There’s a bunch of things that I consider a must do on the Como Lakes, in order to get the very best out of your visit in this rich area, considered as one of the most beautiful lakes area in Europe.
So here is a guide to the activities to do, how to organize them, who to contact to experience the lake in an unforgettable way.
The lakes of Northern Italy, in particular in Lombardy, offer everything to those who love landscapes matching romantic aesthetics, active life in the open air, lively city life, perfect in all four seasons, also considering the nice aesthetic of local winter lights on the lake, enriched by winter markets.
Reddish and gold Fall foliage, pastel colors and intense scents in spring, colorful markets in the villages along the banks, liveliness, tranquility and a mild summer, Lake Como, in its Lecco and Como branching, has perhaps too much to offer not to be helped by a guide.
So, allow me to guide you, recommending an itinerary between the cities of Lecco and Como and their best satellite villages.
I will recommend trekking itineraries, romantic places to walk and get organic local food, amazing places to sleep and also local tourist companies to rely on.
These are all experiences and itineraries that I have tried, so if you trust me (you’d better do), take note.
Visit Bellagio, by bike
Getting to know Lake Como can start from experiencing one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Bellagio, in the very center of the two branches of the large lake (the lake has an inverted Y shape, and Bellagio is exactly in the middle), riding a modern electric bike.
In this way it will be possible to visit the center, the streets paved with shiny stones, the varied views of the water in a limited time, but still fully enjoying the whole village.
In the town of Bellagio, what aesthetes and lovers of man-made greenery should not miss is a visit to the noble villas and their gardens, in particular
Villa Melzi in Bellagio
Villa Monastero in Varenna
Villa Carlotta, Tremezzo
Villa Balbianello in Lenno
After biking and walking in gardens, it’s hight time for brunch: Bellagio and its itineraries offer locations for aperitifs with a local flavor overlooking the immense lake.
Follow my tip to organize your tour on the Como Lake.
Altitude trekking on the Piani D’Erna
Let’s move to the Lecco side, particularly loved by those who choose to experience the lakes with active activities such as trekking and hiking.
The Piani d’Erna are a hill overlooking Lecco, a height of about 1330 meters, reachable by a cableway in Lecco (from Piazzale della Funivia).
Whether you are a mountain expert and especially if you are a beginner, I recommend to relay on a local environmental guide, specifically, I had the chance to be guided and helped by Giulia Odobez, also an expert in trekking with kids.
Once, here, you really deserve to taste pizzoccheri, in one of the Piani d’Erna restaurant huts. Pizzoccheri are pasta prepared with buckwheat flour, garnished and cooked with potatoes, season vegetables and cheese.
Experience the Como Lake from Garlate
The eastern branch of the Como Lake is also called Lago di Lecco and immediately after the latter we find the fraction of the lake overlooked by the village of Garlate.
I recommend this segment of the territory for those who want to spend a few days enjoying the sense of peace given by the lake, in a small town well connected to Como and Lecco through a cycle and pedestrian loop.
The municipalities touched by this ring are Pescate, Garlate and Olginate, Calolziocorte and Vercurago.
Here you’ll experience a breathtaking view over the lake, together with a farm and cultivated land that extends as far as the eye can see and that will allow you to have breakfast with fresh baked products and local food based dinners with a view of the lake.
Il Ronco is an authentic Italian agriturismo and is also a perfect choice to experience the liveliness of life on the lake by day and then sleep in a quieter place surrounded by nature but still easy to reach by car.
If they don’t have a room available (it is an authentic family-run farm, it has only three rooms) or if you are just passing by, you can always have a good dinner (30 euros for 5 courses and 40 euros for 7 courses, obviously with vegetarian options always available and vegan on request).
Talking About the pleasure of eating (and drinking) local, not far from Il Ronco, in Garlate, – walking distance actually -, you’ll find Herba Mostrum, craft beers brewery with special art design cans (excellent gift for beer lovers, since they also ship throughout the world).
Visit Como, following the lake
Dedicate at least one day to visiting the two main cities that give their names to the two most important branches of the lake, Como and Lecco.
Como has a “refined”, almost aristocratic soul, with its quiet corners and paths suitable for romantic and cultural walks.
If you have a few hours, set the route that connects these hotspots on your mobile maps:
- Piazza Alessandro Volta
- Lungo Lago, (Lungolario Trento),
- The Life electric, contemporary art installation inspired by the work of Alessandro Volta
- Tempio Voltiano, neoclassical structure and museum dedicated to Alessandro Volta
- War Memorial
Lake Como for you offers interesting food and Silk Tie experiences in Como, starting from here.
Visit Lecco, following the lakeside
The lakefront of Lecco, a wonderful surprise for me, winds for a few kilometers, opening the view to mountains that are reflected in the water.
From the historic center you can continue in both directions, towards Milan through the cycle path reaching Vercurago, passing through the old village of Pescarenico, towards the upper lake where you’ll reach Pradello where in summer you can take a dip in the lake from the free beach or from a private beach.
Places of interest to see in Lecco, beyond the lakefront
• Casa di Manzoni, one of the most popular Italian writers from the XVII C.
• Palazzo delle Paure, with a gallery of modern and contemporary art by Lecco artists and the Lecco mountaineering observatory which collects the stories and adventures of the great Lecco mountaineers
• The Tower Bell, also called as “il matitone” (the great pencil) by the locals, run by volunteers. Some weekends a year you can see the lake from the top of it
If you are about to visit the Como Lake, which is one of the most beautiful areas in Europe, and you need more suggestions, do not hesitate to write to me.
This post contains links from
collaborations, part of my travel blogger activity.
This said, I only recommend experiences
that I truly liked and that I would recommend to my family members.