Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

How Many Hours To Spend In Lake Como On A Day Trip


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Dulce Han



Italy is a country renowned for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and delicious cuisine. One of the most picturesque destinations in Italy is Lake Como, a beautiful lake located in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy. With its crystal-clear waters, charming towns, and majestic mountains, Lake Como has captivated the hearts of visitors for centuries.


A day trip to Lake Como is the perfect way to experience the beauty and charm of this idyllic destination. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful getaway, Lake Como has something to offer everyone. In this article, we will guide you on how many hours to spend in Lake Como on a day trip, ensuring that you make the most of your visit.


With its close proximity to major cities like Milan and Bergamo, getting to Lake Como is relatively easy. You can reach the lake by train, bus, or car, with the journey taking approximately one to two hours depending on your starting point. Once you arrive at Lake Como, a world of natural beauty and cultural wonders await you.


One of the highlights of a day trip to Lake Como is exploring the charming towns that dot the shoreline. From the elegant and upscale town of Bellagio to the colorful and vibrant village of Varenna, each town has its own unique character and attractions. Stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets, admire the pastel-colored buildings, and stop by local shops and cafes to immerse yourself in the local culture.


A must-visit attraction in Lake Como is the renowned Villa Carlotta and its breathtaking gardens. This neoclassical villa is nestled amidst lush greenery and offers stunning views of the lake. Take a leisurely walk through the meticulously landscaped gardens, adorned with vibrant blooms, tranquil fountains, and intricate statues. The villa itself showcases a remarkable collection of art and furnishings, providing a glimpse into the region’s history and opulence.


No visit to Lake Como is complete without taking a boat tour on the lake’s shimmering waters. Hop on a ferry or a private boat and cruise along the shoreline, taking in the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lakeside villas. The boat tour allows you to appreciate the sheer beauty of Lake Como from a different perspective and offers ample opportunities for stunning photographs.


Getting to Lake Como

Reaching Lake Como is relatively easy due to its convenient location in northern Italy. Depending on your starting point, you can choose from various transportation options to get there.


If you’re coming from Milan, the most common route is by train. There are regular direct trains from Milan’s Central Station to the major towns around Lake Como, such as Como, Varenna, and Bellagio. The journey takes about an hour, and the trains are comfortable and reliable. Once you arrive at your chosen destination, you can explore the area on foot or take advantage of the local ferry services to visit other towns along the lake.


If you prefer a more scenic route, you can opt for a combination of train and ferry. Take a train from Milan to Varenna-Esino station, which offers breathtaking views of the lake during the journey. From Varenna, you can then catch a ferry to other towns like Bellagio or Menaggio. This option allows you to enjoy the beauty of Lake Como from both the land and the water.


Driving to Lake Como is also a viable option, especially if you prefer more flexibility and independence. From Milan, the journey takes about an hour, depending on traffic conditions. There are several routes you can take, with the main ones being the A9 motorway or the SS36 highway. Keep in mind that parking in the towns around Lake Como can be limited and expensive, so it’s advisable to arrive early or consider parking outside the town and walking in.


If you’re arriving by plane, the closest airports to Lake Como are Milan Malpensa and Milan Bergamo. From these airports, you can either take a train or rent a car to reach Lake Como. The train journey from Malpensa airport to Como takes around one hour and thirty minutes, while the journey from Bergamo airport to Como takes approximately one hour and fifteen minutes.


Once you arrive at Lake Como, you can easily navigate the area using the local transport options. Ferries and boats connect the different towns around the lake, providing a convenient way to explore and enjoy the scenic views. There are also local buses and taxi services available for shorter journeys within the towns.


In summary, whether you choose to travel by train, car, or plane, getting to Lake Como is straightforward and offers a variety of options to suit your preferences. The journey itself can be a delightful experience, with scenic landscapes and charming towns along the way, leading you to the enchanting beauty of Lake Como.


Exploring the Towns

One of the highlights of a visit to Lake Como is exploring the charming towns that adorn its picturesque shoreline. Each town has its own unique character, architecture, and attractions, offering visitors a diverse range of experiences.


