Holidays to Lake Como promise total tranquillity, breathtaking landscapes and dramatic views. Set against a backdrop of pine-covered mountains, this part of Northern Italy is one of the country’s finest holiday spots. Only an hour’s drive from Milan, Lake Como boasts magnificent scenery – from idyllic gardens to fascinating historic sites – that makes exploring a real treat.
The lake itself is over 20 miles long with a seabed that sits 200 metres below sea level. Around the lake, you’ll find a plethora of colourful towns and villages framed by hills that offer lovely views from their peaks. Lake Como holidays are perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat, with lots to see and do nearby.
Unique Natural Formation
Lake Como dates back to the last Ice Age. Like many other Italian subalpine lakes, its geological origin is glacial. It’s shaped like an inverted Y, formed from the movement of an enormous glacier.
Its name in Latin is Larius, Italianised as Lario. Como and Lecco are situated at the ends of its southwestern and southeastern branches, while Varenna, Bellagio and Menaggio sit at the intersection of the branches. Lake Como has always been important as a passageway between Italy’s northern regions and the Po Valley.
Lake Como is home to around 30 idyllic towns and villages. Their multicoloured houses stand out against the glistening turquoise waters of the lake, creating picture-perfect panoramas.
One of the region’s most famous towns is Bellagio, otherwise known as the ‘Pearl of Lake Como’. This elegant town is loved for its unrivalled coastal views, quiet cobbled streets and luxurious villas. Here, you can marvel at the parish church and explore the gardens of Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni, which are open to the public.
Menaggio is another of Lake Como’s spectacular towns. Once a medieval walled city, this quaint resort is studded with charming cafés, chic boutiques and impressive 19th-century architecture. Wander along the picturesque lakefront promenade lined with brightly coloured buildings before heading up to the older part of the town to learn more about Menaggio’s history.
Lake Como has been a popular destination for wealthy people since Roman times. After the area was conquered by Julius Caesar, it was filled with grand villas inhabited by wealthy settlers such as authors Pliny the Elder and Younger.
Evidence of Como’s Roman influence can still be seen today, most notably from its Roman Baths and other monuments. Stroll through Como’s city centre and witness fascinating structures like Basilica di San Carpoforo and Basilica di San Fedele.
For centuries, visitors have been drawn to Lake Como’s wonderful lifestyle. From its internationally renowned Michelin-starred restaurants to its elegant fashion boutiques, this region of Northern Italy is synonymous with luxury and beauty. Lake Como is a favourite spot among celebrities such as George Clooney and Sir Richard Branson, who actually own homes here. The town of Lenno is also a popular film location and has featured in various big-screen works, including James Bond: Casino Royale and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.
Activities on Lake Como
Holidays in Lake Como promise exciting things to do. Try your hand at a range of watersports, including paddleboarding and kayaking, or take a private boat tour around the lake – the best way to fully appreciate the area’s natural scenery.
In the summertime, you can explore the hiking trails around the region. There are plenty to choose from, offering stunning views across the lake and the surrounding towns and villages. In the wintertime, you can visit one of the many ski resorts located close to Lake Como, where you can spend a day gliding down snow-covered slopes.