Best day trips from Lake Como, Italy
When visiting Lake Como, it’s hard to resist the temptation to stay and soak in the beauty of this Italian gem. However, just beyond its shimmering waters lies a world of adventures waiting to be explored.
From the fashion capital of Milan to the picturesque villages of Cinque Terre, discover some of Italy’s best-kept secrets on these day trips from Lake Como. Take a ride on the Bernina Express to Lugano and enjoy stunning views of the snow-capped Alps. Delight in the romantic atmosphere of Verona, get lost in the canals of Venice and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Cinque Terre.
While staying by Lake Como provides a tranquil and enchanting vacation, exploring the nearby areas provides a whole new dimension to your trip. Day trips outside of Lake Como offer unique experiences and allow you to discover hidden gems that will leave you with lasting memories.
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So, if you’re ready to venture beyond the shores of Lake Como, here are some day trips you won’t want to miss:
1. From Lake Como to the Swiss Alps: Embark on a Breathtaking Journey with the Bernina Express
Embark on a scenic train journey from Lake Como, Italy, to the luxurious mountain town of St. Moritz, Switzerland, on the world’s most beautiful rail routes. The Bernina Express offers an unforgettable experience, showcasing the stunning landscapes of northern Italy and the majestic Swiss Alps.
As you board the Bernina Express, prepare to be amazed by the panoramic views that unfold before your eyes. The train winds through the impressive Dolomites mountain range, where snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, and pristine lakes create a mesmerising backdrop.
Sit back, relax, and let the ever-changing scenery captivate your senses—Marvel at the towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and charming alpine villages that dot the route. The Bernina Express takes you through numerous tunnels, over viaducts, and along steep inclines, providing a thrilling and immersive experience.
How to get to the starting point of Bernina Express
Tirano, the closest starting point to Lake Como, is in the Valtellina Valley in northern Italy and is just over 100km and around 2 hours drive away from Lake Como. We highly recommend going between towns as public transport can take significantly longer.
If you cannot drive, you can take a Ferry from Varenna to Bellano, a train to Sondrio, and a bus ride to Tirano. This journey can take over 4 hours.
Alternatively, we highly recommend this tour from Milan which covers Lake Como, Bernina Express and St. Moritz. This also covers a private boat, luxury bus and a professional tourist guide.
After traversing this awe-inspiring journey, you’ll arrive in the glamorous town of St. Moritz, known for its luxurious resorts and world-class skiing, and this is another excellent day trip destination from Lake Como.
2. Rev into History: Exploring the Two Ferrari Museums in Italy
If you’re a fan of speed, power, and sleek design, visiting the two Ferrari Museums in Italy is an absolute must. Located just a stone’s throw away from Lake Como, these museums showcase a collection of iconic Ferrari cars that will leave any car enthusiast breathless.
The first museum, Museo Ferrari in Maranello, is a homage to the brand’s rich history. Here, you’ll find an extensive display of historical models shaping the Ferrari legacy. Each car tells a unique story of innovation and passion, from the famous classics to the rare gems. The museum also offers interactive displays and exhibits on the brand’s racing history, allowing visitors to delve into the world of Formula 1.
The second museum, Galleria Ferrari in Modena, showcases Ferrari’s design and engineering evolution. Here, you’ll be mesmerised by the modern masterpieces that push the boundaries of automotive technology. The exhibits highlight the brand’s commitment to innovation and craftsmanship, making it a must-see for car enthusiasts.
How to get to the Ferrari Museums from Lake Como
To make your way to these iconic museums, you have two options. If you prefer the freedom of the open road, you can hire a car and embark on a scenic drive from Lake Como. The travel time to both museums will take approx 3 hours.
Want to skip the line?
This Ferrari museum combo ticket gives you access to both Maranello and Modena museums.
If you just want to see the Maranello museum, then this Ferrari museum entrance ticket will still give you a great experience
Both passes have free cancellation if you cancel 24 hours before the date. Also, you will only reserve the spot now and pay later.
3. Exploring St. Moritz: The Epitome of Luxury in the Swiss Alps
Located in the Swiss Alps, St. Moritz is a stunning destination only a few hours away from Lake Como by car or train. Thus, it has become one of the top choices for day trips from this Italian paradise. St. Moritz is an ideal day trip from Lake Como for anyone looking to add a bit of adventure and luxury to their travels. The stunningly beautiful town has been recognised as one of the most prestigious destinations for vacationers worldwide, and it’s easy to see why.
St. Moritz offers many outdoor activities for thrill-seekers exploring the region’s natural beauty. There’s something for everyone here, from skiing and snowboarding in the winter to horseback riding and paragliding in the summer. On top of that, you can also take part in unique activities such as curling or bobsledding.
