Lake Como

Located on the Italian-Swiss border, the city of Como in Italy overlooks the southwest end of its lake and is surrounded by green ridge hills, resulting in unparalleled, natural scenery.

Como is home to some of the best attractions in the Lombardy region, and it is worth a visit even for a simple stroll through the streets of the city center. It is an ideal destination for those visiting Lake Como for a day and those staying longer.

📷 In Como you can visit beautiful squares with Romanesque or Gothic style churches, visit the city’s historic buildings (such as Villa Olmo or Volta museum), enjoy the view of the city from above from breathtaking vantage points, go shopping in search of the best local products… and much more!

❗In addition, thanks to the public boat service, it is possible to reach all the towns on the lake, from the closest (such as Cernobbio, 15 minutes by boat) to the most famous pearls of the lake’s center (Bellagio and Varenna, 1.5 – 2h).

Ready to hit the road? Here are what to do during your visit to Como and the best experiences you can have!

Como City, Italy, Lake Como
Como city, Italy
If you can, visit Como city in the off-season!
Lake Como is a true corner of Italian paradise that attracts tourists from all over the world, especially during the high season (late May to late September). My advice is, if you can, to visit Lake Como during the low season (for example, in April or October) to have a more relaxing and authentic travel experience.
What are you looking for in Como?
Sights & things to do

Perfect combination of architecture, history and culture

Enclosed within imposing medieval walls – of which Porta Torre, overlooking Piazza Vittoria, is one of the most scenic gates – the Como’s city center is home to fascinating squares, each with its own personality.

Piazza Duomo, Cathedral and Broletto

The main square is Piazza Duomo, which houses the imposing Como Cathedral (Duomo di Como): an eclectic building, combining Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. The Duomo is open for visits on weekdays from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on holidays from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Just between the cathedral and its bell tower is the Broletto, the former town hall that now often hosts art exhibitions and assemblies. It is a visually striking building, with a facade banded with Lombard marble in three different colors: white, gray and red.

❗Under the arches of the Broletto is the tourist infopoint, open daily from 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm. Also, if you are interested in theater, you will be happy to know that behind the cathedral is the Teatro Sociale di Como, the opera house that hosted illustrious musicians as Niccolò Paganini and Franz Liszt in times past.

Piazza San Fedele and its Basilica

Just a 3-minute walk from Piazza Duomo is Piazza San Fedele. This square, originally a grain market, is home to a beautiful Romanesque church dating back to 1120: the Basilica of San Fedele

If you happen to pass by this little square on a Saturday, you will have the chance to come across numerous stalls, where you can find antiques and handicrafts.

Piazza Volta and Piazza Mazzini

If you arrive in Como at the San Giovanni station and head downtown, Piazza Volta will be the first square in the historic center you encounter (less than a 10-minute walk). Piazza Mazzini is the adjacent square.

These two squares are the center of Como’s nightlife. Among elegant Art Nouveau buildings and stores selling typical products are numerous restaurants, wine bars and pubs to satisfy all tastes.

Don’t miss the opportunity to stroll along the nearby Via Vitani, one of the richest vestiges of the medieval city of Como that is home to historic trattorias and fine stores.

The best places to take pictures

Life Electric, Como
Life Electric, Como (picture:

The historic center overlooks the lakefront with Piazza Cavour, where the office for purchasing boat tickets is located.

I recommend you go left, because the promenade leading to Como Lago station is under renovation and does not allow you to fully enjoy the experience. Here are a few attractions not to be missed on the lakefront!

Life Electric

As you walk along the lakefront you will see Life Electric, a monument by archistar Daniel Libeskind.

The avant-garde work is located at the bottom of a small artificial dam (called Diga Foranea) and is a homage to the voltaic pile invented by Alessandro Volta.

Follow this Volta tour if you want to discover other places in the city of Como related to the scientist’s life!

Lakeside gardens, Volta Museum & War memorial

Talking of Alessandro Volta, don’t miss the nearby Volta museum, which collects evidence of his work and even the first version of the electric battery. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The regular admission ticket costs €5.

Next to the museum is the garden area overlooking the lake, a popular place for tourists and locals, especially during the summer season. Festivals and musical or culinary events are often organized here.

This area is also home to the imposing War Memorial (Monumento ai Caduti), a 33-meter (108-foot) tall rationalist-style building dedicated to the 650 fallen Como soldiers of World War I. From the top of the monument there is a magnificent view of Lake Como and the city. It is usually possible to climb to the top of the monument on Sundays, but currently it is only possible to do so during specific occasions as the structure is undergoing restoration.

Do you love architecture? Read more about Rationalism in the city of Como!

A neoclassical villa surrounded by a large park

If you love historic villas, stroll along the romantic Passeggiata Lino Gelpi (which starts a few steps from the War Memorial) and reach the impressive Villa Olmo, a neoclassical building dating back to 1780.

📷 Villa Olmo really has it all: an Italian-style garden overlooking Lake Como for splendid photographs, an English-style back garden for relaxing, and interior rooms full of paintings, statues, and precious stucco decorations.

And do you want to know the best thing? Admission to the villa and its gardens is completely free.

The park is open daily from 7 am and closes at 11 pm in the summer season (early April to late September) and at 7 pm in the winter season (early October to late March). You can visit the villa’s interiors from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm. However, the villa is about to begin a period of renovation. Therefore, if you are interested in visiting the interiors, you need to call before your visit.

Villa Olmo is also the starting point of a simple and beautiful walk among villas and botanical rarities: the Chilometro della Conoscenza.

Start planning your holidays!

