Lake Como Italy is one of the most beautiful and popular lakes in the country, with its romantic villas, tree-lined mountains, and beautiful water. The Lago di Como, as it is known in Italian, is the deepest lake in Europe and is conveniently located just 30 minutes from Milan. The town of Como has several beautiful historical buildings and churches, and there are several charming towns dotted around the lake, with historical villas and gardens, as well as quaint cobbled streets, great restaurants, and breathtaking views.
Lake Como Italy Cruises
The town of Bellagio, known as the pearl of the lake, is one of the most popular destinations at Lake Como Italy. The lake is shaped like an inverted Y, and Bellagio is located where the three arms of the lake meet, and it has a beautiful lakeside promenade where you can take in the gorgeous views of the lake, ending your walk in the gardens of the neo-classical Villa Melzi, which hosted cultural icons such as Franz Liszt and the French writer Stendhal. The Villa Serbelloni is another popular historical villa that you can visit via a guided tour. The town of Bellagio itself is a prime attraction, with its meandering cobbled streets, historic piazza and church, quaint shops, and spectacular views of the lake and surrounding hills. It is a great place to find a hotel at the Lago di Como, as it is a hub for ferry and boat rides to other destinations around the lake.
The Villa d'Este in the lakeside town of Cernobbio is the most famous of Lake Como Italy's famous historical villas. It is a veritable palace set right on the crystal-clear waters of the lake, with 161 unique rooms built in a Renaissance style. Originally the palace of a cardinal, it has since been converted into an opulent, luxury hotel with room rates commanding in the thousands of dollars. The extensive gardens are private and limited to guests only, but you can glimpse the famous "floating pool", a swimming pool that juts out into the surface of the lake, from outside the hotel. The Hollywood actor George Clooney famously also has a villa in the town of Cernobbio.
If you're more of the outdoorsy type, the resort town of Menaggio will be well worth visiting. This town is a popular hub for mountain biking, hiking, and the protected area of Val Sanagra Park. There are some public beaches, and the only youth hostel in the area is located in Menaggio, making it a good option for travelers trying to stick to a budget. There are also shops and restaurants along the waterfront, as well as a miniature golf course, which makes it a great destination for families.
If you're traveling around Italy by train, the town of Como may be the best base for exploring the Lago di Como, with a rail connection to other major towns. Como has a historic walled town with some medieval and Renaissance towers and churches. It is also a good place to find a reasonably priced hotel, as well as lively shops and restaurants, many of which are located in the central Piazza Cavour. Como is renowned for its silk trade, so you may want to pick up some silk as a unique souvenir. In Como, you can also take a funicular up into the mountains to access hiking trails, or take a very affordable boat trip to several of the other towns on the shores of the lake.