3 day Lake Como itinerary

3 day Lake Como itinerary

Imagine waking up to swaying curtains on your balcony overlooking the mountain-edged Lake Como. You’ve probably heard all about the beauty of Lake Como. Maybe you’ve seen pictures. And maybe you wonder is it just a bunch of wealthy people visiting? Can you travel here affordably? What should you do? Let’s talk about it all! Read this 3 day Lake Como itinerary.

For some other Italy inspiration posts check these out:

Why you should add Lake Como to your Italy itinerary

Let’s just highlight a few reasons why you should add Lake Como to your Italy itinerary. There are sooooo many reasons. But I just want to highlight a few of our favorite things about Lake Como.

Natural beauty

If you’ve seen the pictures — you know! But being there in-person is even more breathtaking than you can prepare for. This was what we enjoyed about Lake Como the most. We could wake up every day with a stunning view and try to decipher: should we sit on our balcony soaking in this view, or should we go explore down the winding, cobblestone streets between the fields opening up to the lake?

These decisions were so tough — because you can’t go wrong!!

Adds variation to your Italy trip

I loved having Lake Como as one part of our 2-week northern Italy trip. It was fun to add some variation to all the places we went in Italy. We explored and walked around the little towns outside of Bellagio — that added a unique perspective to what we would see on the rest of our trip:

Florence characterized by art, Cinque Terre known for it’s rugged hiking and quaint seaside fishing villages, and the arid, hot Tuscany sipping delicious wines.

We came across some abandoned homes near Lake Como that we daydreamed about restoring and owning.

There is SO much more to Lake Como than what some people think of: wealth, villas, and luxury.

Great walking

We stayed at a hotel up the hill from Bellagio. We could walk into town in about 20 minutes. And our favorite part of the day was walking down the various cobblestone paths that were available to us.

One was more of a local path that hardly had anyone on it. It brought us through fields where we saw some families farming, by an abandoned stone house that we daydreamed about owning 😉 and through small towns with men visiting with an espresso in the morning.

There is lots of beautiful walking that can happen around Lake Como — whether that’s going around to the different lake towns and walking around the shops, or walking down to some of the beaches.

Romantic

There’s just a romantic vibe here! There is all over Italy, but especially at Lake Como. And by saying romantic, I don’t mean you have to do it with a romantic partner.

It’s romantic in the sense that it’s a special place to daydream and appreciate the small beauties of life.

3 day Lake Como itinerary

Okay, so now let’s talk about what you should do for 3 days at Lake Como, Italy!

Accommodation

First, let’s touch on accommodation!

On central Lake Como there are 3 seaside towns: Bellagio, Vernazza, and Menaggio. On the southwest corner of Lake Como — you have the town of Como. I am most familiar with the central region. And this is actually what I would recommend.

This is a great central location to access all parts of the lake. Plus, you can easily visit three pretty different towns.

After that, I would actually recommend finding a place that isn’t right in-town. This is because those 3 towns get extremely touristy… You might be less likely to have that quaint, romantic vibe you’re probably looking for.

We stayed at Hotel Il Perlo Panorama. With 9.1 stars on Booking.com, this place was a steal!!!!

I would highly recommend this hotel. We booked well in advance and got a great deal on a corner room with a private balcony on the third floor. Our view was SPECTACULAR!!! If you’ve read my other Italy posts you probably are sick of hearing this lol.

Hotel Il Perlo Panoramo is situated up the hill from Bellagio. It caters to bicyclists (who are abundant around this part of Italy). You can rent bikes here and go on tours. We didn’t take advantage of this, but they try to keep their pricing affordable.

They have a spectacular veranda where you can sip your morning coffee or your late evening drink. There is a restaurant where you get breakfast included or you can make reservations for dinner.

We took advantage of this multiple times, because the downside of this location is that it’s tough to walk into town for dinner. But it ultimately didn’t matter, because we preferred ending our day close to our room with an incredible and relaxing view.

I will say, the amenities here are decent. If you’re looking for high-end room-service, central AC, and a modern mini-fridge, you might not find it here. But in my opinion, you get so much more!

