The Italian Lakes are one of Italy’s most popular travel destinations, so figuring out where to stay in Lake Como means choosing from a multitude of riches.
This region has been a major tourist draw for over a century, so there are plenty of hotels and areas to choose from. Whether you want a glamorous vacation or a more laid-back trip, here are the best places to stay in Lake Como that are perfect for you.
Read Next: Where to Stay In and Near the Italian Lakes
Why You Should Visit Lake Como in 2023
Lake Como is Italy’s third largest lake and one of the most beautiful thanks to its expanse of blue waters and stunning mountain scenery surrounding it.
The beautiful natural landscapes are one of the biggest draws, whether you are an adventure tourist or just want to get the perfect photo of the view. The towns around the lake are also worth a visit, thanks to their picturesque scenery and glamour.
The most popular towns in Lake Como, those that make up the so-called Golden Triangle, are Bellagio, Varenna, and Menaggio. These towns are the core of tourism to Lake Como and where most of the Lake’s most illustrious visitors live.
A walk through those towns is packed with celebrity spottings and looking at jaw-dropping villas old and new. However, it’s not all glitz and glamour.
The lake is massive, and once you leave the most popular central area, you can find plenty of sleepy villages and quieter, more authentic towns. The town of Como has a beautiful historic center and is the center of life in the off-season with year-round cultural events.
The good news is that public transportation around the lake is well-organized, so you can stay in one town and visit the others easily via ferry or bus (or in the case of Brunate, funicular).
Lake Como doesn’t have the reputation for unbridled adventure that some of the other Italian Lakes do, but it has its fair share of opportunities for getting outdoors.
There are a variety of trails through the area’s rugged landscapes, from the gentle Greenway of Lake Como to more rugged multi-day trekking trails that follow old Roman paths. Of course, there’s also the lake itself.
There are several beaches around the lake, including public beaches owned by the local towns or private beach clubs with cabanas and great service. You can also take a boat tour around the lake or to lesser-traveled places on the lake, the perfect way to explore Lake Como.
There is a surprisingly large number of places to visit on Lake Como, which can be hard to narrow down if it is your first time visiting. That is why it is important to get guidance on the right place to stay!
The Best Places to Stay in Lake Como
Our top 5 areas to stay when visiting Lake Como include:
- Bellagio: Best for luxury travel, glamour, and celebrity spotting
- Como: Best for culture and visiting during the off-season
- Varenna: Best for couples and romantic getaways
- Menaggio: Best for families and beating the crowds
- Lecco: Best area for nature and outdoor adventures
Where to Stay in Lake Como: Best Aras & Hotels
Lake Como is one of the most beautiful places in Italy to explore. Here are some towns that you can use as a base while you do so.
1. Where to Stay for Luxury: Bellagio
Bellagio is frequently called “the Pearl of Lake Como,” and once you visit, you’ll see why. This town is one of the most beautiful, and its location at the confluence of Lake Como’s three fingers makes the scenery gorgeous.
Bellagio also got its nickname due to its luminous reputation. For over a century, the town has drawn the rich and famous, and celebrities such as George Clooney own villas in or near the town.
Many amenities in town cater to the well-heeled visitors, such as Michelin-starred restaurants, designer boutiques, and luxury resorts. If you want to feel as if you are being pampered to the maximum, then Bellagio is the place to visit for you.
Bellagio has a very charming historic core that is perfect for photo opportunities. You can wander the colorful streets, visit gardens of famous villas such as Villa Melzi, and get beautiful views of the lake when you climb up the pastel, floral-covered streets.
A visit to Bellagio will certainly be a trip to remember, and your budget will agree.
Although Bellagio has accommodation options for all budgets, it is one of the most expensive towns on Lake Como, which is already a pricey place to visit. If you are traveling on a budget, you can stay in one of the nearby towns and take a day trip to Bellagio.
