What to do in Lake como

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Lake Como: The Must-Do Activities

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Lake Como: What to do when you get there?

Geography

Lake Como is located in the centre of Northern Italy, and only a one and a half-hour drive from the bustling city of Milan. This glacial lake in Lombardy is also known as Lario. The third-largest lake in Italy, Lake Como is shaped like a “Y” and is accessible from several different towns. From the Northern part of the Lake, you can access Colico and Lecco. The Adda River also flows down into the Lake from here. Lake Como is more than 200 metres deep!

Climate

Lake Como is humid and subtropical, reaching lows of 3.7°C in the winter, and 23.4 °C in the summer months. Because the climate is rather temperate, Lake Como is a great place for vacationing year-round. 

History

Speaking of vacations, Lake Como has been a favourite retreat for the wealthy and aristocratic for hundreds of years. Numerous villas and palaces were even built, such as Villa Olmo, Villa Serbelloni, and Villa Carlotta- so the rich and famous wouldn’t have to tolerate modest accommodations! the Huffington Post has even called Lake Como the most beautiful lake in the world for the amazing weather and prestigious villages.

Hamlets

Hamlets, also known as Frazioni in Italian, are villages, groups of houses or specific areas which are considered territorial subdivisions. Within the boundaries of each hamlet are a unique history, identity and community. The hamlets are extremely varied. They can consist of a group of homes, the peak of a mountain or a hill, a wooded valley or even an archaeological site. Some hamlets even had their own limited administrative autonomy, and sometimes had their own Mayors. Many of these Hamlets can be found throughout Lake Como, and are unique places to visit while here.

 

 

 

The Bellagio Region

Known as the pearl of the Lake, Bellagio is packed with 5-star hotels. Humans have lived in the village of Bellagio for more than 30,000 years, and under the rule of the Lombards back in the middle ages. Accessible by car or by driving your car onto a ferry, this hillside town on Lake Como has amazing views. Make your way up through the tiny village streets and turn around to catch stunning and romantic sunsets here. Tourists love to come here to take very Instagrammable photos. It’s also great to stop and have a coffee or aperitif on the tiny tables outside the cafes.

The Basilica of San Giacomo in Bellagio

The Basilica of San Giacomo in Bellagio was declared a national monument in 1904 and is a beautiful example of the Lombard-Romanesque style. The Basilica has an organ that was built around 1860 by Angelo Bossi. Today, the basilica holds concerts in the summertime.

Punta Spartivento Deck

The Punta Spartivento Deck is a lookout point and garden area at the end of the Bellagio. The deck is a very popular place for tourists to visit for photos with the gorgeous Lake Como in the background. It also offers a restaurant just a few steps away and is easily accessible by vehicle.

 

The Lenno Region

Lake Como Greenway

A six-mile-long hike along the shores of Lake Como is a peaceful way to explore. The trail passes through historical points of interest in Colonno, Sala Comacina, Ossuccio, Lenno, Mezzegra, Tremezzo and Griante. The first section of the Greenway, for example, will take you past the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, several beautiful monasteries, such as the San Benedicto monastery, and local farmers markets and restaurants.

Tremezzina

Located on the western side of the Lake and just north of Azzano, is another picteresque town called Tremezzina. Here you can visit the stunning Villa Carlotta, and the Parco Civico Teresio Olivelli. Tremezzino also has the following Hamlets that can be visited- Albana, Balogno, Belvedere, Bolvedro, Bolvedro Superiore, Intignano, Mosei, Portezza, Pozzuolo, Rogaro, Susino, Tremezzo, Viano and Volesio.

Parco Civico Teresio Olivelli

This delightful lakeside park is located in Tremezzina and was designed by Italian architect Pietro Lingeri. Formerly known as Giardino Meier, the park has an Italian-style double staircase, bridge, and sparkling fountain. Mostly, it is a peaceful place to sit, look out on the lake and take beautiful pictures from your Italian vacation!

Villa Balbianello

This 18th-century, 5-story Renaissance palace on the shores of Lake Como was built in 1787. The garden terrace sits on a 13-hectare estate of land, complete with Italian Cypress, 250-year old Ficus and Oak Trees, and 150-year old Wisteria plants. 

The villa has been bought and sold many times since its inception, and the last private owner was explorer Count Guido Monzino. The Count brought extensive collections of fine art and a large collection of Chinese vases. He was the first Italian to summit Mount Everest in 1973. Famous movie scenes were filmed here, including James Bond, Casino Royale, and Star Wars, Episode 2, Attack of the Clones.

Villa Carlotta

Like Villa Balbianello, this neoclassical palace is a stunning Italian villa built in 1690 by Milanese banker Giorgio II Clerci. It also was bought and sold numerous times, including Prince Albert of Prussia. 


