by Karen Quinn, Jul 30 2019
You’ve surely heard of Lake Como in Italy, home to many paparazzi shy celebs, opulent mansions and the kind of Italian charm most of us have dreamt about for years. But is it possible to visit in just one day?
Even when you have little ones to slow you down, a trip to Lake Como in the Lombardy region of Italy is always worth it. We only had one day for our visit and still feel like we managed to cover off most of the city of Como.
How to get to Como from Milan
I recommend arriving early (but not too early that you get caught in commuter traffic). We were based in Milan and hopped on the train to Como San Giovanni Railway Station. The journey will take just under an hour and should cost less than €5. Italian trains tend to be clean and comfortable and we didn’t find it too busy, there were plenty of free seats.
You can check train times and prebook your tickets on Trainline
You could also get the train to Lago Como but the walk down to the lake from the top station was well worth the extra 10 minute walk.
On leaving the station, walk down the steps and you’ll see the Monumento ai Caduti per Servicio or Giant hands statue, dedicated to disabled service people, such a pretty start to the day! Continue down towards the Lake and you’ll pass some cute squares, churches and restaurants.
We stopped in Piazza Alessandro Volta for a coffee and to people watch for a while. The atmosphere was relaxed and the coffee was strong.
Fueled up for our day we continued on down to the lake, there’s just something so peaceful about large expanses of water, even though the closer you get to the water, the busier it gets, it never felt too crowded like central Milan or Pisa, the city is big enough to accommodate the many holiday makers who visit.
Swimming in Como
Piper was desperate to swim in Como, she loves open water swimming and I had hoped we would find somewhere she could take a quick dip. Unfortunately, the town of Como is not the place to do this but do bring a towel and change of clothes, there’s a splash park near the lake and if the weather’s good, little ones are bound to want to cool down in the fountains.
If you do want to swim in the Lake and have a little more time than we did then there are plenty of options, you could try one of the many beaches, the one in Bellagio is probably the most popular or visit a lido such as the Lido of Argegno. Lake Como Travel has a great list of places to swim around Lake Como.
Near the splash fountains there’s a small kids playground, perfect for burning off some steam for half an hour or so.
What else is there to see in Como
If you head to your left around the Lake you’ll pass the Monument to European Resistance, created by Gianni Colombo to commemorate the victims of World War 2. The monument contains stones from concentration camps and Hiroshima and commemorative stones which are interesting and humbling to read.
Carry on walking round the lake and you’ll get to the walkway out to the middle (not the actual middle of the lake but this section of it). Even on a hot day, it can get pretty blowy out there so take a cover up. At the end of the walkway you’ll find another monument (Como seems quite big on them!) this one is called Life Electric and was designed by Daniel Libeskind. The sculpture is over 50 feet high, made with stainless steel reflecting the surrounding town and lake. A great place for a selfie.
Although it half looks like you can walk across to the other side of the lake, you’ll have to turn round and retrace your steps, it’s not far but maybe bring a carrier if you’re visiting with little children.
Como isn’t just about the lake, there’s so much more to see and do in this delightful Italian town. We spent our last couple of hours in Como exploring the old town with its beautiful churches and ancient buildings.
Como Cathedral and its small square was one of the prettiest we found. The gothic style church was constructed in the 14th century, it has towers, intricate stonework and an extravagantly decorated interior. A perfect place to end our day in Como.
Where to Eat in Como
After all that exploring, playing and wandering we’d worked up an appetite so continued back round past the playground and park to the many restaurants we spotted lining the water. There are so many to choose from, all with lovely seating areas overlooking the lake. We opted for the first one with reasonable prices and plenty of people sitting outside.
The food was fantastic, a huge bowl of spaghetti bolognaise for Piper and a tagliatelle with pesto (nothing like the pesto pasta from my uni days) for me. We were in carb heaven!
Instead of staying around for dessert we chose to head back along the lake and stop for a gelato, the very best Italian sweet treat!
If you have more than just one day then there are plenty of other thigs to do in Como with kids that we didn’t manage including exploring further round the lake.
Boat trip on Lake Como.
Make sure you add this to your things to do in Como bucket list, it’s probably the best way to explore the lake, pick the right boat and you really will feel like a celebrity for a day. There are loads of tours available, Get Your Guide has some brilliant ones, I would love to try this sailing boat experience.
Or if you don’t fancy something quite so opulent, there is a regular ferry service which is much cheaper but still a great way to get out on the lake.
Como Archaeological Museum.
Close to the Duomo is the fascinating archeological museum filled with local artifacts making it a great place to teach kids about the surrounding area.
Take the Funicular up to Brunate.
Head into the surrounding mountains by funicular to the sweet town of Brunate where you can find lovely restaurants and cafes and enjoy stunning views back down to Como and the lake in all its glory.
Explore the surrounding towns and villages.
Como may be the largest town on the Lake but it’s not the only one you should visit. Bellagio, Cernobbio, and Lecco all make for some stunning day trips.
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