Lake Como is a dream destination – the beauty and charm of Northern Italy, with lots of things to do. When you’re visiting Lake Como, having some sort of plan for what to do is a great idea!
Here are 12 ideas of things to do when you’re visiting Lake Como.
1. Plan time to go slow and enjoy the scenery.
One of the most wonderful and simple joys of visiting Lake Como is the incredible scenery. It’s absolutely breathtaking to take in, and the longer you look around, the more you see. Don’t forget to schedule time just to indulge in doing nothing but leisurely walks or sitting on benches.
2. Wander the small streets of Bellagio.
Bellagio is the best-known town in Lake Como for a reason – it’s simply gorgeous. The small streets and back alleys are a joy to wander. You can easily get lost for a day eating and going in and out of the shops!
3. Enjoy the gardens at Villa Monastero.
In Varenna, Villa Monastero has incredible botanical gardens for a few acres along the lake. You can book painting classes (or just take your own art equipment!). You can also take a book and enjoy the sun and beautiful scenery. If you enjoy gardens quickly, you’ll want at least 3 hours for these!
4. Indulge in a gelato on the lake in Varenna.
Varenna has a number of gelato shops to choose from, each more appetizing than the last. Grab a gelato, and sit by the lake to enjoy it!
5. Take a Lake Como Water Taxi.
The Lake Como Water Taxis are not especially fast, nor do they run especially frequently (beware of that if you’re wandering between towns). But they have lovely scenery. It’s absolutely worth taking a water taxi at least once – just for the fun and experience!
If you’re looking for a cheap way to experience Lake Como, check out these tips for visiting Lake Como on a budget.
6. Have a dip in the lake.
Generally, you’ll have to be at one of the more expensive hotels to use their pool. But if you’re dying to take a dip in the lake, it’s worth it! You can’t just jump in anywhere, so make sure you’re allowed to go where ever you decide to swim.
7. Channel your inner James Bond at Villa La Gaeta & Villa Balbianello.
Lake Como is the perfect place to channel James Bond. It’s a combination of gorgeous scenery and wealth! Villa La Gaeta and Villa Balbianello are both quite close to Menaggio, and are a must-visit for any Bond fan.
8. Go to the east side of the lake and watch the sunset.
This is a simple one – and free! (If you’re staying on the east side!) But the sunsets are absolutely stunning. If you’re staying on the west side of the lake, it’s worth waking up for sunrise!
9. Feel the history at Villa Melzi in Bellagio.
Villa Melzi has acres of incredible gardens along the lake in Bellagio. With a number of different types of gardens – from water gardens to open paths along the lake, you can easily spend hours imagining life as it was a couple hundred years ago.
10. Take an appertivo with the locals.
Northern Italy is well-known for its appertivo. This is generally a free selection of happy hour food along with your happy hour drinks. Grab a drink, relax, and let the day fade away with the locals.
Not sure what to pack? See what to pack for an Italian vacation.
11. Wander down to Milan for a day.
Trains to Milan are relatively frequent and cheap. It’s an easy day trip to enjoy the metropolis and see the cathedral!
12. Have a long, leisurely meal at an outdoor restaurant.
This is a simple but must-do. Just sit down at an outdoor restaurant and enjoy the food for a few hours. Italian cuisine is actually quite regional, so Northern Italian has distinct differences from southern Italian – and distinct differences from Americanized Italian.