Complete Guide to 5 Best Lake Como Towns and Top Hotels
Planning a visit to Lake Como but not sure where to stay in Lake Como region or the best hotels to stay at?
Well, there is no easy answer to this. There are a number of things to consider before you decide on the best places to stay in Lake Como including which Lake Como town you would like to stay at. Then, when you have chosen the town, you need to select the best accommodation to suit your itinerary.
This guide about where to stay in Lake Como and the best hotels is aimed at addressing all of your concerns and hoping to help you select the best accommodation.
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What to expect in this article
In this article, I share the 5 best towns to stay at in the region and give you an idea of the best places to stay in Lake Como and hotels to choose from that are suitable for all budgets. I also share with you the highlights of each town, what makes it special and why it is a good place to stay at in Lake Como.
For each of the towns mentioned, I have listed some of the best highly-rated accommodations based on customer reviews. These accommodations are suitable for a variety of budgets. I have only included accommodations that have excellent and superb customer ratings.
I did extensive research for my recent visit to Lake Como before choosing the very best place to stay for our visit. Following that, I extended my research to a few hundred listings to curate this useful list for this article.
There are so many hotels, self-catering accommodations and hostels in the Lake Como region that selecting one that ticks all boxes can get genuinely overwhelming. So, I sincerely hope that this curated list of the best Lake Como hotels and accommodation suggestions in the Lake Como area will make it easier for you to choose the perfect place to stay and to plan your trip to Lake Como.
Read my tips on where to stay in Lake Como and choose your best holiday accommodation. I use booking.com for all of the selections listed here with their customer ratings. Booking is my favourite website for holiday accommodations.
Where to Stay in Lake Como: An Overview
- Why visit Lake Como
- Lake Como with a car or without a car?
- 7 things to consider before deciding on your accommodation in Lake Como;
- Best towns and top hotels to stay in Lake Como: From Luxury to Budget (Como; Bellagio; Varenna; Menaggio; Argegno).
- Where to stay near Lake Como;
- Lake Como in Winter: Where to stay;
- FAQs: Como v. Bellagio; Bellagio v. Varenna;
Why Visit Lake Como
Located on the foothills of the Alps and surrounded by forested mountains, with gorgeous views, Lake Como is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Often regarded as a fairy-tale region of Lombardy in northern Italy, the dramatic scene of snow-peaked mountains, splendid Italian architecture and the shimmering expansive waters are simply breathtaking.
Resplendent villas with the most beautiful gardens, colourful ancient fishing villages rising up from the waters, and bustling towns sprinkled along the lake-shore exude a kind of beauty and charm that only this region is known for. Centuries old stone-lanes, Roman remnants, and historic attractions to modern time riverside “Lovers Path” all seem so well-fitted with one another.
Lake Como is the third largest lake in the Italian lake district with Lake Garda being the largest followed by Lake Maggiore. Its location in the heart of the Italian Alps makes it one of the most sought-after Italian destinations by both locals and tourists. Many celebrities own their summer homes here as well.
This magical region has many incredible sights and experiences to be discovered. Lake Como is a delightful destination in itself for a few days or as a beautiful day trip destination for your Italy itinerary.
Lake Como With a Car OR Without a Car?
Where to stay in Lake Como with a car or without a car are questions that require several considerations.
Driving around Lake Como gives you the flexibility to explore the off-the-beaten paths and enjoy the non-touristy destinations in your time. On the other hand, the region can easily be explored without a car and you may not want the hassle of dealing with congested roads and the lack of parking spaces.
In any case, I honestly think that if you are visiting just the Lake Como region, you do not need a car.
You can take advantage of the many options in public transportation. If you are visiting the main towns and villages in Lake Como, you should be able to explore them just by taking a boat. This is much more relaxing and enjoyable than driving. Besides, it is a great way to experience the local way of life. We had great fun using water transport and village hopping.
In this article, I have included the top places to stay in Lake Como that offer parking facilities. Some properties offer parking for a small fee. It is always good to make sure whether you need to pay for parking before booking your accommodation.
