Lake Como is the third largest Italian lake. The lake is surrounded by mountains and bordered by sumptuous villas with lush gardens and picturesque villages. It is located in Lombardy, a province in northern Italy. Less than an hour from Milan, it is very easy to reach. He is also famous for his appearance in movies like Star Wars or Casino Royale (007).
It is the perfect lake for a family stay or a romantic weekend and easily accessible from France.
In short, we were enchanted by the beauty of this place and we ate very well as always in Italy! We give you, below, all the information, which you need to prepare your future stay as well as our precious advice and our itinerary on a map.
- Travel to Lake Como, what to do and visit during your stay?
- Our itinerary over a 3 to 4 day weekend
- Hotels in Lake Como: Where to stay?
- Practical information (flight + travel)
Travel to Lake Como, what to do and visit during your stay?
We explored the lake by driving along its incredible coastal road , visitingits picturesque villages and taking a ferry to enjoy the exceptional view. An original idea is to sail on the lake by renting a boat without a license.
We also took advantage of our stay to try all the local specialties, gnocchi di zucca (pumpkin), bresaola and especially the fish dishes of the lake, accompanied by Spritz or a good glass of local wine.
Our itinerary over a 3 to 4 day weekend
Day 1 – Milan -> Menaggio
With the keys of our rental car in our pocket, picked up at Milan airport, we leave in the direction of Lake Como. After an hour’s drive we start to see the mountains surrounding Lake Como. We fall directly under the spell of this bewitching place. We drive slowly in order to admire the beauty of the landscape, the small perched villages and the green nature.
At Cernobbio, we continue our journey along the coastal road. This road is narrow and winding, but it offers us magnificent views of the lake.
Our first stop is in the village of Laglio for our lunch break, in a typical cheese and sausage factory located on the lake shore. We enjoy the view of the lake.
Then we leave in the direction of Villa Carlotta. This old house of 3 floors, offers a beautiful view on the lake. The gardens with majestic trees and beautiful flower beds are worth a visit.
On the way back to Menaggio, you can make a last stop at Villa Balbianello where Star Wars Episode 2 and James Bond Casino Royale were filmed.
Accommodation on the heights of Menaggio: Balcone Fiorito we slept in a beautiful, well-equipped room with a large comfortable bed.
Eleanor and David are lovely hosts who will give you lots of advice. The breakfast which is served facing the lake is amazing. One of the best of our stay! Free parking.
Activity: Villa Carlota, from March to September from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., entrance €10, possibility of buying tickets online. Restaurant in Laglio: Da Lucciano Bottega e Caffé is a cheese/charcuterie where you will find excellent local products and spritzes that you can taste while enjoying an exceptional view of the lake!
Restaurant Menaggio: Osteria Il Pozzo, excellent brasserie with delicious homemade pasta!
Day 2 – Menaggio -> Varenna and Bellagio
After about an hour and a half of driving, counting the many photo stops, you will arrive in Varenna. This is our favorite village around the lake. We wandered through the pretty streets of the old town and on the pebble beaches. Don’t miss the port with its many colorful houses and bars and restaurants overlooking Lake Como. If you have time, you can visit the Villa Monastero, which was once a monastery, we saw the beautiful garden on the heights of the city.
After a delicious lunch we drive back to Bellagio, also count on an hour and a half drive to have time to stop at the many beaches located on this stretch of road. Enjoy a pleasant walk along Lake Como for about five hundred meters, the shores have been landscaped with gardens and numerous benches. The walk in the old city is also pleasant however you will not be alone!
If you don’t have a car, you can also take a boat to Varenna and then Bellagio (about 15€ for a day). We loved exploring part of the lake by boat. You will enjoy beautiful views in the middle of the lake and you will have no difficulty parking!
Accommodation in Bellagio: Seta Hôtel the room is beautiful and modern (better than the photos on Booking), very clean, you can enjoy a nice view of the lake from the hotel terrace and the breakfast is plentiful. One last important point to fully enjoy your stay, the location is ideal, right in the center and close to the pier.
The staff will give you good advice. In short, we loved it! Small parking lot on site which is rare in Bellagio.
Restaurant in Varenna: Varenna Caffè Bistrot is a good value for money with a beautiful view of the lake. Ideal for lunch.
Boats: Find all the necessary information on boat times and prices on the Navigazion Lago Como website.
Day 3 – Bellagio -> Como
The city of Como is located about an hour away from Bellagio. The center of Como is very pleasant because it is almost exclusively pedestrian with lots of Italian stores. During your walk, don’t miss the imposing gothic church the Duomo, it is a must. You can also enjoy a pleasant walk along the port.
