If you’re looking for an Italian holiday away from the hustle and bustle of the cities of Venice and Rome, a cheap holiday to Lake Como could be the perfect getaway! Not far from Milan in the north of Italy, the truly beautiful Lake Como is a whopping 50km long, so you’re sure to discover something new every day. For more Italian lakes holidays, why not discover Lake Garda?
Lake Como holidays are ideal for those who like to combine staying active and getting away from it all. Take a scenic walk through the wooded lakeside slopes, cycle along the endless blue waters, or even take a dip in the depths of the lake. With numerous central resorts including the picture-perfect commune of Tremezzo the lively Como, and the gorgeous town of Varenna, there’s something for everyone on Lake Como’s shores.
Other top destinations and places to visit around Lake Como include Cadenabbia, a charming commune on the west coast of Lake Como; Menaggio, a town and commune home to the famous Vila Monastero and on Lake Como you'll also find the iconic Villa del Balbianello.
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As is the case in most destinations which lie off the beaten track, there is so much to see and do on holiday in Lake Como, but most of these are not obvious. The area does boast some amazing hidden gems such as the Museum of Cycling, the Monumento alla Resistenza Europea, and dozens of hiking and biking trails.
You can witness three of Como’s must-see pieces of architecture on foot in just one day; Como Cathedral’s Duomo, the Broletto, and the city tower. The Cathedral, begun in 1396, is the last of the Gothic cathedrals built in Lombardy. Works of art and statues adorn its interior, along with breath-taking 19th century stained glass windows. A holiday to Lake Como would also be incomplete without a trip to the Volta Temple. Como is also home to numerous lush gardens which make for a relaxing day away from sightseeing.
Top destinations dotted around Lake Como include Bellagio, a small, tourist-friendly and picturesque village located on a spit of land jutting into Lake Como on the southern part of the lake. Home to two historic villas, Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio is an ideal place to base yourself for a week of adventure around Lake Como.
The village of Varenna on the eastern shore of Lake Como is one of the most authentic spots on the whole of Lake Como. Varenna's picturesque streets and waterfront still run with tourists, but because of the protected buildings, historic narrow streets and excellent views across the lakes, it's retained a lot of its tradtional charm.
The charming village of Menaggio boasts one of the most beautiful lake-front promenades on all of Lake Como. Elegant streets, gorgeous mountain views and of course, the sparkling lake, make Menaggio a top pick for a romantic stay.
Though the area is not packed full of cafes and restaurants, it’s all about quality not quantity in the Lake Como region. The area is famed for its mouth-watering traditional Italian fare which is distinct from the cuisine in the rest of the country. Lake fish and local cold-cuts are sure to be on the menu at any local restaurant, and you can try traditional peasant food in the valleys and mountains.
You can even take a food tour starting in Varenna; experience the delights of the local market and sample delicious local cheeses, wines, olive oils, and so much more. It’s a great way to explore all the food-related traditions in the region. As for wine, there are numerous vineyards dotted around the lake including in the Brianza area and on the northern west end of the lake above Domasco. All the locals know the finest wine comes from the Montevecchia hillside.
As well as being a stunning Italian destination with more than its fair share of spectacular landscapes, Lake Como is an extremely family friendly choice for a holiday. It’s got so much to explore with plenty to see and do to keep the kids busy. The locals are also extremely welcoming and go above and beyond to welcome young visitors. The central lake area, between Argegno towards Bellagio and Tremezzo, is probably the best place to stay. It’s got lots of beautiful villages to explore, lanes to discover, and unique shops. There are also lots of outstanding family friendly choices of accommodation available in this area.
Activities like boating, water skiing, biking, and making pizza, will all bring you and your family close together in an action-packed holiday that’s fun for all ages. There are also water trampolines for kids – something you won’t get the chance to do every day!
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, Lake Como is a paradise for walking, hiking, boating and biking. Satisfy your taste for adventure on holiday in Lake Como with a day at Bellagio’s water sports and kayak club; you’ll be sure to be blown away by Lake Como’s breath-taking scenery as you tour and explore the coasts in a kayak. If you’d like to try your hand at kitesurfing, you can head to Colico. The water sporting season usually starts in March.
If you’d prefer to stay dry, take the trip out to the industrial town of Lecco on the eastern branch of the lake for some excellent opportunities for mountain walking. For something truly daring, you can take the plunge and go on a 20-mintue paragliding flight from Gera Lario – a nail-biting, unforgettable experience.
More than just a lakeside destination, beaches and resorts are dotted along the coast of Lake Como. Set yourself up in one of the top destinations on your Lake Como holidays, such as Varenna, Menaggio or Bellagio, and get exploring!
The most popular beach area in Lake Como during the summer months is the Lido de Villa Olmo in Como. This private beach and lido is equipped with a bar, a wellness area, solarium areas and two pools.
For something more sporty, head to the volleyball courts at the Parco Mayer in Tremezzo, or the football field and tennis courts at the Lideo di Colico.
Those seeking sun, shores, and relaxation, should head to the Lido Mendello del Lario. Wherever you are staying, you will need a shady shore and a dip in Como’s deep blue waters on days in July and August where the average temperature sits at about 25 degrees. The beach opportunities on holiday in Lake Como are endless!
For somewhere which exudes class and elegance during the daytime, the Lake Como area comes alive at night. There’s something for everyone after the sun goes down on holiday in Lake Como. For beachside partying, there is a club by the shore at the Lido Orsa Maggiore in Lecco, an area especially developed to entertain local young people. For those who love going to Las Vegas, there are plenty of lively casinos where you can try your hand at blackjack and poker while immersed in Italian glamour. For live music with a twist, Bellagio is home to an open air amphitheatre with wonderful acoustics.
One of the great things about Lake Como’s nightlife is the restaurants; rather than shutting early, they come into their own after hours. There are many fabulous cocktail bars and wine spots dotted around the area, but most of Lake Como’s bars and restaurants are situated within hotels. This gives them a fantastic Gatsby-esque luxury community vibe and guarantees you’ll have great conversations late into the night.
It’s no wonder that Stendhal described Lake Como as an “enchanted spot, unequalled on earth in its loveliness”. What could be more romantic than eating an authentic Italian breakfast each morning with your partner as you gaze out onto panoramic views of a clear blue lake? Take a leisurely boat tour or a scenic walk around the picturesque area, stroll hand in hand through historic villages, and share a bottle of the delicious local wine. Lake Como is also home to a multitude of scenic gardens which provide the ideal backdrop to any date, or even to a proposal! These include the lush green Villa Carlotta in Tremezzina and the truly refined atmosphere of the Villa del Balbianello. However long you’ve been together and whatever your ideal date style, Lake Como is a paradise for couples.
The towns dotted around Lake Como’s shores are steeped in history, culture, and tradition. Como is more than 400 years old and has many magnificent churches and historic monuments to explore. Bellagio, though much quieter, is still packed with history and culture to explore. If you’re in town the weekend after June 24th, you’ll be lucky enough to catch the St. John’s Day celebrations, which take place on Como’s only island. There is a huge mass in the ruins of the S. Eufemia basilica, which lies on Isola Comanica, which is followed by a procession and evening fireworks.
If you want a taste of Italy’s contemporary sporting culture, Como’s football team play at the stadium close to the lake – if you time your trip right, you could be in for an interesting match!