Bellagio's main street

Lake Como: The Jewel of Lombardy

Tiếng Việt

Just a stone’s throw away from the bustling Milan, you will find yourself in an idyllic scenery where deep blue lake set in the shadow of snow-covered Alps, hemmed in by steep, wooded hills and dotted by colourful 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 just 50 kilometres from Milan. It is the most spectacular of the region’s three main lakes with over 146 square kilometres in width and 200 metres 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.

Lake Como

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. Today, 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.

Villa Balbianello
Villa D’Este

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.

Bellagio’s main street

Practical Information about 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.
The lakeside town of Varenna
Advertisements

60 thoughts on “Lake Como: The Jewel of Lombardy”

    1. It is very kind of you, Evangelina! It feels somehow great to receive compliments from an Italian when writing about Italy 🙂

    1. Many thanks! And by luck, you can meet some A-Celebrities here 😉 I am not a fan of George but I don’t mind to have a photo with him haha

  1. Mel & Suan – Singapore – Mel works his day job for a living, but lives for antiquities, history and geography at all other times. He enjoys writing and thought sharing and obviously traveling. Suan is a homey person, who like girlie stuff such as cross stitching etc. Enjoys shopping & modeling for Mel. What a match!
    Mel & Suan says:

    Oh we can imagine it to be a fantastic place for a road trip!

    1. Thank you, em 🙂 Khi nào có thời gian thì bay qua Milan rồi đi tàu lên Como. A nghĩ 1 weekend thôi là đủ rồi. Đẹp như Thụy Sĩ ấy mà giá cả thì vẫn rẻ so với bên kia biên giới 🙂

  2. Bama – Jakarta, Indonesia – Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.
    Bama says:

    I can see why many A-list celebrities decided to buy properties on the banks of Lake Como. It really looks beautiful, pristine, serene, and charming at the same time. Those pretty houses around the lake add to this place’s allure.

    1. They are simply magnificent, isn’t it?When i was on the ferry, I was awed by those villas too. I asked myself who are the owners of those gorgeous properties: a celebrity, a politician or even a mafia boss 🙂

  3. fkasara – I'm Sara, a Northern Italian with experience in Italy's travel industry and hospitality sector. Other than the classic travel tips, in my blog I mainly share cultural and lifestyle aspects of the Belpaese, that often elude tourists, yet make our country unique. Be inspired, avoid cliches and let Italy spice up your life!
    fkasara says:

    I think we can assert that in Italy we have a Lake District, too, LOL. Lake Como is just the most famous to a certain public because of Clooney, but there are plenty of charming lakes (big and small). Have you seen other Italian lakes?

    Great photos, as usual! 😉

    1. Thank you, Sara! I only know two more lakes: Lake Garda and Lake Iseo. But unfortunately I have not been in any of them. I guess you must know well about Garda, right? Not far from home 🙂

      1. fkasara – I'm Sara, a Northern Italian with experience in Italy's travel industry and hospitality sector. Other than the classic travel tips, in my blog I mainly share cultural and lifestyle aspects of the Belpaese, that often elude tourists, yet make our country unique. Be inspired, avoid cliches and let Italy spice up your life!
        fkasara says:

        Yes, it’s not very far! It’s very famous among German tourists, who have literally colonized it from decades, lol.

        I find quite strange that another important lake is not as known as others to Non-Italians: it’s Lake Maggiore, which is very beautiful.

      2. Just googled Lake Maggiore. It looks as gorgeous as Lake Como, and it is not so far too. Feel a bit pity that we missed it 🙁
        The first time I have heard about Lake Garda, I thought it was somewhere in Bavarian. The German call it Gardasee, so I thought it is somewhere in German soil 🙂

      3. fkasara – I'm Sara, a Northern Italian with experience in Italy's travel industry and hospitality sector. Other than the classic travel tips, in my blog I mainly share cultural and lifestyle aspects of the Belpaese, that often elude tourists, yet make our country unique. Be inspired, avoid cliches and let Italy spice up your life!
        fkasara says:

        In fact I thought it was quite strange that you knew about Lake Iseo (which is smaller) and not Maggiore. But I bet that the Christo art (?) installation brought new fame to it! Anyway, Lake Maggiore is amazing, really.

        Eheh, it’s some sort of German colony, as I said. You go there and you found shops with German signs everywhere, lol. Germans LOVE spending their vacations at the lakeside and Garda is probably their favorite.

  4. As an Italian, I appreciate that someone tells about my country’s less-known jewels! Great article as usual – the Practical Information are the best!

