Summer on Lake Como: 2 days is too little, 5 could be enough

No doubts. The first thing in our minds as soon as we leave this emergency behind: let’s go get some fresh air!

We then take the opportunity to answer one of the most frequent questions from our guests before the lockdown: “Some friends told us that two days are not enough to properly visit Lake Como”.

Well, there’s two options here.

Number One: these “some friends” told you so because they were there and are now regretting not having spent more time because yes, things to see are beautiful, and there is plenty!

Or! Number Two: these friends have done their research on several websites, have seen endless fairytale-like places, and wondered why travelers only stop by a couple of days and the immediately move elsewhere.

Now – for both options there is one answer: trust us. Two days are just not enough.

Do you like water sports? Do you enjoy relaxing days at the SPA? Do you fancy going shopping in the historic center? Do you like walking on the lakeshores? Do you want to eat delicious local food or go on a wine tasting tour at a local winery? Do you want to feel close with nature doing foraging? Do you like hiking or skyrunning?

Believe it or not, you can do all of this on Lake Como. What is not doable is to sum it all up in a blog article. So ask us directly! We will be happy to give advice and point you in the right direction!

Starting here…

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  • Day 1 – Como centre + Villa Olmo

Start with the historic centre. Como is a small city: take a nice walk along the elegant pedestrian streets, plunge into its vitality and characteristic corners, the Made in Italy fashion boutiques and its international mood. Visit the Duomo, the Church of San Fedele and the Church of Sant’Abbondio. Take a break in Piazza Volta for the classic 11am Italian espresso sitting on the tables outside – isn’t it one of the reasons why travellers love Italy so much?

Villa Olmo

Visit Villa Olmo cannot be missed: a majestic example of neoclassical architecture, the villa is managed by the Municipality, mainly used as a venue for cultural events, art exhibitions and free admission to the public. 

A swimming pool and a restaurant are part of its complex: if the day is particularly hot and the idea of ​​a dive already makes you feel better, or simply if you want to show off you Italian tan to friends at home, why not stop by?

In the evening it is pleasant and refreshing to take a walk by the lake, enjoy its breeze and see the city lights gradually reflected on the water.

Reach Villa Geno and stop for an aperitif at the “Alle Terrazze” bar for an excellent Spritz with delicious appetizers – fabulous sunset over the lake will make it an even more special night!

  • Day 2 – Brunate + Villa Erba + Villa Bernasconi

View from Faro Voltiano

Prepare a tasty packed lunch and set off for a trip dedicated to physical activity and natural beauty: visit the village of Brunate! Best known for the its eclectic, liberty-style villas, from Brunate you can enjoy a breathtaking view on the city of Como, and beyond! Reachable on foot or by funicular, it’s up to you! The sporty ones can venture out for a 1-hour walk: the path starts just behind the funicular, but in all honesty, it is a path through the woods, only a few panoramic spots.

Having reached Brunate, take a moment to see the pretty streets of the village, then your next goal can only be the Volta Lighthouse! Elementary itinerary suitable for children, it is another hour walk, beautifully panoramic this time (you even get to see the Alps!).

Once back in Como, try to take the ferry to Cernobbio: visit the park of Villa Erba, a fascinating botanical walk among trees, collections of flowering shrubs, elegant multi-colored flower beds and its Zen garden.

Villa Erba

Do not miss the Villa Bernasconi and find out why they call it “a speaking house”, Il Giardino della Valle which from illegal dumping is now a splendid and luxuriant garden and public park.

Stop for a snack in one of the Pasticceria in Cernobbio centre, have a cream cupcake and pear and chocolate tart!

To top off such an exciting day, make sure you enjoy a well-deserved moment of peace and tranquility on the Riva (port) benches with the warm colours of the sunset and the comings and goings of ferries … until you decide to take yours!  

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  • Day 3 – Bellagio and its Villas + Pescallo
Bellagio

Our strong advice is to dedicate a whole day to Bellagio: a popular tourist destination for several, very valid reasons! Reachable by car from Como driving on the SP583 that runs along the lake for about 50 minutes (very scenic and picturesque scenery, but be careful of the very tight bends and turns!), or by ferry from Como – you can check timings and prices here as soon as summer timetables are out.

Riva di Bellagio

Once you reach Bellagio, you will immediately fall in love with this town: take a stroll along the slightly uphill, picturesque, narrow alleys among pastel-hued houses and elegant shops. Discover the suggestive corners and glimpses, and why not, with a nice ice cream in your hand! Stroll along the lakefront and stop on a bench to admire the landscape.

