There are way more than 10 things to do when you visit the city of Como and its beautiful lake in Spring, but we tried to sum up the best ideas for those who love “travel checklists” and want to make the most of their trip to Lake Como:
- a boat trip: by battello, motorboat or water taxi, a MUST!
- a coffee in the historic center of Como
- from Gothic to Rationalist, a city walk through the centuries of Architecture
- Villa time! Pick a villa and enjoy
- water sports (for fitness lovers)
- from prehistory to the twentieth century, the Como Museums (in case of rain or heavy passion for Culture)
- stunning panoramas aka “up on the peaks”: both for lazy and for fit visitors (pick one!)
- Alessandro Volta, take a peak at the inventor’s heritage
- A “experience made in Como”: from cooking classes to foraging…
- Aperitivo with a view!
1) A boat tour is definitely a MUST during a holiday or a weekend in Como. The options are many, starting from the means of transport and the duration of the boat ride! Classic public boat (“battello”), motorboat or water taxi? One day, one morning or one hour? Come Spring and many more rides are available on Lake Como, just pick your favourite.
By battello. Public transportation offer a few options for a boat tour. The tour of the first basin (“primo bacino” near the city of Como) is an excellent idea for those who have never been on Lake Como before. The daily circular ticket, sold by the Public Navigation Company, allows you to get on and off at all stops, between Como and Urio, or between Como and Nesso (Click here for info on prices and route), during this tour you can admire from the water the famous Villa d’Este, Villa Erba, Villa Pizzo and you also pass in front of George’s (Clooney!) villa! For those who like to discover hidden corners, and for geocaching lovers, it is advisable to get off the boat and explore the villages along the way: Cernobbio (Villa Bernasconi and Giardino della Valle), Torno, Blevio or Nesso (with its ravine). If you have little time, “just remain seated” on the boat, enjoy the view and return comfortably to Como.
A longer, “classic” boat ride is the one from Como to Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna. From Como to Bellagio the journey takes about two hours each way by battello, and it stops in many villages along the way or it takes just 40 minutes by a fast aliscafo (hydrofoil – less panoramic since you cannot sit outside) directly from Como to Bellagio. The 2019 Spring timetable for boat transportation on Lake Como is valid from March 24th, 2019.
For those with an unlimited budget, an exclusive and more personalized way to see the beauties of the lake is to book an elegant water taxi to whiz far and wide around Lake Como (we suggest you call Alberto of Lake Como Charter). Ask your boat pilot to take you to the Comacina Island or to go and see the charming Villa Pliniana with its waterfall. The costs may vary depending on the number of passengers and the duration of the tour, usually starting from € 200 per hour. Get your travel companion spoilt by adding a bottle of Prosecco when you book the tour!
One more boat ride option, for the more independent travelers, is to rent a motorboat and navigate the lake in freedom and autonomy, “Non Solo Barche” in Cernobbio offers an excellent fleet (ask Riccardo for advice on where to go).
2) A coffee in the historic center: have an espresso anytime of the day and a cappuccino (ONLY before 11am, unless you do want to give it away you are not Italian!). After all you are on holiday, no stress, immerse yourself in the mood of the city of Como, sit down to drink a coffee in Piazza San Fedele, Piazza Volta, Piazza Mazzini, or Piazza del Duomo. On Market days (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday near the city walls) you will see more locals with grocery bags walking by. If you really cannot do without the lake view, have your coffee in Piazza Cavour or Piazza De Gasperi, in front of the funicular station. Enjoy the architecture of the city, its lake and the walk of tourists and citizens on a sunny day. For advice on bars, cafés and restaurants, ask one of our My Home Guest Managers in Como at check-in or during your stay!
3) Art and architecture. “One of the most remarkable monuments of Northern Italy”, the Gothic Cathedral of Como is definitely a “must see” of the city of Como, walk around it to discover the “frog door” and visit the inside of the beautiful Church right in the centre of the city. For special openings visit the Cathedral site with seasonal events.
The frescoes of the Fourteenth century of Sant’Abbondio and the ring of the miracles of San Bartolomeo (both churches are outside the historic center, but can be reached on foot in 10/15 minutes from Porta Torre) are not to be missed for enthusiasts of art, history and sacred Architecture. For lovers of modern Architecture, the Rationalist route is unmissable, it includes several monuments and buildings like the former Casa del Fascio, just behind the Duomo.