    1. Thanks a lot for your compliment! I really appreciate it 🙂 I found it is a bit pity that people just follow mainstream and forget about the existence of such beautiful place. Milan is great, but it is not the only interesting place in the region. I intended to visit Bergamo as well. But no luck, it was pouring rain 🙂

  5. Oh Yeah, northern Italy is one of the best kept vacation secrets in the world. More folks need to know about it.

    1. I agree. Too often, people are trapped in tourist destinations like Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan. They are absolutely worth visiting, but there is more about Italy than just these cities.

  6. Great read, love the contrast and colours in your pictures. Nice style!

  7. Jolene – Sydney, Australia – Jolene is a banker by trade, a writer at heart, and is a contributor to Thought Catalog. You are welcome to peek into her adventures and reflections on films and life at "SoMuchToTellYou", her ultimate love affair with words.
    Jolene says:

    That’s awesome! I didn’t know Lake Como was so close to Milan!! Do you know of any companies that operate day tours from Milan to Como? I would looove to go (but I’m only spending 1.5 day in Milan)…

    1. Unfortunately, I do not know any tour operator to Lake Como. But if you do not have much time you can visit it within 1/2 day. Bellagio might be too far, but other villages and villas are worth visiting as well.
      I suggest you check the timetable of the ferry first (link in my post), and plan the train accordingly, so that you don’t lose time waiting for the ferry. There are a lot of trains from Milan to Como. And I think the last trip from Como to Milan is at 19:00 (you have to check Trenitalia again 🙂 )

      1. Jolene – Sydney, Australia – Jolene is a banker by trade, a writer at heart, and is a contributor to Thought Catalog. You are welcome to peek into her adventures and reflections on films and life at "SoMuchToTellYou", her ultimate love affair with words.
        Jolene says:

        Hey thanks so much for the inspiration – it’s absolutely my idea of a perfect day excursion! I managed to find an operator through the mighty powers of Google, just waiting for their reply on pick up point. Can’t wait!!

  8. I love your practical tips, Len! Perfect as I will be heading to Lake Como this May (Milan-Venice-Lake Como trip) I’m new at blogging and have just created my page at https://pilgrimsparadise.wordpress.com/ I hope you can visit my page too. I have recently created 4 entries on Switzerland and I have links to my vids for our holidays in Iceland, St Ives UK, Rome/Florence/Vatican. Fellow travel enthusiasts do drop my travel blog and hope you find something that interests or inspires your future travel.

  9. Nice post!! I am from the area and I love reading about it! If you liked the area and happen to come again, I advise you to also come visit Lake Lugano and the city of Lugano in Switzerland!

    1. Thanks a lot for the tips, Lexi! Actually, I intended to cross the border to Lugano when I was in Como. But it was pouring rain, so the plan was unfortunately cancelled. If I were in Lombardy again, I would definitely go there, and maybe a visit to Bergamo as well. Too ambitious, I guess 🙂

  10. SueT唐 梦 琇 – Canberra, Australia – I live in Australia's capital and spent three fantastic years in China and visited nearly every province, so I have decided to write about my travels and since commencing my blog I have also decided to write about some other world travels and eating at restaurants in Australia. (www.tangmengxiu.wordpress.com)
    SueT唐 梦 琇 says:

    So beautiful. Love the coloured buildings.

  11. So beautiful! I’ve been to Garda and this looks pretty similar. But your photos really do it justice, great choices for this post!

  12. Siyana – Hello and welcome to my tiny piece of the Internet, which I happily occupy in my free time. Please make yourself at home, and I hope you enjoy your stay!
    Siyana says:

    This place is breathtaking! I’ve been browsing through your blog and literally fell in love with! Great job! <3

    1. I’m glad that I can help you make the decision 🙂 Hope you will have great time there (and a lot of sunshine)! Cheers!

  13. Lignum Draco – ... A blog about nothing in particular, because "Candid photography is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get". Photography by "The Wood Dragon" since 2012.
    Lignum Draco says:

    Definitely on my list for a future date. The photos are beautiful and enticing.

  14. Jolene – Sydney, Australia – Jolene is a banker by trade, a writer at heart, and is a contributor to Thought Catalog. You are welcome to peek into her adventures and reflections on films and life at "SoMuchToTellYou", her ultimate love affair with words.
    Jolene says:

    Beautiful beautiful – I remember seeing this post from you. Seeing it again just brings back so many memories of my trip there. I actually have a very similar photo to your Bellagio photo. I need to post more often (if only I have more time in my day!!)

