Discovering Lake Como: Italy’s Haven of Luxury and Serenity

Nestled in the Lombardy region of Italy, Lake Como is a destination that epitomizes elegance and natural beauty, making it a top choice for travelers seeking an exclusive luxury Italian vacation. Known for its dramatic scenery, set against the foothills of the Alps, and its deep blue waters, Lake Como has been a retreat for aristocrats and the wealthy since Roman times. This article explores the allure of Lake Como, detailing its highlights, activities, and luxury accommodations, along with suggested itineraries to help you make the most of your visit.

The Enchantment of Lake Como
Lake Como, with its Y-shaped form, stretches across the Lombardy region, offering visitors a landscape filled with lush gardens, opulent villas, and quaint villages. The lake is renowned for its breathtaking beauty, a serene expanse of water surrounded by mountains and dotted with elegant towns.

Highlights and Activities:

  • Villa Carlotta: Explore the art collections and botanical gardens of this 17th-century villa in Tremezzo, a testament to Italian garden design and architecture.
  • Bellagio: Known as the “Pearl of the Lake,” Bellagio is famous for its cobbled lanes, chic boutiques, and stunning views. A visit to Villa Melzi’s gardens is a must.
  • Varenna: A charming fishing village with a romantic promenade, colorful buildings, and the beautiful gardens of Villa Monastero.
  • Boat Tours: Private boat tours of Lake Como offer an intimate way to see the lake, allowing access to secluded spots and a unique perspective on the luxurious villas lining the shores.
  • Water Sports: Engage in water sports such as sailing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing, or enjoy a more leisurely pace with stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking.
  • Hiking and Cycling: The surrounding mountains offer numerous trails for hiking and cycling, providing spectacular views of the lake and its environs.

Suggested Itineraries

Experiencing Lake Como like a local involves diving into the daily rhythms, traditions, and hidden spots often missed by tourists. 58 Stars, the best travel agents for Italy vacations, can help you craft the perfect Italian get-away. Here’s a suggested itinerary that captures the essence of local life in this stunning region of Italy, blending relaxation with exploration.

Day 1: Arrival and Exploration of Como City

  • Start your visit in Como, the lake’s gateway. Wander through the historic center, exploring the Piazza San Fedele and its surrounding narrow streets, where locals shop and socialize.
  • Visit the Como Cathedral (Duomo di Como), admiring its Gothic and Renaissance features.


  • Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a trattoria frequented by locals, tasting traditional dishes like “risotto con filetti di pesce persico” (risotto with perch fillets).
  • Explore the local market or a bottega to sample and purchase regional products like olive oil and cheeses.


  • Stroll along the lakefront promenade, joining locals in their passeggiata before dinner.
  • Dine at a family-owned ristorante, trying local specialties such as “pizzoccheri” (buckwheat pasta with potatoes, cheese, and greens).

Day 2: Bellagio and the Surrounding Villages

  • Catch an early ferry to Bellagio, known for its picturesque setting. Visit the gardens of Villa Melzi, enjoying the tranquility before most tourists arrive.
  • Explore Bellagio’s backstreets, discovering artisan shops that sell handcrafted silk and wood products.


  • Take a public boat to one of the smaller villages near Bellagio, such as Pescallo, a quiet fishing village where you can enjoy a more authentic atmosphere.
  • Have lunch at a local osteria, savoring fresh fish from the lake.


  • Return to Bellagio and find a quiet cafe for an aperitivo, enjoying views of the lake as the sun sets.
  • For dinner, opt for a trattoria off the main tourist path, where local recipes and lake fish are the stars of the menu.

Day 3: The Greenway del Lago di Como and Local Flavors

  • Embark on a walk along the Greenway del Lago di Como, a 10km path that offers stunning views and passes through charming villages. Start from Colonno and head towards Cadenabbia, mingling with locals and experiencing the natural beauty of the area.


  • Stop in a village along the Greenway for a leisurely lunch, perhaps in Sala Comacina or Lenno, where you can enjoy local dishes in small eateries by the water.
  • Visit a local olive oil mill if available, to taste and learn about the production of Lake Como’s olive oil.


  • Conclude your day in Tremezzina or Cadenabbia, enjoying dinner at a lakeside restaurant that offers traditional cuisine with a modern twist. Many of these restaurants are family-run and pride themselves on their local roots and ingredients.

Day 4: Market Day and Cooking at Home

  • Depending on the day of the week, visit one of the local markets (Como, Lenno, or Lecco have weekly markets). Mingle with locals, purchasing fresh produce, cheeses, and perhaps some lake fish.
  • Alternatively, explore a local village or town not yet visited, such as Varenna or Menaggio, enjoying the slower pace and local life.


  • Participate in a cooking class in a local’s home or a small cooking school. Learn to prepare traditional dishes using the ingredients you collected at the market.
  • Enjoy the meal you’ve prepared, ideally with a view of the lake, savoring the flavors and the accomplishment of cooking Italian cuisine.


  • Relax by the lake, perhaps taking a leisurely boat ride in the late afternoon to enjoy the peaceful waters.
  • For your final evening, choose a pizzeria where locals go, enjoying the simple pleasure of a well-made Italian pizza.

For Families
Traveling with children is wonderful but can present unique challenges. Ensuring their comfort during long journeys and finding kid-friendly activities that cater to their interests and needs is important for everyone’s enjoyment and peace of mind throughout the trip. Our luxury family travel specialists at 58 Stars can create specific itineraries for those traveling with kids. For example:

  • Morning: Visit Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo to explore its museum and botanical gardens. The vast gardens are perfect for children to enjoy.
  • Afternoon: Take a ferry to Menaggio, where the whole family can enjoy activities like mini-golf or relax at the Lido di Menaggio.
  • Evening: Dine in Menaggio, with restaurants offering menus suitable for all ages, before taking a leisurely ferry ride back, enjoying the sunset over the lake.

For Adventure and Nature seekers:

  • Morning: Start with a hike on the Sentiero del Viandante, an ancient path offering stunning views of Lake Como.
  • Afternoon: Head to Colico for windsurfing or kitesurfing lessons, or if you prefer something less adrenaline-fueled, try kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding.
  • Evening: Relax at a lakeside restaurant in Colico, enjoying dishes featuring fresh local ingredients.

Luxury Accommodations

  • Grand Hotel Tremezzo: This historic hotel offers unparalleled views of Bellagio and the Grigne mountains, with luxurious rooms, a spa, and floating pool on the lake.
  • Villa d’Este: Located in Cernobbio, Villa d’Este is synonymous with opulence, set in a former 16th-century prince’s residence with sprawling gardens and a unique swimming pool floating on the lake.
  • Castadiva Resort & Spa: A luxurious retreat in Blevio, offering rooms and private villas with spectacular lake views, a wellness spa, and fine dining options. Ideal for luxury family vacations, the resort provides spacious accommodation and kid-friendly activities.

Lake Como offers a slice of paradise for those seeking a luxury trip to Italy. With its mix of natural beauty, historical sites, and modern indulgences, it’s a place where every moment is imbued with the potential for wonder. Whether you’re exploring the lake’s serene waters, wandering through ancient villas, or simply enjoying the exquisite Italian cuisine, Lake Como promises a vacation filled with unforgettable experiences. For families, couples, or solo travelers, this jewel of Italy offers something special for everyone, making it a quintessential luxury destination.