Como is a commune in the northern region of Italy with a current population of 84,000. Como is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and picturesque places in Lombardy and the commune itself is often overshadowed by the majestic Lake Como that stretches from the northern edge of the city.
Como has been populated since the Bronze Age by Celtic tribes and during the first century BC it became part of the Roman Empire. Due to its location at the edge of the immense Lake Como, the city has always played an important role in Lombardy and was a centre of commerce and trade during the Middle Ages. During this time of development a defensive network was constructed including a series of watch towers – you can still see one of the towers today (The Baradello). After French and Austrian conquests, Como was eventually incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy in 1859.
Today Como is a world renowned tourist destination and thousands of people flock here to explore the impressive Lake Como and the surrounding natural landscape. The city itself has a multitude of historical buildings, fine restaurants and important museums. Furthermore, surrounding the lake, there is a plethora of beautiful towns and villages such as Cernobbio, Menaggio and Bellagio.
The following is a list of 15 of the top things to do in and around Como:
1. Como Cathedral
The cathedral in Como is undoubtedly the most impressive building in the city and is renowned for its beautiful architecture.
This church is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and was constructed in the 14th century.
It features a Gothic design and was not wholly completed until the 18th century.
The front façade features a plethora of ornate stone work, stone statues and is topped with a series of small decorative towers.
The interior is lavishly decorated and one of the main features is the central dome – this is covered with gold artwork and some simply beautiful decoration.
Furthermore, the interior is vast and the various arches, columns and naves are all striking.
When visiting Como, a visit must be given to this magnificent structure.
Suggested tour to start your trip: Como Walking & Eating Tour
2. Como Archaeological Museum
Located in close proximity to the cathedral you can find the delightful Como Archaeological Museum.
This museum is actually housed in the Palazzo Giovio and features a fantastic range of artefacts that have been found throughout the Como region.
These artefacts and finds date as far back as the ancient Greek times and present a truly interesting look at the history of Como and its inhabitants throughout the years.
You can expect to find a range of pottery, jewellery, stonework, agricultural machinery and more.
Each display is housed with care and features an insightful range of information about the item and its history.
3. Museo Storico Giuseppe Garibaldi
This fine museum is also housed within a former palace and is also located on the Piazza Medaglie where the Archaeological Museum is situated.
The historical museum of Giuseppe Garibaldi has a series of lavishly decorated rooms that have been restored to show traditional living from various eras in Italy.
Furthermore the museum contains a plethora of artefacts such as furniture, lace and clothing from Como and the surrounding region.
This collection and restored rooms are simply fantastic and together with the Archaeological Museum paint a fine picture of Como.
4. Basilica di Sant’Abbondio
The Basilica of Saint Addondio is located a little out of the city centre, but it is a majestic church that is worthy of a visit.
The original church was created in the 11th century and the current Romanesque church was created over it by the Benedictines.
The front of the church is quite plain and features simple stonework and a huge main doorway.
Alternatively, the interior features a set of huge stone columns and an ornately decorated main altar.
The altar has a beautiful series of coloured frescos depicting various religious figures and a gorgeous blue and gold decorative ceiling.
5. Take the Funicular up to Brunate
Brunate is a small town that is located high up in the mountains surrounding Lake Como.
If you travel to the eastern edge of the lake near the city of Como you can take a fantastic funicular train that scales the mountain and stops at Brunate.
When you reach the top the views from this town are simply magnificent and you can see both the city of Como and the Lake in all their glory.
There are several terraces and restaurants that offer stunning views and give you a place to relax and take in the clear mountain air.
For the adventurous, there is a 2 hour hike that takes the intrepid to the summit of Mount Boletto for even greater views of this magical region.
6. Take a boat ride on Lake Como
There is possibly no better way to explore Lake Como and see the beautiful landscape the encompasses this body of water than to take a boat ride from Como itself.
There is a wide range of tour companies and boat operators that provide trips on the lake.
You can take one way boat rides from Como to visit some of the coastal towns such as Cernobbio and Bellagio, or alternatively you can take a scenic boat ride that simply travels on the lake while a guide points out different landmarks and explains the history of this region.