7 Things to Conider before Deciding on Your Accommodation
Before deciding on where to stay in Lake Como, consider the following:
1 | When to visit Lake Como
When are you travelling to Lake Como?
Lake Como is a highly touristy destination in Italy. In the high season, June, July and August almost all hotels, hostels and self-catered accommodations are booked-up. These months also represent the most expensive accommodations. All activities and attractions are open and in full swing. Therefore, if you intend to travel during the high season, ensure you book your accommodation months ahead and take advantage of any discounted offers.
If you travel during the off-season months of September, October and November as well as January, February, late March and in April, you will enjoy less crowds, and cheaper accommodations in some of the best towns along the lake.
However, there is less choice in accommodations during the off-season. Most hotels close during the low season, from mid November onwards. Many restaurants and shops in the smaller towns are closed as well.
If you are travelling in the low season, it is best to just stay in the larger town of Como city.
2 | How long are you visiting Lake Como?
If your stay is for a short visit, then it is best to stay in a town like Como or Bellagio where there are good transport connections. You can get around quickly and visit as many places as you can.
On the other hand, if you are in Lake Como for a relaxing vacation, then stay at one of the quieter towns, in a top hotel by the waters that offers a swimming pool and spa facilities.
3 | What to do in Lake Como: Which places would you like to visit?
If you are in Lake Como for a short visit but would like to do a lot of sightseeing, then stay in the central region of the lake (Bellagio, Varenna and Menaggio). These three towns sit along the coastline at the crux of the wishbone or the inverted “Y”. The towns form the “Golden Traingle” of the lake and are most popular with visitors to this region. Staying at any of these three towns enables an easier daily commute.
Take a look at the Lake Como boat map below for a better idea about your commute.
4 | Which side of Lake Como is better: West or East?
The western shores of Lake Como are arguably Italy’s most celebrated and most beautiful in the region. This area is often regarded as the best part of Lake Como to visit.
Facing the sunrise, the western shore is home to several charming small towns such as Cernobbio, Argegno, Lenno, Tremezzo and Menaggio. This side of the lake also hosts some of the expensive villas. The renowned Villa Balbianello in Lenno, and Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo. Several celebrities including George Clooney stay in Lake Como for the summer and own a villa in Laglio.
This is not to say that the eastern shore of Lake Como is uninteresting. Far from it! On the east of Lake Como, you will find the most colourful town, Varenna. Varenna is host to the famous Villa Serbelloni, a prestigious grand hotel and Villa Monastero, a beautiful villa with an impressive botanical garden.
Whichever side of Lake Como you choose to stay at, there are plenty of choices in accommodations to suit every budget.
5 | Are you driving?
If you are driving to Lake Como, you can pretty much stay at any of the towns. Just ensure that your accommodation offers parking facilities.
6 | Are you travelling by train?
If you are travelling to Lake Como by train, it is best to stay at a town that has a train station. Varenna and Como city are ideally based on the western side of the lake and offer good rail connections to major cities and regional connections also.
When travelling by train, ensure your accommodation is located near the station or the harbour. Some hotels are located on the hillside and may involve quite a trek. This may not be a convenient thing to do if you have luggage to take along. If you do select a hillside or hilltop accommodation, ensure transport is included or provided by your accommodation.
7 | Other important considerations
When you have decided upon the best town in Lake Como suited to your activities, ensure you consider the following also:
>> Does the hotel offer lake views? The sunsets are absolutely stunning and are so relaxing that this might be a good thing to have.
>> If you are here for a relaxing stay, consider if the hotel has a swimming pool, or spa services?
>> Does the hotel have air-conditioning? Air-conditioning isn’t a standard feature in European hotels, so it is worth making sure.
>> Is there a restaurant in the hotel or nearby? This is important if you are staying in the smaller towns where restaurants may be few. This is also an important consideration if you are travelling to this region during the low season when most restaurants will be closed.
BEST TOWNS + TOP HOTELS TO STAY IN LAKE COMO
These are the best towns to stay in Lake Como that offer something for everyone.
