Lake Como has been a popular retreat since the time of the Roman Empire, and its popularity shows no signs of waning. Everyone from aristocrats to A-listers flock to its shores to enjoy its tranquil waters and beautiful lakeside towns and villas.
Shaped like an inverted ‘Y’, Lake Como is long and slender and one of Europe’s deepest. Surrounded by the Rhaetian Alps and close to the border with Switzerland, the lake’s enviable position means few fail to be charmed by its beauty. What’s more, Milan is less than an hour away by train from the town of Como.
Picturesque towns and grand villas are scattered around the lake and exploring them is easy thanks to the ferry service. Perched on a headland where the lake forks is the town of Bellagio, affectionately known as the ‘pearl of the lake’. Its cobbled streets are perfect for ambling and the vast selection of cafes and restaurants are perfect for people watching.
The walled town of Como is a hive of activity with bustling streets and is the gateway to the lake for those coming from Milan. Whilst it makes a practical base and stopover, it is also worth exploring its old town and the nearby Tempio Voltiano with its marble columns and mosaic floors. It houses the apparatus of Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the electrical battery.
It may well welcome scores of high-profile guests, but Lake Como itself has been the star of several films. Its stunning backdrop and glamorous villas have made many an appearance on the silver screen in everything from Star Wars to Casino Royale. You don’t have to just sit back and admire the views however; get out and about and take advantage of the excellent hiking, sailing and water sports.
When to go
The autumn season of September and October provides beautiful auburn scenery around the lake, however the best time of the year to visit is from late April through the summer months.