Which either type of ride you choose, you are sure to see the majesty of Lake Como up close and personal.
7. Visit the town of Cernobbio
Cernobbio is a town that is located on the western shore of Lake Como only a short distance from the city of Como.
This is one of the larger towns on the lake and features the amazing Villa d’Este which was originally built for an English Queen.
Down by the shore of the lake you can find the Cernobbio Lido and the Piazza Risorgimento – here you can see some beautiful fishing and sailing boats and also grab a bite to eat in one of the fine restaurants or cafes.
Cernobbio is also known as the starting point of the pilgrimage to Monte Bisbino – this 1310m road leads to the top of the mountain and the top offers panoramic views of the countryside.
8. Villa Balbianello
Punta Balbianello is a promontory that sticks out into Lake Como near the town of Lenno.
This promontory can be reached via a beautiful trail that winds from the bay at Lenno through some gorgeous woodland – this walk is a highlight and is perfect for those who enjoy hiking.
Located on the Punta is the Villa Balbianello – this Baroque villa complex was constructed during the 18th century over the original site of a monastery.
From this villa you are granted with some sublime views of Lake Como – the various terraces open out onto the lake and you can see for miles across to the opposite shore and the towns of Vergonese and Bellagio.
Aside from the gorgeous views, the villa itself has some amazing architecture is an interesting complex to explore.
9. Visit the town of Bellagio
Bellagio is regarded as one of the most beautiful and idyllic towns on Lake Como and it is easy to see why.
This town can be found where the three arms of Lake Como meet therefore the views are unrivalled – you can see each corner of the vast lake and the promenade at La Punta provides one of the best photographic opportunities in the area.
Within the town itself you can find a variety of high-end shops, several beautifully maintained gardens and some amazing restaurants.
Consider taking a boat trip to Bellagio, walking along the promenades and admiring this picture-perfect place.
10. Villa Serbelloni
When visiting Bellagio, you cannot miss out on the spectacular Villa Serbelloni.
This villa is one of the many historical complexes situated on Lake Como that once served as a lavish retreat for the Sfondrati Family during the 16th century.
It is easy to see why this villa was constructed in this location – at the top of the promontory that the town of Bellagio sits; this complex has amazing views of Lake Como and of the Alps in the far distance.
Although the villa is not open to the public, the expansive gardens are and guided tours are available – these Italian gardens feature a number of different enclosures including a Rose garden and several beautiful wooded areas.
11. Visit the town of Menaggio
Menaggio is another beautiful town on Lake Como and is situated on the western shore just above Bellagio.
As with the other towns on the shores of Lake Como, Menaggio offers some amazing views and the ferry port in particular has a wide open square that is a perfect place to take some photos of the water and the mountains.
Menaggio actually has a tunnel that passes through the entire length of the town that acts as a bypass for motorists looking to travel further afield.
Within the town of Menaggio you can find some fantastic restaurants that overlook the lake, and for the adventurous there is also a boat hire service.
12. Try your hand at Canyoning at Porlezza or Lenno
The varied landscape of Lake Como and the surrounding region offers itself to extreme sports.
For those who want to try something different and test their skills, there are companies such as Lake Como Adventures that offer a range of sports and outdoor pursuits.
Lake Como Adventures in particular offers the activity called Canyoning – this involves abseiling, jumping and slinding through a series of canyons and cliffs to reach the ground or water below.
This is a really fun way to explore Lake Como and you can find some truly stunning settings such as the canyons at Porlezza and Lenno.
13. Try your hand at Rock Climbing
If you do not fancy Canyoning then why not try Rock Climbing instead? The mountainous region of Lake Como has many opportunities for rock climbing and has a myriad of fantastic routes for all levels of skill from beginners to experts.
Companies such as Lake Como Adventures provide rock climbing trips from a simple afternoon exploring the likes of Grimsel and Furkapass.
You can climb on a range of different surface such as granite and limestone and explore some truly stunning parts of Lake Como.
