Introducing holidays to Como
Como sits on the shores of Lake Como, a beautiful lake in Italy that has been a popular retreat since Roman times and remains a favourite with A-list celebrities like George Clooney. Pretty Como is a fantastic base for exploring the fairytale villages around the lake, as it’s the starting point for ferries and steam boats. It’s also the largest town, so has plenty of boutiques, cafés and restaurants where you can sit out on the waterfront and soak up the views. Take the funicular up to Brunate to enjoy the best views. You can also stroll the medieval streets, admire the stunning cathedral, and visit sumptuous villas and gorgeous gardens. Hop on the train to visit Milan, Italy’s vibrant fashion capital, if you’re in the mood for some shopping and nightlife.
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 1h 55m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Lovely Como overlooks the shimmering blue waters of Lake Como in Italy, a famous retreat for aristocrats and celebrities for centuries. It’s got a charming medieval quarter, crowned by a splendid cathedral, and you can take the funicular up to Brunate to soak up the stunning views. As the starting point for the ferries and steam boats that ply the lake, it makes a fantastic base for exploring the enchanting little villages that sit on the shores of the lake. There are lots of inviting cafés, restaurants and shops, and there are direct trains to Milan if you feel like a day out in the fashion capital of Italy!
Como has a wealth of options to suit all tastes and budgets, with plenty of international eateries among the classic local restaurants serving typical regional cuisine. Like all of Italy, the food here has an excellent reputation, and makes use of delicious local specialities. Freshwater fish such as pike and perch is a favourite, and might come in a platter of fritto misto di lago – a variety of lightly battered and fried fish. Head to the local market to pick up some of the wonderful range of local cheeses and charcuterie, and perhaps some unusual Lake Como specialities such as missultin, sun-dried shad, which is salted, layered with bay leaves, and conserved in a wooden crate. Sit out on one of the picturesque square and enjoy a gelato, or a honey-drizzled apple fritter.
Lake Como is a wonderfully relaxing destination for a family holiday, with plenty of activities to keep the kids happy. Como has a couple of child-friendly lidos, where you can relax on the sun loungers and soak up the beautiful views while the kids splash about in the pool. Or you could take day trips on the ferries or steam boats that ply the villages around the lake. Kids might also enjoy a ride on the funicular up to Brunate, or you could rent bikes and cycle along the shores of the lake. There are lots of family-friendly cafés and restaurants, along with some fantastic places to sit out and enjoy a well-earned gelato.
Action & Adventure
You’ll find a fantastic choice of outdoor activities on Lake Como, whether you want to cool off out on the water or hope to tackle the surrounding peaks. On the lake, you can go swimming, fishing, kayaking or sailing, or just cool off in one of the lovely lidos that sit by the water’s edge. In the surrounding mountains, you could enjoy some rock-climbing, try the via ferrata at Menaggio (a short ferry ride from Como), or go hiking along one of the numerous excellent hiking routes. Several great walking paths lead from Brunate, reached via funicular from Como, including a section of the amazing ridge walk to Bellagio.
There are two lidos in Como, perfect for taking a refreshing dip on a hot summer’s day. The largest is the Lido di Villa Olmo, which is attached to one of the most beautiful villas on the lake. It has a beach, two swimming pools (note that swimming caps are required), one of which is for kids, plus a grassy area for sunning yourself with loungers, parasols and deckchairs. It also has a bar serving snacks and drinks. The other option is the Lido di Villa Geno, which is considerably smaller, but offers wonderful views of the elegant villas on the opposite bank of the lake. It also has a restaurant and is popular with families with young kids.
Lake Como is quiet and relaxing, and holiday-makers come for the spectacular scenery and tranquillity rather than the nightlife scene. Como, as the largest town on the lake, has more options than most of the lake-side villages, and you can take your pick from a choice of atmospheric cafés and bars. Sit out on a waterfront terrace with a bottle of local wine and soak up the sunsets, or head to one of the stylish lounge clubs for a cocktail or two. There are a few nightclubs, if you fancy dancing till dawn, or you could head into Milan to hang out with the fashion pack at the city’s spectacular night spots.
Gorgeous scenery, amazing food, and a fabulous choice of accommodation make Lake Como a idyllic choice for a truly romantic holiday. There’s lots to see and do, whether you want to enjoy some of the fantastic walks in the area, visit a vineyard or two, or take boat trips to some of the fairytale villages that sit pretty on the shores of the beautiful lake. Como has a beautiful little medieval heart, which is a delight to stroll around hand in hand, and you’ll find lots of shops, bars, restaurants and cafés. If you want to hit the city, vibrant Milan, with its magnificent sights and outstanding shopping, is just an hour away by train.
Como preserves its picturesque medieval heart intact, and has some fine historic buildings to explore. A great way to see it is to sign up for guided walks arranged by the local tourist office. Highlights include the beautiful cathedral and the church of Sant'Agostino, which both date back to the late 14th century, and the medieval Broletto, which is now an exhibition space. You can also admire some remarkable Roman ruins, including the vestiges of the impressive main gateway. The splendid Villa Olmo, a magnificent neo-Classical palace built in the late 1700s, is now an art gallery and enjoys a breathtaking setting right on the lake front.