One of the most popular towns on Lake Como is Bellagio, often referred to as the “Pearl of the Lake”. Known for its elegant villas, colorful gardens, and panoramic views, Bellagio exudes an air of sophistication and tranquility. Stroll along the waterfront promenade, lined with cafes and boutiques, and admire the grand villas that dot the landscape. Don’t miss a visit to Villa Melzi, a neoclassical villa with beautiful gardens that are open to the public.


Varenna is another enchanting town that shouldn’t be missed. With its narrow cobblestone streets, charming squares, and pastel-colored houses, Varenna offers a true taste of Italian village life. Take a leisurely stroll through the town, visiting the 11th-century Vezio Castle for panoramic views of the lake, and enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants that offer delicious seafood dishes.


Como, the largest town on Lake Como, is a bustling hub of activity with its historic center and vibrant streets. The town is famous for its stunning cathedral, known as the Duomo di Como, which showcases remarkable Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Explore the charming streets and piazzas, visit the Tempio Voltiano museum dedicated to Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the electric battery, or simply relax at a cafe and soak in the lively atmosphere.


For a more tranquil experience, visit Menaggio, located on the western shore of the lake. This charming town offers a laid-back ambiance with its picturesque waterfront promenade, quaint shops, and cafes. Take a leisurely stroll along the lakefront, enjoy a picnic in the lush public gardens, or explore the narrow streets of the historic center.


Other notable towns worth exploring include Tremezzo, known for its stunning Villa Carlotta and its botanical gardens, and Lenno, home to the beautiful Villa del Balbianello, which has been featured in several movies including James Bond’s “Casino Royale”. These towns offer a mix of natural beauty, architectural wonders, and cultural attractions that will leave you in awe.


Whether you choose to explore one town in depth or hop from town to town, each town on Lake Como has its own charm and allure. From elegant villas and gardens to winding streets and waterfront promenades, the towns of Lake Como offer a delightful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that will make your visit truly memorable.


Villa Carlotta and its Gardens

Nestled along the shores of Lake Como, the enchanting Villa Carlotta and its stunning gardens are a must-visit during a day trip to the area. This neoclassical villa, located in the charming town of Tremezzo, offers a fusion of art, history, and natural beauty.


Villa Carlotta was built at the end of the 17th century for the Milanese marquis Giorgio Clerici. It was later acquired by the Count and Countess of Sola Cabiati, who transformed it into a residence of art and culture. Today, the villa is open to the public and showcases an extensive collection of art, furnishings, and historical artifacts.


Upon entering the villa, visitors are greeted with opulent interiors adorned with frescoes, intricate stucco decorations, and ornate furnishings. The rooms are meticulously preserved, allowing visitors to step back in time and admire the grandeur and elegance of the past.


However, the true highlight of Villa Carlotta lies in its magnificent gardens. The sprawling gardens span over 70,000 square meters and are a true horticultural marvel. As you wander through the meticulously manicured pathways, you’ll be surrounded by a breathtaking array of flowering plants, ancient trees, and fragrant blooms.


The garden showcases a diverse collection of botanical species, with highlights including vibrant rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, and magnolias. The renowned camellia collection is particularly impressive, with over 200 different varieties on display, making it one of the most extensive collections in the world.


As you explore further, you’ll come across charming corners and features such as a tranquil pond, trickling fountains, and awe-inspiring sculptures. One of the most iconic spots in the garden is the Terrace of the Caryatids, where stunning marble statues surround a central pavilion, offering breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.


The beauty of Villa Carlotta’s gardens extends throughout the seasons, with something different to admire in every season. In spring, the gardens come alive with bursts of color as the flowers bloom, while summer offers the opportunity to wander in the shade of the ancient trees. In autumn, the vibrant foliage creates a stunning backdrop, and in winter, the garden takes on a serene and peaceful ambiance.


Villa Carlotta also hosts various cultural events and exhibitions throughout the year, ranging from art exhibitions to classical music concerts. These events add another layer of charm and allure to your visit, providing a unique and immersive experience.


Visiting Villa Carlotta and its gardens is an unforgettable experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of Lake Como’s history and nature. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a garden lover, or simply seeking a peaceful oasis, Villa Carlotta is a must-see attraction that will leave you captivated by its timeless charm.