    1. Your memory serves you well, Jolene 😉 I did indeed publish this post before. It’s pity to leave the old posts in archive where no one will read it 😛
      How about joining the photo challenges? You don’t have to write so it doesn’t take much time. And I would love to see your photo of Bellagio 😀

      1. Jolene – Sydney, Australia – Jolene is a banker by trade, a writer at heart, and is a contributor to Thought Catalog. You are welcome to peek into her adventures and reflections on films and life at "SoMuchToTellYou", her ultimate love affair with words.
        Jolene says:

        Hahah, I like your strategy
        I hope to have some time during my holidays to start thinking about what I want to write! I’m going to Canada and NY in a week

      2. Nice! Summer vacation, I guess 🙂 I really want to visit Canada. But the ultra-long flight is a real deterrent 😛 How long will you be there?

      3. Jolene – Sydney, Australia – Jolene is a banker by trade, a writer at heart, and is a contributor to Thought Catalog. You are welcome to peek into her adventures and reflections on films and life at "SoMuchToTellYou", her ultimate love affair with words.
        Jolene says:

        Yep, I really need a holiday. 3 weeks.
        Don’t worry about the flights! Watch a few movies, read a book or write some blog posts and it will be gone quickly.

      4. Well, I can survive 6-7 hours flight. But I don’t think I can sit on the plane for 12-13 hours, continuously 🙂

  15. bigworldawaits – Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Sarah. My boyfriend Wes and I are currently traveling full-time. We went from a full house and sold/donated everything in mid 2020. We got down to 2 suitcases. We used to live in Las Vegas for 8 and a half years. I was working full time there as a Sr. Loan Processor. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administrations from UNC Charlotte where I have lived for 17 years. We enjoy traveling slow to get to know the locals, their culture and food. I am a world traveler with a passion for writing, photography and a thirst for adventure. I also have a number of other hobbies including hiking, painting, photography, reading and learning my sixth language. This blog is where I share my travel experiences, food and culture around the world. I like to write about countries to visit, things to see and do at different cities around the world, how to travel on a budget and travel tips and advice. If you enjoy reading about these, you are in the right place! Come and join me as we explore the world one plane, train and automobile at a time!
    bigworldawaits says:

    Hi amazing photos and post as usual. You were following my website,I upgraded & my new website is now https://bigworldawaits.com/ keep in touch!

  16. wow your photographs are always so breathtaking. May I ask what camera you use

    1. Thanks for your compliment! Most of the time, I use a Fuji X-30. It’s a compact camera but the photo is pretty good, especially the colour. I don’t have to edit much 🙂

      1. Beautiful, thank you I have the Olympus but will recommend the FujiX-30 for sure to others

  17. Sartenada – Hi. In my photo blog, I have big selection of photos from Finland; from the South to the North, from the East to the West. My blog deals all subjects of life including travelling, hobbies, customs, habits, oddities, towns, traditions, road trips, winter, snow, garden, biking, reindeers, handicrafts, lake cruses, DIY with instructions, sauna etc. Every post has a theme. Northern parts of Finland are near to my heart, which means much information about those areas. Blog in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese. Welcome / Bienvenido / Bienvenu / Bem vinda
    Sartenada says:

    Hi.

    Thank you for this interesting post. Our intention was to go to Italy and to see Lake Come this summer, but then came Covid-19 and our trip was cancelled. Sigh.

    Have a wonderful day!

    1. Sorry for the very late response 🙁 Askimet somehow marked your comments as spam, thus I couldn’t see the notification. Too bad that your plan was ruined by Covid-19. I hope that you can re-do it next year! Stay safe 🙂

  18. justbluedutch – Bavaria, Germany – Expat- lifestyle Blogger from the land of Lederhosen & Dirndls { based in Bavaria,Germany} A self-taught Aquarelle & Mixed Media visual artist.
    justbluedutch says:

    I feel like I am just using repetitive superlatives and adjectives when I am browsing and reading your Posts because they are all beautiful. Your stunning Photography plus your idyllic way of storytelling doesn´t make me feel so heavy reading it.Just the right information but then it´s so appealing that makes me envious of your travel adventures.Thank you for sharing your trips and practical tips.
    You definitely succeeded in bringing this little paradises to people who are dreaming to see them.

    Are you a professional Photographer? you should definitely make a travel book!

    1. Haha no, I’m not a professional photographer. Honestly, I don’t even understand all the technique info of my camera. I do have some travel books. But for personal use only, I’ve never published them 😛 Btw, thank you for your support! I greatly appreciate it.
      (sorry for the late response, spam-checker failed again)

Leave a Reply