With a quick search on Booking.com, here are some other places you might consider: La Baia apartment, Taronico apartments, or Villa Vitali for something more spendy.

Day 1: Bellagio

Morning

Soak in a view! If you have it at your hotel, just soak it in. Eat breakfast at your hotel/accommodation, sip your espresso and take it all in.

Mid morning, take a leisurely walk towards Bellagio. Take your time and get lost in the walk ways! If you see a cafe on the way, stop for an espresso or cappuccino.

Continue on and make your way into Bellagio.

Afternoon

Find a place to get some lunch. And you might even consider a more “street-food” experience if you want to save money. Most lunches we got pizza and took it out to eat on the street while we people-watched.

Bellavita was our favorite. You could even get a mini bottle of wine for 2 euros to take with you. It was the perfect lunch!

After a leisurely lunch, walk around Bellagio. Stop at some of the stores, get some souvenir shopping out of the way, find a bottle of wine to enjoy later, and grab some gelato.

Stop at the Basilica of San Giacomo in town. It’ll take a few minutes, but it’s a peaceful piece of history that is interesting to observe.

After an afternoon of exploring Bellagio, make your way back up to your hotel — slowly walking up the incline.

Give yourself some time to rest before dinner

Evening

After resting and cooling off after a day exploring in the warm weather, head down to the hotel’s large patio and enjoy an aperitivo (pre-dinner drink), taking in the view.

Have dinner at the restaurant overlooking the lake. Enjoy the delicious food and dessert before calling it a day.

Day 2: Ferry pass

Morning

Take your time soaking in the view from your balcony. Enjoy some breakfast and start your walk into town.

When you get into Bellagio, go to the ferry ticket office. Get yourself(ves) an all-day ticket so that you can spend the day hopping around the middle part of the lake.

We looked into doing a boat tour but they can be quite pricey. A day on the ferries is actually a really great alternative. The tickets are cheap, but you get some phenomenal views from the water. I highly recommend doing this.

First stop is Varenna. Varenna is a really beautiful little town. It was probably our favorite of the three! It can also get quite touristy, but it’s worth it to walk around the town. Find a little place to get some lunch. We just found a street-food style place for focaccia sandwiches and rose.

How can life get better than this….??!

Afternoon

After enjoying lunch head to Villa Monastero and get some tickets to walk around the villa gardens and museum. The tickets don’t cost much and this is one of the most iconic villas on the lake.

I knew I wanted us to visit 1 villa while we were there and after some research, we found that this was the most ideal. It’s right in-town so you don’t have to travel far. But it’s also stunning!

We spend a couple hours walking around the gardens, exploring the museum, and taking pictures!

After a villa visit catch a ferry to the third town, Menaggio.

Menaggio is a little quieter and more accessible. It’s not as hilly and has an ease to it. Make sure you get some gelato while you walk around town.

Take a ferry back to Bellagio and then slowly make your walk back up to your hotel to wash up for the evening.

Evening

And you know what to do! End your day with an aperitivo on the hotel terrace soaking in the view, followed by dinner and dessert, and then sitting on your room balcony before calling it a day.

Day 3: Beach day

Morning

As your last morning at Lake Como, decide how leisurely you want it to be. You could enjoy coffee from your room balcony for hours with a good book if you’d like.

Otherwise, after breakfast and espresso, go for a nice walk to take pictures

Afternoon

Before heading out to grab lunch, make sure you put your bathing suit on! Walk into town for a quick lunch and then head to the beach for the day. You can find information on Lake Como beaches here. After a couple days of exploring you might have already identified one you want to go to.

Make sure you bring flip-flops or a water shoe. Beaches all around Lake Como are very rocky and pebbly. Pack a book or a podcast, jump in the water and soak in the sun for the afternoon.

Evening

For your final evening, head back to your hotel, take a shower, and head down to the terrace for your final drink with a view.

Trust me: you won’t want it to end!!

Enjoy dinner and dessert and embrace the bedroom balcony that you will surely miss.

If you haven’t noticed, we like to have room in our itineraries to soak in the views and process all the small moments. We don’t cram lots of things in.

Whether you’re like this or not, I hope you find some inspiration in this 3 day Lake Como itinerary!

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