Lake Como is one of Italy’s true gems, a region of alluring towns and villages scattered around a deep blue lake framed by a hinterland of forest-clad hills. The area has been a popular vacation destination since Roman times. Wander through winding streets to discover medieval landmarks, opulent palaces, traditional pizzerias and ice cream parlors. Visit luxury resorts, alpine villages and sleepy fishing communities. Enjoy numerous outdoor adventures, including watersports, biking and skiing.
Go to the walled city of Como on the lake’s southwesterly tip for its atmospheric historic center and the stunning Villa Olmo. Ride the funicular from Como to Brunate, an alpine village with hiking trails and superb viewpoints. Just an hour’s walk from Como is Cernobbio, which plays host to the 16th-century Villa d’Este and its 25-acre (10-hectare) garden. Admire the views across to the lake’s eastern arm from unpretentious Argegno.
Spend some time in Lake Como’s Golden Triangle. Don’t miss the luxury resort of Bellagio, where waterfront promenades and cobblestone streets lead to lavish palaces and stunning landscapes. Hike wooded hills and sit at a café-lined piazza in Menaggio. Learn about the region’s medieval fishing history at Varenna and relax in sleepy Cadenabbia.
In the lake’s southeastern corner is Lecco, a city that attracts artists with its mountainous landscapes and Romanesque architecture. Nearby Valsassina becomes a popular ski resort during the winter months. On the northern shore, both Colico and Domaso are lively watersports centers. Try kitesurfing, sailing and windsurfing amid breathtaking scenery.
Lake Como and its attractions are perfect for day trips, weekend breaks, adventure holidays and honeymoons. Get around the towns and villages via buses, boats and ferries or on foot and rented bike. Stay overnight at hostels, guesthouses and upscale resorts and bask in the lake’s romanticism. Of all of Italy’s picturesque lakes, many describe Lake Como as the most alluring.