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Weekend at Lake Como, our tips for not missing a thing

lake come varenna

A visit to Lake Como is a must on your trip to northern Italy. This splendid lake, the third largest in Italy, is a Lombardy treasure, nestling less than an hour from Milan. Surrounded by majestic mountains and dotted with charming villages, the lake is lined with elegant villas and lush gardens. Its incredible setting has even attracted the cinema, with appearances in iconic films such as“Star Wars” and James Bond’s“Casino Royale”.

Lake Como is an ideal destination for a romantic weekend with family or friends. Its accessibility from France makes it a particularly easy place to stay.

In this article, we share with you all the essential information to prepare your next weekend in Lake Como. Discover the must-sees in 2 days, the must-do activities and our expert advice, all accompanied by our personalized itinerary on a map.

Our itinerary for a weekend at Lake Como on our map

Below is a turnkey itinerary for your 2 days at Lake Como. As for us, we stayed for 3 days and received a lot of questions about visiting Lake Como in 2 days, so we’ve kept our must-sees in this article. If you’re staying longer, we’ve written an article on our 3-day itinerary to Lake Como.

We chose Como as our base because it’s located south of Lake Como, and is the closest city to Milan airport. From its port, you can easily explore the lake by boat. And last but not least, we think it’s a really charming town that’s a must-visit.

We recommend spending 2 nights in Como, but if you only have 1 night at Lake Como, you can start our itinerary directly from Saturday morning.

During your weekend, we recommend visiting the picturesque villages around the lake. And some villas are architectural gems, nestled in lush gardens and offering spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Each villa has its own story, reflecting the wealth and elegance of the region, with elegant facades and sumptuous interiors. These homes, often surrounded by romantic gardens and shady terraces, are some of the most famous in the world.

Friday evening : Arrival in Como from Milan

After collecting your rental car from Milan airport, set off in the direction of Lake Como, reaching the town of Como in just over an hour’s drive.

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.

Another option for getting from Milan to Lake Como is by train. Departures are from Milan‘s main railway station. These trains, operated by Trenitalia, take you to Como’s S. Giovanni station in around 40 minutes. Tickets cost around €20. Once you’ve arrived, the center of Como is just ten minutes away.

Next, settle into your new home. Enjoy a leisurely first evening strolling along the lake and dining in one of the restaurants. We recommend the following place: Pronobis: an address in the historic center that doesn’t look like much, but once you’re inside, the magic happens: excellent products, excellent wines, all in a warm setting! Not a bad place to start a weekend!

Saturday morning: Explore Bellagio and Varenna by boat

We recommend you visit the charming village of Bellagio and then Varanna.

Take the boat from Como for a picturesque experience to Bellagio. The crossing offers magnificent views of the lake, far from the stress of parking.

Explore Bellagio in the morning. It’s one of the most beautiful villages (some would say the most beautiful) on Lake Como, and it’s easy to see why! Stroll through its charming, colorful alleyways, visit its lush gardens and enjoy a coffee on a sunny waterside terrace.

Then head for Varenna. This picturesque village is our favorite, and we found it more authentic than Bellagio. We also really enjoyed the corniche and the charming little port of Varenna. Time for a lunch break. Enjoy a meal in one of the local restaurants, where lake specialties are the order of the day.

Boats : Find all the information you need about boat times and prices on the Navigazion Lago Como website. (about €15 for a day).

Saturday afternoon Villa Monastero and the view from Chateau Vezio

In the afternoon, discover Villa Monastero. Once a Cistercian convent, it has been transformed over the centuries to become an impressive estate.

This is one of the villas to visit during your stay on Lake Como. The villa is open to the public, you can visit its 14 rooms which are incredibly furnished and you will be especially pleasantly surprised by its incredible garden, we loved walking among fruit trees, palm trees … while enjoying beautiful views of the lake! In short, a must!

Castello Vézio is a 20-minute walk from Varenna. Yes, it’s a bit of a climb, but you’ll be rewarded when you reach the top. You can visit the castle and enjoy the breathtaking 360° view from the top of the hill.

