Day 1: Hello, Holiday! – The Villa al Castello on Lake Como
Finally, you have arrived! After a few hours of travel, you can now make yourself comfortable in our family villa. Unpack and leave everyday life behind. Start your holiday at Lake Como with pleasure after buying a few local groceries:
Very close to Villa al Castello, the Alimentari in Rezzonico offers everything for your daily needs. Fresh fruit and vegetables can be found at Lariofrutta in Acquaseria, right next to meat, sausage and cheese at Formaggi Carni & Salumi Edo. Be sure to visit the Latteria Alto Lario in Dongo – and taste the many delicious cheeses! Further south in that same village, fresh pastries are waiting for you in the Friends bar.
If you want to shop for an entire week, you will find large supermarkets in Porlezza, Menaggio and Dongo. Once all the errands have been run, be sure to enjoy your first ice cream from Crema Gelato Lago di Como on the lakeshore in Rezzonico.
You want to discover more today? Then climb onboard the Trombetta Express between April and October! The small tourist train starts in Menaggio and chugs to enchanting places along the lakeshore. You can hop on and off wherever you like. For example, in the sweet harbor village of Lenno, inspiring with its pretty promenade, nice restaurants and a lido.
Day 2: Discover the Hamlets on Lake Como!
Thanks to the ingenious ferry system on the Lario, it is easy to experience a lot with little effort. You can find a pier within walking distance everywhere, so grab the timetable for the Lake Como ferry system and discover the beautiful coastal towns of Lake Como:
Vivid Menaggio on Lake Como
Only ten minutes by car south of our holiday villa you can stroll among numerous shops, restaurants and bars around Piazza Garibaldi in Menaggio. Palm trees and colorful flowers line the waterfront. Lido di Menaggio is a perfect place for the whole family to relax – the kids will enjoy two swimming pools and a play area! The quiet and shady mini-golf course on the waterfront is a wonderful afternoon activity.
The Namesake: Como on Lake Como
In this city, which provides the lake (ital. Lago di Como) its name, there are reminders of the long tradition of silk production in the region: A modern concept store exhibits silk articles from a former spinning mill, the Silk Museum shows how the luxurious raw material is processed. In the pedestrian zone, many shops also sell high-quality silk products. On the lakeshore, a playground is waiting to be overrun by the children. And via cable railway, you can go up the mountain to the village of Brunate, where there is a wonderful view of the city and its surroundings.
Tremezzo, a Wonderful Place to Stroll Along Lake Como
A great eye-catcher is the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, with its striking orange awnings and several swimming pools, one of them directly connected to Lake Como. There is also a public park on the shore, where both small and large swimmers can have fun. The village has many restaurants serving local cuisine, and the Museo del Paesaggio del Lago di Como is also popular, showing old representations of the region in a historic villa.
Bellagio, the Tourist Magnet on Lake Como
You cannot go home without experiencing this city! Bellagio is considered the jewel of the Lario and attracts by far the most visitors. It is an unforgettable moment when the ferry approaches this special city, which lies exactly between the two arms of the lake. A few moments later, you can walk up the alleys of the old town and browse through the potential gift items from local artists and small boutiques. At the harbor, there are numerous restaurants where delicacies are served with a view of arriving and departing boats.
Picturesque Gravedona on Lake Como
The best way to start your city tour of Gravedona is at the Church of Santa Maria del Tiglio: it dates back to the 12th century and is one of the most impressive Christian buildings on Lake Como. Here starts a long and beautiful lake promenade through Gravedona, with several cafés inviting you to take a break. Don’t miss the imposing Palazzo Gallio, a former cardinal residence with four towers!
Insider Tip: Varenna on Lake Como
Unlike Bellagio, Varenna is less crowded with tourists – but just as magical. The flower-covered footbridge Passaggiata degli Innamorati leads from the ferry pier to the village center. Here you reach the Church of San Giorgio, a striking architectural testament from the 13th century. The gardens of Villa Monastero are also worth a visit. After the half-hour hike up to the castle ruin Castello di Vezio you can visit a small falconry with a bird show – combined with an indescribable view of the two arms of Lake Como.
Day 3: Water Sports on Lake Como – Your Choice
Around the Lario there are many beach resorts with lake access and several opportunities to get active in the fresh water. At the sound of watersports in Colico, sailors, windsurfers and motorboat fans get excited. To be allowed to operate a motorboat on Lake Como, you do not even need a boat license. Of course, there are experienced skippers at your disposal. They can certainly tell you one or more anecdotes about the area during the trip. Children usually find it great to cruise across the lake in a motorboat and help navigate. Of course, from the water you have the best view of many sights and the picturesque panorama.
During your boat trip, you can also look for a quiet place on the lake, switch off the engine and dive into the clear water and then enjoy a picnic.