In the following list are some of the most popular and best rated accommodations in the most popular towns in Lake Como. These hotels have excellent ratings, of at least 8+ in Booking. I have curated this selection of the very best options suitable for various budgets.
This beautiful city is located on the southern end of Lake Como, near the Italy-Swiss border. A vibrant city encircled by stunning natural beauty.
Como has good transportation links. It is the only town on the western side of the lake that has a train station. The city offers both regional and international railway services. You can reach Milan in 40 minutes and you can reach Lugano, Switzerland in about 43 minutes on Italy’s fast trains. Como has a busy harbour with frequent and timely arrivals and departures. Many boats and hydrofoils make an essential stop here for users. If you are using water transportation, I’d highly recommend using the hydrofoil instead of the slower boats. It is a touch more expensive but you do save a lot of time. Alternatively, you could hire a boat for private use.
Como has a wealth of things to do, spanning from historic attractions such as the famous Como Cathedral, museum dedicated to Alessandro Volta to a scenic funicular ride to a quaint hillside village of Brunate.
Como is known for its aura of class and elegance but it also boasts a lively scene of dynamic bars, nightlife and unique breweries. The city has a wide range of places to eat, shop and stay.
Where to stay in Como: From luxury to budget
This 5-star hotel has everything one could look for. Great location, only steps away from the shore and within metres of the pier and train station. Amazing views, excellent service and is reputed as the most luxurious hotel in Como. Offers parking. Accredited as a Travel Sustainable Level 2 Property.
Palace Hotel is a grand 4-star hotel located within landscaped gardens. This magnificent hotel overlooks the lake, and is centrally located to the shops and the pier. Highly rated for its amazing views, friendly staff and excellent service. Pets are allowed here and guests can enjoy parking facilities.
This 4-star superior hotel is ideal for visitors looking for that little luxury during their relaxing stay. The hotel boasts a rooftop infinity pool along with rooftop restaurants and bars. It offers a spa and wellness centre along with lake view rooms. Hilton Lake Como is ideal for families as it has large rooms for a family of four and welcomes family pets also. Rated as fabulous by their guests for friendliness, service and stunning views. Includes breakfast, parking and is a Travel Sustainable property.
The Albergo Terminus is an excellent 4-star hotel located in the historic centre of Como. It offers rooms with lake views, breakfasts, including gluten-free options and great service. This accommodation offers parking, welcomes pets and is ideal for couples or solo travellers.
This 4-star reputed historic hotel is an excellent choice for those who are on a higher budget. It is one of the best hotels for location, with only a few steps from the harbour front. Its favourable lakeside position combines breathtaking views and convenience to most attractions in the town. There is a variety of rooms available, including family suites. Parking is available.
This beautiful 4-star hotel is centrally located and is a great choice for travellers who are looking for a comfortable stay. Welcomes pets and is a Travel Sustainable property.
Rated as fabulous by guests, this lovely apartment has views of the lake and comes with a fully equipped kitchen. This accommodation offers one-bedroom, ideal for two or up to four persons, and two-bedroom apartments for four or up to six persons.
Casa King 2 is two-bedroom apartment in the historic centre of town. We stayed here during our last visit and couldn’t be happier with the superb cleanliness, service and fully equipped kitchen modern amenities. Conveniently located within minutes of the town’s harbour, train station, Como’s acclaimed attractions and taxi-rank. This spacious apartment features a balcony along with mountain views. Rated as “exceptional” by guests, this apartment sleeps four or up to six persons and is a Travel Sustainable property.
The Albergo Firenze is a small budget-friendly hotel in the heart of Como city. It overlooks the historic Piazza Volta, a lively square that hosts exclusive boutiques, restaurants and cafes. Highly rated for its location within the traffic-free zone of the city and friendly staff.
This excellent 3-star budget hotel is located close to the lively Piazza Cavour and within minutes of Como railway station. The del Duca features landmark and city views.
