LAKE COMO HOLIDAYS
Lake Como holidays are a Mediterranean dream of sumptuous food and breath-taking villas with rose gardens that look like they’ve come straight out of a coffee table book. In the summer, tourists love to dine out in centuries-old villas, indulge in spa treatments overlooking the lake or tuck into an aperitivo on lakefront under a starry sky.
Undoubtedly romantic and beautiful, there’s a reason that Lake Como is Italy’s most visited lake. For years, this area has been the sun-kissed playground for the rich and famous, with many celebrities making Como buying gorgeous lakefront villas. Today, you will still find classic cars racing along peachy-coloured towns, stylish seafood restaurants and cobblestoned streets walked by everyone from George Clooney to Alfred Hitchcock. The nouveau rich race their speedboats here while the locals happily get by sailing from village to village. There’s rustic charm in family-run trattorias where saffron risotto and home-made ice cream are served up as authentically as the atmosphere and private wine tastings in the villas dotted around the Lake. Discover manicured gardens, 16th-Century palazzos and a dynamite alpine setting as you rise by funicular some 1600 feet above the lake to the summit of Mount Brunate!
The Climate in Lake Como
Como Lake is famous for its balmy temperatures and the Mediterranean sun. Despite the fact that it’s very close to the mountains, its climate is mild and constant, due to its large mass of water that acts as a thermal reserve.
There are more than 200 days of sunshine a year, which is perfect for hikers, trekkers, sports enthusiasts and sun-worshippers alike! The best time to visit is between March and November when temperatures are warm and the sun shines the most.
The best spring and autumn months to visit Lake Como are May and October, which temperatures are mild but sometimes there are torrential rains. From May until September the temperature won’t usually dip below the 25 °C mark making exploring the area and cruising on the lakes a comfortable pleasure.
Why not start planning your next summer holiday to this oasis of natural beauty!
Flights to Lake Como from the UK
Getting a flight to Lake Como no matter where you live in the UK is very easy and takes around 2 hours to arrive. You can either fly to the Milanese airports or to Bergamo. London and Southern England offer an expansive range of airports from which to fly to Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa and Bergamo, and it is not unsurprising to find a cheap return flight for around the £40 mark. Gatwick and Heathrow offer the largest range of flights and if you search in advance you can find cheap direct flights.
If you’re living in the Midlands or far North, don’t worry you are taken care of too, with routes from Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Bristol and Newcastle fly to Milan. Same is true for Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Once you land in Milan – you can catch a train from Milan’s Stazione Centrale and Stazione Porta Garibaldi, and arrive at San Giovanni (Como’s main station). Trains are frequent and take around 40 minutes, don’t forget to stamp/validate your ticket at the station with the machines or you could be fined!
If you fly to Bergamo, there is a direct bus service from Bergamo Airport to Como, alternatively, if you are at the main train station, you could take the train which only involves one change.
The most popular destinations in Lake Como
Bellagio is one of the most attractively-situated of the lake resorts, and it is a pleasant place to ramble, explore or simply potter. Passenger ferries stop alongside a tree-lined waterfront. Across the road is a lovely arcade where cafes and restaurants afford shade and shelter from the elements. This is a good place to come for an aperitivo or after-dinner drink. Walking to the right as you disembark from the boat, you’ll find more ‘touristy’ cafes – the types of place where you can sit in the afternoon on a lakeside terrace with a big fancy ice-cream and watch the boats passing by.
From the central waterfront, stepped and cobbled lanes rise up the hill in a tight little network separating the lakeshore from the town’s main street, Via Garibaldi. This is a pretty lane where you’ll find more shops, cafes and also Bellagio’s main town square, Piazza San Giacomo, or Piazza della Chiesa. The square is dominated by the town church, the Romanesque Basilica di San Giacomo, which is worth a visit for its frescoes and statues!
Pescallo is an enchanting little fishing hamlet looking out over the western Lecco branch of Lake Como, on the opposite side of the promontory to the main settlement of Bellagio.
Designer shopping, chic cafes and truly admirable architecture reassure you that you are at the heart of glamorous Italy. Yet Como excludes an antique vibe as the old town dates to medieval times and the city walls hark back to the 12th century.