The villa has a beautiful Italian garden set on 7 hectares of land, complete with marble stairs, three terraces, and 500 species of plants and trees. Some of which are rare, such as rare species of azaleas. There is also an art museum on the grounds for tourists to visit.

Sacro Monte di Ossuccio

The Sacro Monte della Beata Vergine del Soccorso is a Sacro Monte (religious site) located in Ossuccio, within the region of Tremezzina. The Sacro Monte was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Soccorso, and is part of nine Sacred Mountains of Lombardy. The Sacro Monte di Ossucio, along with the 8 other Sacro Monte’s became UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2003. The grounds of the Sacro Monte are quite beautiful and worth a stroll through!

 

The Como Region

Cathedral of Como

Commonly referred to as the last Gothic-style cathedral to have been built in Italy, this was the Diocesi’s primary church. Construction began in 1396 and continued until 1740! The cathedral holds many beautiful 16th and 17th-century tapestries and pieces of fine artwork, including some works by Bernardino Luini and Gaudenzio Ferrari.

Como-Brunate Funicular

This fun, mountain funicular was built in 1894 and connects the two regions of Como and Brunate. Many Lake Como tourists love to see it because it offers amazing views as it climbs up the mountainside.

 

The Varenna Region

15-minutes from Bellagio, Varenna is a lesser-developed and rumoured to be a more romantic town on Lake Como. Varenna has a tiny harbour with narrow streets, and the colourful buildings line a vehicle-free cobblestone walkway.


There are quite a few things to see in Varenna. Marble pavements, the 14th-century Gothic-Romanesque Church of San Giorgio, and the Villa Monastero botanical garden and museum.


You can also walk along the Esino river to visit the Castello di Vezio, a medieval fortress. The castle also has a birds-of-prey training centre, and an exhibit permanently dedicated to the lariosaurus (AKA the loch ness monster!).

 

 

Outdoor Activities

Coming in third after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore, Lake Como is one of the deepest lakes in Europe. Because of the stunning lake, mountain peaks, and temperate climate, Lake Como is a destination for outdoor adventurers from all over the world.

During the winter, visitors can go backcountry skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. Professional guides even offer multiple day backcountry skiing tours!

In the summertime, the lake is a great place to practice kitesurfing, windsurfing and sailing. In fact, the Breva is the light thermal wind that blows constantly in spring and summer. The best wind sports spots are Dervio, Colico, Mandello, Gera Lario, and Valmadrera.,

They are all located in the Northern part of the lake, where the wind blows stronger and gentle shores facilitate easy access to the water.  This is also a great spot to go kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

It’s also a great spot for climbers, as it offers a huge diversity of rock climbing, canyoning, Via Ferrata and bouldering sites in Val di Mello. The mountains have quite a few trails for mountain biking excursions, both electric and man-powered!

Hiking is popular as well. Gentle hikes, such as walking along the Greenway is an option, or more challenging guided hiking tours can be booked here.

Paragliders love to come to Lake Como and enjoy an aerial view of the entire lake from the sky.

 

 

 

 

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Around Lake Como

Lugano
2 activities
Ascona
1 activity
Soglio
1 activity
Bergamo
1 activity
Madesimo
5 activities
Ticino
9 activities
Sondrio
1 activity
Valtellina
4 activities
Milan
4 activities
St Moritz
4 activities
Domodossola
3 activities
Thusis
1 activity
Ilanz
1 activity
Vezza d'Oglio
1 activity
Brescia
2 activities
Davos
4 activities
Ponte di Legno
6 activities
Lake Idro
1 activity
Alagna Valsesia
23 activities
Brig-Glis
8 activities
Tonale Pass
8 activities
Klosters
5 activities
Gressoney
4 activities
Engelberg
3 activities
Oberland
1 activity
Zermatt
7 activities
Lake Ledro
1 activity
Scuol
2 activities
Lake Garda
60 activities
Arco
16 activities
Montafon
9 activities
Zinal
1 activity
Zinal
1 activity
Interlaken
29 activities
Kandersteg
2 activities
Niouc
3 activities
Lucerne
13 activities
Ischgl
2 activities
Sierre
9 activities
Arolla
2 activities
Feldkirch
2 activities
Trentino
15 activities
St. Anton am Arlberg
2 activities
Diemtigtal
1 activity
Sion
3 activities
Lech am Arlberg
3 activities
Thun
4 activities
Aosta Valley
33 activities
Verbier
16 activities
St. Gallen
1 activity
Gstaad
2 activities
Gran Paradiso National Park
4 activities
Zurich
3 activities
Diablerets
1 activity
Turin
2 activities
Kleinwalsertal
19 activities
Bregenz
7 activities
Bolzano
2 activities
Château d’Oex
7 activities
Oberstdorf
12 activities
Lechtal
10 activities
Valgrisenche
1 activity
Imst
18 activities
Fischen im Allgäu
2 activities
Gruyeres
1 activity
Courmayeur
6 activities
Genova
8 activities
Ötztal
41 activities
La Thuile
1 activity
Sonthofen
4 activities
Villeneuve
4 activities
Chamonix Mont-Blanc
80 activities
Montreux
3 activities
Immenstadt
4 activities
Bonneval-sur-Arc, Haute Maurienne
5 activities
Châtel
2 activities
Châtel, Portes du Soleil
1 activity
Val d'Isère
1 activity
Val d'Isère, Espace Killy
13 activities
Tannheimer Tal
1 activity
Portofino
7 activities
Avoriaz, Portes du Soleil
6 activities
Val di Fassa
4 activities
Tignes, Espace Killy
32 activities
Bessans, Haute Maurienne
9 activities
Tignes
1 activity
Radolfzell
2 activities
Les Arcs, Paradiski
12 activities
Les Arcs
3 activities
Samoëns, Le Grand Massif
10 activities
Morzine, Portes du Soleil
19 activities
Flaine, Le Grand Massif
13 activities
Sallanches
5 activities

