Things to do in Lake Como

Things to do in Lake Como

If you’re looking for things to do in Lake Como, then taking the water taxis to surrounding villages is a great place to start. We bought a day pass, began in Bellagio and went to Varenna and Villa Carlotta. There are plenty of things to do in Lake Como with kids too – we went with a baby in a pushchair, and although there were a few staircases to contend with, generally it was fine.

Image from a boat looking to the shore. There are lots of people on the boat and you can see a man in uniform waiting to help people disembark
Water taxi

Tickets are 15 Euro each for a day pass. With that you can get on any of the boats. We took the mid-lake shuttle which goes up and down the Lake from Lenno to Menaggio and back, stopping at Varenna, Bellagio, S. Giovanni, Villa Carlotta and Tremezzo along the way.

There's water in the foreground and a mound of land with dark green trees and brightly painted buildings in the background
View from the boat

It’s a great way to see the lake. There’s no requirement to get off anywhere so you can happily sit on the boat and be ferried round for as long as you like. There are also things to do in Lake Como at most of the stops, so you could get off anywhere and explore for an hour until your return boat arrives.

First stop: Varenna

Image of a walkway with water on the right and a vine covered wall on the left
Varenna

This was a bit of an accident for us. We thought the water taxis did a loop, so just got on the first one we found. They actually go back and forth, so it is worth deciding what to do in Lake Como before you hop on one.

It was a good starting village, though. There’s a path that winds round the coast along the water, with steep stepped alleys to the left to get up to the road. It’s quite lovely. Vine covered walls, cobbled paths and little alcoves with accordionists hidden in them.

Image of a stone alcove with an accordionist in it and tourists walking around

The 20 minutes or so before our return taxi was enough to do the walk and back. We did go up to the main road, although there wasn’t much there. Especially if you have a stroller I’d recommend sticking to the path. If you have extra time you can always get a gelato. 🙂

What to do in Lake Como? Visit Villa Carlotta

 

Image of a large grand white building with a fountain in the foreground
Villa Carlotta

Wow. If you’re looking for things to do in Lake Como, then this should definitely make the list.

Villa Carlotta consists of a garden and museum. It’s 10 Euro entry and you get access to both.

There’s a circuit path round the garden, with paths off to the side to see different areas. There’s a bamboo garden, a rhododendron area and a created waterfall amongst other things. They estimate 75 minutes to do the whole garden, although you could do it faster.

Image of lots of trees
Gardens at Villa Carlotta

I loved the lush green trees and the variety of different plants and areas made the whole thing incredibly enjoyable. There were little lizards scurrying about the path too, which my 2 year old would have loved.

They say there’s an accessible path, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it with a pushchair. There was no way I could’ve done it with my Babyzen Yoyo! There aren’t too many stairs, but the paths are either gravel or rocky and quite difficult to push a buggy on. There’s a hut near the entrance with lockers for 1 Euro and lots of people left pushchairs there.

There is a lift up to the museum and a fantastic, old-school gated lift within the museum itself, so you could do it with a pushchair if you absolutely need to.

Image of an older style lift with gates
Lift at Villa Carlotta

The museum is interesting too, although the garden is the main draw. The building is hundreds of years old and is full of ceiling art, wall friezes and other decorations you’d expect from a building of this age. There are sculptures and art on the ground floor, and music displays on the first and second. A big selling point for me was the vintage pianos – they had grand pianos, square pianos and one small ‘boudoir piano’.

Image of 3 older grand pianos
Grand pianos

There is a restaraunt within the Villa grounds, but we decided to go out to the village to eat. Like a lot of the places around Lake Como there were plenty of cafes and restaraunts along the shore, with outdoor covered seating.

Image of an outdoor restaraunt under a stone archway
Eating by Lake Como

I bought a shrimp salad and some bruschetta. The bruschetta was only 4.50 Euro so I expected it to be small. When a dish the size of a pizza came I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it. Luckily they were really nice about packing it into a take away container for me, so that was dinner sorted!

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