Taking a Boat Tour

One of the best ways to explore the breathtaking beauty of Lake Como is by taking a boat tour. A boat tour allows you to experience the enchanting allure of the lake up close, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the charming lakeside towns.


There are several options available for boat tours on Lake Como. You can choose to explore the lake on a public ferry, which operates regular routes and stops at various towns along the shoreline. These ferries offer a convenient and affordable way to enjoy the panoramic views and visit different destinations.


If you prefer a more personalized experience, you can opt for a private boat tour. Private boat tours allow you to customize your itinerary and explore the lake at your own pace. You can hire a boat with a knowledgeable local guide who can provide insights into the history, culture, and landmarks of the area.


During the boat tour, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the majestic villas that line the shores of Lake Como. These grand residences, with their intricate architecture and beautifully manicured gardens, are a sight to behold. Keep an eye out for iconic villas like Villa Balbianello, Villa Melzi, and Villa Olmo.


As you cruise along the lake, take a moment to soak in the serene beauty of the surrounding landscape. The deep blue waters of the lake contrast with the lush greenery of the mountains, creating a picturesque scene that is postcard-perfect. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture the stunning vistas along the way.


Depending on the duration of your boat tour, you may have the opportunity to stop at some of the towns along the lake. This allows you to explore the charming streets, indulge in local cuisine, or visit notable attractions in these towns. Popular stops include Bellagio, Varenna, and Menaggio, each offering its own unique charm and attractions.


A boat tour on Lake Como is not only about the visual experience but also about the tranquility and serenity that comes from being on the water. Listen to the gentle lapping of the waves, feel the cool breeze against your skin, and simply enjoy the peacefulness that surrounds you.


Whether you choose a public ferry or a private boat tour, a boat tour on Lake Como is an absolute must-do during your day trip. It provides a truly immersive and unforgettable experience that allows you to appreciate the true beauty and tranquility of this mesmerizing lake.


Lunch by the Lake

After a morning of exploring the delightful towns and attractions around Lake Como, it’s time to indulge in a delectable lunch by the lake. Lake Como is not only known for its natural beauty but also for its culinary delights, offering a variety of options to satisfy your taste buds.


Many restaurants and cafes situated along the lakefront offer prime locations for a picturesque lunch experience. Imagine sitting at a table with panoramic views of the glistening lake waters, surrounded by the majestic mountains and charming towns. The serene ambiance sets the perfect backdrop for a memorable dining experience.


If you’re in the mood for traditional Italian cuisine, you’ll find a plethora of options available. Lake Como is renowned for its fresh seafood, so be sure to try the local specialties like freshly caught fish, risotto with lake fish, or mouthwatering freshwater prawns. Pair your meal with a refreshing glass of local wine, such as a crisp white wine from the Lombardy region, to complement the flavors of your dish.


For those who prefer a lighter meal, you can opt for a classic Italian antipasto platter or a fresh salad made with local ingredients. The restaurants around Lake Como take pride in sourcing their ingredients from the surrounding region, ensuring that you’re treated to the flavors of the season.


If you’re looking to try something unique to the area, don’t miss the chance to sample the local cheese, known as “Taleggio”. This soft, creamy cheese is produced in the Lombardy region and pairs beautifully with crusty bread and a glass of wine.


After a satisfying meal, take some time to relax and soak in the serene atmosphere. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the lakefront promenade or find a shady spot to sit and savor the views. The slow pace of life around Lake Como invites you to take a moment to unwind and truly appreciate the beauty of your surroundings.


As you linger over lunch, you may even spot the elegant ferries gliding by or catch a glimpse of the locals going about their daily activities. This immersive experience allows you to feel a sense of connection to the lake and its vibrant community.


Keep in mind that lunchtime in Italy is typically between 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm, so plan accordingly to ensure you have ample time to savor your meal without feeling rushed. It’s always a good idea to make a reservation, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure a table at your preferred lakeside restaurant.


Whatever your culinary preferences may be, lunch by the lake is an essential part of the Lake Como day trip experience. It’s a time to indulge in delicious food, appreciate the natural beauty surrounding you, and create lasting memories of this enchanting destination.


