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Stretching over 20 miles amid the pine-laden foothills of the Italian Alps, the enchanting Lake Como has been a destination of choice for aristocrats, nobles, and socialites alike since its Roman rule in the first century. Picture-postcard towns and bustling cities frame its turquoise shores, steeped in history and filled with quaint Italian cafes, boutiques, and vibrant flower displays - it’s no wonder why so many A-listers choose to spend their summers beside the glittering shores of this magnificent lake.
The beauty of this region is that it holds something for every kind of visitor; keen foodies will delight in the many high-end and authentic Italian restaurants, historians have centuries of antiquity to uncover, while sun-seekers can soak up both the sights and the glorious Mediterranean sunshine on the beaches of Spiaggia di Lierna and Spiaggia Tranquilla.
In our guide to Lake Como, we’ve shared our favourite destinations and eateries - why not take a look?
From film-famous villas to ancient cathedrals, there’s so much to discover along the shores of this stunning lake. One of the loveliest ways to while away an afternoon is with a visit to Villa del Balbianello. Constructed in the late 16th century and renowned for its beautifully terraced gardens, Villa del Balbianello is well worth the steep hike up to its gates. From Casino Royale to Star Wars, this villa has been the setting for many feature films over the years, and for very good reason. Every single corner of this beautiful residence boasts panoramic views across the shimmering waters of Lake Como and the verdant mountains beyond.
Nestled on the western shores of Lake Como, Isola Comacina is a tiny wooded island that will enchant you from the moment you step off the boat. Once the home of a small collective of Belgian artists, it now offers a cafe and a delightful little restaurant that has stuck to the same menu for many years - Locanda dell'Isola Comacina. Don’t let it put you off, though. While it may lack the finesse of Como’s fine dining establishments, the atmosphere, and the spectacular lakeside views make it an extra-special place to enjoy a laidback lunch.
If you’re planning on taking your walking boots along with you, the valleys and meadows of Valsassina are the perfect setting for a day’s hike. Rich in resources, the land has provided metals and minerals for the locals for centuries while the pastures are used for dairy production - be sure to look out for the provincial cheeses while picking up supplies from the local grocery stores. Robiola and Taleggio are some of the most popular - as well as being incredibly delicious.
Known by the locals as Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, Como Cathedral is an impressive 13th-century cathedral set within the bustling city streets of Como. Over four centuries in the making, the architecture is absolutely stunning - both inside and out. Often regarded as being less crowded than many of the other cathedrals in the region, it is certainly worth stopping by for a moment of peace and quiet while exploring Como.
The surrounding region of Lombardy is filled with an array of charming towns and villages - many of which can be found right at the shores of Lake Como.
Head down to the southern forks of the lake and you’ll find Bellagio nestled in between them - a vibrant village lined with pretty streets, colourful homes, and one-of-a-kind boutiques selling local foods and perfumes.
A little further south is Nesso, a quaint village divided by the Orrido di Nesso - a famous gorge that runs underneath its Romanesque bridge. A delightful location that often misses the usual tourist traffic, it’s a lovely place to stop and enjoy the sheer serenity of this tiny village for a couple of hours.
Just a ten-minute drive from the bustle of Como, Cernobbio is a scenic town set on the foothills of Monte Bisbino. Home to many of the most popular attractions and eateries in the area, you’re bound to stop by here at least once during your stay.
From the tantalizing aromas of a freshly-made ragù to the soft, yet slightly crisp crunch of a classic stonebaked pizza - Italian cuisine needs little introduction, and where better to experience the authentic flavours of Italy than beside the rippling waters of Lake Como?
Whether you are looking for a light bite to satisfy your cravings or a full three-course banquet, the picturesque towns and cities surrounding the lake are home to a spectacular selection of Michelin featured restaurants; each with their own unique take on delicious Italian classics.
Attaining a coveted feature in the 2022 MICHELIN Guide Italy, Casa Perrotta Restaurant offers traditional Italian dishes with a modern twist. Set within the scenic comune of Cernobbio, its low-lit and minimalist interior is a lovely setting for a date night. There’s a big focus on meat and fish dishes, with each one paired to the perfect glass of white or red from their extensive and very impressive wine menu.
A celebration of Lombardy's produce, Feel Como is a refined eatery in the heart of Como. The talented head chef, Federico Beretta, has created a menu that encompasses the natural surroundings of this beautiful region - the woodlands, the lakes, and the meadows. With its stone arches and warm lighting, the restaurant itself has a real cosy and rustic feel - a great spot for lunch or an indulgent three-course dinner. There aren’t too many tables and they often fill up fast, so it’s always worth booking ahead to secure your place.
Set within a 15th-century palace in the city of Como, the Michelin-starred I Tigli in Theoria offers an exceptional dining experience. Grab a seat next to the open kitchen and watch the talented chefs at work or head outside and enjoy the evening’s balmy temperatures in the restaurant’s cosy courtyard - each dining space is elegant and intimate.
At onefinestay, we offer our guests an exclusive and comprehensive range of concierge services. Tailored to your exact requirements, these services can help to make your stay as carefree and memorable as it should be. From private chef services and in-villa spa treatments to the arranging of sailing and diving experiences, your personal Travel Advisor will guide you through all your available options. We organise everything before your arrival, so all you need to do is simply turn up and enjoy.
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