Things to do at Lake Como. The Most Beautiful Places & Villas
Updated: Oct 5
About one hour drive from Milan you will find what is without doubt the most famous of all Italian Lakes 🇮🇹 and maybe the world: the shimmering Lake Como with the characteristic Y shape edged between the Alps. For centuries one of the most popular travel destinations in Italy.
Among the countless elegant villas, the picturesque Victorian gardens, luxurious hotels and scenic views we’ve compiled a guide to the most beautiful must-see places that you can't miss on a Lake Como Road Trip.
Stay at the best location of Lake Como.
The location on the northern shore of Lake Como guarantees the most sunshine hours with more than 200 days of sunshine a year.
Two very special Lake Como Palazzos Hotels take you into the old world with a timeless charm and stand out the most. We made the two hotels our preferred 5 star deluxe choice on our luxury Lake Como & Swiss Alps Driving Tour.
Keep it classy at your luxury hotel in Cernobbio.
The Villa d’Este Hotel at Cernobbio is the Grand Dame of Italian hospitality and feels like a royal palace. Might be because it was originally built for an English Queen. Until today the sumptuous rooms with silk drapery make every guest feel like royalty. The old world glamour is oozing from every detail and peak in the breathtakingly beautiful gardens.
Breeze of understatement at your luxury hotel in Tremezzo.
The Grandhotel Tremezzo is full of beautiful details and has a slightly younger and fresher feel then Villa D'Este in Cernobbio. Yet the Grandhotel is old world glamour, through and through. The tone is set with red velvet love seats, jewel-coloured, button-backed sofas and lashings of heavily draped golden curtains.
Visit Villa Charlotta
At Tremezzo the Grandhotel has a noble neighbour. The gigantic Villa Charlotta and gardens is in walking distance and boasts over 500 flowers on 70,000 m2 (17 acres) area. One of many positive examples at Lake Como of how architecture can perfectly blend with the beauty of nature and art.
Take a taxi / boat to reach the most beautiful villa at Lake Como.
Villa del Balbianello was once owned by an eccentric gentlemen who left it to the town with the condition to open it to the public for everyone to enjoy. If you're lucky enough to make it here you might feel you've seen the villa before. No wonder, scenes of "Star Wars" and the James Bond movie "Casino Royal" were shot here on one of Italy's most beautiful terrace.
The villa is located on a peninsula. From the car park you can reach it only via taxi boat. To avoid the notoriously packed car park you can also rent one of the original RIVA Boats with a skipper to pick you up at your hotel and take you directly to the villa directly. Hard to find anything that creates a better Lake Como experience.
Take a ferry and set over to Bellagio.
Only 900 metres from Grandhotel Tremezzo take the car ferry from Griante to set over to the other side of the lake. Alone in this adventure you will find great pleasure and a wonderful photo opportunity. Get off at the lake-side town Bellagio. The name might sound familiar. But this is the original and so different from the hotel in Las Vegas.
Enjoy a short walk trough the picturesque lake-side town and maybe some ice-cream at Villa Serbelloni before you continue over panoramic roads and visit one of the most famous gardens here at Lake Como.
Visit the beautiful gardens of Villa Melzi.
From the ferry you already had a good view towards the former summer residence of the vice president of the Italian Republic, that was founded by Napoleon in the early 1800s. Sadly we can't see into the Villa Melzi d'Eril, but the opulent gardens are worth the stop.
Enjoy the Bella Vista over Lake Como.
Driving up the serpentine-like roads working their way out of Bellagio up the mountainside will peak at Lake Como's best view-point at "Parco Bella Vista". Spend a few moments (next to the helicopter landing pad) and enjoy the wonderful view.
Visit a world-wide unique church.
Leaving the lake behind, you will soon be driving inland on what is also a popular cyclist route. The climb is traditionally included in the Tour of Lombardy and the Church of Madonna del Ghisallo is the holy shrine to cycling’s heroes. Have a look inside the perhaps only church that looks a bit like a biking store. Immediately next to the church is the Bicycle Museum worth a visit if you're a cycling enthusiast.
Route via Scenic Inland Roads back to the Lake. Visit Como.
The city that gave Lake Como its name now lives in the shadow of the same. But Como has a lot to offer. Certainly the lakes most vibrant city with a few interesting museums. But widely dominated by its cathedral in the shape of a cross.
Walk the grounds of Como's most beautiful Villas.
At Como also find Villa Olmo, the perfect example of the Italian Neoclassical style and certainly the most majestic of them all. Its elegance and charm didn’t go unnoticed by Napoleon Bonaparte and Giuseppe Garibaldi, who were two of the most notable guests at the villa. Today the massive villa a prestigious location for events of all kinds and art exhibitions.
From Villa Olma its a pleasant 30 minutes walk to Villa Bernasconi, that was once commissioned by the textile industrialist Davide Bernasconi. The Bernasconi family contributed much in the development of the city.
Only 10 minutes further the Villa Erba was once a convent. The Countess Vittoria Peluso turned it into a sumptuous noble residence with a large English-style garden in 1816. Following her death the Villa has seen many owners. Until 1882 when Luigi Erba, son of the founder of the first Italian pharmaceutical company took over the property and made some big changes to the villa to demonstrate the family’s economic power. Villa Erba today is an event location thats hosted some of the most exclusive events in the world. Even scenes of the Hollywood movie Ocean’s Twelve were shot here. Certainly Gorge Clooney fell in love with the lake long before. Today with the ancient frescoes, ornate ceilings and lavish interior, it provides a jaw dropping stage for high society weddings.
Upgrade your Lake Como Experience with a loop into the Swiss Alps.
Experience this ultra-scenic driving tour from Zurich combining the beauty of Lake Como in Italy with the excitements of Switzerland's staggering alpine nature.
Drive a Ferrari or any other supercar of you choice over spectacular mountain roads in the Swiss Alps and relax from you driving adventure at the shores of shimmering Lake Como. The next day route back via the the iconic San Bernardino Route.
The Lake Como & Swiss Alps Driving Tour is truly an experience to be had.