Lake Como Holidays

Lake Como holidays draw jet set crowds to the shore for neoclassical architecture, café culture and the Italian wow factor.

In a pocket of north Italy you'll discover a place where age-old frescoes remain preserved; immaculate Italianate gardens are preened to perfection and life on the lake is as splendid as you could imagine. Lake Como holidays are a Mediterranean dream of breathtaking food that tastes as fresh as the glacier lake it came from, and splendid villas with rose gardens that look like they’ve come straight out of a coffee table book. There are lunches in centuries-old villas, spa treatments overlooking the lake, white-glove service in the evenings and lakefront nightcaps under a purple sky.

Lake Como has always been a sun-kissed playground for the rich and famous – think classic cars racing along peachy-coloured towns, effortlessly stylish Michelin-starred restaurants in fairytale courtyards and cobblestoned streets walked by everyone from Vincenzo Bellini to Alfred Hitchcock. The nouveau rich race their speedboats here while the locals happily get by sailing from village to village. There’s rustic charm in family-run trattorias where saffron risotto and home-made ice cream are served up as authentically as the atmosphere, and private wine tastings in an historic castle in Bergamo.

Discover perpendicular gardens, 16th-Century palazzos and a decadent alpine setting as you rise by funicular some 1600 feet above the lake to the summit of Mount Brunate. Whether you’re arriving by boat to the jet set town of Bellagio, picking up Italian-made cashmere at Falconeri or launching your private water limousine from Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s private jetty for a Champagne sunset cruise; you’ll know you’ve landed on your feet in extravagant Italian style.

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Lake Como Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in Lake Como

Grand Hotel Menaggio

Perched on the water’s edge, views of the lake are available around almost every corner.

Grand Hotel Victoria Concept & Spa

A timeless late 19th-century architectural masterpiece, recently renovated to create a blend of c...

Hotel Royal Victoria

On one of Italy’s most famous lakes, Hotel Royal Victoria has been charming guests for years. Com...

Cruise to Villa Balbianello

Afternoons don’t come much more picturesque than cruising across Lake Como to a beautiful 18th-Century villa. On the tip of the Lavedo promontory, Villa Balbianello sits in the most spectacular spot on the lake. It now belongs to FAI (the Italian equivalent of the National Trust) and has beautiful fragrant gardens. Explore the lavishly furnished interiors and see the collection of pre-Columbian objects, Chinese porcelain and terracottas, reverse-glass paintings, tapestries and carpets that belonged to previous owner Count Guido Monzino – a keen explorer who climbed Mount Everest in 1973. If you think the villa looks familiar, it might be because it starred in Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

• Duration: half day
• Time: 2.45pm to 6pm
• Departing set Sundays from Lake Como hotels )please call for details)
• Operates May to September on specific dates
• Group experience

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Bernina Express to St.Moritz

There’s something particularly charming about travelling by train. The Bernina Express is Switzerland’s ultimate scenic train – despite its ‘express’ name, it leisurely navigates mountain twists and tunnels. Your adventure begins with a drive along northern Lake Como to Tirano, where’ll we stop for coffee before crossing into Switzerland to board the Bernina Express train for the most scenic part of its route. Our one-hour train journey from Poschiavo to Diavolezza takes in the sights of the White Lake and the Black Lake, as well as breathtaking glaciers. We’ll continue by road to the iconic ski resort of St Moritz on the southern side of the Alps where highlights include crystal clear mountain lakes. There will be free time to wander around the beautiful town of Chiavenna before returning to Lake Como.

• Duration: full day
• Time: 7.35am to 7pm
• Departing Monday and Wednesday from Lake Como hotels
• Operates on Mondays on 10 and 24 April and from 8 May-23 October 2023; departs on Wednesdays from 24 May-20 September 2023
• Group experience

Good to know
You’ll need to bring your passport as this experience crosses the border into Switzerland.

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Private Cruise Around the Villas of Lake Como

Perfect for those who want a private boat trip to see the villas of Lake Como. Board an idyllic private cruise to admire the glorious villas of Lake Como in all their splendour, including Villa Balbianello, whose gardens were used as a backdrop in Casino Royale, and Villa Cassinella, one of the most prestigious private villas of the lake. You’ll also see Comacina Island, famous for its dramatic history and fascinating legends.

• Duration: 1 hour
• Daily departures
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Get to know Lake Como and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.

Capital
TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT +1 hour

CURRENCY

Euro

FLYING TIME TO DESTINATION

Milan: 2 hours

RELIGION

Christianity (Roman Catholic)

LANGUAGE

Italian

Where is Lake Como?
In the far northwest of Italy in the Lombardy region, Lake Como sits very close to the Southern Alps and the border of Switzerland. It’s the third largest lake in Italy, and one of the deepest in Europe. There are dozens of towns and villages dotted around the lake’s shores – the most famous is Bellagio, known as the Pearl of Lake Como. 

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Where to go
There are the magical views of the Grigne mountains, Villa Carlotta’s spellbinding Italianate gardens and some of the prettiest streets in all of the Italian Lakes in the exclusive towns of Bellagio, Menaggio, Tremezzo and Varenna. Shop along Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, visit the 11th-Century Romanesque Basilica of San Giacomo and take time to stroll through Villa Melzi’s breathtaking park.

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Natural Lake Como
Pescallo in Bellagio is the perfect spot for kayaking and waterskiing, and Lido di Cernobbio is a great place to while away the day at the beach club or in the elegant pool. For a different perspective of Lake Como, take the the funicular up to Brunate for panoramic views over the Alps, the historic centre and Brianza plain. Take a speedboat to Isola Comacina to dine in the middle of Lake Como on a beautiful wooded island or tour the dungeons and 12th-Century Castello di Vezio.

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Culture
History and design buffs will love Il Duomo di Como Gothic cathedral filled with art, frescoes, tapestries and sculptures – the cathedral took hundreds of years to build and is an intriguing blend of architectural styles. We also love San Fedele church for its dazzling stained glass and intricate frescoes. Take a boat trip around the shores of exclusive villas and celebrity homes and find a pretty pebbled inlet to sunbathe. Visit the fairytale Villa of del Balbianello to see the beauty captured in films such as Casino Royale and Star Wars.

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Getting around
Speedboat, yacht, ferry… the best way to see Lake Como is to take to the waters. Once you've arrived at each charming town or village, it's easy to walk around.

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Food and drink
Lavarello lake fish, tender cutlets of lamb and osso buco – you’ll be lavished with decadent regional Lombardy offerings everywhere you go. There’s an enchanting lakeside café culture under chic umbrellas with an aperitivo or coffee, gelato flavours in every colour, and plenty of pizza and fresh pasta to keep the kids happy. Experience opulent dining in magnificent villas under renowned chefs, rustic trattorias with flavoursome wild game and bold reds on the menu, and stylish hillside restaurants perched in the perfect spot for panoramic lake views.

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Lake Como Weather

May - Oct

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Lake Como Weather by Month