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The Ultimate Lake Como Itinerary: A Dreamy Week in Paradise

Welcome to Lake Como, Italy’s captivating gem nestled at the foothills of the majestic Italian Alps. With our exclusive one-week Lake Como itinerary, you’ll embark on an unforgettable journey through this enchanting paradise, experiencing the very best it has to offer.

Awash with luxurious villas, charming villages, and breathtaking landscapes, Lake Como is a haven of beauty, history, and culture that has inspired artists, writers, and travelers for centuries. It’s so stunning, we’ve added it to our list of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

Set against a backdrop of dramatic mountains and shimmering waters, Lake Como provides the perfect setting for a dreamy Italian getaway. Follow in the footsteps of the rich and famous, as you explore elegant gardens, indulge in delectable cuisine, and unwind in the serene atmosphere of this idyllic destination.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, romance, or relaxation, our ultimate Lake Como itinerary is designed to delight and inspire at every turn, ensuring an unforgettable experience that will leave you longing to return.

Day 1: Arrive in Como and Explore the City

Upon arrival in Como, settle into your accommodation and begin your adventure by exploring the city’s fascinating attractions during the first day of our Lake Como itinerary. Como, a city rich in history and culture, boasts a variety of must-visit sites.

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Duomo di Como

Visit the majestic Como Cathedral (Duomo di Como), a stunning example of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Marvel at its intricate façade, adorned with statues and ornate details, and explore the awe-inspiring interior with its beautiful frescoes and artwork.

Stroll along the picturesque lakeside promenade, taking in the incredible views of the surrounding mountains and azure waters. Meander through the narrow, cobblestone streets of the city, discovering hidden piazzas, charming cafes, and historical buildings. Pop into the numerous boutiques selling everything from silk products, a specialty of the region, to handmade Italian leather goods.

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Como from above

Dine at one of the many delicious restaurants that line the streets, offering a variety of traditional Italian dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in Como’s signature dish, “risotto con pesce persico,” a creamy risotto with perch fillets.

Round off the day with a scenic funicular ride up to Brunate, a small village perched high above Como. The funicular has been in operation since 1894 and provides stunning panoramic views of Lake Como and the city below. Once in Brunate, explore its quaint streets and enjoy the breathtaking vistas before returning to Como for a well-deserved rest.

Day 2: Villa Carlotta, Tremezzo, and Villa del Balbianello

Begin day two with a visit to the enchanting Villa Carlotta, a 17th-century mansion surrounded by immaculate gardens. Located in Tremezzo, this stunning villa-turned-museum is a testament to art, beauty, and nature.

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Delight in the villa’s extensive art collection, which includes masterpieces by renowned artists such as Antonio Canova, Francesco Hayez, and Bertel Thorvaldsen. The Villa’s ground floor houses an impressive collection of sculptures, while the upper floor features a range of neoclassical and romantic paintings, offering a visual feast for art enthusiasts.

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Villa Carlotta’s terraced gardens are a botanical wonderland, boasting over 500 species of plants, including azaleas, rhododendrons, and ancient cedar and sequoia trees. The gardens are particularly famous for their vibrant spring blooms, which transform the landscape into a riot of color.

Take your time to wander through the lush grounds, admiring the fountains, sculptures, and panoramic lake views that make this villa a must-see destination.

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Continue to Tremezzo and explore the opulent Villa del Balbianello, another jewel of Lake Como. This elegant villa, perched on the tip of a small wooded peninsula, has become a popular filming location for movies like Casino Royale and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Villa del Balbianello’s terraced gardens offer spectacular views of the lake, making it a sought-after venue for weddings and events.

During your visit, take a guided tour of the villa’s interiors, which are adorned with a fascinating collection of artifacts from the original owner, Guido Monzino, an Italian explorer and avid art collector.

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Explore the villa’s richly decorated rooms, featuring exquisite tapestries, antique furnishings, and a library containing over 4,000 volumes. Discover the intriguing stories of Monzino’s expeditions as you delve into his personal collection of maps, navigational instruments, and souvenirs from his travels.

End the day with a lakeside dinner at a traditional Italian trattoria, where you can savor authentic regional dishes as you soak in the magical ambiance of Lake Como. Be sure to try some local wine, such as the renowned Nebbiolo or Barbera, to complement your meal.

Day 3: Bellagio and Varenna

On day three, embark on a ferry ride to the picturesque towns of Bellagio and Varenna. Known as the “Pearl of Lake Como,” Bellagio is famous for its stunning villas, lush gardens, and charming streets lined with colorful buildings and elegant boutiques.

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Begin your exploration of Bellagio with a visit to the enchanting Villa Melzi, a neoclassical villa with beautifully landscaped gardens that stretch along the lakefront. The gardens feature a diverse array of exotic and rare plants, as well as sculptures, ponds, and a small museum dedicated to the villa’s history. Be sure to stop by the Japanese garden, a unique and serene oasis within the Villa Melzi grounds.