If you like sports, you can try out stand-up paddling, kayaking or pedal boating. Use the best breeze to go windsurfing. Even more water action is offered at the Wakeboard Cable Park in Colico, where a rope with board or water skis will pull you over the waves.
Day 4: Top Sights: Dream Villas on Lake Como
Today you will find stunning scenery for your perfect holiday photos in one of the dream villas! And the “little ones” love this kind of sightseeing, because extensive gardens around the famous buildings invite them to hide and explore.
Villa Balbianello, Lenno
If the setting of Villa Balbianello looks familiar to you, you have probably seen it in legendary movies such as James Bond 007, Casino Royale or Star Wars: Episode II. In a one-hour guided tour you can marvel at the spectacular scenery. You can reach Villa Balbianello in a 20-minute walk from Lenno – or by private boat.
Villa Carlotta, Tremezzo
The neoclassical magnificent building of Villa Carlotta has its own ferry pier. The terraced gardens attract visitors from near and far. Enjoy the sight of flowering rhododendrons and azaleas, rare trees and a man-made gorge with waterfall. The large park offers a lot of variety between stairs, fountains, beds and a museum through both lively and quieter corners.
Villa Monastero, Varenna
Villa Monastero is one of the popular wedding venues on Lake Como for good reasons. Who knew that this magnificent villa was originally built as a Cistercian monastery? Today it is home to a botanical garden, a museum and a convention center with numerous marble staircases, stately columns and unique plant arrangements.
Villa Melzi, Bellagio
From the Bellagio pier, a white gravel path lined with old plane trees leads directly to Villa Melzi. Visitors love the colorful gardens with all their botanical beauty, the Japanese-style pond, and the hidden Höhle. A cozy place for a cozy lunch under ivy-covered pergola can be found right next door, the Restaurant Alle Darsene di Loppia.
Villa Olmo, Como
Not far from the center of the provincial capital, Villa Olmo invites you to take a walk in the park. Famous people such as Napoleon have lived in the neoclassical building, which resembles a palace. The sumptuous furnishings include a small theatre. At the beginning of the 1980s, a movie was filmed here: Give Sugar to the Monkey with Adriano Celentano and Ornella Muti.
Day 5: Now it's time to go higher! Hiking on Lake Como
Mountain tours clear your head, and you can also see the beauty and size of the Lario from above particularly well. Due to its fantastic location on the Bergamask Alps, Villa al Castello offers an opportunity for excursions to some really beautiful peaks on Lake Como. Here are our tips:
Monte Legnoncino – an Easy Hike on the Eastern Shore of Lake Como
2,5 km, 1:45 h, 250 meters altitude
You can see Legnoncino Mountain from our terrace. It is easily accessible to everyone on an easy tour. To get to the starting point of the hike by car takes a little perseverance and good nerves. From the village of Tremenico, a narrow serpentine road leads to the Roccoli Lorla mountain hut. Here you leave the car and reach the summit via a beautiful path. Experienced hikers can now climb Monte Legnone, the tallest mountain on Lake Como.
Monte Croce di Muggio – Moderate Hike on the Eastern Shore of Lake Como
Circular Hike, 8,5 km, 3:15 h, 436 meters altitude
The tour starts at Alpe Giumello, east of Bellano. The Anello del Monte Muggio circuit is quite popular because of its magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. Past steep meadows and mixed forests, you hike high above Lake Como and over the val Varrone and Valsassina Valleys. Back at the starting point you stop at Alpe Giumello!
Cappella San Domenico – A Perfect Family Hike on the Western Shore of Lake Como
Circular hike, 3,5 km, 1:00 h, 50 meters altitude
The well-signposted tour starts at the Albergo Breglia Car Park. There, to the right of the church, a hiking trail branches off into the forest and leads to the chapel of San Domenico. Rugged rocks offer a fantastic view over the lake and the surrounding mountains. A small detour leads to the Church of Madonna di Breglia, where a marble statue of Mary has been venerated for 200 years. You can do this almost flat tour with children and even take sturdy off-road strollers with you. Back at the parking lot, a small playground awaits in the shade.
Monte Grona – Hiking for Experienced Hikers on the Western Shore of Lake Como
Circular hike , 7,5 km, 4:00h, 650 meters altitude
We start in Monti di Breglia. The hike to the Rifugio Menaggio takes about an hour and a half. Here, you will find delicious food and drinks (please note seasonal opening hours) before continuing to the top of Monte Grona. The ascent to 1736 meters is rewarded with one of the best panoramas of the Pre Alps over Lake Como, Lago di Piano and Lake Lugano.
Ossuccio Santuario Madonna Del Soccorso – An Easy Walk Uphill on the Western Shore of Lake Como
2,5 km, 1:15 h, 124 meters altitude
Regardless of religious beliefs, a trip to this high-altitude pilgrimage church is worthwhile. An elaborately created “Way of the Cross” leads past 14 small chapels that show the life of Jesus Christ and are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is a steep but leisurely walk in a magnificent environment, which can also be extended towards Preda. There is the Romanesque Abbey of San Benedetto.