Things to Do
- Walk along the Lungolago Europa, the town’s scenic promenade along Lake Como, for gorgeous views
- Visit the gardens of Villa Melzi, one of the most spectacular villas around Lake Como
- Walk up to Punto Spartivento for the best views of the lake and the surrounding Alps
Where to Eat
- Have wood-fired pizza and other Italian specialties at La Grotta
- Enjoy some rustic meals with a view at Trattoria Baita Belvedere
- Treat yourself to an elegant high-concept meal at La Terrazza Lake Como
Bellagio Budget Hotels
- Residence La Limonera: This beautiful hotel is set in a three-story building with its own garden and has its own grounds and comfortable rooms close to the town center.
- Residence Il Borgo: At this charming aparthotel, guests get their own apartments with cute design details such as exposed wood beams and a great host experience.
Bellagio Mid-Range Hotels
- Seta Hotel: This elegant boutique hotel welcomes guests with minimalist décor, an in-house restaurant, and a terrace perfect for views of the town.
- Il Poggio di Bellagio: Live out your Italian countryside dreams at this hotel just outside Bellagio with its own pool and gorgeous gardens.
Bellagio Luxury Hotels
- Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni: This historic hotel (dating to the end of the 19th century) has Old World glamorous touches such as a Grand Hall with a glass chandelier, and modern updates such as a state-of-the-art pool.
- Hotel Belvedere: This family-owned luxury hotel has typical luxurious touches such as an amazing spa and panoramic restaurant, but intimate service like you would expect at a family-owned inn.
2. Where to Stay for Culture: Como
The town of Como, bearing the same name as the lake, is not in the Golden Triangle of Bellagio and the surrounding towns.
Although it still gets tourists, the balance of locals to tourists is more in favor of the former than on other parts of the lake, making it a good place to visit if you want a more authentic experience.
Como is a functional town, which means that it operates year-round, not just during the tourist season. Even if you visit during the off season, you’ll be able to find things to do (many other towns around the lake turn into a ghost town in winter).
In the winter, Como even has an adorable little Christmas market. While now tourists focus on Bellagio, historically, Como was the focal point for life around the lake.
That’s why you’ll encounter thousands of years of history in this town. The Como Cathedral’s construction, which lasted from the end of the 14th to the 18th century, spanned much of this history.
Other notable points in the picturesque Old Town include the Romanesque Porta Torre and the Basilica di San Fidele. Como also has one of the best cultural scenes of the towns around the lake.
It is home to unique museums, such as the spectacular Villa Olmo which hosted heads of state including Napoleon and the Volta Temple, dedicated to the local inventor who made the electric battery.
The city is also full of boutiques by independent designers, tony cafes, and restaurants that go beyond regular tourist fare. There is a lot to do in Como, but keep in mind that this is a functional city and one of the largest towns around Lake Como.
Some parts of town won’t be like the picture-perfect Italian towns you’ll find elsewhere around the lake, although there are still beautiful photo opportunities all around.
Things to Do
- Stroll through the Old Town, taking in buildings such as the Como Cathedral
- Visit one of the town’s museums, such as the Volta Temple & Gardens
- Take a funicular up to the village of Brunate, which has the best views of Lake Como
Where to Eat
- Enter the world of fine dining at rooftop spot Sottovoce
- Enjoy traditional fare at down-home place Osteria Gallo
- Try traditional Italian food, including pizza, at Ristorante InTeatro, which has gluten-free options
Como Budget Hotels
- Soleluna Apartments: Enjoy your own space, complete with equipped kitchen and bathroom, right in the center of Como at this aparthotel.
- 73 Boutique Hotel: Guests at this colorful hotel enjoy shade-themed rooms, a relaxing inner courtyard, and attentive staff.
Como Mid-Range Hotels
- Albergo del Duca: This classic Italian inn has delicious breakfast, simple and airy rooms, and a great location close to the center, the train station, and the ferry terminal.
- Palazzo Mazzini: This freshly renovated aparthotel has sleek, modern apartments and provides breakfast for all guests.
Como Luxury Hotels
- DBH – Boutique Hotel Lake Como: This stylish boutique hotel has well-equipped rooms with marble-like walk-in showers, desks, and TVs, plus a breakfast buffet.
- Vista Palazzo: Have your very own palazzo experience in this hotel, which has stylish modern rooms and a panoramic restaurant with unbeatable views of the lake.
