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Visit Como in 1 day: our complete guide

Located south of Lake Como, Como (or Cômo, as it always sounds better in Italian) is the largest village and the gateway from Milan to magnificent Lake Como.

We recommend that you spend a day here, as there really is so much to see and do in Como. We enjoyed its bustle, its beautiful stores, its beautiful buildings, its adjoining harbor and its atmosphere at night.

Below, we provide you with all the information you need to prepare your future stay in Como (what to see and do in Como? Where to eat an excellent ice cream? Where to sleep? Where to take the funicular?…) as well as our best addresses on our map.

What to see and do in Como (walks, visits…) map ?

Como is the largest city around Lake Como. Located south of the lake, it’s usually the gateway to Lake Como.

We spent 1 day and 1 evening there before heading to Milan airport. We recommend strolling along the lake, then exploring its beautiful historic center. The main point of interest in Como is its magnificent cathedral, commonly known as the Duomo (in Italian, la cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta di Como).

Visit the port and the old town on foot

Here’s the itinerary we followed on our walk around the city of Como (about 2 kilometers round trip)

1- Start at the sumptuous Villa Olmo (free tour) on the shores of the lake, with the option of visiting the interior and gardens.

2 – Then walk along the waterfront to Piazza Cavour (about 10 minutes walk). Take the opportunity to gaze at the boats, dreaming yourself aboard one of them and enjoying the beautiful views over the lake.

3- Next, you can visit the imposing Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta(begun in 1396 and completed in 1770). We recommend you enter the cathedral to admire the architecture and the many stained-glass windows.
Then take the shopping street. Also take advantage of your visit to Como to taste the excellent and famous Italian ice creams!

Visit Villa Olmo

During your stay at Lake Como, we recommend visiting some of the villas that are true architectural gems, nestled in lush gardens and offering spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

The closest to Como is Villa Olmo, and the good news is that admission to the villa and park is free. Some temporary exhibitions may be subject to a charge. Considered one of the most sumptuous villas on Lake Como, Villa Olmo, designed by Italian architect Simone Cantoni, was built in 1782. This majestic villa offers a privileged view over a splendid park, featuring gardens designed in Italian and English styles. The interior, adorned with frescoes and works of art, bears witness to Italy’s cultural wealth.

Today, having been acquired by the local authorities, it stands as a central pillar of the city’s cultural life.

Taking the high road

We also went up to the Faro de Voltiano (Volta lighthouse), entrance €2. The panoramic view over the lake is splendid, but you’ll get there via a narrow, winding road.

We recommend you take the historic funicular (dating from 1894) to Brunate, then walk for about 30 minutes to reach the lighthouse. The journey takes around ten minutes and costs around €6 per person.

Explore the lake by boat

Explore the Lake Como by boat is an experience not to be missed. Aboard your boat, with or without a license, you can rediscover the lake and even take a dip.

To rent your boat, we recommend that you use the Samboat platform. It’s very simple, they have the most complete offer of boat rental and their website is very easy to use! We recommend this site to everyone.

You enter your“Como” location, then your dates, then you can filter by boat type (motorboats, houseboats, small boats…), with or without a license, with or without a skipper: in short, you’re spoilt for choice.

Villa Balbianello and Villa Carlotta

As mentioned above, numerous villas surround Lake Como. We recommend 2 located just 30 minutes north of Como:

  • Villa Balbianello is sure to ring a bell, as it was the filming location for“Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” and“James Bond: Casino Royale”. It’s also the most visited villa on Lake Como, and it’s easy to see why! The tour of the villa is offered only with a guide, who taught us a lot about the house and Lake Como.
  • Villa Carlotta in Tremezzio, an ancient 3-storey residence, offers a beautiful view of the lake. The gardens with majestic trees and beautiful flower beds are worth a visit. It’s one of the biggest and most beautiful around Lake Como. An important point to note is that this villa is less touristy than the previous one, and also offers beautiful views of the lake.

Where to stay in Como?

We recommend that you spend at least one night in Como to fully enjoy the city’s lively nightlife.

Our favorite ❤️

We recommend Albergo Frirenze, which we tested and approved during our stay in Como. The room was very pleasant and clean, ideally located near the port, everything within walking distance, with an incredible breakfast, just the way we like it. In short, a good address with excellent value for money in Como (around €100)!

Two minutes from the pier, ideal for taking a boat and then touring the lake!

Looking for a place to stay on Lake Como? To make your visit easier, we’ve put together an article detailing the most interesting villages to stay in on Lake Como, along with our best hotel addresses.

How to get to Como?

From Milan by car

➡️By car, allow about 1 hour to reach Como.

From Milan by bus + cruise

➡️ If you want to save time and let yourself be guided, you can book your ticket for an excursion to Lake Como, by bus, with stops in the most beautiful villages, Como, Bellagio and Varenna, as well as a 1-hour cruise on the lake to enjoy beautiful panoramas from the lake.

Where to park in Como?

We recommend parking outside the city center, towards Villa Olmo, where there are several free parking lots. Parcheggio Serra di Villa del Grumello is a 10-minute walk from the center.

Where to eat (pizzas, ice creams…)?

  • Pronobis: an address located in the historical center which does not look like much, once inside the magic happens, excellent products, excellent wines, all in a warm setting!
  • Of course, if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that we took the opportunity to try out the Italian ice creams. We loved the artisanal ice creams from Guidi’ s ice-cream parlour in nearby Piazza Cavour. The flavors are original, and we recommend you try the “lemon basil”… And the flavors are just right. Let yourself be tempted without hesitation!

Our map with our best addresses

What to do in the area?

  • Lake Como: if you come to Como, we obviously recommend exploring the picturesque villages around Lake Como, Bellagio, Varenna, Mennagio and Lecco, and enjoying the lake’s beautiful beaches.
  • Explore Lake Lake Como by boat is a must-do activity during your stay!
  • The city of Milan is also a must-see, and we’ll be giving you all our tips and itinerary for the weekend!

We wish you an excellent trip! Don’t hesitate to leave us a quick note or 5 stars below, to tell us if you’re planning this trip, to ask any questions you may have, here or on Instagram, we’ll get back to you with great pleasure.

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Floriane
My name is Floriane, and I've been an adventurer and travel enthusiast since I was very young. More than anything, I love sharing our travel stories and tips with you. We love short getaways as well as long trips. This blog was born after our backpacking trip around the world. We also went on a family tour of Europe.
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