Nestled at the foot of the Alps, Lake Como provides one of the most picturesque sceneries in the world. Whilst there’s no doubt that the mesmerising vistas are utterly sublime, you may be surprised to learn that there’s a lot more to this pretty region in Italy than meets the eye. In fact, there’s no shortage of things to do in Lake Como and its surrounding area.
Studded with charming villages and towns including Bellagio, Como, Varenna and more, as you explore the areas of Lake Como you will find a plethora of things to do.
Channel your inner Bond
Enchanting, lush and elegant, the Villa del Balbianello on the western bank of Lake Como is a stunning late 16th-century villa that sits in a beautiful flower-filled garden.
Considered to be the most beautiful villa of Lake Como, situated right on the tip of the Lavedo Peninsula.
This world-renowned attraction has been the mise-en-scène for blockbuster films such as Casino Royale and Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones.
From nature lovers to history buffs, the pretty villa is a must-see and should be added to your things to do in Lake Como list.
Admire the architecture
Possibly one of the most significant Gothic churches in Northern Italy, the Duomo of Como is one of the most popular things to do in Lake Como.
Also known as The Cathedral of Como, this spectacular building took nearly four centuries to build before its completion in 1740 which is reflected in its myriad of architectural styles such as Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance, and Baroque.
Smell the flowers
One of the prettiest and most romantic places to explore in Lake Como. The botanic garden of Varenna’s Villa Cipressi is a historical residence located in one of the loveliest spots on Lake Como.
Whilst the building is a hotel, the landscaped gardens are open to anyone – there’s a small fee of €6, but in our opinion, it’s totally worth it.
Meander past the swaying cypress and palms trees, fragrant magnolias and camellias that fill sun-drenched terraces that fall away to the lake.
The sunlight dances over the statues, fountains, statues and water features. All in all, this tranquil experience is high up on our things to do in Lake Como list.
Try the local wine
Can you say you’ve been to Italy if you’ve not tried the local wine? In Lombardy, it’s practically mandatory when looking at things to do in Lake Como.
Whilst there’s something to be said for enjoying a relaxing tipple lakeside as the sun goes down, if you want to dig a little deeper into all things grape and discover how a fine wine is born, then why not consider a visit to the Domaso winery on Lake Como.
Not only can you visit the wine cellar, and the tasting room, but you can also explore the vineyards overlooking Lake Como and enjoy some wine tasting with a spectacular view from the terrace.
If you love being on the water, why not hire a paddle board and hit the lake?
Regardless of where you start (or indeed finish) paddling anywhere on Lake Como will guarantee you some pretty spectacular views.
If paddle boarding in one of Italy’s most beautiful places is top of your things to do in Lake Como list, you can be certain that as well as being beautiful, you will also find some really interesting attractions as you navigate the waters,
This list includes the aforementioned Villa del Balbianello, the Villa Melzi Loppia, as well as a great selection of restaurants like La Punta.
Feel like a King or Queen
Rich in history and steeped in culture, the Castello di Vezio is a centuries-old castle located near Varenna and Perledo.
There’s two ways to reach the castle, one is a little bit more arduous than the other.
Either take a 30 minute walk up a steep cobblestone path from Olivedo at the northern end of Varenna, or if you are up for more of a gentle amble and don’t mind adding on an extra ten minutes or so to your journey, then take the path to the Sentiero Scabium.
Either way, a visit to the castle is totally worth it and you will be rewarded with some of the most stunning views of Lake Como when you reach the top.
Escape the heat in the leafy surroundings of the tower garden and don’t forget to find the WWII military hideout.
Whether you are visiting Lake Como for a day or staying longer, make sure that you add a boat trip to your things to do in Lake Como hit list. There are a number of organised tours and trips that you can take.
From sunrise to jump aboard a boat, relax and reach your favourite destination: Bellagio, Varenna, Como, or maybe one of the historical villas on the shores of the lake.
Either join an organised tour or why not hire your very own private boat?
Watch a Lake Como sunset
The sunsets around Lake Como are absolutely stunning, and they are best viewed with a delicious glass of wine in your hand! How can this not be on your things to do in Lake Como list?!
For the best views, head to the east shore of the lake, where you can enjoy the peachiest shades reflecting on the surface of the water.