3. Best Aras for Couples: Varenna
Beautiful Varenna stands out even among the picturesque towns dotting Lake Como for its picturesque vistas. Its colorful buildings, twisting streets, and jaw-dropping views of the lake make it one of the prettiest towns in Italy.
The whole atmosphere is so romantic that the town is a popular destination for couples, including those on honeymoons. Varenna is so pretty that like Bellagio, it’s long been the site where the rich and famous vacationed.
You can visit some of these historic palaces and villas of yore, such as Villa Monastero, and admire the amazing gardens, interiors, and views the rich vacationers of yore could enjoy.
The best thing to do in town is to just stroll around and take photos or take in the beautiful views. The Varenna Waterfront is the most photogenic part of town because you can get photos of the colorful town and the waters of Lake Como.
There are plenty of beautiful walks, such as the path through the Old Town, and even a special Lover’s Walk, so named because the view along the lakeshore is so beautiful.
Varenna is a great, romantic place to visit, whether you decide to lounge on the beach, walk along the scenic routes, or just have a candlelit dinner in one of the Old Town restaurants. However, don’t expect to have the romantic town to yourself.
It is one of the most popular towns around Lake Como and well connected. thanks to the train and ferry station, so expect crowds, especially in the summer.
Things to Do
- Visit the elegant Villa Monastero and marvel at the riches on display
- Follow one of the scenic walking routes for beautiful views of the colorful town and lake
- Climb up to Vezio Castle for great views and to learn what life in a medieval castle was like
Where to Eat
- Enjoy pasta and aperitifs with a view at Caffe Varenna
- Have a romantic dinner at vegetarian-friendly Il Cavatappi
- Try some of the best gelato in the area at La Passerella
Varenna Budget Hotels
- Bed & Breakfast Il Bolentino Varenna: Guests at this simple B&B can enjoy air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms and a shared breakfast nook.
- Michelangelo B&B: At this B&B, enjoy private rooms with your own TV and complimentary toiletries, plus shared breakfast that you can take on the rooftop terrace.
Varenna Mid-Range Hotels
- Agriturismo Castello di Vezio: At this gorgeous place just outside of Varenna, you will have your run of the grounds, including a pool and bike rentals, and have gorgeous views of the countryside.
- Hotel Du Lac Varenna: This classy hotel has great rooms, a romantic picture window looking out onto the lake, and staff that go above and beyond for guests.
Varenna Luxury Hotels
- Hotel Villa Cipressi: The most famous hotel in town, this elegant old resort retained its classic façade, vintage rooms, and expansive botanical gardens perfect for a honeymoon stroll.
- Hotel Royal Victoria: This stunning hotel is set in a modernized 19th century building and gardens and has modern touches such as a sauna and air-conditioned rooms.
4. Best Area for Families: Menaggio
Menaggio is the odd point out in the Golden Triangle of Lake Como. Although it is just as beautiful as Bellagio and Varenna, it doesn’t receive as many visitors since it is less connected to big cities such as Milan.
This means that even during the summer high season, there will be times where you will have the colorful streets and gorgeous viewpoints all to yourself.
Menaggio has one of the better beaches in the area at the Lido di Menaggio, which has a pool and a beach area for all kinds of fun splashing around.
The town center is small but beautiful, centered around the Piazza Garibaldi and its lively sidewalk café scene. Sitting down for a leisurely meal or gelato and watching the passersby is a great use of your time here.
Menaggio is also one of the most kid-friendly of the Lake Como towns. Besides the Lido, it has other family activities such as a mini-golf course, playground, and natural walks for all levels of physical fitness.
Menaggio is one of the flatter towns along Lake Como (many others such as Bellagio have steep streets and stairs), making it the most stroller-friendly option. Menaggio is perfect for a laid-back vacation in a region that tends to get busy.
However, some more active visitors may find the town boring. It is one of the smaller towns along Lake Como, so there isn’t that much to do. It’s also harder to reach than Varenna or Bellagio, making it a poor choice for a day trip.
