Top 10 Things to Do on a Lake Como Vacation
If you are still trying to find the perfect place for a getaway this summer, take a close look at Lake Como. Situated just an hour from Milan, Lake Como offers beautiful views of the Alps from lake-side villas that have all of the charm of Italy along with the elegance and order as befits a location so close to the Swiss border. In addition, a vacation on the Lake Como will convince you that it is a hugely popular holiday destination, a must-see for travelers past and present, especially for nature lovers. So if you are planning a vacation in Italy, you should absolutely not ignore this beautiful country’s most popular lake with its dramatic landscape and beautiful climate that makes it the ideal place for boat trips and leisurely activities. Whether your passion is food, hiking, shopping, or sightseeing, a Lake Como vacation is sure to leave you with lasting memories and a taste of La Dolce Vita. Here is a list of the top ten activities you can’t miss while spending a summer vacation on Lake Como.
1. Cook your own pasta and gnocchi
Where better to learn how to cook the best of Italian food than in a villa situated next to Lake Como? Deceptively simple, you need to learn the right techniques to make your home-made pasta and gnocchi taste truly Italian.
2. Go shopping
Spend the afternoon shopping in Como. The town has a great mix of designer boutiques and local shops offering great priced shoes, clothes and homewares.
3. Enjoy a cable car ride
Experience the cable car ride that leaves from Argegno. Passengers go up 88 meters in just 4 minutes. It’s not for the faint hearted but the views from the top are certainly a great reward for those brave enough!
4. Try out watersports
Enjoy an active day on the lake trying your hand at some of the watersports on offer. There are opportunities to enjoy several different watersports on Lake Como including windsurfing, kite-surfing, sailing and canoeing.
5. Ride the ferry
Take the Lake Como ferry around the mid-lake region making time for a gelato, espresso, affogato or glass of prosecco in each of the four villages of Bellagio, Varenna, Menaggio and Cadenabbia.
6. Discover the region’s churches
In Bellagio it is possible to visit San Giacomo, a romantic building with a baroque altar and fifteenth century paintings. In addition, you will find the ancient church of Santo Stefano at Lenno where you can see a crypt dating back to the Roman period. And finally, Como’s own cathedral with its lace-like stone exterior and interior of museum quality art is definitely worth a visit.
7. Go for a hike in the nearby Alps
From the lake the Alps are clearly visible, creating a temptation for visitors to explore them. Find a local alpine guide to lead you through the foothills of the Swiss Alps.
8. Dine at sunset
With so many towns situated along the lake, you are sure to find the perfect place to watch the sun set over the Alps while feasting on a range of local cuisine. You can even try the fresh water fish caught in the lake that day. A great place to dine while watching the sun set is Ristorante La Vista at Albergo Milano, located in the mid-lake town of Varenna.
9. Explore the lake’s famous gardens and villas
Accompanied by a local guide, you can explore the art and luxury of Lake Como’s private villas. Starting with Villa la Collina, the former summer home of German Chancellor Adenauer, and nearby Villa Carlotta you will be able to view a rich collection of neoclassical and romantic statues and paintings. At Villa Carlotta’s “new garden” 800 varieties of plants are on offer and at Villa Melzi the English style garden provides spectacular views across the lake. You will also not want to miss Villa Balbianello, built in the seventeenth century by Cardinal Durini, which boasts magnificent interiors and a collection of artifacts from past polar expeditions.
10. Learn to fly a seaplane
The Lake Como flying school, Aero Club Como, is unique in Europe. Here you can learn to take off and land a plane on the water, take the first steps towards getting your pilot’s license, and fly solo.