Famously known as the “Pearl of Lake Como”, Bellagio is one of the most popular towns for international travellers.
Bellagio is indeed a beautiful town, with narrow lanes, bustling lakeside promenade, excellent art and crafts shops alongside exceptional boutiques.
Bellagio is easily reached by boat, passenger ferry or hydrofoil. Its location at the point where the lake splits (Lake Como has a shape in the reverse Y: see map above) makes it an ideal town for sightseeing the entire area, both the west and east of the lake. This is one of the main reasons for visitors to Bellagio to make this town one of the best places to stay in Lake Como.
To learn more about the picturesque town of Bellagio and things to do on your visit, head over to its dedicated article, where I share my best travel tips about the town.
Where to stay in Bellagio: From luxury to budget
The below list is a selection of the best accommodations in Bellagio for varying budgets.
Hotel Serbelloni is the exceptional 5-star luxury hotel most favoured by celebrities and the affluent. It has swimming pools and spa services along with parking facilities. This beautiful lakeside property features expansive gardens, frescoed ceilings, grand staircases and glass chandeliers. You can visit the gardens if you are not staying here and have a drink or meal on the terrace overlooking the picturesque lake.
The Belvedere is a 4-star rated property that has a long history going back to 1880. This magnificent hotel is at the top-end of mid-range and offers stunning views of the lake, a private garden with a swimming pool, a Turkish bath and a wellness centre. This elegant and stylish property has a beautiful terrace with stunning views of the lake and mountains. Located within a 15-minute walk of the harbour. Guests rate this exceptional property as “Superb” and recommend its spacious rooms, good food and stunning views. Ideal for couples and families. Pets allowed and parking available.
This 3-star family run property features modern comforts in the centre of Bellagio, just across from the town’s pier. This is a highly rated mid-range hotel which is regarded as great value for money accommodation. Amongst its many highlights is the panoramic restaurant offering exceptional views of Lake Como and the Alps.
A 3-star small property located in a quiet area and within 15-minutes of the pier features spacious property with balconies and views of the magnificent mountains. Fioroni is a little further away and if you don’t mind the distance, th, it is great value for money accommodations. Guest reviews are also fabulous.
This 3-star mid-range family-run traditional property is located in the middle of a picturesque cobblestone lane at 63 steps. Guests have rated this property as “Superb” for friendliness, great location, close to the ferry points and for tranquility, away from the town’s nightlife.
A 2-star budget boutique property in the centre of town is rated as fabulous by guests. It features minimal, simple decorations. Most of its rooms have views of the lake. Located close to the shops and restaurants.
Varenna is one the prettiest towns in Lake Como. Traditional architecture, simple fishermen’s houses and stone- lanes add to the charm of this colourful town. The town features a pedestrian-only square, Piazza San Giogio which is home to the San Giogio Cathedral. One of the highlights of this charming town is the lakeside walk, popularly known as the “Lovers Walk” that leads to Riva Grande.
This picturesque town is located on the eastern shores of Lake Como, across from Bellagio. In addition, Varenna has excellent railway connections, with a direct train to Milan Centrale Station.
To learn more about Varenna and things to do including travel information and tips, head over to the dedicated guide to Varenna.
Where to Stay in Varenna: From Luxury to Budget
Varenna is a much quieter town than Bellagio, and therefore does not have that many accommodations to offer. However, I narrowed down to the following best options:
Hotel Villa Cipressi is a fine property and makes a fabulous choice. It is one of the best 4-star hotels in Varenna city centre. This famous hotel sits right by the shores and is surrounded by magnificent gardens. Villa Cipressi presents opulence and grandeur along with a range of suites and deluxe rooms. It is a popular wedding venue.
Hotel Royal Victoria is an excellent 4-star hotel housed in a 19th century historic building. Sitting right on the lake shore, this fabulous property has a private dock and is surrounded by lush gardens. Some rooms feature balconies and have incredible views of Lake Como.