Things to Do
- Explore the historic buildings in the Old Town, such as the medieval Church of St. Stephen
- Spend the day splashing around at the Lido di Menaggio
- Head out of town to the Val Sanagra Park, a stunning nature preserve in the mountains
Where to Eat
- Enjoy traditional food with a twist at Il Ristorante di Paolo
- Enjoy an upscale meal at Ristorante Lago
- Take a break from pizza and pasta at Ni Sushi
Menaggio Budget Hotels
- Albergo Il Vapore: This gorgeous hotel is right in the city center and has comfortable rooms and a wisteria-covered terrace perfect for relaxing.
- Hotel Loveno: At this hotel, you can rent bicycles to explore the area, thanks to its location just outside the village, before coming back to clean, air-conditioned rooms.
Menaggio Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Adler: This classy hotel is just outside of Menaggio, offering beautiful views of the village and lake below, plus a garden and pool for enjoying.
- Hotel Bellavista: This elegant hotel is right on Menaggio’s pier, offering gorgeous lake views from the rooms and the pool, plus excellent service and a great restaurant.
Menaggio Luxury Hotels
- Grand Hotel Victoria concept & spa: Get pampered at this Art Nouveau-era hotel, which retains its charm and gardens from the old times but added modern updates such as a spa.
- Hotel Garni Corona: This recently renovated gem is located right on the lake and features fresh, modern rooms, spacious bathrooms, and accommodating staff.
5. Where to Stay for Nature: Lecco
People don’t usually think about adventure tourism or wilderness when they think of Lake Como (other lakes in the Italian Lake, such as Lake Garda, attract more adventurous travelers).
Lecco, on Lake Como’s quieter eastern branch, is the exception. Here, you can easily get into the rugged landscape and choose from a wide variety of outdoor activities.
Lecco’s side of the lake is not as troubled by ferries and cruise ships, meaning that it is perfect for water sports. There are several beaches around the town where you can take a dip, and they are well-maintained with beach chairs and beach bars.
You can also try your hand at other sports such as kayaking or even kite surfing thanks to the many equipment rental shops and tour operators around town. On shore, you can also plan out an active vacation.
Lecco is located in the foothills of the Alps, and there are countless hiking and cycling trails within reach. After you get tired of hiking, you can come back to town, wander around the small but adorable Old Town center, and have an aperitif in the many sidewalk cafes.
Lecco has its own quiet beauty, but it doesn’t have the amenities of the bigger towns on the lake. If you’re not here for the outdoor activities, it may not be worth the trip all the way to the eastern branch of the lake.
Things to Do
- Explore the several lake beaches and get into the cool, pristine waters
- Try your hand at one of the many hiking trails leading out of the town, such as Piani d’Erna Lecco
- Italian literature fans should spot locations from Alessandro Manzoni’s novel The Betrothed!
Where to Eat
- Have to-go pizza from Il Forno di Nonna Pallina
- Enjoy gorgeous pizza and other dishes at Fiore Cucina in Liberta
- Enjoy an upscale meal at Nicolin
Lecco Budget Hotels
- B&B Pescarenico: This simple B&B has comfy rooms with private bathrooms, a balcony with great views of the mountains, and welcoming hosts.
- Albergo Nicolin: This sleek modern hotel has gorgeous, newly renovated rooms and a great in-house restaurant.
Lecco Mid-Range Hotels
- Huonder House: For the perfect amount of space, rent this entire apartment right in the center with WiFi, smart TVs, and spacious bedrooms.
- Hotel Alberi: This family-owned hotel has a great location on the lake, sleek modern rooms and common areas, and organized day trips for guests for additional fees.
Lecco Luxury Hotels
- LUXURY SUITES ROCOPOM – Lake Front: This gorgeous hotel has a quiet lakefront location just outside of Lecco, elegant rooms, and gorgeous terraces and balconies for relaxing.
- NH Lecco Pontevecchio: This modern hotel has everything guests may need, including spacious rooms, a breakfast nook, and even a bicycle room and rentals for those needing adventure.
So, Where Should You Stay in Lake Como?
The area around Lake Como has much to explore. But regardless of the areas in which you choose to stay, visiting Lake Como will be a trip to remember. So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today!