Things to do in Lake Como, only 55 minutes 45 kilometers north of Milan, Como’s leafy lakeside and stone-paved streets seem a world away. You can see its Roman origins in the orderly grid of streets of its historic center and the remains of the Roman gate, Porta Pretoria. It’s more evident in walled Medieval Como, a rare example of Romanesque fortifications, with the imposing Porta Torre (tower gate) at Piazza Vittoria. If your taste runs to something more modern, Como was a hotbed of Rationalist architects, who laid the foundation of Modernism.
Things to do in Lake Como, is easy to walk around Como city, and its tourist attractions are within walking distance of the train station and boat landing (Piazza Cavour). Como revolves around its lakefront promenade and the adjacent Piazza Cavour, from which you can follow the short Via Plinio to Piazza del Duomo. As you stroll past shops, you can’t help notice the abundance of silk; Como has a long history as the center of Italy’s silk manufacture, so it’s a good place to do some shopping. The beautiful gardens of Villa Olmo on the west and the funicular to Brunate on the east, two of the most popular things to do in Como.
The narrow and fjord-like Lake Como (Lago di Como in Italian) is 50 kilometers long and shaped like an inverted Y. But there is little of interest in the southeastern arm, and a ferry conveniently shuttles cars across from the eastern shore to Bellagio, the lake’s most beautiful town, sitting at the point of the peninsula where the arms converge. Como is no stranger to tourists, having been a favorite of upper-crust Romans, whose villas predated those of royalty, and Hollywood stars who have favored it more recently. The lake between its steep wooded shores is beautiful enough, but on either side rise mountains, and to the north, the Alps, making the views even better.
Things to do in Lake Como, you can tour the lake on a day excursion for the scenery, with a stop or two at towns. Or if you have a bit more time, you can see the major attractions around the lake by hopping on and off the frequent boats and ferries. To tour at leisure and on your own schedule take two or three days and drive the 249-kilometer perimeter, crossing on the ferry between Varenna and Bellagio.
Regular boat services connect most towns from early spring through fall, but not all routes stop at the smaller towns. The frequent ferry (car and passenger) across the lake makes getting from Menaggio or Tremezzo, on the west shore, to Bellagio and Varenna easy. These are among the best places to visit on Lake Como. Before setting out by boat, check the day’s schedules carefully so you’ll know when the latest one returns and from what town. Summer hydrofoil service is fast, but don’t expect to see anything en route.
Things to do in Lake Como, a funicular from the east end of the lakefront saves the steep climb up to the terrace settlement of Brunate, almost directly above Como. The views encompass the town and southern lake, backed by mountains. Climb higher to reach a terrace (with a conveniently placed café) looking to the north, across a different panorama of lake and mountain views. A two-hour climb from Brunate brings you to the summit of Monte Boletto.