Coming in as the 4th biggest lake in Italy, Lake Como offers visitors much to see and do. With all the amazing scenery and exciting attractions demanding your attention, it can be tough to plan a trip as you work out which is the most important destination. To make this much easier, we’ve come up with a list of the 10 best things to do around Lake Como, Italy.
No matter how you like to spend your vacations, Lake Como will have something for you to do. If you like to take relaxing boat rides, Lake Como has got you covered. Maybe you like exploring quaint little towns and seeing all the architecture, no problem. Or maybe you’re an adrenaline junkie that needs some thrill; again, Lake Como can deliver.
So without further adieu, let’s take a look at the best things to do around Lake Como.
Visit the Como Cathedral (Duomo of Como)
Towering tall above the rest of the city and dominating much of the skyline of Lake Como is the city’s main church, the Como Cathedral. This impressive structure is known far and wide for its exquisite architecture, impeccable stonework, and Gothic design. Construction on the church began many years ago in the 14th century and was officially completed over 400 years later in the 18th century.
While the exterior is certainly astounding to look at, the interior is arguably just as impressive, if not more so. Once inside, you’ll be surrounded by lavish decorations and priceless pieces of art. The central dome inside, combined with the massive open areas created by the archways and the imposing columns, really give the Como Cathedral an impressive feel.
Take a Boat Tour Around the Lake
If you’re visiting Lake Como, your trip cannot be complete without taking a boat tour around the lake. Lake Como offers some of the most amazing views of the lake itself as well as the surrounding landscapes and countryside. And with how many tour options there are, there’s no reason to miss out!
There are so many tours to choose from that no matter what the occasion is, you’ll be able to have a great experience on Lake Como. Take that special someone for a romantic boat ride on the water and watch the sunset. Take a ride to one of the many small villages along the coast and explore a new area. Regardless of which route you take, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Stroll Through the Botanical Gardens at Hotel Villa Cipressi
One of the oldest standing hotels near Lake Como is the incredible Hotel Villa Cipressi, built over half of a millennium ago in the 15th century. If you’re up for spending a few nights in the lap of luxury, book a room at the hotel to have access to its restaurant and entire palette of amenities. But even if you don’t stay there, you still have access to their public botanical gardens, and that’s a real treat!
The Botanical Gardens of the Hotel Villa Cipressi are over 100 years old, and you can get lost in their beauty if you’re not careful! Built on the edge of Lake Como, you can explore the amazing gardens, taking in the lush greenery and beautiful flowers while getting unparalleled views of the gorgeous lake. The gardens are also built on different levels, so you can ascend through them and get even better views of the lake and the other levels of the gardens themselves.
Visit Villa del Balbianello
One of the most famous houses anywhere in Lake Como or around the lake itself is Villa Balbianello. Located near the town of Lenno on the coast of Lake Como, this incredible homestead juts out into the lake and dominates part of the shore. Standing where a monastery once stood, Villa Balbianello was erected in the 18th century for the family of the same name.
Get to the villa via a boat tour or a hike through the incredible woodlands around Lake Como, and set aside a couple of hours to explore the grounds. The villa has lush gardens, perfectly-manicured greenery, and more to explore. However, the mainstay of the attraction is the incomparable views of Lake Como that you get from the villa. Simply breathtaking.
See Related: Best Villas in Lake Como for Rent
Travel Up the Mountains to Brunate
Much of Lake Como is surrounded by hills and mountains, many of which contain little towns and villages worth visiting. One such mountain-top village that you should visit while you’re staying in Lake Como is Brunate. From its high vantage point, Brunate offers some of the best views of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains.
There are two main ways to get to the top of Brunate, each of which is an adventure in itself. The first option is to make the 2-hour hike to the top of the mountain. This is an exciting hike with great views but might be a little too strenuous for most. Second, you can take the funicular train from Lake Como up to the top. Either way, it’s a great experience!
Spend a Day at Jungle Raider Park Xtreme
If you’re up for a day of adventure or you’re on a family vacation, and your kids are up for a day of adventure and fun, consider spending a day at Jungle Raider Park Xtreme near Lake Como. The adventure park has two locations a short distance from the lake and offers visitors adventurous experiences that you won’t find anywhere else in Italy.
This adventure park has loads of fun activities for those who need a rush of adrenaline, including zip-lining and bungee jumping. Jungle Raider Park Xtreme has difficulty levels ranging from beginner to experts and real adrenaline junkies. So no matter how adventurous you’re feeling, you’ll be able to enjoy your time at this great park.
You might’ve stayed at the world-famous Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, but there’s another Bellagio you should visit. A little town just off the coast of Lake Como, Bellagio is a short trip from the main city and is well worth the short time spent to get there. You even could (and should!) use your aforementioned boat tour to make your way to Bellagio.
From Bellagio, you can look out over Lake Como and see three different arms of the lake converging on the town, creating lake views unlike anywhere else around. In Bellagio, you can walk the streets of this quaint little town and stroll through beautiful gardens, shop at luxury stores, or just grab a coffee and watch the world go by.
Visit Museum Moto Guzzi
For any gearheads or motorheads visiting Lake Como, spending a couple of hours exploring the Museum Moto Guzzi is perfect for you. This museum especially caters to motorcycle lovers of the world, as you’ll learn the entire history of the motorcycle from the many exhibits and displays all around.
Take some time some time from your boat tour to explore what the museum has to offer. It’s even free to enter and explore, so there’s no reason to pass it up! Even if you don’t already have a love for motorcycles and engines, this museum will undoubtedly give you a new sense of appreciation for them!
Stop by Villa Serbelloni
While you’re visiting the previously suggested town of Bellagio, you have to stop by the incredible house known as Villa Serbelloni. Built nearly 500 years ago, this incredible complex offers visitors a look into the life of luxury that the wealthy people of Lake Como had access to many years ago.
From the top of this impressive villa, you’ll have unobstructed views of Lake Como stretching across your field of vision before your eyes meet the mountainous Alps in the distance. These lake and mountain views are some of the most spectacular views of the Lake Como region that you’ll get anywhere. So while you’re already in Bellagio, this villa is a must-visit.
Rock Climb Around Lake Como
If your visit to Jungle Raider Park Xtreme wasn’t enough to quench your thirst for adventure, or you’re not into zip-lines and bungee jumping, then consider rock climbing some of the many mountains around Lake Como. With so many mountains and cliffs in the region, you could spend your entire trip rock climbing around the lake and barely scratch the surface.
Free climbing is available to the most adventurous, but companies in the area also have built-in rock climbing routes up many of the mountains for those not apt at free climbing cliff faces. You’ll have access to climbing routes for experts and novices alike, so don’t be afraid to give it a shot. It’s an incredible experience that you won’t soon forget!