14. Enjoy a meal at Trattoria La Costa
This gorgeous restaurant is located in the southern part of Como in the small commune of Albate.
The hosts of this restaurant are extremely friendly and will ensure that your dining experience is a memorable one.
The interior is beautifully decorated and has a traditional feel.
You can choose from a variety of traditional Italian meals, all of which are created using locally sourced ingredients where possible.
Furthermore, for those who enjoy a glass of wine, the patrons of Trattoria La Costa will take you into their wine cellar to select your very own bottle!
15. Enjoy a coffee at Caffe Mazzini
While exploring Como, you may want to relax in a quiet café and enjoy a fine coffee and a snack or a light bite.
Cafe Mazzini is one such establishment and is located in the Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini near the harbour of Como.
This café has a great selection of Italian dishes and light snacks together with a range of mouth-watering desserts and drinks.
In the evening if you visit this café you can also taste a range of delicious cocktails and they sometimes have a happy hour too!
Where to stay: Best Hotels in Como, Italy
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Como is home to some of the best attractions in all of Lombardy, and it is worth a visit even for a simple stroll through the streets of the center. It is an ideal destination both for those visiting Lake Como for a day and for those staying longer.What is the most beautiful village on Lake Como? ›
Bellagio. A highlight of any trip to the shores of Lake Como is undoubtedly a day (or two, or three) in Bellagio. Set conveniently between the two southernmost branches of the lake, the town is made up of steep winding paths where pastel-coloured houses provide peripheral pops of colour.What is so special about Lake Como Italy? ›
Lake Como is the most profound lake in Italy
In the old days, the lake was called “Lario”, which means “deep place”. Lake Como is the deepest in Italy, which explains its ancient name. Lake Como's depth is about 410 meters (1,345 feet), and it's the most profound lake in Italy and one of the deepest in Europe.
How many days should I spend in Lake Como? I'd suggest to spend at least 3-4 days, because there are a lot of towns and things to see and you will need time to experience Lake Como at its best.What food is Lake Como known for? ›
The most typical plate of the Lario (the ancient latin name of Lake Como) is the “Risotto con filetti di pesce persico”, a special typeof rice that gets creamy with cooking and mixed with fillets of Persic fish from our Lake, normally should be served with fruity white wine (Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay).Is Bellagio or Como better? ›
Bellagio is far more charming and its location on Lake Como is lovely. Not much nightlife except for restaurants but I don't think people go to Lake Como for the nightclubs, as it's more a place to relax and unwind. If you want bustling nightlife, go to Milan.What celebrities have Como houses? ›
A place of glorious sunshine and gentle pleasures, Lake Como, Lago di Como in Italian, has been a popular retreat for wealthy people since Roman times, and many celebrities and A-listers own or have owned villas on its shores, such as George Clooney, Madonna, Richard Branson, Sylvester Stallone, Gianni Versace, Matt ...What is the best month to visit Lake Como? ›
The best time to visit Lake Como and its surrounding areas would be from April to October, when the weather gets warm and mild. The territory is characterized as having a subcontinental climate, with cold winters and muggy summers; humidity is particularly high through the whole year.What actor lives on Lake Como Italy? ›
George Clooney regularly spends the summer months on Lake Como in his 25-room Villa Oleandra in Laglio, only about 15 minutes from Como. The village of Laglio is a sleepy nest at noon. The Villa Oleandra, the holiday residence of the Hollywood film star, also presents itself from its backward side.Which part of Lake Como is the most beautiful? ›
Bellagio. A highlight of any trip to the shores of Lake Como is undoubtedly a day (or two, or three) in Bellagio. Set conveniently between the two southernmost branches of the lake, the town is made up of steep winding paths where pastel-coloured houses provide peripheral pops of colour.
