I’ve gone to Lake Como dozens of times. I’ve crisscrossed the lake on the ferry, enjoyed spritz’s lakeside and even popped a bottle of prosecco in a fishing boat offshore of Bellagio after a day on the water.
And yet I had never actually visited the city of Como.
We live much closer to the Lecco side of the lake than the Como side. So that’s the side we usually go to: I’ve seen Lecco dozens of times and my love for Varenna is no secret. I’ve taken the ferry from there to see Bellagio and Villa Carlotta and even gone further north to towns that seem more Swiss than Italian.
In short, I had done most of the lake’s tourist highlights … but not Como.
Though it’s famous worldwide for its ties to George Clooney and its elegance and wealth, I honestly didn’t think it was so necessary to visit.
See, most of the towns around the lake are so small that they’re all quite similar one to the other. No matter which town you’re in you’ll likely take a stroll and enjoy an overpriced cocktail — why drive even further to do what I could do in a lakeside town closer to my home?
Then, I went to Como City.
I didn’t understand the allure of the lake’s namesake town, but it only took a couple of hours to fall completely in love.
Why Como Is Worth a Visit:
It actually has tourist sites
I’ve always thought that the towns around Lake Como are nice for the view, for the atmosphere, for the lungolago, but that there’s no list of things to see per se. Como proved me wrong.
You can tour the Alessandro Volta Museum or see the history and process of silk making on the lake (a major industry for Como) at the silk museum. Not only can you visit the duomo, but there are also two major basilicas to see as well. Take a funicular up the mountain to Brunate for spectacular views. Tour Villa Olmo.
It’s the biggest city on the lake and filled with life
Lake Como has dozens of small towns dotting its banks. Como isn’t one of them. Como is a real city, with all the amenities of a real city. It’s less industrial than Lecco and has far more accommodation options than a town like Varenna. Here you have more to tour, more to see, more options in general.
Being one of the biggest and most popular towns comes with benefits. The town has dozens of restaurants and bars, cafés and piazzas where people can congregate. We had dinner al fresco and enjoyed the people watching, the live musicians and the general vibrant atmosphere.
It has a train line and is easily accessible.
Como is about 25 miles north of Milan. From Milan it takes about a 40 minutes by car and the same by train. Not only that, but you can still take a boat to visit other towns around the lake.
It’s clean, organized and absolutely gorgeous
Como is the perfect example of a beautiful Lombard lake town: orderly, clean, fun and rich. In Varenna you can push past German tourists to get a good seat along the lake and in Bellagio you’ll be blinded by the jewelry stores, but in Como you can have the best of both worlds – lake and city escape – and never have to choose between the two!
What’s your favorite town of Lake Como? Leave a comment and share your experience!