On the lake the list of activities is plentiful from kayaking, to water skiing, swimming to sailing with many of the resorts and hotels having their own sports clubs with numerous facilities. There’s a regular ferry service and all sorts of boats available to hire.
Menaggio has an 18-hole golf course and some great hiking above in the hills around Monte Grona. There are mountain biking trails around the lake and more strenuous tours into the hills and mountains.
There are tours to some of the most spectacular villas and gardens such as the 17th century Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo with sculptures by Canova, Villas Melzi and Serbeloni in Bellagio and Villa Balbianello (discounted entry for National Trust Members) in Lenno.
Hill, mountain and lakeside walks are all around Lake Como with miles of old mule tracks and well-marked footpaths. We have guided Wanderwalks for all levels and duration. The Greenway del Lago a 4 hr. walk explores a number of lakeside villages. Up in the hills there’s a network of old Roman roads that go through olive groves and ancient villages. A walk from Colonno to Cadenabbia passes the village of Mezzegra where you will find a cross marking the spot where Benito Mussolini was killed as he tried to flee to Switzerland with his lover Claretta Petacci. There’s a funicular from the village of Torno that goes to the hill village of Brunate.
Tremezzo & Cadenabbia
The Green Way | Easy | Approx 4 hrs (return by bus)
This walk takes you through some of the most charming villages on Lake Como; Sala Comacina, Ossuccio, Lenno, Mezzegra, Tremezzo and Cadenabbia before arriving at the village of Griante. A great opportunity to get to know the area around Tremezzo and Cadenabbia before exploring further.
The Hamlets and Eastern Side of Bellagio | Moderate | Approx 3 hrs
This itinerary will enable you to see more of some of Bellagio’s little hamlets scattered on the eastern side of the promontory before climbing the hill about a mile away from ‘Borgo’, the town centre of Bellagio. The walk passes Santa Maria Annunciata in Breno Church and continues to San Vito, the church of San Martino and San Carlo Borromeo, passing some historical and interesting sites on the way.
A Historical Walk | Easy | Approx 1 hr
Starting Piazza Garibaldi, this is an interesting and historical walk around and above Menaggio. A perfect way to see local churches, frescos, sculptures and old castle remains.
Como & Cernobbio
The Brunate Funicular | Easy | Approx 3 hrs
Since 1894, the Como-Brunate funicular railway has been taking passengers up to Brunate to enjoy the breathtaking views this vantage point offers over Lake Como and the surrounding mountains. Once at the top, you can explore the areas such as Brunate, which has the Pissarottino spring, the splendid Villa d’Este and Monte Rosa. On the way back down we pass the 15th century former convent of Eremo di San Donato.
Spas and Relaxation
Many of the hotels from the grand era of the 19th century have large outdoor pools with scenic terraces. The Hotel Belvedere in Bellagio has an outdoor heated pool and Jacuzzi with a sunbathing terrace in the lovely tiered gardens. An extensive wellness centre has Turkish bath, sauna, gym, and full menu of beauty and massage treatments. Hotel Bazzoni in Tremezzo has an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi with sunbeds in a small garden. The Grand Hotel in Menaggio has a large outdoor pool at the lake’s edge with a spectacular view of the lake from its pool and terraces. There’s a Jacuzzi and sunbeds.
Food and Drink
Freshwater fish from the lake and rice from the nearby flatlands are essential ingredients in many of the local specialties. Risotto with perch fillets is Lake Como’s regional dish. Other specialities from the area include “missoltini” which is a fish called “agoni” that’s caught between May and June, sundried and pressed with salt in wooden barrels. Carpione and alborelle are also small lake fish that are fried and marinated fish in water and vinegar, cooked with fresh herbs. Whitefish Tremezzina fish soup with pike, small trout, and other fish is also a local dish usually served with rice. Resta of Como is a dessert made from dried and candied fruit. It has small olive twig in its mix, which represents peace and good fortune.
Staples in the more mountainous regions include polenta and there are always a number of local cheeses. Balotas are small balls of polenta with a cheese filling. You will also find “rustisciada”, from Brianza region made with pork loin and sausage and onions.
There are many vineyards in Brianza and on the northern west end of the lake above Domaso. The Valtellina is another area of vineyards producing the Valtellina Superiore DOCG wine.
Como Festival - The City of Music (2021 dates TBC)
Since its beginnings in 2008 this incredible celebration of music on the waters of Lake Como has been a staple of Como city. The town itself becomes the stage with performances taking place at various locations from the stunning Arena Teatro Sociale di Como to courts, towers and the gloriously restored Medieval villas dotted along the shore. With concertos to suit every taste from Neoclassical to jazz lovers, to experience this celebration of art, dance and music is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The Bellagio Festival in July and August is a series of concerts, films and varied recitals that take place in many of the lakeside towns. The concerts are held in gorgeous settings such as churches, piazzas, parks and castles.