A ferry heading to the town of Varenna in Lake Como

Lake Como is a stunning lake in Northern Italy, close to the metropolitan city of Milan. Surrounded by green hills and the spectacular Alps, Lake Como's elegant lakeside villas, colourful villages, and delicious local food make it one of the most touristy destinations in Italy.

Lake Como is perfect if you are looking for a gateway with a luxury feel to it. However, the breathtaking landscapes of Lake Como come with a price: it is indeed a pricey destination to travel to. Luckily, Lake Como's shoreline is dotted with over 20 interesting towns and villages that can accommodate your specific travel needs.

With this guide, you will find all you need to know to decide on the perfect place to stay in Lake Como. Whether you are traveling with your family or looking for a quiet stay, these are the best towns to stay in Lake Como.

An aerial view of the park and Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, Lake Como

At a glance

Best Place to stay in Lake Como for first-time visitors

Tremezzo

The path along the water in the town of Tramezzo, Italy

Tremezzo is on the west side of Lake Como, on the opposite side of Bellagio. This small village is perfect if it is the first time you are visiting Lake Como. In fact, Tremezzo is a transportation hub for ferries and boats, which makes it very easy to explore the lake.

Tremezzo is known as "The Village of the Gardens" for the wonderful gardens of its villas. Relax in the outside spaces of Villa Carlotta and Villa Balbianello while walking on Lake Como's promenade. The proximity to the Alps and its pristine nature make Tremezzo a true paradise if you are planning a vacation dedicated to silence and meditation.

Tremezzo offers a wide price range when it comes to accommodation. While still on the expensive side, you can opt for more affordable 3-star hotels and B&Bs costing 90-150 euros per night.

Stay at Villa Lina a pretty bed and breakfast with lake views or splurge at the stunning Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

Best place to stay in Lake Como for couples

Bellagio

A charming street in Bellagio, Italy

Bellagio rises on the tip of a promontory, and from it you will have an amazing 360-degree view over the lake. Bellagio is the most romantic place to stay in Lake Como, making it perfect if you plan a romantic getaway with your better half.

The town of Bellagio is one of the most expensive places to stay in Lake Como, but it is worth the money.

The Bellagio city center is a maze of streets that unfold among colorful houses and picturesque alleys culminating in Piazza della Chiesa, where you can admire the Basilica of San Giacomo. It’s a truly romantic walk!

But Bellagio is worldwide famous for the lakeside villas with their perfect-tailored gardens. Don't miss visiting Villa Melzi, and if you are looking for an extra special holiday, Villa Serbelloni is now a luxury hotel. And even if you are not a guest, you can still freely visit this lakeside villa and its 50 acres of park and garden.

Stay in Il Perlo Panorama, an incredible 2-star hotel overlooking the town and lake.

Best place to stay in Lake Como for families

Como

Beautiful view of Como town from Brunate mountain in Italy

Located on the Italian-Swiss border, the city of Como overlooks the southwest end of the lake. Como is accessible from Milan by train and car, given that the two cities are only 50 km apart.

For its position, Como is the most practical base from which to explore Lake Como, making it perfect if you are traveling with kids. Moreover, Como is not on a hill: so it's ideal if your children are still little and need a pram.

Como is a great place to stay in Lake Como if you are after a practical location with easy access to all the modern facilities. The city's historic main square, Piazza San Fedele, has plenty of cafés, restaurants, and shops that you can enjoy.

But Como is also a city full of history and beauty: from visiting the Duomo di Como (the Cathedral) to the stunning lakefront Villa Olmo, you will have a great time with your family without breaking the bank. From Como, there are buses and ferries to reach other towns on the lake, and Switzerland's border is just a few kilometers away.

In Como, you will easily find apartments as well as triple and quadruple rooms in most hotels to accommodate the whole family.

Stay at Albergo Firenze, walking distance from the Duomo and the lake's shore.

Best place to stay in Lake Como on a budget

Lecco

The town square and church in Lecce, Lake Como

Incredibly well-connected to Milan and other towns on the lake, Lecco is the best place to stay if you are traveling on a budget to Lake Como. Lecco is with Como, the town where you can find the most affordable accommodation options: there are double rooms for as cheap as 60 euros per night in a 3-star hotel.

