Sprawled against the stunning backdrop of the Italian Alps, Lake Como is one of the world’s most beautiful and popular resort destinations. Hosting numerous luxurious resorts on the foothills of the Alps, Lake Como is like a stunning escapade into heaven on earth. While it has been satisfying thousands of tourists for centuries, this scenic area masks an interesting history that explains its hospitality.
A Step into the Past: History of Lake Como
Initially inhabited by the Celts around 500 B.C., Lake Como is no stranger to changes. It became an important hub for the Romans after they conquered the area and dubbed it Larius, which evolved into its modern namesake.
The then-Larius was one of the most important regions of that time, solely because it connected the mountains with the River Po.
The Roman settlements were later overtaken by Germanic tribes, followed by the Visconti and Sforza families in the Middle Ages, and eventually came to its peak during the 19th century, when it housed several writers and intellectuals. Its popularity even remained during the world wars, after which it became the popular destination we love.
Throughout the years, it picked up a few modifications here and there while retaining its old charm. Today, guests can enjoy a rare combination of coming-of-age oddities and the tragi-comedic allure of a resort that has stood the test of time.
Why is Lake Como the Best Tourist Destination?
Lake Como’s interesting past is enough for history buffs to hail from all over the world to this stellar. But naturalists and thrill-seekers will find it equally captivating, and for good reasons. The lake is unbelievably breathtaking, and whether you’re a hodophile looking for fun or an exhausted person looking for a way out, this star-studded location is bound to excite anyone.
Serene Nature & Easy to Access
Soaking in the essence of a bygone era and observing features of ancient architecture is also a guaranteed way to let Lake Como take you in its arms. Tranquility and sightseeing aside, Lake Como is also one of the few scenic destinations that is easily accessible. There are several transportation options, including local and Uber-friendly routes. It’s also quite close to Milan, so you can explore both regions in a short time, crossing two destinations off your bucket list.
Enjoying Lake Como: Things to Do
We’ve fantasized about Lake Como a lot, so let’s dive into what kind of activities you can do.
Knocking on Ancient Doors: Villas of Lake Como
First off, we have the classic sightseeing. The Villa Visits are easily the top activity in Lake Como, and a simple glance will tell you why. Almost all of the villas predate the buildings and resorts built in Milan and situating cities, so getting to explore the villas will give you an insightful look into architectural history.
From witnessing the grandeur of the Roman Empire to seeing the modifications of the 19th century, Lake Como’s villas are like a dream come true for architects, historians, and art enthusiasts.
Prized villas are the del Balbainello and Carlotta, both being lake-accessible. The villas also have gardens that are heaven-sent for naturalists, so there’s really everything at Lake Como.
A Dive into the Blue
But let’s talk about the more scenic activities, like boating and kayaking.
It would be quite absurd to go on and on about the marvels around Lake Como and not talk about the lake itself.
Shaped like a Y, Lake Como is already distinct from nearby lakes and water bodies. But what truly sets it apart is the crystal-blue hue that perfectly compliments the snowy peaks behind it; it’s like a Picasso and Thomas Cole painting combined.
Guided boat tours and excursions allow tourists to explore the abundant beauties of Lake Como, but there’s more to the activities than just plain boat rides.
Lake Como is an excellent spot for watersports like windsurfing and stand-up paddleboarding, but sailing enthusiasts like to stumble into the region now and then to take the joy out of the picturesque area.
Fishing enthusiasts are also welcome to try their hand (or hooks) and can catch diverse delicacies like trout, pike, and whitefish.
A Must-Visit Island & Towns of Lake Como
Even today, Lake Como hasn’t lost its charm. While idlers can enjoy a day out on the lake, getting that much-awaited tan, tourists consumed by wanderlust can head to popular touring spots like the Isola Comacina.
The only island on the lake, Isola Comacina, is a goldmine for naturalists and history buffs. Its rugged terrains are covered with sheen grass, which only makes the long line of onsite archaeological ruins look more tempting. Wanderers love to explore the 10th-century church, or what remains of it, and make their way to the peaceful cafes to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Those hoping for a more in-touch experience can make their way to the town of Bellagio, or Pearl of Lake Como, as the locals call it. This little pearl is named so for a reason; not only does it serve as a charming expanse in the region that appeases every sort of nature-lover, but it’s also a hubbub for shopaholics.
Narrow cobbled streets give the impression of a Victorian area, but the vibrantly lit corners and stores hustling and bustling with a never-ending crowd of buyers give a sharp contrast, adding a realistic touch.
Oh, but wait till you make your way to Varenna!
This Lake Como town is proud but reminiscent of its past. Boasting colorful arrays of houses, all delicately painted in pastels; narrow cobblestone streets where tourists huddle while holding their steaming caffeine-filled cups; and a stunning lakeside esplanade, Varenna is like one of those towns you’d typically only find in romantic movies.
And that is another glorious addition to the hundreds of reasons to visit Lake Como; its romantic ambiance is unparalleled, especially when compared to the modern Italian spots. Couples still in that honeymoon phase find the region particularly enticing, and its’ amorous effects aren’t amiss on old flames wanting to reignite for old times’ sakes. It’s like the region is capable of speaking a thousand languages and expresses its hospitality in each and every one of them.
There’s really no disappointment here; Lake Como is truly a superior experience that’s waiting to be explored.