Holidays in Lake Como

Waterside villas, villages, vineyards and mountain trails that reach for alpine peaks – Lake Como delivers a truly cinematic backdrop

Lake Como cuts a dashing figure on the map. Its wishbone-shaped waters make up the deepest lake in Italy, stretching out one arm north to the Alps and two arms south towards Milan. Fine villas, vineyards and gardens decorate mountainous shores that have been the backdrop to many a Hollywood film – places best explored by the footpaths that connect them. Boats shuttle wanderers between Lenno, Bellagio, and Menaggio, each of which have their own footpaths, stories and cuisine to share. Thanks to its spot on the border, day trips to Switzerland are easy!

The hiking paths of Lake Como… and the refuelling stops

Lake Como lies in spectacular surroundings best explored by its footpaths. The 10km-long Greenway is a highlight, rolling easily between Colonno and Tremezzo via a labyrinth of lakeside villages, gothic churches, Roman roads and villas with cypress-brushed gardens. Alternatively, set your sights on rocky peaks such as Monte Grona, which reward walkers with widescreen views over Lake Como. Cycling is a great alternative – and e-bikes are on hand to lend an extra boost for climbs and long-distance trails.

Of course, every rambler needs refuelling – perhaps with a plate of grilled perch and risotto, a glass of the local Valtellina red, or simply a cappuccino while watching the world go by.

Exploring by boat

Lakeside paths connect many of the towns of Lake Como – or you can hop aboard the boats that travel between. Take note of the calendar too. There’s a market on practically every day of the week in Lake Como. Depending on the day, you could wind up browsing market stalls along the old town walls of Como, picking up alpine cheese, honey and jam in Bellano, or perusing intricate lace souvenirs in Cernobbio.

Luxury villa hopping

Lake Como has long been a glamorous holiday spot. Wealthy Romans built some of the first villas on the lakeshore; these days, you’re more likely to bump into Hollywood A-listers. The real stars of the show, however, are the villas themselves. Star Wars and James Bond fans may recognise Lenno’s Villa del Balbianello, with its romantic gardens and fairy-tale towers. Then there are the sculpture galleries of 17th-century Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo and the waterside gardens of Bellagio’s Villa Melzi – one of the prettiest strolls in Lake Como.

Making the most of the breeze

The unusual geography of Lake Como creates summer breezes ideal for sailing, kitesurfing, wakeboarding and windsurfing in the north, and kayaking and paddle-boarding in the more sheltered corners of the south. This is one of the deepest lakes in Europe; where locals have come up with nicknames for at least six types of wind, so exploring with a local guide who knows how to safely navigate the waters is always recommended. Alternatively, marvel at Lake Como from above – from the windows of the sea planes that set out from Como town.

Why book a summer holiday in Lake Como with Inghams?

At Inghams, we do walking holidays differently. With no fixed itinerary, you have more time in your destination and the freedom to walk as much or as little as you like, discovering some of Lake Como's best walking routes and activities at your own pace.

With over 85 years of outdoor travel experience, our holiday packages to Lake Como include flights, transfers, and accommodation, so you can relax and leave the small details to us. Our experts can help you choose the best holiday for you, and our team in resort can give you the inside scoop on how to spend your time away with us.

  • from£657pp
Bellagio Lakeside at Sunset

Bellagio is one of the most picturesque towns on the lake. Its narrow streets lead up the mountainside, past bustling shops and restaurants, where you’ll be greeted with amazing views over the ink-blue waters.

Best for: all walking abilities; sightseeing; activities; food & drink

  • from£789pp
Lenno & Villa Balbianello from Above

With its picture-perfect location hugging the shore of Lake Como, Lenno is a great choice for those looking to get away from it all. The highlight of this village is the lovely promenade that’s lined with al fresco cafés.

Best for: all walking abilities; sightseeing; activities; food & drink

 

  • from£859pp
Panoramic View of Menaggio

Menaggio is an elegant town that’s been established since Roman times. It’s surrounded by grand villas and its terracotta-roofed houses contrast beautifully with the blue of the lake and greenery of the mountainside.

Best for: all walking abilities; sightseeing; activities; food & drink

Things to do in Lake Como

There are lots of places to see and things to do while on holiday on Lake Como. Explore the towns using the regular ferry service that links the resorts. It’s a great way to see the lake and the views from the water are some of the best.

Tour 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 in Lenno – some offer discounted entry to National Trust members, so don’t forget your card.

You can head up Monte Grona, the rocky peak above Menaggio, by bus. There are lots of lovely walking routes in the area and via Ferrata for adventurous climbers. The views of Lake Como from the top are incredible.

You can venture further afield too - Milan and Bergamo are easily reached on a day trip. 

Food & drink

On Lake Como you won’t struggle to find delicious food. 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. For dessert give the Resta of Como a try – it’s made from dried and candied fruit and topped with a small olive twig, which represents peace and good fortune.

