THIS Is The Best Place to Stay in Lake Como


Where to Stay in Lake Como, Italy


Lake Como is one of the most beautiful places in Italy.

It’s inverted ‘Y’ shape lake, stunning waterfront villas, and open air restaurants make it the perfect relaxing place to spend the summer. The best way to properly enjoy Lake Como is to pick an area as your home base and then take advantage of the ferries which traverse the Como villages every day.

For a complete guide to Lake Como’s prettiest towns and suggestions for what to see and do, check out this article.

If you’re looking to narrow down the tough decision for where to stay, keep reading!


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What’s the Best Place to Stay in Lake Como?


The best place to stay on Lake Como is subjective, but I would recommend basing yourself in Varenna, Bellagio or Tremezzo. Before you decide where to sleep, determine what you want to do:



Do you want to just relax and enjoy the charm?

Opt for heavenly luxury at Tremezzo’s famous Grand Hotel.


Do you want to sight see?

For example, you can explore the fabulous villa where Casino Royal and Star Wars were filmed, check out Como’s medieval churches, maybe ride the funicular for aerial views…

In that case, you’ll want to use the Lake Como ferry system and either Bellagio or Varenna would make more sense.





Bellagio or Varenna?

These two towns are the most popular choice for travelers visiting Northern Italy.


Varenna is better connected to greater Italy, as it’s the only town with a train station.

If you do decide to take the train into the Lakes, buy your tickets as early as possible to get the cheapest fare. You can find the train schedules online here.

Varenna also has a beautiful shoreline with restaurants right over the water. In the evenings, it’s really beautiful to watch the sun set by the lakeside cafes and I left feeling Varenna had a gentle, lovely vibe.

 Read more:  Quick Guide: Varenna


Bellagio is better connected to Lake Como’s towns as ferries stop here, criss crossing the lake.

It’s much more hilly, so be prepared for lots of steps, up and down. There are more restaurants and more shops here so it’s bustling in the daytime and I got the vibe that old money Europeans would go wild here.

Bellagio is by far the most famous town of all the villages on Lake Como.

 Read more:  Quick Guide: Bellagio






How much luggage do you have? 

First, make sure to bring sturdy luggage with strong wheels.

If you have lots of bags, I would recommend basing yourself in Varenna. First you have to schlep your bags from Milan to Varenna and hurry to get off the train platform (trains stop for only 1-2 minutes).

If you head onward, you then have to carry your bags through town to the ferry station and onto the crowded boats. Better yet, just leave your luggage at Milano Centrale’s train lockers and bring weekend duffles or carry on backpacks!

 Read more:  A Guide to Italy’s Lake Region






“This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty, with the exception of the arbutus islands of Killarney. It is long and narrow, and has the appearance of a mighty river winding among the mountains and the forests”

– Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1818


Where to Stay in Varenna, Italy

Varenna is the only town to have a train station with a direct route to Milan, so if you’re short on time, stay in Varenna and then do day trips to the other towns along the lake. Milan is under an hour away or you could head north to Switzerland for a day trip.

Meanwhile, ferry services connect the entire region of Lake Como so if you stay in Varenna, you won’t have to worry about dragging your luggage on multiple boats. 

Here are the most popular hotels in Varenna that make for a great base:


1. Villa Cipressi

Villa Cipressi is located near the church, a bit higher than the waterfront so the rooms have excellent views of the lake. It’s an older hotel but incredibly beautiful and the staff is great. If the restaurant is open, try it! It’s known for its food.

The best part of Villa Cipressi is that guests have access to the private gardens which run along the lake. Really amazing gardens that are terraced into the village!


Check prices: TripAdvisor


2. Hotel Olivedo

This affordable hotel is right in front of the ferry terminal at Varenna, making it both convenient and fantastic for people watching! Hotel Olivedo has quieter views of the lake, a tasty restaurant, comfy lounge and decent sized rooms.


Check prices: TripAdvisor


 Read more:  Follow This 7 Day Northern Italy Itinerary






Where to Stay in Bellagio, Italy

Bellagio is paradise for shoppers. It’s more bustling than Varenna, with lots of restaurants, ritzy luxury stores and boutiques. Stay here for more luxurious accommodation. 

Here are the most popular hotels in Bellagio that make for a great base:


3. Hotel Belvedere Bellagio

Perched high on a hill, Hotel Belvedere is a landmark Bellagio hotel that’s famous for its incredible pool, rooftop restaurant and stunning views of greater Lake Como. The rooms are large and airy and you’re pretty much guaranteed to never want to leave!