We also went up to the faro of Voltiano (lighthouse of Volta), entrance 2€, the panoramic view on the lake is splendid however you will reach it by a narrow road in lace. We suggest you take the funicular to Brunate and then it will take you about 30 minutes to reach the lighthouse. Also take advantage of your visit to Como to taste the excellent and famous Italian ice creams!
Accommodation in Como: La Canarina Bed & Breakfast the room was very nice and clean, conveniently located near the port with an amazing breakfast. Parking 10€ per day.
Ice cream parlor in Como: We loved the artisanal ice creams from the Guidi ice cream parlour. The tastes are original basil lemons… and the flavors are there.
Day 4 – Como -> Milan
Our Italian stay is coming to an end, after a last stroll along the lake and a last ice cream. We left for Milan airport to return our rental car and catch our flight.
The best activities
To visit the various points of interest of Lake Como, you can book your activity in advance via internet. We advise you to take a look at the website getyourguide which proposes various activities at attractive prices, it will give you ideas of activities to do on the spot.
We have selected 3 activities for you, the most interesting in our opinion, below. Let’s go for a visit of the lake and its most beautiful towns from Milan, an unforgettable day aboard a sailboat to enjoy incredible views, or an electric bike exploration of the city of Como for the most sporty!
Do not forget to read the description carefully in order to know what is really included in order to fully enjoy your excursion.
Hotels in Lake Como: Where to stay?
3 accommodations with good value for money
Top 3 hotels to treat yourself
When we visit we love to spot the beautiful hotels and then bookmark them on Google for a future stay or to have ideas for accommodation on special occasions!
1. La Villa Vitali in Bellagio: to live like in the good old days in a sumptuous Villa, located a few minutes walk from the center of Bellagio. You can also enjoy a large swimming pool in a beautiful garden, a real haven of peace!
2. Bello!Lake Como Suites in Como: the rooms are superb and decorated with great taste. The hotel is centrally located. The terrace with the jacuzzi is just dyke. In short, a very nice hotel that we can’t wait to try!
3. Hotel Asnigo in Cernobbio: the big advantage of this hotel is its magnificent swimming pool overlooking the lake, one of the most beautiful in the region. The rooms are nice, clean and quiet. An ideal hotel to relax.
Practical information (flight + travel)
How to get to Lake Como (by plane)?
The nearest airport is in Milan.
Depuis la France, vous pouvez trouver des vols à partir de 40€.
Nous vous conseillons le site Skyscanner, que nous utilisons généralement, pour comparer les prix des différentes compagnies aériennes et trouver votre vol au meilleur prix.
How to get around by car?
For our road trip, we rented a car in order to be able to stop whenever we wanted. The national road that goes around the lake is in very good condition. The coastal road offers nice views of the lake, but it is narrower.
We left during the April vacations, the sun was there for a good part of our stay so we enjoyed our outdoor walks even if the temperatures were between 15 and 20 degrees. Going outside the tourist season also allows you to avoid the summer crowds.
Car rental: To compare rental prices we recommend the RentalCars website. To give you an idea of the price, we found a car for 50€ for 4 days through Hertz.
We checked the “debit card” option, because we had read that some rental companies do not accept credit cards. In France, the bank card is usually called credit card, however if you look on your card, you will see mentioned “debit card” on it.
How to get around on Lake Como?
Exploring Lake Como by boat is a must-do experience. You will enjoy beautiful panoramas in the middle of the lake.
For our part, we took the boat from Varenna to Bellagio, accompanied by a beautiful sun. We loved this experience and it was nice not to be behind the wheel.
From the city of Como, ferries depart daily from the pier. You can buy a daily ticket to get on and off whenever you want and stop to discover the incredible villages that surround Lake Como.
You can find all the information you need about the schedules and prices of the boats on the website of the Navigazion Lago Como.
By renting a boat
On board your boat without a license, you will rediscover the lake and you can even swim in it. We didn’t have the chance to do it during our stay, other travelers strongly recommended this activity.
We rented several times, for events (birthdays, EVJF…) a boat without a license when we lived in Paris, we keep each time an incredible memory.
Turati Centro Nautico Lario, southwest of Lake Como seems to be a very good option. As always, let us know in the comments if you have the chance to try this activity.
We loved this little stay around Lake Como, we were enchanted by the beauty of this place. We loved wandering around the quaint little villages and enjoyed the Italian food. You can also take advantage of your stay in the area to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Lake Como and to visit the city of Milan.
We wish you a great trip! Don’t hesitate to leave us a note below to tell us if you are planning this trip, or to ask any questions you may have, we will answer you with great pleasure. It is always a real pleasure to read you.