A Romantic Getaway to Lake Como

Advisor - Jess Gervickas
Curated By

Jess Gervickas

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  • Italy

  • Lake Como

  • Beaches

  • Couples Travel

  • Slow Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Honeymoons

  • Luxury Travel

  • Slow Travel

  • Boats

  • Romantic

  • Sightseeing

Seaside outdoor patio of Lido restaurant in Lake Como, Italy on a sunny day.
Curator’s statement

On the border of Switzerland and Italy, Lake Como combines the surreal beauty of the Swiss Alps with the quintessential Italian experience: world-renowned cuisine and wine steeped in the tradition of its welcoming locals. The impossibly blue waters are situated between soaring mountains dotted with Italian cypress, colorful villages, and opulent villas. Envision your days Aperol Spritz in hand, exploring the lake via private boat or from the shores of a luxurious Lido. This relaxing and romantic getaway offers an escape from some of the more crowded summer destinations in Italy, the perfect way to experience la dolce vita.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay

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Grand Hotel Tremezzo

An iconic accommodation sitting on the western shores of Lake Como with three pools, a lakeside private beach, and a lavish private park.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

il Sereno Hotel

Lake Como's most contemporary luxury mainstay, with a dazzling infinity pool suspended over the water.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Filario Hotel & Residences

Former wire factory recycled to a gorgeous luxury resort with an infinity pool and a private beach that stands out amongst the villas.

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Advisor - Jess Gervickas

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Things to do

Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como from afar on a sunny day.


Take in Como the way it was meant to be experienced, out on the glistening waters of the lake itself. There is no better vantage point than laying on the deck of a private boat. While you will inevitably end up on the ferries hopping from charming town to town, don't miss the experience of having the freedom to explore at your own pace. 

While private captained boat tours can be as luxurious as you desire (with a price tag to match), you can easily rent a private boat to drive yourself for less than most places in the states would charge. Depending on where you are based, Nautic Planet has locations in both Menaggio and Tremezzina to rent affordable motorboats by the hour. In true Italian fashion, they don't require a boating license, so you'll be off faster than you can say ciao! Enjoy the exhilarating feeling of being out on the open waters before navigating over to the iconic Villa Balbianello. Since this is such a popular villa for tourists to visit, (thanks to its features in Star Wars, Casino Royale, and its pure beauty alone) a nice alternative for a more intimate experience is to pull your boat up close and marvel at the beautiful gardens from the water. Continue south down the west leg of the lake to the picturesque town of Nesso.  (Think ivy-covered waterfront buildings, an arched stone bridge, and a waterfall.) 

If it's opulence you're after, opt for a 2-hour private Riva boat tour. Designed by Carlo Riva in 1962, these classic Italian motorboats are the Ferrari of the water, clad in cedar and mahogany, the ultimate boat of choice for the glamorous (Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor come to mind). Enjoy a bottle of prosecco at sunset for a truly special experience, it doesn't get more romantic than this. 


A Lido is a private beach club in Italy, and an Italian summer wouldn't be complete without sunbathing waterside or lounging under a cabana. 

The sun-soaked Lido di Bellagio is a gem in midst of peak tourist season. Board a ferry to Bellagio (as I would not recommend staying here) and skip over the crowded central part of town. Take the lakeside walk down Via Lungo Lario Marconi, overflowing with bougainvillea and scenic benches that beg for a photo op before making your way to the beach club. The entrance fee for the Lido is surprisingly small for the elevated experience offered. Sit lakeside on a sun lounger over the golden sand while sipping a limoncello spritz, then cool off by stepping directly from the Lido's ladder into the lake. There are few places you are actually allowed to swim in Lake Como, so if you're going to take the plunge, this is the place to do it. There's no need to leave your relaxed state as you can wander up to the terrace restaurant for fresh seasonal tartare and Caprese salad or a heartier tomato Gnocci. The Lido turns DJ disco club by night and plays host to many private events and weddings. 

(Insider tip: Be sure to check ahead that the Lido is open to the public the day you are planning to go so you don't end up having to take a ferry to a different town in search of another.)

Other recommended Lido's: 

  • If you're staying in the exclusive Cernobbio region, look no further than Lido di Cernobbio for the adults-only pool overlooking the lake. The restaurant spins out gourmet pizzas and the DJ set beings at 7pm, just in time for their poolside apertivo. 

  • For a more laid-back beach experience, head to Lido di Lenno for sunbathing in the fairytale scenery. 