Check prices: TripAdvisor


4. Hotel du Lac

On the flip side, Hotel du Lac is the perfect place to stay in Bellagio if you want to be in town near all the action. It’s surrounded by great restaurants, boutique shops and close to the ferry so the location is truly fantastic.


Check prices: TripAdvisor


 Read more:  The Prettiest Small Towns in Northern Italy







Luxury Hotels on Lake Como

For a true escape to paradise or for a honeymoon or romantic escape, the spot to stay is Tremezzo.

The town of Tremezzio is dreamy, located right across the lake from Bellagio, with spectacular views and the famous Villa Carlotta. This is also where Lake Como’s most famous luxury hotel is located!


5. Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Treat yourself to a room with a view over Lake Como and Bellagio. Or, splurge on one of eight rooftop suites that come with private terraces and outdoor jacuzzis!

Grand Hotel Tremezzo is a member of Luxury Hotels of the World and well worth the cost, especially if you’re honeymooning in Italy or having a romantic couples getaway.

The property includes a lush garden, 3 heated swimming pools (one of which floats on the lake), and its own private beach exclusively for guests.


Check prices: TripAdvisor


 Read more:  Quick Guide: Lake Maggiore







Airbnbs in Lake Como

If you’re on a budget, skip the hotels and book an Airbnb

Here, locals rent out rooms and villas on the smaller towns that surround Lake Como. Because they’re off the tourist trail, rates are much cheaper, and many have still have great lakeside views!

If you have limited time in Como, say 2 days or less, I would stick with centrally located hotels in the major towns. But, if you have a week or more to spend, these are great options!


6. Brienno Apartment

This clean and comfortable apartment is located in Brienno, and has a pretty balcony that overlooks the lake. Even in peak season, it’s under $200 a night! Brienno is a cute town with a tiny waterfront, lots of churches and a more local vibe. 

Check availability here.


7. Como Airbnb

This quaint villa has a adorable roof terrace and is located in the old town of Carate Urio, right on the lake. The historic home is over 250 years old, but completely renovated with a large living room, open kitchen and terrace. Fits up to 4 guests and is under $150 a night in summer.

Check availability here.


8. Bellagio Airbnb 

Want a million dollar view? Pick this 1930s villa that has views of Lake Como from every room, plus a private terrace. The apartment has been completely renovated with large windows to soak in the great views! This airbnb is located in Bellagio and therefore slightly pricier, at ~$250/night in peak season.

Check availability here.





Where will you stay in Lake Como? Don’t forget to check out the rest of our Italy travel guides below.


Visiting Italy – Trip Planning Checklist

There's so much to see and do in Italy that you can visit again and again and still discover new sights. I recommend concentrating on the big 4 cities (Rome, Venice, Milan & Florence) if it's your first time and then coming back to explore either Northern Italy or Southern Italy in more depth.

Go | Flight prices from the US to Italy are highly seasonal. You can set a fare alert here to be notified of discounts. Every fall & winter, I've seen great deals to Milan. One word of caution: avoid Alitalia at all costs!

Getting Around | A convenient way to explore Italy is via high speed train. You can search train schedules and book online here. Buy your tickets in advance to save on fares. Make sure to validate your ticket on the platform!

It also helps to speak a little Italian. Brush up on your Italian language skills with Rosetta Stone. You can take 10% off with promo code CJBT10.

Stay | Book hotels in advance to save, or check here for last minute deals. Many hotels in Italy are older so don't be surprised if even 5 star accommodation feels slightly dated. Opt for a room with a view instead of breakfast, as Italians don't eat breakfast in the same way Americans do and you'll probably be disappointed with their offering.

Alternatively, groups or budget travelers can check out Airbnb

Protect | Lastly, be sure to visit Italy with travel insurance. Whether you get injured and need to be hospitalized, your phone gets stolen, or a flight delay leaves you with nothing but the clothes on your back, travel insurance will help when you need it most.

A rail strike occurred during our trip, unexpectedly shutting down transportation for an entire day. Get a quote for your Italy trip here.


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Plan Your Trip: Travel Guide

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Quick Guides: The Best RestaurantsPopular Hiking Trails

Inspiration: Photo Diary of the 5 Villages


The Italian Lakes

Exploring Lake Como: Travel Guide & Where to Stay

Quick Guides to: Varenna, Bellagio & Villa del Babianello

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  1. David
    May 30, 2018 / 7:16 am

    Wow! Amazing places. Lake Como has amazing scenery.

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