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Streets of Bellagio

Wander through Bellagio’s charming streets, browsing the numerous boutiques selling high-quality Italian products such as leather goods, hand-painted ceramics, and fine jewelry. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the many delightful cafes or restaurants in town, savoring the flavors of local cuisine.

Later, head to Varenna, a quaint fishing village on the eastern shore of Lake Como. Varenna’s narrow cobblestone streets and pastel-colored houses create a romantic and tranquil atmosphere, making it a favorite destination for couples and those seeking a peaceful retreat.

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Visit the magnificent Villa Monastero, a former monastery turned museum and conference center, with its lush gardens and unparalleled views of the lake. The villa’s garden is a harmonious blend of architectural elements and botanic variety, boasting a wide range of exotic plants, sculptures, and fountains. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the villa’s interiors, adorned with 19th-century furnishings and a collection of scientific and cultural artifacts.

As the day draws to a close, enjoy a romantic dinner at a local eatery in Varenna, where you can sample traditional Italian dishes while gazing out over the shimmering waters of Lake Como.

Day 4: Lecco and Hiking Monte Barro

Travel to Lecco, a lively city nestled between Lake Como and the mountains. Explore its historic center, characterized by picturesque streets, elegant piazzas, and a stunning waterfront promenade. Visit the Basilica of San Nicolò, a beautiful church showcasing a blend of architectural styles and offering panoramic views of the city from its bell tower.

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Before attempting a hike up Monte Barro, fuel up with a hearty breakfast at one of Lecco’s cafes. The hike to the summit of Monte Barro offers unrivaled views of Lake Como, the surrounding peaks, and the city of Lecco below.

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Choose from a variety of trails that cater to different fitness levels, making it an enjoyable experience for both novice and experienced hikers. Along the way, discover the rich flora and fauna, as well as the archaeological sites that dot the landscape, offering glimpses into the region’s history.

Reward your efforts with a delightful meal at a local osteria in Lecco, where you can indulge in traditional dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Savor the flavors of Lombardy as you recount your day’s adventures and prepare for the next day’s explorations.

Day 5: Menaggio, Lenno, and Villa Balbiano

Next, our Lake Como itinerary takes us to Menaggio, a charming lakeside town situated on the western shore of Lake Como. Menaggio’s picturesque streets, beautiful waterfront, and lush parks make it an ideal destination for a leisurely day of exploration.

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Stroll along the lakeside promenade, taking in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and crystal-clear waters. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a local cafe or trattoria, sampling regional specialties and soaking in the laid-back atmosphere.

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Afterward, visit Lenno, a small village nestled along the lake’s shore. Lenno is home to the magnificent Villa Balbiano, a luxurious residence steeped in history and opulence. Built in the 16th century, the villa has been painstakingly restored to its former glory and now serves as a museum, event venue, and accommodation for discerning travelers.

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Villa Balbiano

During your visit, marvel at the villa’s opulent interiors, adorned with exquisite frescoes, lavish furnishings, and an impressive art collection. The Villa Balbiano’s extensive gardens are equally stunning, featuring meticulously manicured lawns, a maze of hedges, and a charming greenhouse. Take your time exploring the grounds, uncovering hidden corners and enjoying the tranquility of this majestic estate.

Conclude the day with an exquisite lakeside meal at one of Menaggio’s or Lenno’s renowned restaurants, savoring Italian cuisine as the sun sets over the lake.

Day 6: Isola Comacina and Ossuccio

On day six of our Lake Como itinerary, explore the mystical Isola Comacina, the lake’s only island, steeped in history and legend. Once a thriving center of trade and a strategic military location, Isola Comacina is now a peaceful haven that attracts visitors with its archaeological sites, lush vegetation, and enchanting atmosphere.

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Comacina Island

During your visit, take a guided tour of the island’s historical landmarks, which include the ruins of several medieval churches and an ancient Roman villa. Learn about the island’s tumultuous past, marked by invasions, conflicts, and devastating fires, and listen to the captivating tales and legends that surround this unique destination.

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Later, visit the nearby village of Ossuccio, a picturesque settlement that boasts a rich architectural heritage. Explore the remarkable Romanesque Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, which dates back to the 12th century and features a striking octagonal bell tower. Wander through Ossuccio’s narrow streets, taking in the charming atmosphere and stunning views of the lake.

As the day comes to an end, savor a delightful meal at a local restaurant in Ossuccio or Isola Comacina. Enjoy the flavors of traditional Italian cuisine as you watch the sunset over the lake, casting a golden glow on the surrounding landscape.

Day 7: Departure and Fond Farewells

Bid farewell to the mesmerizing Lake Como as you prepare for your departure. Reflect on the unforgettable experiences and memories you’ve created during your weeklong adventure in this idyllic Italian paradise. Lake Como’s charm is sure to remain etched in your heart, beckoning you to return.

Embark on this ultimate Lake Como itinerary and experience the very best of Italy’s enchanting gem. From luxurious villas to captivating villages, every day spent in this paradise promises to be an unforgettable adventure filled with wonder and delight.

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