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            Lake Como: What to do when you get there?

            Geography

            Lake Como is located in the centre of Northern Italy, and only a one and a half-hour drive from the bustling city of Milan. This glacial lake in Lombardy is also known as Lario. The third-largest lake in Italy, Lake Como is shaped like a “Y” and is accessible from several different towns. From the Northern part of the Lake, you can access Colico and Lecco. The Adda River also flows down into the Lake from here. Lake Como is more than 200 metres deep!

            Climate

            Lake Como is humid and subtropical, reaching lows of 3.7°C in the winter, and 23.4 °C in the summer months. Because the climate is rather temperate, Lake Como is a great place for vacationing year-round. 

            History

            Speaking of vacations, Lake Como has been a favourite retreat for the wealthy and aristocratic for hundreds of years. Numerous villas and palaces were even built, such as Villa Olmo, Villa Serbelloni, and Villa Carlotta- so the rich and famous wouldn’t have to tolerate modest accommodations! the Huffington Post has even called Lake Como the most beautiful lake in the world for the amazing weather and prestigious villages.

            Hamlets

            Hamlets, also known as Frazioni in Italian, are villages, groups of houses or specific areas which are considered territorial subdivisions. Within the boundaries of each hamlet are a unique history, identity and community. The hamlets are extremely varied. They can consist of a group of homes, the peak of a mountain or a hill, a wooded valley or even an archaeological site. Some hamlets even had their own limited administrative autonomy, and sometimes had their own Mayors. Many of these Hamlets can be found throughout Lake Como, and are unique places to visit while here.

             

             

             

            The Bellagio Region

            Known as the pearl of the Lake, Bellagio is packed with 5-star hotels. Humans have lived in the village of Bellagio for more than 30,000 years, and under the rule of the Lombards back in the middle ages. Accessible by car or by driving your car onto a ferry, this hillside town on Lake Como has amazing views. Make your way up through the tiny village streets and turn around to catch stunning and romantic sunsets here. Tourists love to come here to take very Instagrammable photos. It’s also great to stop and have a coffee or aperitif on the tiny tables outside the cafes.

            The Basilica of San Giacomo in Bellagio

            The Basilica of San Giacomo in Bellagio was declared a national monument in 1904 and is a beautiful example of the Lombard-Romanesque style. The Basilica has an organ that was built around 1860 by Angelo Bossi. Today, the basilica holds concerts in the summertime.

            Punta Spartivento Deck

            The Punta Spartivento Deck is a lookout point and garden area at the end of the Bellagio. The deck is a very popular place for tourists to visit for photos with the gorgeous Lake Como in the background. It also offers a restaurant just a few steps away and is easily accessible by vehicle.

             

            The Lenno Region

            Lake Como Greenway

            A six-mile-long hike along the shores of Lake Como is a peaceful way to explore. The trail passes through historical points of interest in Colonno, Sala Comacina, Ossuccio, Lenno, Mezzegra, Tremezzo and Griante. The first section of the Greenway, for example, will take you past the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, several beautiful monasteries, such as the San Benedicto monastery, and local farmers markets and restaurants.

