Lake Como shoreline

Our guide to Lake Como, Italy: Boat tours, floating pools and James Bond.

Shaped like an upside-down Y, Lake Como snakes its way through Italy’s northern region of Lombardy. Sitting at the base of The Alps and labelled as the third-largest lake in Italy, Lake Como’s deep blue water and stunning vistas has captured the hearts of many travellers, many of whom return to discover more of it as the years pass. As well as the unique experiences available to families, couples and solo travellers on trips to Lake Como in Italy, our favourite resorts in Lake Como serve as the perfect place to reside in while visiting the area, boasting glamorous marble bathrooms, floating pools and waterfront balconies. Read our guide below to find out our favourite experiences, where to visit and where to stay on your Italian trip here.

Boat tour of Lake Como
Villa Balbianello, James Bond

Private boat tour around Lake Como

Aboard your private Riva yacht, you’ll take to the glistening water with a local guide to explore Lake Como. Backed by the Italian Alps and lined with pretty pine trees, boat tours of Lake Como are the perfect way to soak up the panoramic views and get an introduction to the area. Dating back to the last Ice Age, you’ll learn all about Lake Como’s fascinating history as you glide past waterside villages, elegant estates and Comacina Island. Our favourite pit-stop on this tour is at the romantic Villa del Balbianello as seen in the 007 film, Casino Royale. Perched on the tip of Dosso d’Avedo peninsula, you’ll get the chance to follow in the footsteps of James Bond as you wander the glamorous gardens of the 16th-century estate. Back on the motorboat, you’ll make your way to a remote corner of Lake Como for a secluded picnic packed with all your favourite snacks and a bottle of champagne.

Hiking in Lake Como
Lake Como by private helicopter

Hiking the ancient Sentiero del Viandante trail in Lake Como

Measuring 45km in length and dating back to Roman times, the ancient trail of Sentiero del Viandante is scattered with captivating castle ruins and alive with wild flora and fauna. Best split into a couple of sections throughout your stay, our favourite stretch is from Bellano to Varenna due to its breathtaking scenery and peacefully quiet path. After the initial incline up to Vezio Castle, often said to be the most strenuous part too, the old mule track levels out, making for a leisurely and picturesque walk along Lake Como’s eastern shore. In between the old stone walls, olive groves and traditional farmhouses, this seven-kilometre hike offers many bird watching viewpoints and picnic pit stops from which you can admire the stunning views.  

Italy Lake District tour via private helicopter

This morning your pilot will whisk you away on a private helicopter flight over the Lombardy section of Italy’s Lake District, finishing with a gourmet dinner on the sunlit shores of Lake Maggiore. Soaring high above the ground, you’ll get the perfect birds-eye view of Lake Como, Lugano, Maggiore and the smaller surrounding lakes. If you wish to see more of the Lake District, we can arrange for your pilot to fly you east for a day trip to Lake Garda, the country’s largest lake. In the surrounding towns of Lake Garda it’s easy to get lost in the history of ancient castles, sip on wine at local wineries and sunbathe on the beautiful beaches.

Curious about Lake Como?

Private boat tours on Lake Garda, sunset hikes along Lake Como’s shores and champagne picnics on Comacina Island; these are just some of our favourite lake experiences in Italy. Click below to start planning your bespoke trip to Italy’s lakes or scroll down to see our top hotels in Lake Como.


Elegance at Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Standing glamorously on Lake Como’s western shore, Grand Hotel Tremezzo is among our favourite hotels in northern Italy due to its stunning location and elegant antique furnishings. With lake-view suites offering butler service, an outdoor hot tub and a private terrace, candlelit dinners on your balcony are the norm. After a morning spent strolling around the beautiful botanic gardens at Villa Carlotta just down the road, head back for an afternoon of relaxation in the hotel’s spa or a swim in the floating pool. In the evening as the sun slowly sets over the Grigne mountains, Tremezzo’s roof terrace acts as the perfect setting to enjoy some fresh ravioli and a bottle of bubbly. 

Stay in style at Il Sereno

Sitting on the lakefront in the postcard-perfect town of Torno is Il Sereno, one of Lake Como’s most modern hotels. Boasting 30 elegant suites, each features floor to ceiling windows looking out over the beautiful lake, allowing the sun to pour through in the early morning.  In between a soak in the freestanding bathtub and a photograph over your waterfront balcony, the 60-foot-long infinity pool and Michelin-star restaurant await your arrival downstairs. Freshly caught fish from the lake, a seven-course tasting menu and world-class Italian wines; what more could you want?

Grand Hotel Tremezzo
Il Sereno hotel

All things marble at Mandarin Oriental

One mile from Il Sereno Hotel in the small village of Blevio lies the lavish 19th-century villa, Mandarin Oriental. Laced with contemporary decor and marble mantlepieces, it will soon become evident as to why the Mandarin Oriental played home to many Italian opera stars. Choosing from the gorgeous array of rooms, suites, penthouses and villas you’ll be met with fresh flowers, sunken bathtubs and plush king-size beds. After a traditional massage in the wellness spa and some al fresco dining on the lakefront, it’s time to explore the lake via seaplane.

Interested by Italy?

Whether it’s a boat trip on Lake Como, a walking tour of Leonardo da Vinci’s work in Milan or a morning at Gladiator School in Rome; we’ve scoured the corners of Italy to bring you the most bespoke and engaging experiences possible. Check out all our Italian itineraries and get planning your bespoke trip.