There is hardly a place in Europe that evokes images of beauty, glamour and tranquility more than Lake Como in Italy. For hundreds of years it’s been a popular destination with the rich and famous but there are plenty of things to do at Lake Como for the humble tourist, too.
Lake Como isn’t Italy’s largest lake (that honor belongs to Lake Garda), but there’s no denying it is one of the most attractive. The lake (known as Lago di Como in Italian), is shaped like an upside Y, and is lined with lush gardens, luxury villas and pretty villages hugging the shore. Just like the Cinque Terre, it’s known for its breathtaking scenery.
Visit lakeside towns and villages. From the regional capital, Como, with a population of 85,000, to tiny hamlets, Lake Como’s towns all hold their own charm. If you’re short on time, I suggest you include the following gems in your itinerary when you visit lake Como.
A thriving city, Como is a shopper’s paradise with the full range of services you’d expect in a large centre. Famous for its silk production, Como is the place to buy silk products, including scarves and ties, at reasonable prices.
The historic centre is dominated by the impressive Duomo which dates back to the 15th century. The focal point of Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture.
The pedestrianized piazza is lined with cafes and restaurants and is as good a spot as any to grab a bite to eat and people watch.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the piazza, Como’s waterfront is lined with parks and is the perfect spot to cool off on a hot day whilst watching boats of all shapes and sizes bob up and down on the lake.
To see the lake from above, catch the funicular (cable car) up to the quiet village of Brunate.
There are nice views, a faded pink church to visit and lots of walking trails for the more energetic.