The lake is famous for the natural beauty of its setting and for the handsome villas on its shores. Among the many noted lakeside resorts are Como, Lecco, Bellagio, Tremezzo, Menaggio, and Varenna. Several towns are connected by steamer services.Do I need cash in Lake Como? ›
Of course, you also need cash in the country. You can bring that with you, and on Lake Como you have to & ndash; in contrast, perhaps, to areas like the Naples area for example & ndash; Don't be too scared of pickpockets. The secure storage of your wallet is of course always necessary.Is it easy to get around Lake Como without a car? ›
Most of the towns around Lake Como are well connected by the efficient local bus service. Bus service is a great way to move around Lake Como and save some money.Which is better lake Garda or Como? ›
Winner: Lake Garda. Although both destinations can run riot with your holiday budget, Lake Garda has more options for budget conscious travellers.How do you dress for Como? ›
Be sure to pack classy, yet breezy blouses, and plenty of sundresses. Jury's out on whether or not shorts are an Italian fashion faux pas, but if you're unsure then simply opt for maxi skirts.How do you spend a day at Lake Como? ›
Spend the day wandering picturesque streets, cruising past opulent villas, strolling through botanical gardens, shopping, and dining at cafes with beautiful views of the lake. If you plan to day trip to Lake Como, this is the most scenic part of the lake to visit.What town is closest to Lake Como? ›
really first rate. I prefer Varenna -- nice little town with good train and ferry connections -- but if you're nighttime people who like to party late, Como might work better for you. Menaggio and Bellagio are also options for the mid-lake.Does Leonardo DiCaprio have a house in Italy? ›
Leo picked up a loft apartment in 2011 becoming a neighbor of the Jolie-Pitts. He was reported to have been seen courting his former girlfriend, Blake Lively, while in Verona. Well, seeing as he actually has Italian roots, picking up property in Italy probably just made sense.
Apart from celebrities that own a villa on Lake Como, many other famous people decide to spend their vacations in some of the most beautiful hotels of the area. For instance, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo is a Belle Époque palace with a swimming pool inside the lake, located not far away from Laglio.
Italian property Villa Oleandra is one of four homes owned by the Hollywood A-lister that sits on Laglio's lakefront. Bought by George in 2002 for US$7 million, the 18th-century abode initially belonged to the Heinz family (makers of the famous tomato ketchup).Are there mosquitoes in Lake Como? ›
The risk for mosquito activity is extremely high. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when spending time outdoors to prevent bites. The risk for mosquito activity is high. Consider an EPA-registered repellent to deter mosquito bites.Can you swim in the lake at Lake Como? ›
Yes, you can actually swim in Lake Como. Some pebbled beaches of Lake Como are known to harbour the most swimmable waters to exist – but should you? As swimmable as the waters are, it is also considered by a handful minority to not be the most 'ideal' place to do so, for several reasons.What is the hottest month in Lake Como? ›
July is the hottest month in Lake Como with an average temperature of 22°C (72°F) and the coldest is January at 4°C (39°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 9 in July. The wettest month is June with an average of 134mm of rain..Was Star Wars filmed at Lake Como? ›
Director George Lucas shot scenes from "Star Wars" Episode 2 in the Villa Balbianello in Lenno on Lake Como. Lucas has hardly changed this location! You know immediately where he shot which shot. The only exceptions were the two dome-like buildings that you see in the film from the lake.Does Brad Pitt have a home in Italy? ›
Brad Pitt and Anglina Jolie have just purchased an 18,000 square foot villa in Valpolicella, Italy for $40 million, according to Sky Italy.Was Star Wars filmed in Lake Como Italy? ›
Lake Como. Remember Anakin and Padma's wedding scene in Attack of the Clones? It was filmed at the famous Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como. This exquisite location with magnificent gardens became the planet of Naboo according to Lucas' story.Is it best to have a car in Lake Como? ›
While you don't really need a car in Lake Como and both parking and driving is limited there, you could even take your can on selected ferries. That said, make sure you book a hotel with a parking spot, otherwise, you'll be in trouble.What is Como known for? ›
Today Como is a world renowned tourist destination and thousands of people flock here to explore the impressive Lake Como and the surrounding natural landscape. The city itself has a multitude of historical buildings, fine restaurants and important museums.Is there a direct train from Como to Venice? ›
Yes, it is possible to travel from Como San Giovanni to Venice without having to change trains. There is 1 direct train from Como San Giovanni to Venice each day.
