a guide to the best things to see

Living in Como makes me feel very lucky. If you are planning a day trip to Lake Como, I’m sure that you need some help to choose among the many things to do and see. I will tell you what I’d do, putting myself in the shoes of a tourist who has very little time.

Are you ready? Let’s start a virtual Lake Como day trip!

Start your day in the city of Como

Start your tour from the town where I was born, Como.

Here you can spend a couple of hours, say from 8:30 to 10:30 am. After drinking a coffee in a bar, take a stroll in the characteristic historical city center and see two of its most beautiful churches: the Basilica of San Fedele and the Como Cathedral.

If you are fast enough, a walk along the lake is just what you need! Take some pictures of the neoclassical Volta museum and Life Electric, two of the best things to see during your day trip to Lake Como.

After that, head to the pier in Piazza Cavour and buy a circular ferry ticket to Varenna, so that you can use it all day and make different stops!

Como, Italy: Piazza San Fedele and its church
Basilica of San Fedele
Life Electric, Como
Life Electric (picture:
Como, Italy: Volta museum
Volta Museum (or Tempio Voltiano)

Take the ferry and have lunch in Bellagio

Bellagio, Italy: the town center
A tiny street in Bellagio

When you are about to buy the ferry ticket, remember that you can choose regular or express ferry service (more info here), but if you want to enjoy your trip, then the regular one is the best choice (approx. 2 hours to get to Bellagio). During your trip, just relax and take some pictures of Villa Balbianello and the beautiful towns along the coast!

Once you are in Bellagio, I highly invite you to take some time to visit Villa Melzi (open from March to November, keep this in mind!), where you have to spend at least 45 minutes in order to admire the manicured gardens of the complex and the grandeur of the villa.

Villa Melzi in Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy
Villa Melzi, Bellagio

After that, don’t miss a walk on the lakeside promenade of Bellagio and take one of the alleys on the right that lead to the town center, full of leather shops, perfume stores, small restaurants and much more!

After lunch, make sure you take a brief walk to Punta Spartivento, where you can have a view of the three branches of Lake Como.

Spend your afternoon in Varenna

Varenna, Lake Como
Riva Grande in Varenna

Getting from Bellagio to Varenna will only take you 10-15 minutes by ferry.

When you get to Varenna, walk toward the town center along the Passeggiata degli innamorati (Walk of lovers) and have a coffee on the Riva Grande, the lakefront where you can find several cafes, restaurants, local artisan shops, ice cream parlors and much more.

Spend some time walking in the alleys of this little Pearl of Lake Como, I can assure that it’s literally unique.

Varenna, Lake Como

After that, take the fast service ferry back to Como or to another town along the journey (you can do this only if you buy the circular ticket that allows intermediate stops between start and end point).

Remember that, even though you have the circular ticket, if you want to use the fast service ferry you must pay a €4.40 surcharge at the ticket shop near the pier. 

Get back to Como city

Ok, I guess that it’s time to go back from where you started! You can now return to Como by boat from Varenna (or your latest stop).

Look for a nice place to eat in the historic center of the town or on the right side of the lakefront… you’ll be really spoiled for choice!

Now it’s up to you: end your Lake Como day trip with a sweet dinner in a cool restaurant and enjoy our local delicacies!

Como City, Italy, Lake Como
Como by night

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