ARGEGNO: THE PERFECT OFF-BEAT CHARM IN LAKE COMO
Visiting Argegno in Lake Como, Italy and wondering if you should, how to get there, and what to see and do?
Great! In this guide, you can read about this quintessential hamlet, the unmissable things to do in Argegno as well as useful information for your visit to this hidden charm in the Como Province.
Here is a quick overview of what is covered in this article:
- About Argegno, Como Province;
- How to get to Argegno;
- The top things to experience in Argegno, Como;
- Add to your Argegno itinerary;
- Where to stay in Argegno;
- Practical tips and information for your travels to Argegno.
ABOUT ARGEGNO, COMO PROVINCE, ITALY
Argegno is a rare find! This quaint hamlet sits in an unspoilt corner on the shores of Lake Como. A small village of less than 700 inhabitants, and much quieter than its imposing neighbours such as Como town, Bellagio or Varenna. Argegno is not glamorous either. Unlike most of the other towns and villages, Argegno has retained its simplistic, traditional and individual character which is the charm of this off the beaten track village. Unaffected by the frenzied activities by its glamorous neighbours, Argegno offers a glimpse into an authentic Italian hamlet.
The Italians have a flair with colours. The hillside houses and the buildings surrounding the piazza are painted in vibrant shades of yellow, tangerine, violet and green. Stone stairs lead to secluded more charming colourful houses with small iron balconies spilled with flowers. The colours add to the charm and character of this beautiful village, where the residents outnumber the tourists.
History of Argegno
The quiet town of Argegno has a long history and was founded by the Romans. The name is said to be attributed to the town to commemorate the Roman consul Publio Cesio Archigene. A few discoveries of gravestones were made that showed links to the Roman consul Publio Cesio Archigene.
Furthermore, Argegno had always been a fortified centre due to its strategic position on the lake and played a key role in the war between the Rusca and the Vittani. Subsequently, Argegno along with all the other towns in Como surrendered to the Visconti family of Milan in 1335.
What to expect when you visit Argegno
Argegno, pronounced ar-GEE-nioh, though quieter, there are good reasons to visit this unspoilt territory. The village has a long and rich history going back to the Romans and it shows in the dated yet charming medieval architecture of the village. A little stone bridge that has stood the test of time since the Romans crosses over River Telo and offers a glimpse into the hamlet’s medieval past.
Located at the foot of a daunting hill, a cable car ride from Argegno to Pigra offers unrivalled views over the upscale resort area of Lake Como, the Alps and Switzerland beyond. Argegno is also the starting point to a wealth of walking, hiking and cycling routes, ranging from easy to difficult.
Added to this is the incredibly picturesque lakefront views of the shimmering aqua waters of the lake, snow-capped mountains and the clear blue-skies. In the midst of the coolness of the breeze and the warmth of the sunshine, there is the dreamy view of bobbing boats in the marina, and tumbled autumn leaves (we visited Argegno in November).
A ‘must-visit’ lakeside village
Argegno is unlike other towns/villages I visited in Lake Como. A little town that is an oasis of peace and impossible not to fall in love with. Argegno is certainly a village that ought to secure a spot on your Lake Como itinerary.
For a timeless experience
Would you like to experience the best of Lake Como as well as the best off-beat places including taking a dip in the clear waters of this famous lake?
If you do, you may want to take a private boat trip to explore Argegno. This is one of the best things to do in Lake Como if you want to use the most of your time when visiting this region. A private boat hire might be best for you so you could experience several places in a short time.
With some boat trips, you can curate your own itinerary and select the towns you want to visit in Lake Como. In some others, the itinerary is already planned and includes seeing the best of Lake Como sights from the waters. Some private boat trips take you to a special island renowned for the clear waters where you could have a swim. This is the most efficient way of exploring the best of Lake Como for timeless memories. If this is the kind of thing you’d like to do, take a look at this private boat trip I found:
This particular private boat trip is flexible where you can curate your own itinerary of places to visit and admire from the waters. You could also hire these guys for a special celebration like a birthday, anniversary or a special couples outing with champagne. They will even do drone photography , if you want them to. However, if you do not want to curate your own itinerary, this private boat trip takes you to see the popular villas from the waters. It includes a trip to the beautiful Comacina Island where you can swim in the clear waters of Lake Como.
Book this exceptional private boat trip from Viator.
HOW TO GET TO ARGEGNO, LAKE COMO
Argegno is located on the western shore of Lake Como, about 50 km (31 miles) north of Milan and 15 km (9 miles) north of Como.
The village of Argegno is ideally situated in Lake Como and has relatively good connections to the other towns and villages in Lake Como. It is also well connected by road, so you could drive here or take a bus from Como town.
The high-speed hydrofoil and the long-haul boats stop here and run a good service. The schedule is seasonal. Summer sees a higher frequency of ferry stopovers in Argegno than the winter months. Check the official website of the Lake Como Navigation timetable to plan your journeys.
Argegno does not have a railway station. The nearest railway stations to Argegno are located in Como town and Varenna. When you reach Como take a local bus to Argegno. When you reach Varenna by train, take the boat to Argegno.