Then, if you’re looking to add some luxury to your day trip, St. Moritz is also home to some of the world’s most exclusive hotels and restaurants. You can treat yourself to an indulgent spa treatment at one of the many spas in town or savour a Michelin-starred meal at one of the many gourmet restaurants in the area.
Museums in St. Moritz, Switzerland, make for a great day trip from Lake Como. This glamorous Alpine village is home to some of Switzerland’s most unique and exciting museums. The Segantini Museum is the first stop on any museum-lover’s list in St. Moritz. This museum houses an extensive collection of works by Giovanni Segantini, one of Italy’s most celebrated painters. Here, you can admire Segantini’s iconic landscapes and explore his characteristic use of light and colour to create breathtakingly beautiful scenes.
Also located in St. Moritz is the Engadiner Museum, which showcases artefacts related to regional history as well as the culture and traditions of the Engadin Valley. This museum offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the past and present of this beautiful region.
Whether looking for a relaxing stroll through picturesque landscapes or an adrenaline-filled adventure, St. Moritz has something for everyone!
How to get to St. Moritz from Lake Como
To travel from Lake Como to St. Moritz, you can take a scenic drive that will last approximately 2 hours and cover a distance of around 100km via Route 3. Along the way, you can explore charming Swiss and Italian towns, making the journey as exciting as the destination.
Alternatively, you can take a bus from Menaggio that will take you directly to St. Moritz. The journey by bus will take around 2.5 to 3 hours.
We recommend taking the tour to St. Moritz via the Bernina Express as it provides convenient transportation and eliminates the need for arranging your own.
4. Lugano, Switzerland: A Mediterranean Escape on a Day Trip from Lake Como
The charming city of Lugano, Switzerland, with its idyllic Mediterranean vibe and easy accessibility from Como St. Giovanni station, is the perfect destination to explore just a stone’s throw away.
The narrow streets of Lugano’s old town are filled with colourful facades that make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Take a moment to enjoy the spectacular views from Monte Bre or Monte San Salvatore. Use Funicolare to reach the top. The high mountains provide beautiful views of the city and stunning views of Lake Lugano.
If you’re a foodie, Lugano won’t disappoint. Indulge in a culinary adventure by dining at one of the Alpine restaurants scattered across the city, where you can savour traditional Swiss dishes with a twist. And for those seeking outdoor thrills, Lugano is a gateway to nearby hiking trails, where you can immerse yourself in the region’s natural beauty.
How to travel from Lake Como to Lugano
Getting to Lugano is a breeze. If you prefer the freedom of a car, a scenic drive from the west side of Lake Como or Como City will take you there in just under an hour.
Alternatively, opt for the convenience of public transport and hop on a direct train from Como St. Giovanni station. In no time, you’ll find yourself in the heart of Lugano, ready to embark on a memorable adventure.
5. Lake Maggiore: A Day Trip Full of Charming Villages, Breathtaking Views, and Botanical Wonders
Nestled in the northern part of Italy, Lake Maggiore is a true feast for the senses. Its picturesque views, charming villages, and many attractions make it an idyllic day trip destination from Lake Como.
Once you arrive, embark on a relaxing lake cruise to fully appreciate the beauty of Lake Maggiore. Explore captivating towns like Stresa and Pallanza, where you can stroll along charming streets, browse local shops, and savour delicious Italian cuisine. Take advantage of visiting Santa Caterina del Sasso, a stunning hermitage on a cliff overlooking the lake. And nature enthusiasts will be enthralled by the world-famous botanical gardens at Villa Taranto, showcasing an exquisite collection of plants from around the globe.
A highlight of Lake Maggiore is Isola Bella, a small island boasting a magnificent palace and stunning gardens. Lose yourself in the beauty of its manicured terraces, exotic flowers, and intricate architecture.
How to get to Lake Maggiore
We recommend renting a car for a scenic drive that takes approximately 2 hours to reach Lake Maggiore from Lake Como. As you navigate through the winding roads, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas along the way.
6. From Lake Como to Milan: A Day Trip of Architectural Marvels and Chic Italian Style
Milan, the glamorous capital of Lombardy, beckons as a captivating day trip and a popular destination from Lake Como. Immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and exquisite architecture, starting with the iconic Duomo di Milano. Marvel at the intricate details of this magnificent cathedral as you explore its grand interior and take in panoramic views from its rooftop.
No visit to Milan is complete without experiencing Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, “The Last Supper.” Look at this tour; you can book this tour ticket in advance for a privileged glimpse of this renowned artwork with a knowledgeable guide.
