, absorb the history and elegance.
Then travel by ferry, dine on sumptuous Italian food and be amazed by the spectacular scenery!
Lake Como – The Perfect Choice!
Truly beautiful ! Those words do not do this part of Italy justice. This jewel in the crown of Italy’s famous lakes is a haven of tranquility, superb cuisine, majestic snow capped mountains, courteous folk and style. In his ‘Charterhouse of Parma’ Stendhal described it as an “enchanting spot, unequaled on earth in its loveliness.” Virgil called it simply “our greatest” lake.
Como is in Lombardy, 45km North of Milan and in the Province of Como. Como is at the tip of the southwestern branch of this lake. Como is only a few miles from the Swiss border and 20 minutes from Lugano.
Lake Como is 50 km long and west of Menaggio is where the lake splits in two. The mountains around the lake are 2000 m high and the lake up to 1350 feet deep, making it one of the deepest lakes in Europe.
When visiting Como, there are places to see and things to do. Like most Italian towns off the beaten track, these are not always obvious. The locals know where to go, but do not make it too obvious to strangers. Although when you arrive you are always welcome.
Stunning panoramic views from Como at the head of the lake.
Como is situated at the head of the lake and is an ancient town over 400 years old with magnificent churches and historic monuments. Lake Como is however renowned for its exquisite villas, and probably the most famous one is Villa Carlotta, a combination of luxurious interiors and art collections. The grounds have exotic and lush plant growth (over 500 species of plants, trees and shrubs from all over the world).
The old town is still to this day protected by high walls, but is populated by small and interesting local and designer shops. Strolling through these streets on a Saturday afternoon is part of the local culture. Grab a latte at one of the many street cafes and watch the elegant procession of young and old alike in all their finery.
Being at the head of the lake, Como looks down the lake toward Cernobbio on the left, home to one the word’s finest hotels; The Villa D’Este” where many celebrities may be found taking a quiet break. Now that George Clooney has bought property near here, we imagine there will be a lot more.
Travel up the lake, relax, and soak up the atmosphere!
Cernobbio and all the lakeside towns may be reached by car, but we always recommend the ferry services; less hassle, stylish travel, better views and good value. Take the ferry to Cernobbio and stroll around this lovely little village. If going by car a little further along is Toriggia, where you can visit Villa Passalacqua, a late 18th-century home where Bellini once stayed.
Traveling further North up the lake is Como’s only island, Isola Comacina. The best day of the year to visit this island is the week end after June 24th, when St. John’s Day is celebrated. There is a mass in the ruins of the S. Eufemia basilica, followed by a procession and evening fireworks. You will need to take the ferry!
There are enough lakeside towns and villages to explore for many weeks, but some are perennial favourites; Tremezzo is an example with a classic lakeside promenade plus some lovely old villas and lakeside hotels. From here you can take a car ferry over to Bellaggio, “the pearl of the lake” and Varenna, with its steep winding alleys on the opposite shore.
Bellagio is truly stunning and is ranked as one the most beautiful towns in Europe. Apart from its breathtaking views, immaculate homes and stupendous villas the town releases all this to your senses from narrow cobbled streets. To come to lake Como and not visit Bellagio would be a sin!
Not to be outdone Varenna, an ancient fishing village has a character all of its own. Steep alleys are laced with homes that show the owners have green fingers and a love of flowers. At the upper reaches of Varenna is an ancient castle where Theodolinda, Queen of the Lombards, is said to have died in the 7th century.
Varenna also hosts Italy’s shortest river, the Fiumelatte. 800 feet long, it pours down the cliff face into the lake beginning in March and finishing in October each year, then it just stops! Story has it that Leonardo da Vinci to find out where the water came from, but no-one has ever found out.
If you want to relax, then just drift around these spectacular towns, steeped in history, dine on the finest Italian cuisine, watch the locals go about their business and the watchers watching everyone else. However if you wish to walk off some of the excess and have some great views to take home, catch the the funivia up to Brunate and then take the footpath up to Monte Boletto. Wrap up warm on cold days as the temperature drops in the hills!
Como’s waterfront is the focus of life in the town. Here you’ll find the palm-lined promenade, seafront gardens, a lively harbour and an international marina. The new Living Coasts attraction adds to the variety of the new waterfront and the illuminated bridge is a great backdrop to a relaxing evening drink. Yet within minutes of the town centre there are beautiful beaches easily accessible by foot, road or sea.
There is an abundance of pavement cafes, pubs, restaurants and nightlife, good quality shops and a host of attractions to suit every interest. discovercomo.com has created this site with the visitor in mind. We are also proud to be able to offer the como hotel and flight deals helping you to make the most of your stay and your budget! If you would like to make any suggestions as to how we can improve upon the delivery of information or the site please email us.
More Information can be found on other towns here:-
Finally there are a few celebrities who visit and live on the Lake at times throughout the year. Please visit our James Bond, George Clooney and Richard Branson page.