From Como town to Argegno by bus: The bus station in Como is located in Piazza Matteotti, next to Como Lago Trenord railway station. Some buses also stop at Como San Giovanni train station. You will need the C10 bus to get to Argegno. The journey time is around 20 to 25 minutes. Take a look at this official website of public transportation in Como to plan your journey.
The nearest main airports to Argegno are Milan Malpensa International or Milan Bergamo. Upon arrival, hire a car to self-drive, opt for private transportation by car or take the shuttle bus to Milan.
From Milan Malpensa to Milan Centrale Station or Milan City Centre
The most convenient way to reach Milan Centrale Station from Malpensa Airport is to take the direct bus transfer. This is an ideal option because the bus stop is located as you exit the terminal. At Terminal 1, look for Exit 4 and at Terminal 2, it is Exit 7.
Alternatively, you could also take a direct train from Milan Malpensa to Milan Centrale Station. The ticket office and trains are located at -1 at the airport arrivals.
The bus transfer from Milan Malpensa to Milan Centrale Station is highly popular among travellers. You can learn more and book your space on this shuttle service if you opt for this option.
There are other options as well. You could take a direct transfer from Milan Malpensa to Milan city centre or take a direct private transfer to Milan Centrale Station or to Argegno.
From Bergamo Airport to Milan Centrale Station or Milan City Centre
Take the coach transfer from Bergamo Airport to Milan Centrale Station. This is the most convenient, efficient and inexpensive way to reach Milan Centrale. You could book a return journey to the airport as well, a completely stress free option which you may want to look into for your travel. Find out more about the Bergamo to Milan Centrale airport transfer by coach.
The good thing about these coach transfers is that luggage is included in the price of your ticket and there are no additional charges for extra luggage.
From Milan to Argegno
There are no direct connections from Milan to Argegno. To get to Argegno from Milan, you will need to take a train or bus from Milan to Como, then a local bus from Como to Argegno.
Take the train from Milan Centrale Station to Como San Giovanni in Como. From Como S. Giovanni, hop onto the C10 bus to Argegno.
You may find this guide about how to get to Como from Milan Malpensa airport helpful
THE TOP THINGS TO EXPERIENCE IN ARGEGNO, COMO
Argegno is a place where you could do a lot or you could do nothing at all and simply enjoy the sereneness of the lakeside village. If you want to ‘get away from it all’ for a few days, Argegno is your haven. The time I spent here was too short, and this is one of the villages I will definitely return to in Lake Como.
Here are the highlights of Argegno, a peaceful haven on the shores of Lake Como. The following things to do in Argegno are useful in ensuring that you use the best of your time here.
Argegno is at a great location in Lake Como. The village is located where the lake curves, one of the narrowest parts of Lake Como and of greatest depth, at around 410 metres (1345 ft). It is a small area of land locked in by two mountains to the West and Lake Como to the East. Wooded slopes rise straight up from the shimmering turquoise waters of the lake. Beyond them are the snow-capped Dolomites, below the ethereal blue sky. The views are magnificent. The tranquility of Argegno is mesmerising amidst the serenity of its ancient charm.
Spend time at the lakefront
Argegno has a marvellous lakefront. The lakefront is accessible to all and is home to Argegno’s pretty harbour and a local lido (Lido di Argegno). It is a place for great views and for panoramic photos.
Argegno’s lakefront offers dreamy views of the comings and goings of boats and ferries. Boats bob in the small marina behind the breakwater. Couples sit on top of the wall, cuddling, dangling their feet, whispering. Amidst the calmness, the bells from the small stone church resound all over the village. There is a certain atmosphere here, one that draws you to the warmth, idleness and the rustic charm of a village where time has stood still.
Visit the Church of the Holy Trinity Argegno
The Church of St Trinita is a charming small stone church with a lovely bell chime. The church was built in the early 20th century in the Neo-Romanesque style. It was constructed to substitute an earlier church built in the 17th century which was located in the medieval village centre.
The church has a simple layout of a single nave and a gorgeous glass rose window portraying various saints. There is a 17th century painting of a nativity scene which originated from the old church along with a sculpture of baby Jesus from the 19th century.
One of the highlights of the Holy Trinity Church is the “Live Nativity Scene” or “del Capell” which takes place on New Year’s Day. On this particular day each year, I am told, the statue of Jesus is carried in a procession through the streets of Argegno. This Live Nativity event is said to involve the entire village and has been observed for 400 years.
Add: Piazza Giovanni Grandi, 22010 Argegno CO, Italy
Explore the town centre
Piazza Roma is the hub of Argegno. It is a small square that overlooks the village’s lakefront. There are typical restaurants and ice-cream parlours where you can enjoy a wide variety of Italian dishes such as lake fish and homemade gelato.
The square is surrounded by colourful medieval houses in bright facades, and Juliet balconies throughout the alleys.
Argegno is a place where you climb stone stairs, and uncover picturesque hidden corners and tiny trattoria or gelateria tucked into quaint corners of the hillside. This little hamlet is quite simply undeniably timeless and authentically Italian.
