Just a stone’s throw away from the bustling Milan, you will find yourself in an idyllic scenery where a deep blue lake is set in the shadow of snow-covered Alps, hemmed in by steep, wooded hills and dotted by colorful houses, exquisite villas, and palaces. That is Lago di Como (Lake Como) – the jewel of Lombardy.
The upside-down Y-shaped glacial lake lies at the foothill of the Alps and is just 50 kilometers from Milan. It is the most spectacular of the region’s three main lakes with over 146 square kilometers in width and 200 meters in depth. Lake Como’s northern branch begins at Colico, while the towns of Como and Lecco sit at the ends of the southwestern and southeastern branches respectively. Because of its beauty and its short distance to Milan, Lake Como has already been a popular retreat for aristocrats and wealthy people since the Roman.
These days, many A-list celebrities have or have had homes on the shores of this lake, including Georges Clooney, Madonna, and Gianni Versace – founder of the famous fashion house Versace. Lake Como is large and it takes more than one day to explore all of its villages and villas. But if you only have time to visit one place, make it Bellagio. The picturesque village of Bellagio is situated at the intersection of the three branches of the lake and is known for its glamorous waterfront, its maze of steep stone staircases, and joyful gardens filled with rhododendrons.
Tips for visiting Lake Como
- The town of Como is easily accessible from Milan by trains. Trains depart from Milan’s central station and Porta Garibaldi station and take around 30 minutes to one hour.
- Lake-wide ferries operate year-round and depart from the jetties beside Piazza Cavour. Depend on your destination, the price for a single ticket ranges between 2.50€ to 12.60€. More information can be found at Navigazione Laghi.
- There are two possible ways to return to Milan from Bellagio:
- Take the ferry to return to Lake Como, and continue by train to Milan. You can opt for the faster hydrofoils, which cost 1.40€ to 4.90€ extra.
- Or make the short ferry crossing from Bellagio to Varenna. Then from Varenna to Milan by trains.