With good ferry links to the rest of the lake and a funicular up into the hills, Como proves a versatile base for a visit to other towns around the Lake. As you stroll through the cobbled streets you will be greeted by grand hotels, cafes, gelaterias and sun-drenched piazzas. Whilst on your journey through the winding streets you will find the impressive Duomo (cathedral) that dominates the piazza.
Don’t miss a ride up the town’s funicular to Brunate (great for family holidays) which offers a spectacular view of the city below from the Volta Lighthouse. If shopping is what you’re after, Como’s streets are lined with shops and boutiques including brand names such as Butti and Max Mara.
A walk along the waterfront, from where you can appreciate the views of the lake and mountains beyond, which are jaw-dropping!
Menaggio is a popular town in the Como area which lights up the western shoreline. The waterside promenade is a gorgeous focal point and embellished with an eclectic variety of bars and restaurants to choose from. Al-fresco dining is a must in Menaggio and I guarantee you will fall in love with the views of the twinkling lights bouncing off the crystal-blue Lake.
Menaggio’s humble marina offers views across to the romantic Bellagio and Varenna and it is these three towns which make up the central triangle of Lake Como.
Thanks to its situation halfway along the western shore of Lake Como, Menaggio has also historically been a link between the Como Valley of Italy and the Lugano Valley of Switzerland. The town actually has tumultuous past as it was destroyed during the 10 years War in the 12th century. Aside from ancient stories and culture, Menaggio is a lovely place to stay for a summer holiday with fantastic leisure activities to do such as, swimming in the lake, resting on the beach or hop on board a boat tour to get to know the stories of the lake better. If golf is your thing then there is also a golf course with paradisial views so go the whole hog and do 18 holes!
Varenna is a small picturesque 15th-century settlement on the eastern shore of Lake Como characterised by colourful buildings and small steep streets. Varenna looks over the central part of the lake towards Bellagio and the old fishermen’s houses that line the shoreline are absolutely gorgeous. It is an ideal place to spend an afternoon strolling the lakeside, frequenting excellent restaurants, or enjoying its quaint and colourful atmosphere while taking in spectacular views of Lake Como and its surrounding mountains.
Grab some gelato near the colourful waterfront and pebble shores, take a stroll on the passerelle — or “lover’s walk” — and climb to the beautiful Castello di Vezio for a chance to explore the grounds of a beautiful privately-owned castle.
Just 50km north of Milan and sewn to Switzerland, Como is a great base from which to explore fashion capital – Milan, elegant towns in Switzerland or Bergamo, a town draped in history.
From Como’s main train station, hop on the direct train to Milan and spend the day treating yourself to some retail therapy and taking in the impressive sights.
Start the day with a visit to the imposing Sforza Castle which is home to many art collections. As the day progresses, head to the gorgeous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade for some seriously stylish shopping. As one of the world’s most influential fashion capitals, every inch of the Quadrilatero d’Oro is tightly packed with the best of haute couture, including Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada, Versace and Valentino.
Aside from shopping, Milan is rich in cultural beauty and a must-see is the monumental Cathedral. It is located in the in the self-named Piazza del Duomo, and no trip is complete without stepping foot inside its immense doors! Top tip: visit the Castello Sforzesco during the afternoon (allow 2 hours) and when you’re done you can enjoy an evening stroll through the courtyards and park that is conveniently connected.
The Navigli area boasts old-world charm and plenty of dining options from gourmet pizza to rustic pasta, to swanky cocktails, this area has it all!
Just a short, scenic train ride from San Giovanni train station, you will be in gorgeous Lugano (Switzerland) which has an elegant yet wild Mediterranean ambience. The city stands on the northern shore of glacial Lake Lugano, surrounded by mountains. Its main square, Piazza della Riforma, is ringed with pastel-coloured, neoclassical palazzi.
The Best Deals for a holiday in Lake Como
Can’t wait to go? If you book in advance, you can find fantastic deals to Como. Check out our best deals and fantastic guides about Lake Como holidays on our website and you’ll soon be on your way to this breath-taking part of Italy.