It's also a very convenient place to stay. The train ride to Milan is only 40 minutes long, and from Lecco you can get buses and ferries to wherever you want to go in Lake Como. Lecco also gives its name to the eastern branch of Lake Como, perfect if you love mountain trekking and Italian culture.

Lecco inspired the Italian writer, Alessandro Manzoni, to write one of Italy's literary masterpieces, the novel "I Promessi Sposi". In Lecco, you can visit Villa Manzoni where the writer lived with his parents, as well as various houses and churches connected with the novel's characters. A must-see is the Basilica of San Nicolò with "The Pencil", the church's iconic bell tower!

Stay at Borgo dei Pescatori di Lecco, a centrally located guesthouse on the shore of Adda River.

Best place to stay in Lake Como for slow travellers

Varenna

A ferry heading to the town of Varenna in Lake Como

Varenna is a picturesque village on the eastern shore of Lake Como. If you are looking for a long-term stay in a typical town, then Varenna is perfect. You will find lots of family-run hotels and restaurants in Varenna, which make the town more affordable than other spots, such as Bellagio. In Varenna and its immediate surroundings there are plenty of apartments to rent, making it easy to stay for a longer period.

Another reason Varenna is ideal if you want to spend a longer period in Lake Como is that it is very well connected with Milan (1 hour by train) and other towns on the lake, like Lecco and Bellagio.

Varenna is a charming town, and from its main square, Piazza San Giorgio, you can reach the lakefront called Riva Grande. In Riva Grande, you will find several cafes, restaurants, local artisan shops, and ice cream parlors to spend your morning and afternoon in complete relaxation. As a typical town in Lake Como, Varenna also has stunning villas: Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi are two must-sees!

Stay in an apartment at Casa Mary Varenna with a large terrace overlooking the lake.

Best place to stay in Lake Como for living like a local

Menaggio

The waterfront and colourful buildings of Menaggio, Lake Como

If you are looking for a local experience, Menaggio is the town for you, with authentic restaurants and fewer tourists compared to the most popular towns of Lake Como. Menaggio offers a great view of the Alps, a great local vibe and is well-connected with Como and Lugano, in Switzerland.

As well as a few luxury options, Menaggio has several 3-star hotels where you can stay for around 130-150 euros per night for a double room. There are also several options for apartment rentals if you would like to have a well-rounded local experience.

Stroll down Menaggio's old town narrow alleys and steep stairs, and cross the so-called Bridge of Caravaggio, where you will find a chapel dedicated to the painting of the Madonna by Caravaggio.

The sumptuous lakeside villas match the medieval stone buildings of the historic center with their gorgeous gardens.

Stay at Hotel Du Lac, a fabulous hotel right in the center of Menaggio with an infinity pool overlooking Lake Como.

Best place to stay in Lake Como off the beaten track

Argegno

The main street  and church of Argegno, Lake Como

Staying in Lake Como without being constantly surrounded by tourists can be challenging. But the picturesque Argegno is mostly a residential town, which makes it ideal if you are looking for a quiet stay. The are a few accommodation options available and you're looking to spend around 100 euros per night for a double room in a 3-star hotel.

The Telo River runs through Argegno, divides the village into two parts connected by an ancient stone bridge. From Argegno, a road passes through the Valle d'Intelvi, which connects Lake Como to Lake Lugano. This route is perfect if you love walking or cycling, with the gorgeous Alps in the background.

Another great reason to visit is the cable car that connects Argegno to Pigna, a hillside town that is great for hiking. There are eight different trekking routes of varying difficulty you can choose from. If you are not much of a hiker, you can simply enjoy the spectacular view while ascending to the top of the hill.

To truly experience the local vibe, just head to the central Piazza Roma to sip a coffee or grab a meal, while admiring the stunning Church of the Holy Trinity and the lake.

Stay at Villa Belvedere Como Lake Relais with a terrace, on-site restaurant and garden situated on the shores of the lake.

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Roxanne de Bruyn

Author - Roxanne de Bruyn

Roxanne is the founder and editor of Faraway Worlds. She is a freelance writer and guidebook author and has written for several travel publications, including Lonely Planet and The Culture Trip. With a background in communications, she has studied ancient history, comparative religion and international development, and has a particular interest in sustainable tourism.

Originally from South Africa, Roxanne has travelled widely and loves learning the stories of the places she visits. She enjoys cooking, dance and yoga, and usually travels with her husband and young son. She is based in New Zealand.

Last Updated 14 September 2022

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