WHAT TO DO IN LAKE COMO: BEST THINGS TO DO AROUND LAKE COMO
Lake Como is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places in Italy. The area offers many things to do: hiking, cycling, swimming, shopping, exploring architectural marvels and medieval towns.
A historic city defined by enchantment and elegance framed by natural scenery around every corner is a joy to explore. The city is famous for its silk industry and is home to some of the famous landmarks in the region. The must-visits in the city are the Como Cathedral, and Tempio Voltiano. The must experience are the funicular ride or the hike up to Brunate and a private boat tour around Lake Como. You will find more special things to do in this beautiful city in my article about Como city.
Recommended read: Complete Guide to 17+ Best Things to do in Como City, Italy.
Known as the jewel of Lake Como, Bellagio is the most famous town here. Ideally located for easy water-transport connections, this picturesque town boasts exceptional shorelines, Alpine views, stone streets and wonderful shops and restaurants.
Read my complete guide to Bellagio and the best things to do here along with experienced tips and how much time you may need to spend here.
Recommended read: 18 Best Things to do and See in Bellagio
The colouful town of Varenna is a real gem to explore when visiting Lake Como. Known as one of the best medieval towns in the Como region, this is where visitors walk along a picturesque promenade, extensive gardens and hike up to Castello di Vezio, a hilltop medieval castle with a legend. For more best things to do in Varenna, read my article for ideas to plan your visit to this town.
Recommended read: 10 Best Things to do in Varenna, Italy
Prettiest Towns to Visit
In addition to the above three popular towns, there are other prettiest towns in Lake Como which you must visit: Argegno, Menaggio, Tremezzo and Lecco.
These towns are all worth visiting because of the spectacular vistas over Lake Como, the quintessential fishermen village feel and the beautiful villas.
Can you walk around Lake Como?
Surrounded by mountains, Lake Como is a haven for many short and long-distance trails on either side of the lake. There are easy hiking trails around Como city such as one that begins in Brunate where you could explore by yourself or take an experienced guide with you. You could also explore the hillside town of Pigra in Argegno and embark on hiking trails from there.
Read my guide to Argegno which includes suggestions for a couple of hiking trails that begin from the town and my guide to Como city, which includes suggestions on hiking trails as well. For more and a complete list of hiking trails in Italy, go to this official website of Italy’s most beautiful hiking trails.
Can you cycle around Lake Como?
Cycling is not an activity I do, so I researched this for you. Lake Como is reputed to be a true cycling destination. There are several cycling routes, mountain-biking routes and family rides. A classic ride is one around the perimeter of Lake Como. The ride covers a distance of 160 km with spectacular views and takes you through all of Lake Como’s lake side villages and towns. For more on the cycling routes, take a look at this official website about cycle routes around the lakes, canals and crossing the Alps.
WHAT WE DID ABOUT TRANSPORT
We experienced all forms of transportation that northern Italy is famous for during our trip.
For our trip, we did not drive around Lake Como. We walked. A lot. During our walkabouts, we noticed how congested the roads were, with cars driven very carefully within inches of us! There were very few dedicated areas with parking bays but these were always full.
We took the bus a couple of times, hence we experienced the twists and turns on hilly roads. At all other times, we used the hydrofoil and the car ferry to get around the lakeside towns.
We used the trains, both the fast trains and the regional trains. We loved travelling on the seamless fast-trains to Milan and I would highly encourage you to experience it, if you have the opportunity to do so.
Finally we opted for a private transfer to the airport from Como city. It was a short 40-minute relaxing journey to Milan Malpensa Airport via the A36.
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 article about how to travel around Lake Como has given you a better idea of travelling without a car and by public transportation. With this guide, you could choose where to stay and move around the towns while planning your journeys around the lake by boat, ferry or bus.
If you are considering staying somewhere else, in a nearby city such as Milan, you could still visit this popular region on a day trip.
You may want to check our guide for travel information and tips to this region and other places in Italy:
Have a great time exploring Lake Como, Italy.
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