The enchanting little village of Cadenabbia, which sits on the shores of Lake Como in Italy, has long been a summer refuge for writers, poets and aristocrats. There are several sumptuous villas and gardens in the area, and the village has magnificent views over the lake and the Dolomite mountains. You can enjoy a dip in the peaceful waters, explore the lake by kayak, or simply sit out on a café terrace and soak up the relaxed atmosphere and scenic beauty. You could explore the nearby villages, such as Tremezzo and Griante, and, if you’re in the mood for some bright lights, head to Milan for some spectacular shopping and nightlife.
Most popular hotels in Cadenabbia
Hotel Britannia Excelsior
Cadenabbia, Lake Como
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 2h 5m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Cadenabbia is a beautiful little village sitting on the shores of Lake Como in Italy. It has magnificent views of the deep blue lake set against the dramatic peaks of the Dolomites, and the area has long inspired writers and poets. There are several aristocratic villas and gardens, and it’s been a popular summer retreat for the British (including Queen Victoria) since the 19th century. It’s a wonderful place for a relaxing holiday, and you can cool off in the lake, perhaps do a spot of fishing or kayaking, or head into the hills for some outstanding hikes. There are lots of pretty little villages to explore, and the dynamic city of Milan is under 2 hours away by car.
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat and drink in Cadenabbia, with everything from romantic waterfront restaurants to cosy little taverns tucked away in the village. The area is renowned for its excellent cuisine, and you’ll find lots of places to try delicious regional specialities. These include freshwater fish such as pike and perch, which might be served up in the fritto misto di lago, a platter of lightly battered and fried fish. You could also try the missultin, sun-dried and salted shad, which are conserved in bay leaves and pressed in a special wooden box. For dessert, go for some delicious apple fritters, drizzled with honey. There are lots of wonderful local cheeses and charcuterie, which, paired with a bottle of one of the local wines, makes for a perfect picnic.
All the family will love Cadenabbia, which perfectly combines peace and tranquillity with plenty to see and do. There are loads of things to do on the water, from swimming to pedaloes, and from kayaking to fishing. The little beach in Griante is great for kids, and the lido in Cadenabbia has a pool and a bar, so you can watch the kids splash about from the comfort of your sun bed. Children will love taking the ferry across the lake – particularly the steam boat, which runs in summer – to visit some of the other pretty villages, such as chic little Bellagio. There is a wide choice of family-friendly cafés and restaurants, and lots of atmospheric places to sit out and cool off with some gelato.
Action & Adventure
There are all kinds of water sports on Lake Como to keep you cool on hot summer days! Swimming, sailing, kayaking and fishing are just some of the activities available – and there are plenty more things to do in the mountains. You’ll find some superb rock-climbing and canyoning, plus there’s a via ferrata above Menaggio, just a couple of miles north of Cadenabbia. There are some fantastic hiking routes in the mountains near the village, including a short hike to the church of San Martino, and the popular Greenway walk which runs for 6 miles from Cadenabbia to Colonno. It follows the line of an old Roman road and offers fabulous views.
There isn’t a beach as such in Cadenabbia, but you can spend a very enjoyable day at the Lido di Cadenabbia, which is a lakefront club with a pool, sun loungers and bar. At sunset, you can soak up the gorgeous views of Bellagio, a beautiful village set just across the water. There’s a small, public beach just a few hundred metres along the coast in Griante, which is well equipped with sun beds and umbrellas for rent, as well as kayaks if you want to do some paddling around the coast. It’s a pebbly beach, so bring some beach shoes. There’s also a beach bar, ideal for a drink or snack, and there are more restaurants and cafés within a short stroll.
Cadenabbia is a quiet and elegant little village, and the nightlife is much the same. You can enjoy a drink by the lakeside at dusk, enjoying the views of the sunset and the mountains. Or you could perhaps dress up and head to one of the swanky hotel bars for a cocktail. There is no real party scene anywhere on Lake Como, although you’ll find a few lounge bars and cocktail places in Como, the area’s main city. If you’ve been sightseeing in Milan, you could stick around to soak up the fabulous nightlife, which is every bit as glamorous as you’d expect from Italy’s fashion capital.
A gorgeous summer retreat, Cadenabbia is the perfect destination for a romantic holiday if you’re looking for stunning scenery and perfect tranquility. You can soak up the views over the shimmering lake from your hotel balcony, or a waterfront restaurant. Visit the stunning Villa Carlotta, built in the late 17th century, and surrounded by exquisite gardens, or take the charming steam boat across the waters to chic little Bellagio, to enjoy its boutiques and cobblestone streets. There are some gorgeous walks in the hills, if you’re in the mood to get active, including the panoramic Greenway walk which links Cadenabbia with Colonno.
The British have been summering in Cadenabbia since the 19th century, when Queen Victoria was among its illustrious guests. The British community here grew so sizeable that the little town even has an Anglican church, built in 1891. The biggest cultural site in the area is the breathtaking Villa Carlotta, a late 17th-century villa set in extensive gardens. It’s the only villa on the lake that is open to the public, and its sumptuous salons now contain a superb art collection. There are several spectacular villas in the area, although most are private and can only be glimpsed. Verdi stayed at one of these, the Villa Margarita in Griente, while he was writing La Traviata.