4) Villas and Parks: pick one! Lake Como is famous for its beautiful Villas, many are private but quite a few are accessible to visitors. Villa Olmo, Villa del Grumello and Villa Sucota, with their recently renovated parks and botanical gardens, are a short walk away from the centre of Como. During Spring and Summer weekends, these villas often host cultural meetings, musical events, exhibitions and other events. The walk that leads from the Como seaplane hangar to Villa Olmo is pedestrian and very scenic. Villa Olmo botanical garden opening hours here.
Among the other famous villas of Lake Como, one definitely worth a visit (and if you visit just one villa, pick this!) is Villa del Balbianello in Lenno: another “must see” and not just for Star Wars fans! From the well-tended gardens, to the unique views, to the collections kept in the villa, the visit to this magnificent property, now managed by FAI, fascinates visitors from every country and every age (check the opening hours on the FAI website). The villa was featured in films like Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, Casino Royale and others. Recently it was the location chosen by international celebrities for their private events (for example in 2018 Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone got married here).
5) For fitness-loving travelers, Lake Como offers sports in a very scenic environment: kayaking, kite surfing (the best wind is up in Gera Lario), sup, jetski, bananaboat, tubing, wakesurf and wakeboard! Most of these activities become available from April to the end of September. Other ways to combine fitness and “sightseeing” are trekking on the mountains around Lake Como or Yoga classes by the water! Whatever sport you wish to play in Lake Como ask your My Home in Como Guest Managers for info. Click here is a luxury experience for golfers and riders!
6) The Municipal Museums of Como – Not sure we can call them unmissable, but they surely contain hidden treasures. Don’t get us wrong, if you are passionate about history, art and culture it is certainly worth visiting these Museums. The Historical Museum, the Archaeological Museum, the Volta Temple (“Tempio Voltiano” by the lakeshore) and the Pinacoteca, Art Gallery (you can buy a 2-day ticket valid for all four venues) display very interesting collections and really unique pieces. What makes them slightly unattractive for many tourists are the settings, a little dated and with almost no multimedia or interactive content. We suggest you go there with a guide that will point out some real gems like … the prehistoric eggs, the funerary chariot of the fifth century BC, the Egyptian mummy or the mug from which Garibaldi himself drank some water!
A very original private Museum, inspired by the industry that for decades has supported the economy of Como, is the Silk Museum. Free guided tours and workshops for children are available at certain dates of the year. Find out more on the Silk Museum website.
7) Breathtaking views for “lazy visitors”: just take the funicular. In seven minutes you can go from Como up to Brunate, walk to the panoramic point (a few steps from the funicular station) and enjoy an “Instagram-perfect” view! The ideal time to be there is at sunset: you will see the sun disappear behind the Alps! If you want to walk a little further for an even more majestic view, you can reach the Volta lighthouse, which is two kilometers uphill from the arrival of the funicular.
Breathtaking views for the less lazy: a half day or a full day hiking Lake Como mountains, with a local guide, allows you to discover many beautiful views, paths immersed in nature and hidden old buildings with stories to tell. If an easy walk is your cup of tea, go with our friends at Waw to explore the Spina Verde Park.
In case you prefer trekking without a guide, ask your Guest Manager of My Home in Como for hiking itineraries, some paths are better marked than others.
8) Como is the city of Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the voltaic pile. A lakeside promenade to see the very modern Life Electric of the architect Libeskind dedicate to the Como born inventor, and a short visit to the Tempio Voltiano, which contains the tools used by the local sicentist, must be in the “to do list” what to see in Como.
9) An engaging “experience” is the latest trend on every traveller’s list. A cooking lesson with a local chef, a Como tour by night, a trip on a vintage sail or a walk in the woods to go foraging with a local Botany, add a unique flavor to a stay on Lake Como. In every season, new opportunities are available in Lake Como with interesting local experts! Ask your Guest Manager of My Home in Como at check-in to tell you what is “hot” on the things to do in Lake Como once you get here!
10) The list can not fail to end with a lake view: aperitif or dinner in one of the many restaurants where you can enjoy the wonderful natural setting of Lake Como. The choice is wide, especially in Spring after all restaurants reopen : Como, Brunate, Blevio, Moltrasio, Torno, Rovenna, Brienno and many other villages on the banks around the city of Como, from the most exclusive to family-run trattorias you are spoiled for choice. Our Guest Managers are more prepared than Trip Advisor to give you the right advice!
And of course if you are looking for the perfect boutique home for you holiday, check out our villas and apartments in Lake Como!