Why you should visit Lake Como

Lake Como, one of the deepest lakes in Europe, is a shining jewel set among the Italian alps and has been a magnet for aristocrats and celebrities since the Roman times. It is just minutes away from the Swiss border and just an hour north of Milan. During our Swiss road trip a couple of years back, we spent a couple of nights in Lake Como. The sunny shores of Lake Como, with its glamorous gardens and lavish villas, provide an excellent change from the stunning alpine beauty of its northern neighbor. 

Million dollar view from our Airbnb!

Getting in and around 

The central location of Como means you can easily add it to your itinerary whether you’re visiting Switzerland or Italy. There are regular trains to Como from both Milan and Lugano (Switzerland). If flying in, Milan is the closest major airport. Alternatively, you can also rent a car and drive to the lake as well. 

Charming villages dot the lake shore!

Having your own car is advantageous if you like flexibility and want to make stops around the lake according to your convenience. Bear in mind the road is narrow and winding in parts and you will have to be careful driving around. It’s best to get a small car for ease of driving and parking! Since we were visiting Lake Como as part of our longer road trip, we just ended up driving everywhere. 

Boat service on the Lake.. the best view to get around

There is a frequent triangular boat service between the towns of Menaggio, Bellagio & Varenna that is very useful. We parked our car in Menaggio and explored the other two towns (which are very walkable once you reach) by boat. 

Where to stay

Unless you are celebrating an occasion or ready to splurge a lot, it doesn’t make sense to book any of the super luxury hotels or villas on the lake shores. We found a gem of an AirBnb with awesome views of the lake for a steal of a price. There are plenty of such places available, so book in advance so you can snag one with a stellar view. Our AirBnb was in Cernobbio, which is one of the major towns on the western end, and very close to the swiss border. 

Can’t beat this view!!

If you are in the mood to splurge, do check out the stately Villa d’Este, also in Cernobbio. It is one of the most well known luxury hotels in the world, where the who’s who have stayed! Villa d’Este is more of a destination in itself than just a hotel. Even the basic room starts from 600 euros going up to 3 times the amount for one with a lake view. I’ll take an AirBnb any day and spend the rest on good food and experiences!

The lakeshore villages

The idyllic villages that dot the lakeshore are the glittering pearls that together form the glittering necklace that is Lake Como. No visit would be complete without exploring these villages, getting lost in the alleyways, eating at little trattorias and gorging on way too many gelatos that can be good for you! Just joking, you can never eat enough gelatos! 

Getting lost in these villages straight out of a fairytale!

If you’re visiting Como for the weekend, the best villages to check out are Cernobbio, Tremezzo, Varenna and Bellagio. These are the most popular villages, with picture postcard cobblestoned streets and cute shops and trattorias dotting the streets. The best part of Como is that you don’t really need an itinerary. The villages dotting the lake are so picturesque that you just stroll around, taking in the sights and moving to the next one. 


In Varenna, do check out Villa Monastero with its grand gardens. Bellagio, which is the inspiration for its namesake casino in Las Vegas, is like a storybook town. You might have seen the famous street in countless pictures, and discovering it in this tiny town is an amazing feeling! Though, I will admit, it is much more fun to wander about and find your own picturesque spot! While you’re at it, do stop by Gelateria del Borgo and treat yourself to some excellent gelato.

The main town square (above) of Varenna, (left) Madhu posing in a picturesque alleyway just few steps away


Apart from these villages, there are many other villages that dot the lakeside. Each one of them has a picturesque promenade right by the lake, dotted with tiny trattorias, cafes and gelaterias. Any of them could be a hidden gem that isn’t discovered by tourists yet. We generally pick one that has a good vibe or is full of locals and usually that has been a good strategy thus far! One of our best experiences in Como was stopping by a small cafe right beside the lake, enjoying a cup of excellent cappuccino, a tall glass of gelato and pastries with an excellent view of the lake.

Views like these greet you from the ferry rides across the lake

To sum up

Whether you’re visiting for a weekend getaway, or taking a longer break, Lake Como has something for everyone. It’s a great place to relax, rewind and rejuvenate. With it located so close to the Swiss border as well as Milan, it can easily be added to your itinerary whether you are visiting Italy or Switzerland. So, pack your bags, don’t forget your shades, and head on down to Como to live it up or just chill on the shores, with million dollar views around every corner!

The lovely promenade at Tremezzo, you can find one like this in almost all the small lakeshore towns!

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