Visiting the Historic Center of Como

Located at the southern tip of Lake Como, the historic center of Como is a treasure trove of history, culture, and architectural wonders. Steeped in centuries-old charm, this vibrant town offers a glimpse into the region’s rich heritage and provides a delightful experience for visitors.


The centerpiece of the historic center is the magnificent Como Cathedral, also known as the Duomo di Como. This impressive Gothic structure dates back to the 14th century and is celebrated for its intricate facade, remarkable stained glass windows, and ornate interiors. Take the time to explore the cathedral’s treasures, including its exquisite tapestries, frescoes, and the fascinating Crypt of Santa Fedele.


Wandering through the narrow streets of the historic center, you’ll encounter a mix of architectural styles, from medieval buildings to elegant Renaissance palaces. The picturesque squares, such as Piazza del Duomo and Piazza Cavour, are bustling with cafes, shops, and lively markets. Pause to admire the colorful facades and ornate balconies that line the streets, capturing the essence of Como’s old-world charm.


A visit to the Palazzo Broletto is a must for history enthusiasts. This medieval palace, with its beautiful arcaded courtyard, served as the seat of Como’s government for centuries. Today, it houses the town hall and various municipal offices. Explore the building’s grand halls and corridors, adorned with historical artifacts and artworks, and uncover a piece of Como’s political history.


Adjacent to the Palazzo Broletto is the charming Piazza Verdi, a lovely square surrounded by cafes and restaurants. Take a seat at one of the outdoor terraces, enjoy a cup of coffee, and indulge in some people-watching as the vibrant atmosphere of the town unfolds before you.


Another notable landmark is the Tempio Voltiano, a neoclassical temple dedicated to the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, who invented the electric battery. The temple houses a museum that showcases Volta’s life, works, and scientific achievements. Explore the interactive exhibits, including replicas of Volta’s inventions, and gain a deeper understanding of his groundbreaking contributions.


As you wander through the historic center, be sure to explore the charming artisan shops that line the streets. From local crafts to fashion, jewelry, and delicious food products, you’ll find an array of unique souvenirs and gifts to bring home as a memento of your visit to Como.


In the evening, the historic center comes alive with a vibrant dining scene. Choose from an array of restaurants, trattorias, and pizzerias offering authentic Italian cuisine. Indulge in regional specialties such as Risotto allo Zafferano (saffron risotto), Polenta Taragna, or the local freshwater fish preparations. Pair your meal with a glass of wine from the Lombardy region to complete the gastronomic experience.


Visiting the historic center of Como allows you to step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history and cultural heritage of the region. With its architectural marvels, charming streets, and lively atmosphere, this enchanting town offers a truly memorable experience that should not be missed during your Lake Como day trip.


Time for Shopping

No trip to Lake Como is complete without indulging in a bit of shopping. The towns around the lake offer a range of enticing shops and boutiques, where you can find everything from high-end fashion and designer labels to locally made crafts and souvenirs.


The historic center of Como is a shopper’s paradise, with its charming streets and bustling squares filled with an array of shops and boutiques. Via Vittorio Emanuele II, the main shopping street, is home to a mix of international brands and local shops, where you can browse for fashionable clothing, stylish accessories, and Italian leather goods. From renowned fashion houses to local artisans, there’s something for every style and taste.


For those interested in finding unique local handicrafts and souvenirs, explore the small independent boutiques tucked away in the narrow alleyways. You’ll discover beautifully crafted ceramics, hand-painted silk scarves, handmade jewelry, and artistic home decor items, each reflecting the creativity and craftsmanship of the region.


If you’re a food enthusiast, be sure to explore the local gourmet shops and food markets. Como is known for its high-quality food products, such as olive oil, cheeses, wines, and locally produced salami and cured meats. Pick up some authentic Italian ingredients to take home, or treat yourself to a delicious selection of regional delicacies.


In addition to the shops, the towns around Lake Como often host open-air markets, where you can immerse yourself in the vibrant local atmosphere. These markets offer an eclectic mix of goods, including fresh produce, clothing, accessories, and household items. Stroll through the market stalls, chat with the friendly vendors, and find unique treasures to take home as a reminder of your Lake Como experience.