San Primo – on the east bank of Lake Como for sure-footed hikers
7,5km, 3:30 h, 560 meters altitude
This circular hike over Monte San Primo starts at the restaurant La Baita in the village of San Primo, about 30 minutes from the ferry pier in Bellagio. From the summit of Monte San Primo, the view is awe-inspiring in all directions. The descent leads partly steeply downhill through the forest and requires surefootedness.
Take the Cable Car to Pigra – Hike Comfortably Downhill on the Western Shore of Lake Como
8,7 km, 2:30 h, 682 meters altitude
Argegno is located on the western shore of Lake Como. It is a pretty little town at the mouth of the river Telo. Every 30 minutes, a cable car glides up the 600 meter altitude to the village of Pigra. From there, you can also hike with children in 2.5 hours pleasantly down to Colonno, where a bus can take you back to Argegno.
Val Codera – A Hike for Adventurers on the Northern Shore of Lake Como
Circular hike, 12,5 km, 6:00 h, 700 meters altitude
The steep ascent to the Avedè alpine pasture starts at the hiking car park in Mezzolpiano. A marked path leads through some semi-open tunnels to Codera. During the ascent you can admire views of Lago Mezzola, which adjoins Lake Como to the north. The Osteria Alpina exudes nostalgic flair and invites you to take a break with chestnut beer and other specialties. Then you climb over the river a bit, down the mountain to take the way back into the valley via San Giorgio and the old railway line Tracciolino. The trail leads through some of the old lorry tunnels and is especially exciting for the youngest hikers – be sure to pack a flashlight!
Day 6: Excursions from Lake Como – These Cities are Nearby!
Bergamo – Fascinating World Heritage
Bergamo, 1.5 hours away, served as the seat of an important wealthy Lombard duchy in the Middle Ages. Famous is the division into lower and upper town, which are connected by a cable car. Due to cultural riches such as the Venetian city wall, Bergamo has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017. Ideally, your visit starts at Piazza Vecchia in the historic upper town, in the immediate vicinity there are many sights such as the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore or the Cathedral. If you feel like shopping, you should not miss Via XX Settembre.
Varese – Pilgrimage and Amazement
Varese can be reached from Villa al Castello in just over an hour. The city is famous for its gardens, numerous museums and theatres, with the Sacro Monte di Varese considered the main attraction, an ancient pilgrimage route that leads past 14 monuments and chapels up the hill to the monastery of Santa Maria del Monte. You should also see the square at the cathedral in the heart of the old town and the promenade Corso Matteotti. Varese, also known for the magnificent villas from the 18th and 19th centuries, especially worthwhile are the Palazzo Estense and the Villa Recalcati.
Chiavenna – the Alpine Town
Framed by high mountains, Chiavenna almost orders on Switzerland and invites you to discover past eras with its winding old town alleys. Religious art is stored in the Museo del Tesoro, such as a soapstone baptismal font from Roman times. In the Galleria Storica dei Pompieri di Valchiavenna, an exciting exhibition keeps alive the memory of the heritage of firefighters. Just outside Chiavenna, it is worth visiting the Acquafraggia waterfalls in Piuro – an indescribable sight that is said to have fascinated Leonardo da Vinci.
Lugano – Excursion to Switzerland
If you want to add another country to your bucket list on Lake Como, Switzerland would be a tip. The Swiss city of Lugano is a 45-minute drive from Villa al Castello and offers many luxury shopping opportunities. Here on Lake Lugano, you get watches, fashion, handbags and, of course, chocolate. There is also a beautiful shore, but the atmosphere is different from Lake Como.
Mailand – the Fashion Metropolis
The best way to start your sightseeing tour through Milan is at Milan Cathedral. The white marble façade is world famous and a climb to the roof of the sacred building is definitely worthwhile. Right next to it is the famous shopping arcade Galleria Vittorio Emanuele with expensive designer shops, a few steps further the Scala Opera House. If you don’t have tickets for a performance, you can at least get an impression of the building in the adjoining museum. The fortress Castello Sforzesco with its green areas and water basins is ideal for a relaxing break. If it rains, you can experience the Renaissance up close in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana in front of works by Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, Botticelli and Raphael.
Day 7: Pure Relaxation at Villa al Castello on Lake Como
Use this day to accommodate everything for which there has been no opportunity so far. Relax by our magnificent private pool. Maybe you would like to visit another city or a chic villa. Or do your children just want to bathe and eat ice cream? Now is the opportunity to tick off your last wishes before departure and the end of your holiday on Lake Como. We have many more tips for wonderful excursions and sights on Lake Como for you – such as the gorge of Bellano, the medieval bridge in Nesso or the island of Sala Comacina. There are plenty of exciting things to plan your next stay on Lake Como at Villa al Castello.