Not all the beautiful Villas in Bellagio can be visited, but their stylish gardens definitely are!

Villa Melzi for example opens its park to the public from March to October: rich blooms of azaleas and rhododendrons create colorful meadows and slopes that surround the Villa. Very characteristic is the white and blue Moresco kiosk, where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the lake, and the Japanese pond with its water lilies, maples and Japanese cedars is incredibly fascinating. Entry costs € 6.50 for adults, free entry for children up to 12 years old.

Another magnificent park is Villa Serbelloni’s: open to the public only with guided tours that last about an hour and a half with departure at scheduled times from the Office of Promobellagio (S. Giovanni’s Church). The visit must be booked in advance by contacting Promobellagio at +39 031 951555 or by purchasing tickets directly on this link.

Pescallo

If you are under the impression that this visit to Bellagio was too “touristy”, then before returning to the lively atmosphere of Como, give yourself a chance to be marvelled by the stunning village of Pescallo. Once a fishing village, Pescallo has been transformed into a real jewel with a small harbor that offers a suggestive view of the lake. Take a walk in nature among olive trees and Mediterranean vegetation. A colorful corner of paradise that only a few people know, really.

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  • Day 4 – Greenway + Villa Carlotta + Villa del Balbianello

Summer on Lake Como (as we Italians see it) goes hand in hand with nature, colours, breathtaking views, lake breeze. So if we stick to that, we have got to explain what Greenway is and what it has to offer … for free!

View on Isola Comacina

Surrounded by the breathtaking natural landscape of our lake, the Greenway is a relaxing 10-km walk that starts off in Colonno and ends in Griante. Suitable for the little ones as well, this relaxing journey of about 3,5 hours crosses the villages of Colonno, Sala Comacina, Ossuccio, Lenno, Mezzegra, Tremezzo and Griante.

Go through terraced plots and small olive groves, cobblestone streets, medieval villages and tiny historic centers. 10 kilometers of emotions, adventure, nature and self-discovery. We highly recommend visiting the two splendid symbolic Villas of Lake Como located right on the Greenway, both in Tremezzina: Villa Carlotta and Villa del Balbianello. No excuses! You will literally bump into them on the way!

Villa Carlotta is located in a panoramic position on the west bank of Lake Como, facing an incredible scenario on the Grigne mounts and the town of Bellagio. Art collections, magnificent 70,000 m2 botanical park and summer flowering of rhododendrons and azaleas: here are the three reasons why you shouldn’t miss it!

Villa del Balbianello is located on the small wooded peninsula of Lavedo. This elegant and romantic 18th century mansion was Italian explorer Guido Monzino’s property. When he died with no heirs in 1988, the Villa was donated to FAI (Italian National Trust). Romantic glimpses, avenues lined with statues, panoramic terraces and colourful blossoms. And that’s right, good memory! Star Wars and 007 were filmed right there!

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  • Day 5 – Sunny and secluded beaches

Longing for a day by the beach, water activities, a mix of warm sun and regenerating water to activate a circulation that has been dozing off for too long?

Take the car (or the ferry), and venture on the shore east of Como (in the direction of Bellagio): the one you haven’t seen yet, the least touristy one, and perhaps more fascinating for this reason.

Starting from Como, here is the list of free beaches you find on the way:

  • Riva di Faggeto (Faggeto Lario)

A small beach with very fresh water thanks to the constant water recycling from mountain sources just above it. Flawlessly equipped: big umbrellas, sunbeds, showers, bars. It might be difficult to find a parking spot, so try and park as soon as you find a free space, then take a walk down to the beach. The sand is clean but necessary to rent deck chairs.

  • Riva di Quarzano (Pognana Lario)

Loved by locals, the beach is a little gem: a green area close to the lake, but beware! A fairly long, steep and rocky walk awaits you! But we wouldn’t be here recommending it if it wasn’t worth it!

  • Careno (Nesso)

Not only is it among the most comfortable places to dive in the Lario but it is also among the best known and most popular. With green parts, as well as natural sand, the beach can be reached on foot passing through the pretty historic center of the village. 

  • Civera Bridge (Nesso)

Once you get to Nesso, try and find a parking spot and follow the path to go down to the ancient Orrido: the descent is not too bad, perhaps the return uphill will be more tiring. Take your well-deserved swim in the lake and float under this romantic bridge!

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As you probably understood by now, there are plenty of options.

Give us a buzz, pop us an email… we will be more than happy to help you organize your stay in one of our properties on Lake Como!