Lake Como is surrounded by many pittoresque villages. You can find hotels and stay pretty much anywhere along the lake, but since the towns are not that big and if you want to have at least more than one or two options for restaurants you should stay in one of the bigger villages. There are busses going north and south along the lake, but renting a car in Italy is easy and quite cheap and will provide you with more freedom, for example take a day trip to St. Moritz.
Hotels & Accomodation
Il Sereno Lago Di Como. A contemporary, new development where no expense has been spared. Particularly great interior design by Patricia Urquiola using natural materials and custom furniture that makes it a calm retreat and a classic Lake Como resort for the 21st century. It got lots of headlines for its design when it opened in 2016. http://www.lhw.com/hotel/Il-Sereno-Lago-di-Como-Torno-Italy
CastaDiva Resort & Spa. An historic villa forms the core for a contemporary take on an opulent style. http://www.castadivaresort.com/
Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Located in Tremezzo, next to Villa Carlotta is an Art Nouveau hotel of high class. The hotel has their own parking right in front of the hotel, pool deck in the lake and sunbeds on an artificial beach. Via Regina, 8, Tremezzo, Lake Como. http://www.grandhoteltremezzo.com/en/home
Grand Hotel Cadenabbia. A private villa turned into a hotel, located on the main road on the west coast of lake Como. Very easy access to the ferries to take you to the other cities in the heart of lake Como, such as Bellagio or Varenna. Via Regina, 1, Cadenabbia, Lake Como. http://www.grandhotelcadenabbia.it/eng
Hotel Britannia Excelsior. A bit cheaper hotel located in Cadenabbia, with several bars and restaurants and the hotel offers three all-inclusives packages. The hotel itself is not particualarly impressing, crowded with buss-loads of British pensior tourists and everything else very standard and not much luxury. However, if the hotel experience itself is not the goal of your lake Como trip, this hotel has a good location right next to the ferry station in Cadenabbia which has ferries going across the lake (including ferries for cars) several times an hour throughout the day. The hotel also offers a nice pool area, which not that many hotels around the lake have, so if sunbathing is part of your check list, this hotel might be an option if looking for a cheaper stay than at the Tremezzo Grand Hotel. Rooms from 130 Euro/night or from 140/night for a lake view. Via Regina 41, Cadenabbia, Lake Como. http://www.hotelbritanniacadenabbia.com
Eat & Drink
Mistral. Contemporary molecular gastronomy in Bellagio. One of two restaurants in the area with a Michelin star. Set menu €170. Via Roma, 1 Bellagio. http://www.ristorante-mistral.com/eng/
Barchetta. Located in one of the small roads in Bellaggio this restaurant has two different levels but a shared kitchen. Be sure to take the stairs to the upper one for the fine dining experience. Salita Mella 13, Bellagio, Lake Como. http://www.ristorantebarchetta.com/en/
Hotel Ristorante La Dorsena. Great combination of a historic building with contemporary interior at a waterfront location with high class cuisine to match, sophisticated and comforting at the same time. Mains €20-26. Via Regina 3, Tremezzo, Lake Como. https://www.ladarsena.it/en
Ristorante Belle Isole. Most restaurants around Lake Como offers more or less the same menu with the typical antipastis, primi, secondi and pizzas for the same amount of money. It is therefore worth to visit the restaurants who does this better than the others. In the area around Cadenabbia and Tremezzo, Ristorante Belle Isole is a good choice, with a nice little garden to sit in, and real table clothes (not in paper as other places have). Here you’ll get a Spaghetti Carbonara for 10 Euro and a pizza for around 8 Euro. They’re serving lunch from 12.00-14.30 and dinner from 18.00-22.30, but in between they also have a snack menu where you can order a toast for 5 Euro, preferably with a Insalata Caprese and you have a quick and easy lunch. Via Regina, 25, Cadenabbia, Lake Como. http://www.ristorantebelleisole.it/
Agriturismo La Selvaggia. For pure, local food, this is the place to go. Only a multi-course menu served and reservations are strongly advised. Located in the hills above Mandello Del Lario. ~ca. €50 for two including wine. Via S. Maria, Mandello del Lario. http://www.laselvaggia.it/
Alle Darsene. Modern techniques and presentation based on traditional mediterranean cuisine. Mains €18-20. Via Melzi d’Eril 1, Bellagio. http://www.ristorantedarsenediloppia.com/en
Albergo Silvio. Mains €16-21. Via P. Carcano 10-12 Bellagio. http://www.bellagiosilvio.com/ristorante-silvio.html
If shopping is what you’re after you should head to Milano instead of Lake Como. There are a few small stores in most of the towns, but they are mostly touristy.
Bellagio has a few more stores, than most of the other towns and it’s nice to stroll around the town but more so due to the cozy streets than the variety of stores. The area is however known for it’s silk, so while around you can find some nice scarfs.
Villa Carlotta. The villa was built in the late 19th century and the museum holds both some furniture of the era as well as paintings and sculptures, but what really makes this worth a visit is the garden. From a rainforest valley to a bamboo area, this garden is bigger than you might think from the outside and is absolutely lovely to walk around in.
Greenway del Lago. A good way to explore Lake Como is to hike the Greenway del Lago, starting in Colonno and then continuing to Griante along the western shore and ends up in Cadenabbia. The hike, or walk, is around 10 km and will take about three and a half hours at a leisure pace. Read more about the hike in our article about Exploring Lake Como.