Don’t forget to visit the local artisan workshops, where you can witness skilled craftspeople at work. In the small towns, you’ll find workshops specializing in woodworking, ceramics, and traditional textile crafts. You may even have the opportunity to watch these artisans create their masterpieces and perhaps purchase a meticulously crafted piece straight from the source.


As you browse and shop, take breaks at the charming cafes and gelaterias that line the streets. Treat yourself to a cup of Italian coffee or indulge in a scoop of creamy gelato while soaking in the picturesque surroundings. The combination of shopping and enjoying the local flavors creates a truly immersive experience.


Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast, a food lover, or simply enjoy exploring unique shops, Lake Como offers a fantastic range of shopping experiences. With its blend of international brands and local craftsmanship, you’re sure to find something special to bring back home as a cherished memory of your time in this exquisite destination.


Enjoying the Scenic Views

One of the most awe-inspiring aspects of a day trip to Lake Como is the opportunity to soak in the breathtaking scenic views that surround the area. With its crystal-clear waters, majestic mountains, and charming towns, Lake Como is a paradise for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts alike.


Start your journey by simply gazing out over the lake from one of the many viewpoints. Whether you’re standing on the waterfront promenade or perched on a hillside terrace, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas that are nothing short of spectacular. The azure blue of the lake contrasts beautifully with the lush greenery and the snow-capped peaks in the distance, creating a picture-perfect scene.


If you’re seeking a more immersive experience, embark on a scenic hike or walk along the lakeside paths. These well-maintained trails wind through the tranquil countryside, offering stunning views at every turn. Feel the gentle breeze on your face as you traverse the paths, surrounded by the sounds of nature and the fresh scent of the lake.


For a bird’s-eye view of Lake Como, consider taking a funicular or cable car ride up to one of the viewpoints in the surrounding mountains. From these vantage points, you’ll have an unobstructed view of the entire lake and the surrounding towns. Capture the incredible vistas from above as you marvel at the sheer beauty and serenity of the landscape.


Another wonderful way to enjoy the scenery is by taking a leisurely drive along the scenic roads that encircle Lake Como. The roads wind through charming towns, pass by grand villas, and offer stunning views of the lake at every curve. Allow yourself to get lost in the beauty of the landscape as you navigate the meandering roads, capturing the unforgettable sights along the way.


If you prefer a more leisurely approach, consider taking a leisurely boat ride on Lake Como. As you glide across the shimmering waters, you’ll be treated to uninterrupted views of the surrounding mountains and picturesque towns. Sit back, relax, and let the picturesque landscapes unfold before your eyes as you cruise along at a leisurely pace.


Whether you choose to view Lake Como from a distance or immerse yourself in the midst of it all, the scenic beauty of this enchanting destination is sure to leave you speechless. Allow yourself to be captivated by the serenity and splendor of the landscape as you drink in the sights and create memories that will last a lifetime.



A day trip to Lake Como is a journey into a world of natural beauty, rich history, and cultural charm. From the elegant towns to the stunning villas, the exquisite gardens to the breathtaking scenic views, Lake Como has something to offer everyone.


Whether you’re exploring the charming towns like Bellagio and Varenna, visiting the historic center of Como, or immersing yourself in the beauty of Villa Carlotta and its gardens, each experience will leave you captivated and yearning for more.


The convenient transportation options from nearby cities make it easy to access and experience the magic of Lake Como within a day. Whether you choose to arrive by train, car, or even by boat, you’ll be greeted by its awe-inspiring beauty and timeless allure.


Indulge in a delectable lunch by the lake, savoring the flavors of the local cuisine while admiring the picturesque surroundings. Take a boat tour, allowing yourself to revel in the stunning panoramic views and visit the charming towns nestled along the shoreline. And don’t forget to set aside time for shopping, where you can find unique local crafts and stylish fashion choices.


As you explore and enjoy the scenic views, allow yourself to be fully enveloped in the tranquility and magic that Lake Como offers. Every step, every glance, and every moment immerses you in the natural and cultural wonders of this idyllic destination.


In conclusion, a day trip to Lake Como is a truly unforgettable experience. It is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty, history, and culture of this remarkable destination. The memories you create during your visit will stay with you for a lifetime, and you will undoubtedly feel compelled to return to Lake Como again and again.