Head to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II for high-end shopping and stunning architecture. This elegant shopping arcade is home to world-famous luxury brands, charming cafes, and opulent decor. Please take a moment to admire its magnificent glass dome and mosaic floors.
Plan a well-defined itinerary to make the most of your time in Milan. Explore the trendy Navigli district, known for its picturesque canals, vibrant nightlife, and delightful bars and restaurants.
How to get to Milan
You can reach Milan by car from Lake Como in approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Alternatively, take a train from Como S. Giovanni station to Milano Centrale station for a convenient and relaxing journey.
7. Verona: Shakespearean Tales, History and Romance
Verona a city that will transport you through centuries of history and enchant you with its romantic allure. Known for its well-preserved Roman amphitheatre, Arena di Verona, and the famous Juliet’s House, Verona offers a wealth of captivating attractions.
Start your journey at the Arena di Verona, where you can admire the grandeur of this ancient amphitheatre, still used today for opera performances that leave audiences in awe. Immerse yourself in the timeless tale of Romeo and Juliet as you visit Juliet’s House. Stand on the famous balcony and feel the weight of Shakespeare’s words in the air.
Make your way to the incredible views at Basilica di San Zeno, a Romanesque masterpiece boasting stunning architecture and captivating frescoes. You’ll be captivated by the beauty and tranquillity that surrounds this sacred place.
Verona is not just a feast for the eyes but also for the taste buds. Indulge in the local dishes, such as Risotto all’Amarone and Tortellini di Valeggio, paired with renowned wines from the surrounding vineyards.
How to get to this beautiful town Verona from Lake Como
Getting to Verona from Lake Como is easy. If you prefer driving, take the A4 highway for a scenic 3-hour journey.
Alternatively, you can take a train from Varenna Esino station to Milano Centrale and then to Stazione Verona Porta Nuova, where you can easily access the city centre.
8. Cinque Terre: A Picturesque Coastal Adventure from Lake Como
Embark on a unique adventure along the stunning coastal path of Cinque Terre, where five picturesque villages await your exploration.
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare as you traverse the coastal path that connects these charming villages. Each village offers its unique ambience, colourful houses, and breathtaking views of the Italian Riviera.
How to get to Cinque Terre
If you prefer travelling by car, you can reach Cinque Terre from Lake Como by taking the highways, with a travel time of approximately 4 hours. You must leave early to make the day worthwhile or consider staying over.
9. Venice: A Delightful Day Trip from Lake Como
Experience the magic of Venice on an unforgettable day trip from Lake Como. Known for its enchanting canals, narrow alleys, and captivating architecture, Venice is a must-visit destination that will leave you in awe.
Once in Venice, immerse yourself in its rich history and culture by visiting the iconic St. Mark’s Basilica—Marvel at its stunning Byzantine architecture and intricate mosaics. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the magnificent Doge’s Palace, symbolising Venice’s political and social importance. Cross the famous Rialto Bridge and soak in the charm of the Grand Canal. And, of course, no visit to Venice is complete without a romantic gondola ride along the winding canals.
Getting to Venice
You can drive from Lake Como to Venice approximately 4 hours along the A4 highway.
If you prefer public transport, take a train to Milano Centrale, then catch one to Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia.
10. Madesimo: Discover the Alpine Paradise with the Perfect Day Trip from Lake Como
Escape to the breathtaking beauty of Madesimo, a picturesque town nestled in the magnificent Alps and located near the enchanting shores of Lake Como. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or simply seeking a peaceful getaway, Madesimo is the perfect day trip destination.
Madesimo is a haven for outdoor activities, offering many thrilling options. During winter, ski down the pristine slopes or take on snowboarding challenges. In the warmer seasons, explore the stunning landscapes and enjoy exhilarating hikes amidst the towering peaks.
Experience the awe-inspiring views of the snow-capped mountains and lush valleys that surround Madesimo. Admire the panoramic vistas from the summit of the mountaintops or take a stroll and soak in the natural beauty that unfolds at every turn.
Getting to Madesimo
To reach Madesimo from Lake Como, embark on a scenic journey by car, enjoying the picturesque Italian countryside. The drive takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, allowing you to immerse yourself in the stunning scenery fully.
Alternatively, if you prefer public transport, take a train to Chiavenna Train Station and catch a bus to Madesimo.
11. Florence: Unraveling the Treasures of Tuscany’s Crown Jewel
Set your sights on the enchanting city of Florence, nestled in the heart of Tuscany, Italy. Immerse yourself in its rich history, remarkable art, and vibrant culture as you explore iconic landmarks such as the awe-inspiring Florence Cathedral, the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery, and the romantic Ponte Vecchio.