Hotel Olivedo stands out as one of the top mid-range budget properties. Located on the lakefront, this 3-star property is located within 2-minutes of the ferry pier and 5-minutes of Varenna-Esino train station. Housed in a 19th century building, this hotel is rated for its fabulous views over Lake Como.
Albergo Milano is a superb boutique hotel offering the best of two worlds: modern rooms with stunning views of Lake Como and self-catered apartments for those seeking a flexible vacation. Located mid-way between the harbour and the historic town centre, this property is highly rated for its location, friendly service and magnificent views.
This 3-star mid-range property is situated in Piazza San Giorgio featuring typical Italian architecture and classic style rooms. Being so close to the church of San Giorgio, you are sure to hear the bells ring. Rated highly for its location offering magnificent views of the lake, guests also gave excellent scores for friendliness and food. This hotel serves local cuisines, mainly fish dishes.
I could not find anything in the budget or lower budget range with a review of 8+ but Hotel Montecodeno came close, at 7.9. Guests have rated it highly for friendliness, cleanliness, exceptional location and good breakfast.
Montecodeno is a 3-star hotel that offers simple and comfortable rooms. Breakfast is included during your stay. The property is situated close to the train station as well as the pier.
Menaggio is situated on the western shores of Lake Como and has an ancient origin. The town is known for its central square and the long lakeside promenade. Menaggio has good water transportation links. The high-speed hydrofoil as well as the car and passenger ferries stop here on a regular schedule. For this reason Menaggio makes an ideal base for your Lake Como itinerary where you can explore the region well. In addition, you can travel to Lake Lugano, Switzerland via a short bus ride from Menaggio.
Menaggio is a busy town and it sort of lacks the charm of the cobbled streets and the stone-stairs that its neighbours are famed for. The centre of town is flat with less slopes and it is easy to walk around. The lakeside promenade is worth a visit as well.
Hotels in Menaggio are relatively cheaper than in Bellagio, Varenna or Como.
Where to Stay in Menaggio: From Luxury to Budget
Below is a selection of hotels in Menaggio which have had excellent reviews.
This highly rated 4-star property sits on the shore of Lake Como, next to the pier and has a private dock for boats. Rooms are spacious, many with lake views. Breakfast is included and the hotel has two restaurants where guests can enjoy their evening meal with views overlooking the lake or garden. You could enjoy a drink on the terrace with live music every evening.
This mid-range hotel is located in the main town. It is close to shops and restaurants and makes it an ideal place to stay.
Loveno is a highly rated 2-star budget hotel located about 10-minutes walk from the centre of Menaggio. This small boutique hotel has a lovely garden, comfortable rooms with views over the lake. Offers free parking for guests.
Argegno is a delightful small, quiet town on the western shores of Lake Como, which was once a fishing village. This town is not as popular as its neighbours Bellagio or Varenna but it is charming and authentically Italian.
There are several things to do here and includes taking the steep funicular up to a hillside village of Pigra which is great for hiking. Argegno sits close to one of the most beautiful farmed valleys in the Lake Como region, Intelvi Valley.
Argegno is well-connected to the other towns by the high-speed hydrofoils and the long-haul ferries. While it is not a famous destination for tourists, this quaint village is a great place for a quiet, relaxing and unhurried vacation.
Where to Stay in Argegno
If you choose Argegno as a base for your visit to this region, here is a selection of three accommodations with excellent reviews for location, hospitality and breathtaking views.
This fabulous 3-star mid-range property fabulous property is the best one to go for in Argegno. It is located on the shore of the lake and affords great views of the lake. Stays here include breakfast.
Hotel Argegno is set across the road within steps from the town’s pier. Highly rated for its location, this property offers family rooms, and rooms with lovely Italian balconies overlooking Lake Como.
Casa Bella is a super nice 4-star two-bed apartment with lovely facilities. The property features a seasonal outdoor pool, garden, terrace, fully equipped and comfortable apartment that sleeps up to six persons. This holiday home offers lake views, mountain views and landmark views. Ideal for a two-person or a small family stay.
Turn over to the next page for best places to stay near Lake Como and more >>