Located an hour north of Milan, Lake Como is one of the most beautiful places in Italy. It’s one of the deepest lakes in Europe and over 29 miles long, so there’s plenty to explore. There are also many places to stay when deciding where to stay in Lake Como.
Lake Como is a good place to relax and enjoy a slow pace of life. Stunning villas line the shore, and many restaurants offer outdoor seating to enjoy the warm weather in the summer.
It’s easiest to pick one place to call your home base and explore the lake via the ferry system. The lake is in a giant upside-down Y-shape, with the city of Como being at the bottom.
The other popular areas are Bellagio, Varenna, and Mennagio, which are in a triangle shape in the middle of the lake. There are fast-service ferries that go from Como to other parts of the lake, and there’s a ferry that goes from Bellagio to Mennagio to Varenna throughout the day.
There are many other places to stay when choosing where to stay in Lake Como, but they’re much more isolated. I’d recommend in staying in one of these four areas to have access to stores and restaurants. I should also mention there are a few hostels around the lake, but even those you’ll be hard-pressed to find a place that’s less than $50 a night to stay there. Lake Como is expensive, but it’s worth it for the beautiful views and how relaxed you’ll feel afterward!
My top recommendation on where to stay in Lake Como is Bellagio, but it’s also the most expensive. This area is very small, so it’s hard to get lost in this area. This is a good place to stay if your main goal is to have peace and quiet and relax.
To get there, you can hire a private driver to take you there from Milan. I don’t recommend renting a car, as the roads are extremely narrow and curvy, and it’s hard to find parking. Otherwise, you can take a ferry from Como or Varenna.
There is a mix of fancy hotels and mid-range hotels to choose from when deciding where to stay in Lake Como. Here are some I recommend.
Hotel Belvedere Bellagio – The rooms in this hotel have a very open feel to them, which is a change to typical European hotel rooms that are tiny. They have a pool that overlooks the lake, so make sure to come here in the summer to take advantage of the weather. Book your room here!
Hotel du Lac – If you want to be in the center of all the action, stay here. It’s above a few shops and a restaurant so you’ll have a prime people-watching spot from your balcony. You’ll also be able to see the ferry coming in so you don’t have to wait around for it early. Book your room here!
Hotel Centrale – If you’re on more of a budget but still want the luxurious feel of staying in Bellagio, this is your place. They have air conditioning, which you’ll want in the hotter months. Just a note – it’s up a set of steep stairs, so be careful not to have heavy luggage or mobility issues if you stay here. Book your room here!
Read more: 5 Things to Do in Lake Como
I loved how walkable Mennagio is, and there are more restaurants and hotels here compared to the other towns. They have a beautiful promenade to walk on along the lake, and plenty of restaurants to sit lakeside at. When deciding where to stay in Lake Como, you’ll like Mennagio if you want a younger crowd and more of a nightlife than the other areas.
The easiest way to get here is to take a ferry from Como. You can also drive up the west side of the lake or even from Switzerland, which is very close to it.
Here are some recommended hotels.
Hotel Merloni – This is a little further back from the main area, but you’ll also save money staying here if the distance isn’t an issue. If you do have a car, they have free parking, which can be rare in hotels in Lake Como. You could easily make this your base while exploring Switzerland and the northwest part of the lake. Book your room here!
Many people enjoy having Varenna as their base because it’s the only place that has a train station. You can be in Milan in under an hour, and you can also head north to Switzerland for the day. You can drive here, but with how convenient the train is I would recommend saving money and using that.
Here are a few hotels I recommend when deciding where to stay in Lake Como.
Hotel Olivedo – This is right in front of the ferry terminal, so it’s a fun place to people watch. It’s a small hotel, but has a restaurant and lounge if you feel like having a night in, and has a great view of the lake. Book your room here!
Agriturismo Castello di Vezio – If money isn’t an issue and you’re coming to the area to relax, this is the place to stay. It’s on top of the hill in Varenna, so you’ll have incredible views of different parts of the lake. They have suites if you’re with your family or just want more room, and pets are even allowed here. Book your room here!
Read more: One Day in Milan
If you’re on a road trip and have a car, this is probably the easiest place to stay. This is the largest town with many parking spots, larger stores, and even chain restaurants (hello McDonalds!). If you also need somewhere cheap for where to stay in Lake Como and are on a budget, this might be a good option. You can still easily take the ferry each day to a different spot on Lake Como to explore.
Here are a few hotels to check out.
B&B Villa Olmo – The rooms are pretty small here, but it’s a good place to stay if you want to save money. They can help arrange transportation from the airport and breakfast is free. Book your room here!
Hilton Lake Como – Normally I recommend staying in non-chain hotels to support the locals, but I know some people enjoy staying somewhere they know how the service will be. Although it’s one of the pricier hotels in the area, you won’t be disappointed. The rooms are spacious and modern, a fitness center is available, and you have access to a rooftop pool and bar. Book your room here!
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