5 | The Roman stone bridge
Ahead of Piazza Roma is a splendid bridge made of stone, with pointed arches which stands testament to the presence of Romans in this hamlet. The Romanesque bridge connects the two sides of the village that is divided by River Telo.
Take the Argegno-Pigra cable car
The Argegno-Pigra cable car is one of the steepest rides in Europe and is a must-do activity when in Argegno. In just four minutes, the cable car takes you from 200 metres to an altitude of 850 metres to a little village called, Pigra. The ride up and once, when up at Pigra, you have unrivalled views of Lake Como and the pre Alps.
The cable car cabins can hold up to four or five people and there are two cable cars, up and down the line. The frequency of the rides are every thirty minutes, but more during the summer months when it is the busiest.
The Argegno-Pigra line is seasonal. There are buses available as well. Check the official website of Argegno-Pigra cable line for the latest timings and prices to plan your visit to Argegno.
Pigra, Como Province
Pigra is a well-preserved charming old village and a popular destination for walkers, hikers and cyclists. There are bars and restaurants near the station where you can enjoy a meal while taking in the splendid views of Argegno, Lake Como and the snow-capped mountains.
Hikers and trekkers come to Pigra to begin their 1.5 hr trek to Rifugio Alpe di Colonno, an area surrounded by nature and for breathtaking views of Lake Como.
Some hikers arrive in Pigra to go to Belvedere di Pigra, another viewpoint for stunning views of Lake Como.
For more about hiking in Italy and the top ten hiking trails, visit Italy’s official website about the most scenic hiking trails by regions.
ADD TO YOUR ARGEGNO ITINERARY
Hiking trails around Argegno
Argegno sits within a natural and tranquil settling of woodland that offers many opportunities for walks and hikes. The village is the starting point of a circular walk up and down the Telo Valley. River Telo runs through the village and is crossed over by a Roman bridge. If you continue beyond the bridge, a cobbled ancient path leads to Muronico. After a climb you will reach the Church of San Sisinio, one of the oldest churches in the region, originating from the Roman settlement in Argegno. This trek leads you further up and back down the valley to Argegno.
The beautiful D’Intelvi Valley also begins in Argegno, a route that is more popular with cyclists. Find the complete guide to hikes around Argegno and the D’Intelvi Valley from this official website of Lake Como about places to see in D’Intelvi Valley.
Where to stay in Argegno
My visit to Argegno was during the day and I did not stay here. However, I did some research upon my return as to where I would go, as I would like to return to the village. There are several types of accommodations available, from rooms in a private home to hotels by the lakeside. The following two stood out for me. These two accommodations have good reviews for hospitality, best views, convenient location, and helpful staff.
Villa Belvedere Como Lake Relais is probably the best choice in Argegno. This mid-range property appears to be great value for money. The property is in a great location, by the lake. It offers stunning views over Lake Como, particularly from the terrace. Stays here include continental breakfast. You can opt for mountain or lake views.
The other hotel that caught my attention is Hotel Argegno. I had seen this hotel during my walkabouts around Argegno town centre. Hotel Argegno is a mid-range hotel in a lovely location, conveniently located with the ferry terminal across the road. Being so close to the lakeshore, the hotel affords exceptional views of the lake. There are many rooms with the chic Italian iron-wrought balconies.
Practical tips and information for your travels to Argegno
How much time is needed to explore Argegno
Argegno is relatively small compared to its neighbours and the village itself can be explored in a short time. If you are planning a day visit, I’d suggest anything between 1 and 3 hours is an ideal time frame and this includes the cable car trip up to Pigra. However, give yourself more time if you intend to explore some of the hiking and walking trails around Argegno or Pigra. In this instance, you will need a good part of a day, about 4 to 6 hours.
On the other hand, if you intend to use Argegno as a base to explore other Lake Como towns, you could do that too. Accommodations in Argegno are cheaper than the larger towns of Bellagio or Como town and there are sufficient varieties to choose from. In addition, ferry service from/to Argegno is regular and easily connects to the larger towns in Lake Como including Como, Bellagio, Varenna, and Tremezzo.
Something to consider when planning ahead
Argegno’s unique position on the curve of the lake gives it a north facing position, which means it may get quite cold in the winter. The village does not receive much sunshine in the summer either. It might be worth considering layering up a touch for warmth when visiting Argegno.
Would you like to visit another famous Italian lake?
If so, here’s my guide to places to visit in Lake Garda:
My sincere wish is that this guide to Argegno has given you a better idea of what to expect when you visit, things to do in Argegno, and how to plan your time. I hope this guide has answered some, if not all of your questions about Argegno.
Before you leave, take a look at other travel stories and practical info about Italy if you are planning a trip to this country. You may like my recommendations and enjoy reading the following articles also:
- People and Culture of Italy
- Best time to visit Italy
- Complete Guide to Milan
- Getting around Milan like a local
- Best places to stay in Milan
- Best of Milan Cathedral
- Verona City Guide
- Food in Verona
- Guide to Verona Wine
For more inspiration and travel information for your trip to Italy, take a look at my Italy travel page. This page has detailed destination guides and experience based tips to support your travels.
Have a great time exploring Argegno, Lake Como xoxo
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