With this guide of tips for traveling to Lake Como we hope to help you organize your trip to one of the most famous and tourist areas of Italy that we are sure, you will fall in love with as soon as you arrive.
Located in the Lombardy region, in the north of the country, Lake Como has a spectacular alpine landscape that contrasts with the curious inverted Y- shape of the lake, in which its ramifications meet the town of Bellagio, one of the most touristy in the area.
Based on our trip to Lake Como, we leave you the 10 essential tips to travel to Lake Como. We started!
1. What is the best time?
In this case, we can define in a certain way what is the best time for a trip to Lake Como based on the weather and the closure of some infrastructures during some months of the year.
High season (June to August): these are the two busiest months of the year and also the ones that raise accommodation prices. Although you ensure good weather, the overcrowding in some towns can be a bit overwhelming.
Mid season (April and May / September and October): for us spring and autumn are, without a doubt, the best times to visit Lake Como. The weather tends to stay stable, prices drop and there is not so much tourism.
Low season (from November to March): during these months the weather is more unstable and some of the tourist infrastructures such as hotels, shops and restaurants tend to close, so it is important to take this into account before planning a trip at this time of year.
Remember that if you are going to travel in the high season it is highly recommended to book flights, rental car and accommodation in advance to have more options and be able to choose to get more adjusted prices.
2. Entry requirements to travel to Lake Como
If you are a Spanish or European Union (EU) citizen, you will only need your ID or passport to enter Lake Como (Italy). If you have another nationality, you need to check the entry requirements on the embassy page.
In addition to this documentation, it is highly recommended to take the European Health Card to travel to Lake Como with which you will receive medical attention if you need it for free.
Despite this, we always recommend traveling with the best travel insurance to Europe, with which you will have the best professionals, the best medical centers and above all, repatriation included, if necessary, as well as many more extras.
3. Safety to travel to Lake Como
Traveling to the Lake as it is totally safe, although as we always recommend, it is very important to apply common sense to avoid suffering any unpleasant setback. Remember not to leave valuables unsupervised, especially in crowded or touristy places. It is highly recommended to have a copy of all your important documentation such as ID, passport, insurance policy … etc in the cloud so that in case of theft or loss, you can carry out the procedures in a much faster and more agile way.
If you are going to rent a car, remember to check the traffic regulations, always wear your seat belt and above all, do not exceed the speed limits.
4. How to start the trip to Lake Como?
The first thing before starting a trip to Lake Como is to find the flight to this area of Italy. The best option is to fly to Milan, where many companies operate, including some low-cost ones such as Ryanair or EasyJet.
When you already have the flight, the next step is to reserve the accommodation.
Although you can go to Lake Como from Milan perfectly by train, if you want to travel to other essential places to see in Italy, it can be a very good option to rent a car to have total freedom of schedules and movements.
5. Where to sleep?
Although there are hundreds of options where to stay on Lake Como, after our experience, we would opt for two options:
Bellagio: This is one of the most well-known towns on Lake Como. You can find plenty of villas and restaurants in it, although the prices are also somewhat higher than in the other towns.
How: this is the largest town, the one with the most options and also the greatest offers. It is the one we chose when traveling to Lake Como and we opted for the B&B Al Porticciolo di Sant’Agostino located near the center of Como and the train station. In addition to its magnificent location, this bed and breakfast have parking, a full breakfast and one of the best quality/price ratios in the city.
6. Route through Lake Como
Although as we have commented previously if you do not have many days, it is totally feasible to take a day trip to Lake Como from Milan, whenever you can, we recommend that you dedicate at least a couple of days to get to know the area better and also be able to stay in one of their villages and experience this incredible place up close.
If you land in Milan to travel to Lake Como, you can opt for public transport or rent a car, the latter option being the one that will give you more freedom of movement and timetables as well as allowing you to know this area from another perspective.
Once in Lake Como, on the first day, we recommend a route through Villa Balbianello, Lenno, Bellagio, Brienno, Cernobbio and Como, which are some of the essential places to see in Lake Como, the latter being the place where you can stay if you want to do it in a town with a greater offer and prices.
On this first day, if you have rented a car, you can do the whole journey by road and thus discover another perspective of this beautiful lake. In all the towns you will find parking although if you travel in high season, it can be more difficult to find a place quickly.
On the second day, we recommend you take a boat trip on Lake Como that includes Varenna, Menaggio and Nesso, three of the most famous places you can see when traveling to Lake Como and that we recommend you not to miss.
In addition to these proposals, the boat passes through other towns that you can also visit if you have a few extra hours or days.
7. Boat on Lake Como
This is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to tour Lake Como. Even if you have decided to opt for the rental car to get here, we recommend enjoying at least one day of a tour of the lake to be able to enjoy this perspective.
Although there is a pier in all the towns, in principle the most common are Como or Bellagio. In any of them, you can find kiosks that show all the information about the number of options that exist and the different routes available.