Languages: Italian, but you'll find that the locals of popular destinations like Lake Como speak English quite well.What are people from Como called? ›
|Como Còmm (Lombard)|
|Population (31 October 2022)|
|• Density||2,300/km2 (5,900/sq mi)|
in what way You use the word how when you ask about the way that something happens or the way that you do something.Is Como open on Sunday? ›
Open Monday to Saturday 9 am to 5 pm, Sunday 10 am to 5pm. Make a reservation for The Stables of Como.Do taxis in Lake Como take credit cards? ›
Yes, it is possible to pay in cash, by credit card, or by bank transfer.Is Lake Como drying up? ›
Lake Como has an area of 56 square miles, which means that this low water level is due to the loss of 4.6 billion gallons of water. According to local geologists, the rapidly-shrinking Fellaria glacier is the largest contributing factor to the decreased water levels.How do you pay for buses in Lake Como? ›
LAKE COMO BUS SERVICE
You can buy tickets in most tobacco shops or newsstands. Both ASF and Linee Lecco gives you the chance to find the nearest ticket office within the area in which they operate (click here to see where you can buy ASF tickets and here for the Linee Lecco tickets).
How much money will you need for your trip to Como? You should plan to spend around €171 ($182) per day on your vacation in Como, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, €48 ($51) on meals for one day and €11 ($12) on local transportation.How long is the train ride from Milan to Lake Como? ›
Usually, the train from Milan to Lake Como takes 48m, but can take just 37m on the fastest Trenitalia services. With around 63 trains running on this popular route each day, you don't need to worry about changing along the way.Why is Lake Garda so popular? ›
The scenery and its picturesque towns
The landscape is very diverse with mountains in the northern part, green hills in the south, beaches with rocks, sand or even grass and crystal clear waters. On Lake Garda you can find countless historical sites, from ancient ruins to castles, villas, graffiti, fortresses, caves.
Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 31 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding, fishing, and road biking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.Is a day trip to Lake Como worth it? ›
Lake Como is one of the most beautiful lakes in northern Italy. The views are not only confined to the lake – the surroundings are just as stunning. The mountains, sunsets, villas, and small towns provide a perfect escape from Milan or any other big city. It is absolutely worth visiting!Which is better Lake Garda or Como? ›
Winner: Lake Garda. Although both destinations can run riot with your holiday budget, Lake Garda has more options for budget conscious travellers.How long is the boat ride from Como to Bellagio? ›
The hydrofoil takes 45 minutes to one hour to travel from Como to Bellagio and/or Varenna. The slow boat takes up to two to three hours to travel from Como to Bellagio and/or Varenna. Click here for the official Lake Como ferry website and for updated prices.Do you need cash in Lake Como? ›
Of course, you also need cash in the country. You can bring that with you, and on Lake Como you have to & ndash; in contrast, perhaps, to areas like the Naples area for example & ndash; Don't be too scared of pickpockets. The secure storage of your wallet is of course always necessary.Is Lake Como swimmable? ›
Yes, you can actually swim in Lake Como. Some pebbled beaches of Lake Como are known to harbour the most swimmable waters to exist – but should you? As swimmable as the waters are, it is also considered by a handful minority to not be the most 'ideal' place to do so, for several reasons.Is there a train from Lake Como to Lake Garda? ›
It takes an average of 2h 48m to travel from Como to Desenzano del Garda/Sirmione by train, over a distance of around 75 miles (120 km). There are normally 30 trains per day travelling from Como to Desenzano del Garda/Sirmione and tickets for this journey start from €11.50 when you book in advance.How long does it take to drive all around Lake Como? ›
The total driving time required if leaving from Como and heading in a clockwise direction is just over four hours but best split over two days with an overnight stay at the halfway point. In theory, this route can be undertaken from any one of the dozens of resorts around the lake or indeed, in any direction.Is Lake Como walkable? ›
Como is a walkable location surrounded by picturesque views of lakes and mountains. While you're here, enjoy activities like boating, sunbathing, and simply soaking up the stunning lakeside views.