LAKE COMO IN WINTER
But what about Lake Como in winter? Is it worth visiting? Does the weather between December and February allow for pleasant experiences?
Here I will show you why visiting Lake Como in winter can be a great idea. Find out more!
Is Lake Como worth visiting in winter?
1. More locals, fewer tourists
Lake Como is beautiful in any season, but there is no denying that during winter its locations are much less crowded with tourists. You can visit the area more leisurely, without having to wait a long time to photograph that glimpse you like so much, whereas in summer it may be taken by storm by many other enthusiasts like you.
It will also be easier to visit some villas and attractions that are fully booked in the summer and therefore need to be booked well in advance.
2. Hotel prices are generally lower
Precisely because it is the low season, hotel prices are generally lower, which also allows you to indulge in a few extra days. Take a look at the selection of hotels and accommodations on Lake Como that I have prepared!
3. Transportation vehicles are operational and less crowded
During the winter season, say between November and March (to stay wide), public boats and buses are operating (although less frequently). And don’t worry: even the boats are heated so you won’t have any problems if you enjoy the trip from the inside.
My advice is always to plan trips a few days in advance and, when possible, to purchase tickets online. Read here for more information on getting around Lake Como.
4. You can enjoy a unique winter atmosphere
The atmosphere on Lake Como in winter, especially when the mountain peaks are covered with snow, is truly unique. Moreover, especially during the Christmas season, the villages are filled with markets and illuminations, giving the whole area a truly magical touch.
Have I convinced you? Here then is what you can do on Lake Como in winter!
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1. Visit the most popular towns and their beautiful attractions
During the high season, visiting the better-known villages, such as the small Bellagio or Varenna, can sometimes be stressful: restaurants with long waiting lists, alleys full of people, etc. The low season can be an opportunity to discover these places from another point of view, that of the locals.
Take a look at the guides I have prepared for you and choose the villages that are closest to your interests!
A good number of restaurants remain open this season as well, although perhaps with reduced hours. Even historic villas (such as Villa Balbianello or Villa Monastero) have different days and opening hours from the high season.
So I recommend you visit their websites to find out their opening days and thus plan your visit.
2. Visit Christmas markets and taste the tradition
As anticipated, the lake villages during the Christmas season come to life thanks to the markets and colorful illuminations that in some cases turn into real light shows.
One of the area’s most distinctive events is the Città dei Balocchi. From late November to early January, the buildings and attractions of the town of Cernobbio are dressed in breathtaking lighting effects, creating an exciting Christmas atmosphere.
Of course, at this event there is no shortage of markets where you can buy handicrafts and taste some traditional specialties (such as vin brulé, a kind of mulled wine, typical cheese and cold cuts).
There is no shortage of Christmas markets in other towns around the lake as well. From Como to Lecco, Bellagio to Menaggio, there are plenty of opportunities to discover a side of Lake Como that you may not have expected.
3. Discover nature and traditional winter dishes
Sports fans also have their fill. Those who enjoy skiing can travel to a number of well-known ski resorts, including Piani di Bobbio (in the Lecco area), Mount Sighignola (a mountain in the Lugano Pre-Alps on the Italian-Swiss border) and Valchiavenna (further north). In each of these cases, it is much better to travel by car instead of relying on public transportation.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for something simpler, you might consider hiking the hills that surround Lake Como and often pass through villages that directly overlook the lake.
Here you will find a section devoted entirely to trails on Lake Como, which is constantly being updated. Remember, however, to always bring appropriate hiking clothing and be very careful of any sections covered in snow or ice.
One interesting thing about this activity is that you may have the opportunity to find, along the trails, farmhouses where you can taste traditional dishes and winter specialties such as the famous polenta (to be enjoyed with mushrooms, zola cheese, or various kinds of meat) and pizzoccheri.
4. Would you rather stay warm? Here are some ideas on what to do indoors at Lake Como in winter!
If you are looking for some healthy relaxation, there is nothing better than staying overnight in one of the many hotels with spas (see my selection below): enjoy Lake Como from the warmth of your hot tub or from inside your steam room, a truly unique relaxing experience.
Looking for something more cultural? Visit the museums of Lake Como. Como is one of the cities with the most museums. Here I would recommend you visit the Tempio Voltiano (a museum dedicated to physicist Alessandro Volta), the Silk Museum (full of details about the local history of silk) or even the Pinacoteca Civica (where there is an interesting itinerary dedicated to local Rationalist architects and designers).
Alternatively, you can visit Lecco with its Palazzo delle Paure and Villa Manzoni, or, further north, the Lake Como Landscape Museum in Tremezzo or the Museo della Barca Lariana in Pianello del Lario.
If you suffer from the cold, probably Lake Como is not your ideal winter destination. Winter temperatures drop dramatically, and so do the daylight hours.
January is the coldest month, with an average low temperature of 3°C (37°F) and maximum of only 8°C (46°F), but it is not uncommon to drop below zero during the coldest nights (see Lake Como’s weather for more information).
Remember to bring appropriate clothing, such as waterproof shoes, scarves and heavy jackets.
Apart from the cold, from which you can protect yourself, there are many good reasons to visit Lake Como even in winter.
Want to live a unique experience? Lake Como is ready to amaze you, even in the winter!
the enchanted valley