            Tremezzina

            Located on the western side of the Lake and just north of Azzano, is another picteresque town called Tremezzina. Here you can visit the stunning Villa Carlotta, and the Parco Civico Teresio Olivelli. Tremezzino also has the following Hamlets that can be visited- Albana, Balogno, Belvedere, Bolvedro, Bolvedro Superiore, Intignano, Mosei, Portezza, Pozzuolo, Rogaro, Susino, Tremezzo, Viano and Volesio.

            Parco Civico Teresio Olivelli

            This delightful lakeside park is located in Tremezzina and was designed by Italian architect Pietro Lingeri. Formerly known as Giardino Meier, the park has an Italian-style double staircase, bridge, and sparkling fountain. Mostly, it is a peaceful place to sit, look out on the lake and take beautiful pictures from your Italian vacation!

            Villa Balbianello

            This 18th-century, 5-story Renaissance palace on the shores of Lake Como was built in 1787. The garden terrace sits on a 13-hectare estate of land, complete with Italian Cypress, 250-year old Ficus and Oak Trees, and 150-year old Wisteria plants. 

            The villa has been bought and sold many times since its inception, and the last private owner was explorer Count Guido Monzino. The Count brought extensive collections of fine art and a large collection of Chinese vases. He was the first Italian to summit Mount Everest in 1973. Famous movie scenes were filmed here, including James Bond, Casino Royale, and Star Wars, Episode 2, Attack of the Clones.

            Villa Carlotta

            Like Villa Balbianello, this neoclassical palace is a stunning Italian villa built in 1690 by Milanese banker Giorgio II Clerci. It also was bought and sold numerous times, including Prince Albert of Prussia. 


            The villa has a beautiful Italian garden set on 7 hectares of land, complete with marble stairs, three terraces, and 500 species of plants and trees. Some of which are rare, such as rare species of azaleas. There is also an art museum on the grounds for tourists to visit.

            Sacro Monte di Ossuccio

            The Sacro Monte della Beata Vergine del Soccorso is a Sacro Monte (religious site) located in Ossuccio, within the region of Tremezzina. The Sacro Monte was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Soccorso, and is part of nine Sacred Mountains of Lombardy. The Sacro Monte di Ossucio, along with the 8 other Sacro Monte’s became UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2003. The grounds of the Sacro Monte are quite beautiful and worth a stroll through!

             

            The Como Region

            Cathedral of Como

            Commonly referred to as the last Gothic-style cathedral to have been built in Italy, this was the Diocesi’s primary church. Construction began in 1396 and continued until 1740! The cathedral holds many beautiful 16th and 17th-century tapestries and pieces of fine artwork, including some works by Bernardino Luini and Gaudenzio Ferrari.

            Como-Brunate Funicular

            This fun, mountain funicular was built in 1894 and connects the two regions of Como and Brunate. Many Lake Como tourists love to see it because it offers amazing views as it climbs up the mountainside.

             

            The Varenna Region

            15-minutes from Bellagio, Varenna is a lesser-developed and rumoured to be a more romantic town on Lake Como. Varenna has a tiny harbour with narrow streets, and the colourful buildings line a vehicle-free cobblestone walkway.


            There are quite a few things to see in Varenna. Marble pavements, the 14th-century Gothic-Romanesque Church of San Giorgio, and the Villa Monastero botanical garden and museum.


            You can also walk along the Esino river to visit the Castello di Vezio, a medieval fortress. The castle also has a birds-of-prey training centre, and an exhibit permanently dedicated to the lariosaurus (AKA the loch ness monster!).

             

             

            Outdoor Activities

            Coming in third after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore, Lake Como is one of the deepest lakes in Europe. Because of the stunning lake, mountain peaks, and temperate climate, Lake Como is a destination for outdoor adventurers from all over the world.

            During the winter, visitors can go backcountry skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. Professional guides even offer multiple day backcountry skiing tours!

            In the summertime, the lake is a great place to practice kitesurfing, windsurfing and sailing. In fact, the Breva is the light thermal wind that blows constantly in spring and summer. The best wind sports spots are Dervio, Colico, Mandello, Gera Lario, and Valmadrera.,

            They are all located in the Northern part of the lake, where the wind blows stronger and gentle shores facilitate easy access to the water.  This is also a great spot to go kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

            It’s also a great spot for climbers, as it offers a huge diversity of rock climbing, canyoning, Via Ferrata and bouldering sites in Val di Mello. The mountains have quite a few trails for mountain biking excursions, both electric and man-powered!

            Hiking is popular as well. Gentle hikes, such as walking along the Greenway is an option, or more challenging guided hiking tours can be booked here.

            Paragliders love to come to Lake Como and enjoy an aerial view of the entire lake from the sky.

             

             

             

             

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