Best places to stay in Lake Como
Como is the principal town sitting on the southwest edge of scenic Lake Como. Residing in an enviable location surrounded by majestic mountain peaks and fresh mountain air, Como is a perfect place to stay to discover the natural beauty and nearby villages of the area. The town of Como itself is dominated by the Duomo, a soaring Gothic-Renaissance Cathedral. At its historical core, you will notice fascinating landmarks such as the Roman gate, Porta Pretoria and Romanesque Porta Torre. Around the Piazza Cavour there is a vibrant cafe culture and mouth-watering seafood restaurants that line the streets that lead to a lively waterfront. Boats depart from Como towards the picture-perfect villages of Tremezzo and Cassago Brianza, while wooded pathways wind down to the pretty lakeside beaches, made for sunbathing and relaxation. Como also has a longstanding history of being a major silk manufacturer and has good shopping.
Bellagio is an enchanting place to stay. A lakeside village that is also known as “the pearl of the lake”, it rises up from the sparkling waterfront and riverside promenade. Its narrow cobbled streets and medieval houses cling to the side of the hill boasting superb lakeside panoramas at every turn. Many shops and cafes line the bustling main street, Via Garibaldi, which leads to the town’s main square where you can visit the Romanesque San Giacomo Cathedral or take some time out on a shaded cafe terrace. From Bellagio you can easily visit the beautiful grounds and gardens of the 18th century Villa Serbelloni now turned hotel that faces out over the waterfront. Bellagio has an array of enticing restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a languid sunset spritz or post-dinner cocktail.
Menaggio is a small and pretty resort located on the western shore of Lake Como. Rising above it are rolling vineyards that are ringed by panoramic views of the snow-capped alps. It is a popular place to stay for visitors who wish to take advantage of the hiking trails that are threaded through the undulating hillsides of Lake Como. There is also a good range of leisure activities available including swimming, water-skiing, mountain biking and riding. Menaggio is also the area’s main transport hub. Ferries arrive from the north and south while buses travel on well-maintained roads to and from Lake Lugano meaning you can use Menaggio as a good base to explore all that Lake Como has to offer.
Cernobbio is an appealing place to stay nestled in the foothills of Mount Bisbino a few kilometres north of Como. Boasting mesmerising views of the surrounding Lake District, it has an attractive tree-lined waterfront and narrow streets that are lined with shops, cafes and tempting eateries. It is best known for its 19th century villas that are dressed in cascading flowers, the Villa Bernasconi, Villa d’Este and Villa Erba, all of which can be visited. It has good transport connections and ferries that connect to the other major towns on Lake Como.
Termezzo is a good introductory place to stay on Lake Como, situated on the west bank of Lake Como close to Lenno, Mezzegra and Ossuccio. Encircled by natural beauty, it looks out over breathtaking views and offers good transport links by well-maintained roads and also by boat. From Termezzo you can walk to the grandiose 17th century Villa Carlotta, one of Lake Como’s top sights, whose elegant interiors and gardens, which are carpeted in brightly coloured flowers, are open to the public.
Romantic Varenna is one of Lake Como’s top places to stay, rising up above the glistening waters of the eastern banks of Lake Como. Nestled between the mountains and lake, Varenna is a jumble of quaint colourful houses and Italian-style mansions. This former fishing village dates back to the 11th century and is a much loved summer playground to visitors as well as inspiration to artists and writers. Along the gleaming waterfront you can stroll through Lovers Lane past elegant 19th century villas, or venture up the hill to explore the town’s network of narrow cobbled streets. Varenna is home to Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi , both 19th century villas with botanical gardens that are open to the public. You can also hike up to the Castello di Vezio, which offers unbeatable views of the valley and lake.