Something important is before taking any of the boats, check the schedules, since there is a fast service that takes approximately 1 hour to make the Como-Varenna route, while on the slow boat this route takes about 2 and a half hours. In our case we prefer the slow boat option, to be able to take advantage and stop in several towns, take pictures and enjoy the incredible scenery.
The one-day tickets, which include the boat route on Lake Como, from Como to Varenna, getting on all the boats you want has a price of 25.30 euros per person and there is also a weekly bonus for 72 euros per person, which can be a very interesting option if you are going to be in the area that time.
8. Drive on Lake Como
We chose to rent a car to travel to Lake Como and we have to confess that we did not read many positive opinions about this decision, but after our experience, we can say that it was a success, especially if you want to know the towns in this area from Another perspective and also, you want to make a getaway to the surroundings or your flight arrives or departs at infrequent hours.
Despite this, we also have to say that this does not imply that you forget to take a boat route on Lake Como, something that we believe is also essential in this area since it allows you to enjoy unique views of the towns from the lake and the landscapes of the area. Even if you want to use only a car, there are ferries to cross the lake from one town to another and thus not have to go around it.
Regarding driving in Italy, it is important to take into account certain aspects:
- In Italy, driving is a bit special. It is not that it is dangerous or not recommended, they are simply a bit more aggressive driving, so it is worth paying attention and always go with caution.
- You will surely read that the roads on Lake Como are bad. We have found them very well, or at least correct for driving, so if you want to rent a car, let this not be an impediment. What is certain is that in some sections they are narrow and there are many curves, but nothing that prevents driving.
- The issue of parking on a trip to Lake Como is probably the most complicated. In our case, the first day we use the car, we do not pay on any of the occasions, since we always find a place with free parking, but we did see towns like Bellagio, in which the parking issue is more complicated than in the rest.
- If you are going to rent a car, try that your accommodation has parking or, failing that, that there is one nearby.
- At the time of car rental, check the documentation well, take photos of the car (collection and delivery) and above all, read before signing any document. We do not want to generalize, but Italy has been the only country in which they have tried to sneak extras that we did not want in the documentation that we had to sign.
9. Gastronomy on Lake Como
Although we know that it is definitely impossible to summarize in a few lines all the dishes of Italian gastronomy and especially that of Lake Como, we do want to leave you in this space some of the dishes that we tried during the trip to Lake Como so that you can enjoy them and have a slightly broader idea about this exquisite gastronomy.
- Pizzoccheri: pasta with a shape similar to tagliatelle served with sauce.
- Antipasti: typical of Italy are starters that usually include cold cuts, patés and pickles.
- Risotto: a typical Italian dish in which its main ingredient is rice.
- Polenta: a dish that is cooked with cornmeal, water and salt, and to which sauce, meat or other ingredients are added.
- Cotoletta alla milanese: breaded meat.
We leave you a selection of restaurants on Lake Como that we tried and we found them very adequate considering the quality/price ratio. Remember when traveling to Lake Como that the restaurant hours are normally until 3 in the afternoon at noon, but generally, the kitchen closes at 2:30 p.m., so normally, after 2:00 p.m., they no longer accept tables.
If you want to have lunch or dinner in a special one, it is highly recommended to book, especially in the high season.
- La Fontana Bellagio: located in Bellagio, in this restaurant we order cod tartare with olivada and second two pasta dishes plus soft drink, beer and two espressos for 53 euros, a price that we believe is more than adjusted, especially the place in the one that is and the prices that are shuffled in this area of Italy.
- Al Prato Varenna: located in Varenna, this is a very charming place. We ordered a lasagna and a plate of ravioli, which were incredible, plus two desserts and two coffees for 43 euros. A price that, as in Bellagio, seems more than right and adjusted, taking into account what we ate and the place.
- Riba Café: pizzeria on Lake Como where they serve very thin oval-shaped pizzas, which are delicious. We ordered a couple of pizzas plus drinks for 31 euros.
- Kazan Sushi: located in Como, if you want to change Italian gastronomy a bit, this Japanese is a success. They have a variety of starters and rolls and the quality/price ratio is more than adjusted. We were there a couple of times and we paid an average of 40 euros with a starter, several plates of rolls and drinks.
10. More tips for traveling to Lake Como
Other of the best tips for traveling to Lake Como are:
- If you are going to travel by train to Lake Como, we recommend you check schedules and even make reservations in advance.
- If you are going to travel by rental car, it is advisable to carry a GPS, either offline or online, to be able to orient yourself more easily.
- Although in Italy the currency is the euro, we recommend using the N26 card to pay and the BNEXT card to withdraw money, since this way they will not charge you commission and you will always have the current exchange rate.
- In Italy, the voltage is 230V, the frequency 50Hz and the plugs are of the F / L type.
Name- Julien Chbib
Bio- Julien is the founder of Julius Homes His interest in hiking, skiing, and adventure holidays made him bring together the choicest accommodations around the globe to make holidays relaxing and comfortable.