Return to Como by boat in the late afternoon and round off your day with dinner in this lively year-round town. That’s also why we think it’s a great place to spend a weekend on Lake Como. La Vita è Bella Ristorante: located in the center of Como, an excellent Italian restaurant, we recommend the marinated tuna, the pistachio ravioli and the black pasta with lobster!

Sunday morning: Discover the city of Como

On this second day, start your day with a visit to the city of Como. We recommend strolling along the lake, then exploring its beautiful historic center. The main attraction in Como is its magnificent cathedral, commonly known as the Duomo (in Italian, la cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta di Como).

After exploring the historic center, we recommend climbing up to the Voltiano lighthouse (€2 entrance fee), where you’ll enjoy a splendid panoramic view of the lake, albeit via a narrow, winding road. We recommend you take the funicular to Brunate, then walk for about 30 minutes to reach the lighthouse.

You can enjoy a picnic at the top of the lighthouse if it’s not too crowded, or there’s a small park before the entrance, but with no view.

On your way back to Como, treat yourself to an ice cream. 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, which you can enjoy in nearby Piazza Cavour overlooking the lake.

The flavors are original, and we recommend you try the lemon basil. And the flavors are just right. Let yourself be tempted without hesitation!

Sunday afternoon: Visit to Villa Balbianello and Villa Carlotta in Tremezzio

Before heading back to Milan to catch your plane, we suggest you head for one of the villas on the south-western side of the lake, just a few kilometers apart. Allow around 1h – 1h30 for each villa.

Or Villa Balbianello in Lenno, a must-see on Lake Como, 30 minutes from Como by car and accessible by bus. This Villa will certainly ring a bell, as it was the filming location for “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” and “James Bond: Casino Royale”.

It is also very popular for its privileged location at the tip of the Lavedo peninsula, offering breathtaking panoramic views. It’s also the most visited villa on Lake Como (with over 135,000 visitors a year), and it’s easy to see why! The tour of the villa is only available with a guide, who taught us a lot about the house and Lake Como.

Admission costs €23 per person for the villa and gardens, or €12 for the gardens alone. In high season, we advise you to arrive early to find a space in the small parking lot and to reserve your tickets in advance.

Or at Villa Carlotta in Tremezzio This ancient 3-storey residence offers a beautiful view of the lake. The gardens, with their majestic trees and beautiful flowerbeds, are well 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.

It’s already time to go home, and we’re sure that after these 2 days, you’re already looking forward to coming back to Lake Como!

Practical information for your weekend at Lake Como

Where to stay in Como?

Nos conseils et hébergements

We recommend Albergo Frirenze, 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!

How to get to Como?

From Milan by car

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

How do I rent a car?

Car rental: to compare rental prices, we recommend the RentalCars website, which compares the prices of hundreds of car rental companies to find the best price.

To give you an idea of the cost, we found a car for €50 a day at Milan airport.

By train

Trains depart from Milan Central Station with Trenitalia. You can reach Como’s S. Giovanni station in around 40 minutes. Tickets cost around 20 euros. Once you’ve arrived, the center of Como is just ten minutes away.

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, in 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 panoramic views.

We loved this little stay around Lake Como, we were enchanted by the beauty of this place. We loved wandering around the picturesque villages and, of course, the Italian food.

A final note: Obviously, we didn’t visit all the villages on Lake Como, and this selection has been made from those we did. Feel free to leave us a comment at the end of the article with your favorite villages to share with other readers.

You can also take full advantage of your stay in the region to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Lake Como and visit the city of Milan, including the Duomo, Milan Cathedral and its incredible museums.

We hope you have a great weekend! Don’t hesitate to leave us a quick note or 5 stars below, to let us know 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
Floriane
Je m'appelle Floriane, aventurière et passionnée de voyages depuis mon plus jeune âge. J'aime plus que tout partager nos récits et astuces de voyage avec vous. Nous aimons les escapades courtes ainsi que les voyages longs. Ce blog est né après notre Tour du Monde en sac à dos. Nous avons également réalisé un tour d'Europe en famille.

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