A few tips for your stay in Como

To admire the city of Como from above

The Como-Brunate funicular

Want to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city of Como? Visit Brunate, a town that overlooks Como from the top of a hill 715 meters (about 2,345 ft) high.

The Como-Brunate funicular – which runs from Piazza Alcide de Gasperi, very close to the Como Lago train station – will take you to Brunate in a few minutes (see timetables and fares).

Once in Brunate, you can walk for about 20 minutes and reach the Volta Lighthouse (Faro Voltiano), that can be visited every day except non-holiday Wednesdays, from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (closed in case of bad weather).

❗Be careful, though: in summer, lines to ride the funicular can last up to half an hour, so arm yourself with patience. Tickets can be purchased in advance with the Trenord ticket, included in the “COMO BRUNATE FUNICOLARE” package. 

There have also been reports of inefficiencies in dealing with people with disabilities (particularly regarding the return to Como from Brunate). If you have special needs, I recommend that you contact the company in advance through its official website.

Spina Verde park

Spina Verde Park is a protected forest which covers an area of 1000 hectares (3.86 square miles). The park is located southwest of Como and collects many sites of panoramic, historical, and natural interest.

One of the most interesting attractions is the tower of Castello Baradello, which stands on a hill overlooking the center of Como. It is a military fortification built in the 6th century by the locals (who were under the Roman Empire) and later restored by Frederick Barbarossa, the Holy Roman Emperor.

The easiest way to reach Castel Baradello is by following a path that starts from Piazza San Rocco and leads to the tower in about 30 minutes.

My friends at Slow Lake Como offer a very cool experience: a 3-hour tour that will give you exclusive access to the castle and also includes an aperitivo with wine and local products and breathtaking views of Lake Como. Find out about it here!

Sit back, relax and enjoy the view!

Private boat tours

If you are looking for private boat tours from Como, here are some options that may be right for you!

Venetian Limousine
2 hour boat tour with
Venetian Limousine
2 hour boat tour with
Venetian Limousine
4 hour boat tour with stop
at a location of your choice
Tailored boat tour with Venetian Limousine
Tailored boat tour
with Venetian Limousine

Public boat tours

❗Looking for information about public boat service? Read my guide to boats and ferries on Lake Como!

Como’s main pier and ticket office are located in Lungo Lario Trento. Plan your trips on the Navigazione Laghi website and, when possible, purchase tickets online to avoid standing in line under the sun. During the peak season the turnout at ticket offices can be indeed very high.

Public boat service is perfect if you are on a day trip and want to reach other towns such as ArgegnoBellagioTremezzina or other towns of the lake.

Beaches in Como

If you want to relax on a beach, you can go to Lido Villa Olmo, a beach with two swimming pools and a bar that offers a beautiful view of Lake Como and the opposite coast.

Otherwise, on the opposite shore (at the end of Viale Geno) is the recently opened Lido Giulietta al Lago, which offers all the services you need for your day and often organizes events in its very popular bar and restaurant.

Discover the best beaches in Como!

Stays & experiences

Experiences & tours

Make your trip a unique experience!​

4h tour on a Venetian Limo with visit to Villa Balbianello
4h tour on a Venetian Limo with visit to Villa Balbianello
Como to Bellagio cruise
Tour to Bellagio & Villa Melzi from Como (+ lunch)
Como-Brunate-Torno: breathtaking scenery
Food & wine tour in Como
Food & wine tour
in Como
Lake Como, Bellagio and Varenna: full-day tour from Milan
Como, Bellagio & Varenna: day tour from Milan

about Como, Italy

Where is Como in Italy?

Como is a city located in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. It is situated on the southwestern tip of Lake Como, one of the most picturesque and popular lakes in Italy. The city of Como is about one hour from Milan.

What is special about Como?

Como, in Italy, is known for its stunning location on Lake Como, historic architecture like the Como Cathedral, and beautiful villas such as Villa Olmo.

The city has a rich silk industry history, offers a scenic cable car ride, and features a mix of shopping and dining experiences along with a charming lakeside atmosphere

Moreover, Como is the ideal starting point for day trips (towards other popular Lake Como’s towns or Milan) and hikings in the surrounding woods, such as Spina Verde Park.

Is Como in Italy a walkable city?

Yes, Como is a relatively walkable city. The city center is compact and flat, and many of the major attractions, stores, restaurants, and the lakefront are within walking distance.

Strolling through the narrow medieval streets and along the shores of Lake Como allows visitors to explore the city's charms at a leisurely pace.

How to get to Como from Bellagio?

The towns of Como and Bellagio are connected by two means of public transportation: ferry and bus.

How do I get from Como to Varenna?

Given the distance, the best way to reach Varenna from Como is definitely by ferry service. Alternatively, you can split the trip into two parts, first reaching Bellagio by bus and then taking the ferry from there, which takes 15-20 minutes to Varenna.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Anthony Sedutto

    Are there any golf courses in and around Como?

    1. Alessandro - Lake Como Travel

      Hello Anthony! I don’t know any golf clubs in the city of Como. The closest ones are the Circolo Golf Villa d’Este, in Montorfano, and the Monticello Golf Club, in Cassina Rizzardi. If you are interested in something closer to Lake Como, I can recommend Menaggio and Cadenabbia Golf Club.

  2. Bella

    Hello Alessandro,
    We are exploring our first trip to Lake Como in the off-season 2024.
    Your site is very comprehensive and greatly appreciated.
    Could you touch on medical facilities on the Lake should an emergency arise?
    We’d be traveling from the US.

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