If it's your first time visiting Lake Como, it's best to stay in Centro Lago (the lake's center) as there are ferries running all day and evening into some of the most visited towns of the region, whisking you across the lake in about 15 minutes. This makes it very easy to explore much of what Como has to offer without a car. However, if you are returning and looking to experience a different side of Como, head southeast to Lecco for true authentic Italian hospitality in the local's favorite corner of the lake. 

(Insider tip: Don't stay in the town of Como at the base of the lake as you'll miss the most stunning vistas and you are 1-hour speed ferry away from Centro Lago. The ferries run on Italian time which means they are late more often than not. If you need to stay closer to Como town, choose Cernobbio.)

When one thinks of Lake Como, they probably picture Varenna, its colorful buildings seemingly expanding across the steep coastal cliffs as you arrive via ferry. No trip to Como is complete without wandering through its winding, cobbled alleys and staircases (best experienced with gelato in hand). Book a reservation at a small family-run spot for dinner, but leave the rest of your time in Varenna open to discovery. You'll want to take your time with the views you find around each corner, inviting you to get lost. Go for a lakeside promenade on Passeggiata Delgi Innamorati ("Walk of Lovers") or spend an afternoon in the botanical gardens of Villa Cipressi. 

Even if you're not staying in the small town of Tremezzino, a visit to Villa Carlotta for the museum boasting a collection of works from sculptors and painters amidst the botanical gardens would make for an afternoon well spent. Next door, don't miss the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in all its Art Nouveau palazzo splendor (the restaurant and bar are open to non-hotel guests with advanced reservations). End your afternoon with aperitivo at the luxurious T-bar overlooking their iconic floating pool.


When in Rome (or Como), do as the Italians do in almost every region of the country and sit down for Aperitivo. This tradition of drinks with a lingering, light meal pre-dinner is more than just a happy hour. This is a quintessential Italian experience you'll want to take part in, as enjoying each other's company over food is one of the biggest expressions of their culture. Meals take a different pace in Italy, one that is meant to be enjoyed over hours. Aperitivo is generally from 7pm - 9pm with dinner starting around 8 or 9pm.

(Insider tip: some restaurants in Como do tend to close earlier than other areas of Italy, so plan dinners accordingly.)

Places to eat & drink

View of Villas in Lake Como and landscaped gardens by the lake and boats right before sunset.


Pasticceria Poletti (Cernobbio): Order an espresso and a croissant at this local favorite. And don't forget to try the pistachio pastries, each one is as delicious as the next. 

Verenna Cafe Bistrot (Varenna): For Italian café culture steps from the lake with fresh fruit and prosciutto. 

Bar Impero (Griante): If you're looking for a place to sip espresso before adventuring out for the day, this small family-owned spot will give you your own peaceful table next to the water to enjoy it. 


Il Cavatappi (Varenna): Pasta with duck ragu and swordfish in pesto are the stars here at this modest trattoria serving regional dishes. Be sure to taste the unmissable tiramisu. 

Varenna Mon Amour (Varenna): Reserve one of the three tables in the cobbled alley for a romantic dinner at sunset. The colors of the buildings come alive and frame a perfect view of the lake to accompany eggplant parmesan, lamb chops, and seafood pasta. 

Red and White Wine Bar (Tremezzino): Simple and delicious Northern Italian home-cooking served by the friendliest staff. If you're looking for a true Italian dinner, (4-5 courses paired with wine, comprised of antipasto: appetizers, primo: pizza or pasta, secondo: a meat-focused dish, and of course, dolce) you can order it all to your hearts desire here for an unbeatable price.  


Alle Darsene di Loppia (Bellagio): Dine outside under the pergola next to Villa Melzi D'Eril and enjoy a fresh local crudo meal with a pairing from their extensive wine list.

Materia (Cernobbio): Named to "The World's 50 Best Restaurants", the chef fuses regional traditions of Lombardy cuisine with techniques drawn from his time in Asia. The menu focuses on seasonal ingredients, spices, and herbs grown in the restaurant's very own greenhouse.


Harry's Bar (Cernobbio): Linger in the buzzy atmosphere under the veranda for an Aperol Spritz or two. 


Riva (Varenna): Lemon, pistachio, hazelnut... you can't go wrong at this waterside gelateria. 

Gelateria del Borgo (Bellagio): Skip the long gelato lines by the ferry and take a little climb to what is often said to be the best gelato in Lake Como. For chocolate lovers, you can't beat the rich Cioccolato Fondente.

Advisor - Jess Gervickas

Travel Advisor

Jess Gervickas

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