We can’t forget to mention the wine. Vineyards to the south in Brianza and on the northern end of the lake above Domaso produce some lovely local wines. It’s great to visit in autumn when the grape harvest is taking place. The Valtellina is another area of vineyards where they produce Valtellina Superiore DOCG red wine.

Lakeside activities

Lake Como is a great choice for a walking holiday. Hill, mountain and lakeside walks are just a bus ride away, with miles of old mule tracks and well-marked footpaths. History buffs might be interested in the walk from Colonno to Cadenabbia. It passes the village of Mezzegra where Benito Mussolini was killed as he tried to flee to Switzerland with his lover Claretta Petacci.

We’d definitely recommend exploring Lake Como from the water. There’s loads of activities for you to try like kayaking, water skiing, swimming and sailing. There’s a regular ferry service and all sorts of boats available to hire too.

Throughout the summer months festivities liven up the lakes shores. The City of Music Festival in Como transforms the town into one giant music, dance and art venue with shows and performances taking place at various historic locations. In July and August the Bellagio Festival brings concerts, films and performances to many of the lakeside towns. They’re held in gorgeous settings like churches, piazzas and castles.

Book your excursions in resort with your Inghams representative

Milan from £70 per person (full day)

An expert guide will show you Milan’s highlights starting with Sforzesco Castle. Once you reach La Scala, Milan’s famous opera house, you’ll continue on foot through the historic centre to see the Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele – the world’s first shopping mall! The afternoon is at leisure exploring Milan at your own pace.

Departs: Tuesday

Lake Maggiore from £75 per person (full day)

Hop on a bus to the second biggest lake in Italy, Lake Maggiore where you'll get to experience a private boat trip which will take you across the lake to the Borromean Islands where you can visit the botanical gardens of Isola Bella and the Borromeo Palace. Next, you'll stop off at the traditional fishing island, Isola dei Pescatori with it's narrow lanes, little boutiques and wonderful fresh fish. You'll finish the day in Stresa where you'll have some free time before returning to Lake Como by bus.

Departs: Fridays. Entrance fee to Isola Bella is payable locally.

Villa Balbianello from £70 per person (half day)

No visit to Lake Como would be complete without seeing its most beautiful villas and spectacular gardens. Built at the end of the 18th century, the villa now belongs to the FIA, Italy’s version of the National Trust. Wander through the villa and admire exquisitely-furnished interiors and a vast art collection. The manicured gardens are a delight to walk through – there’s lots of spots where you can admire the stunning lake views.

Departs: Sunday- discounted tickets for National Trust members are also available. 

Como & Lake Lugano from £66 per person (full day)

You'll start the day by heading to Gandria a little lakeside village on the border of Italy and Switzerland. From here you'll take a 45 minute boat trip over to Lugano where you'll have some time to explore this beautiful town and the markets, shops and architecture it has to offer. Lugano is often called the Rio de Janeiro of Switzerland due to it's friendly and lively atmosphere and is home to the famous Franciscan church of Santa Maria degli Angeli - definitely worth a visit! After lunch you'll transfer to Lake Como where you'll have some more free time to enjoy the fantastic artwork, churches, gardens, parks and palaces. You'll then head back to your hotel by bus at around 5pm.

Departs: Friday. A passport may be required for this excursion as you will be crossing country borders.

Pre-book the following excursion online or give us a call

St. Moritz & the Bernina Train from £75 per person (full day)

Leave Lake Como and travel by coach into the majestic Val Valtellina before boarding the Bernina Express. This spectacular railway journey travels past glaciers and over dramatic gorges before arriving in St. Moritz. You’ll have some free time to explore and enjoy a spot of lunch (payable locally). The return to Lake Como by coach is just as scenic and follows the road through the Maloja pass, stopping in the historic town of Chiavenna.

Departs: Monday

Guests staying in Bellagio will need to make their own way to Cadenabbia to begin these excursions and ferry tickets are payable locally. 

We act at all times as a selling agent for our suppliers. All excursions require minimum numbers to run and are subject to change. Some excursions may not be available to pre-book in low season but may be available to book locally subject to numbers. Prices will be confirmed at the time of booking. See terms & conditions.

Good to know

Walking Trails: 425km of walking trails around Lake Como

Terrain: Wooded trails, asphalt surfaces, dirt tracks, lakeside paths, ascents and descents

Best time to go: May-June & September-October are cooler for walking, but if you love the heat, head out in high summer and spend your days sipping an Aperol spritz by the lakeside

Best for: All walking abilities, sightseeing, activities

Arrive into: Milan Malpensa (approx. 2 hours) or Como St Giovanni train station (approx. 14 hours from London St. Pancras)

Travel from: London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh and London St Pancras

Transfer Time: approx. 1 hour 30 mins from Milan Airport or approx. 1 hour from Como St Giovanni train station

24/7 Support and advice: In person or over the phone from our local resort team based in Lake Como

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