Visiting the Florence cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore) allows you to see its impressive dome designed by Brunelleschi and appreciate the intricate details of its facade. Art enthusiasts can explore the Uffizi Gallery, home of masterpieces by Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. Additionally, walking across the Ponte Vecchio provides a chance to admire its medieval architecture and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the nearby shops.
Beyond the famous landmarks, wander through the charming streets of the Oltrarno district, known for its artisans and hidden gems. Treat your taste buds to the delectable flavours of authentic gelato that Florence is renowned for. Climb to Piazzale Michelangelo and let your gaze sweep across breathtaking panoramic views of the beautiful city.
How to get to Florence
If you’re travelling from Lake Como, hop in a car and embark on a scenic drive through the picturesque Italian countryside. The journey takes approximately four and a half hours, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the landscapes along the way.
Alternatively, you can opt for public transport. Take a train from Lake Como to Florence’s Santa Maria Novella Station. The journey, with a transfer, takes around 4-5 hours. From there, the city’s well-connected public transport system makes it easy to navigate and explore Florence’s treasures at your own pace.
12. Lake Garda: Unveiling the Hidden Gems of Italy’s Largest Lake
Lake Garda is a beautiful destination with beautiful scenery and picturesque villages.
After arriving, there are numerous opportunities to explore the attractions of the beautiful Lake Garda. You can rent a boat and sail across the clear waters, enjoying the panoramic views and feeling the gentle breeze on your face. Alternatively, board a ferry and hop between the charming villages that dot the lake’s shoreline.
You can experience the thrill of an exciting adventure in nearby amusement parks such as Gardaland or Caneva Aquapark. Soak up some sun on the beach while sipping a refreshing drink from one of the many lakeside bars. And for those seeking outdoor activities, go hiking or mountain biking through the lush forests surrounding Lake Garda.
Reaching Lake Garda from Lake Como
If you prefer a leisurely drive via the A4 highway, hop in a car and embark on a scenic journey through the Italian countryside. The three-hour (approx) drive allows you to soak in the stunning landscapes along the way.
Alternatively, you can opt for the convenience of public transport. Take a train from S. Giovanni (Lake Como) to Peschiera Del Garda (Lake Garda) via Milano Centrale (Milan).
13. Bologna: A Gastronomic Delight Beckons from Lake Como
Bologna the captivating city that beckons as an exceptional day trip destination from Lake Como. Known across Italy as a culinary paradise, Bologna is a haven for food travellers and lovers of Italian cuisine. Prepare your taste buds to savour the renowned regional delicacies such as tortellini, a delicate pasta filled with flavorful goodness, and mortadella, a delectable Italian cold cut.
After a delicious meal, explore the vibrant urban life of Bologna. Gaze in awe at the 11th-century San Petronio Basilica and admire its spectacular architecture. Discover the historic city centre, where the past and present intertwine perfectly. Go to Piazza Maggiore, an iconic square surrounded by impressive buildings with stunning facades. As you stroll around, take your time to marvel at the beauty of this enchanting city.
Shopaholics will be spoilt for choice when browsing Bologna’s vast stores and boutiques. Pick up some unique souvenirs to remember your visit, or treat yourself to something extraordinary in one of the designer shops.
How to get to Bologna
To reach Bologna from Lake Como, you have two options. If you prefer the freedom to explore at your own pace, hop in a car and embark on a scenic drive through the picturesque Italian countryside. The approximately three and half hour journey will reward you with stunning vistas along the way.
Alternatively, choose the convenience of public transport for a more relaxed journey. Start from S. Giovanni station in Como City, then go to Milano Centrale, and finally to Bologna Centrale. This journey will take approximately 4 hours.
14. Parma: Journey into Renaissance History from Lake Como
Parma is a city that transports you back to the vibrant Renaissance era. Nestled amidst the charming Italian countryside, Parma beckons as an extraordinary day trip destination from Lake Como. Immerse yourself in the rich Renaissance history that permeates the city as you marvel at iconic architectural wonders like the Baptistery and Palazzo della Pilotta.
The charming city of Parma is a must-visit for all art and culture lovers. Prepare to be captivated by the magnificent art showcased in the city’s extraordinary museum exhibitions, exploring the works of great masters such as Parmigianino, Correggio and Mantegna.
How to get to Parma
To reach Parma from Lake Como, you have two options. If you prefer the freedom to explore at your own pace, embark on a scenic drive through the picturesque Italian countryside. The journey takes approximately 3 hours and allows you to enjoy the stunning vistas.
Alternatively, choose the convenience of public transport for a more relaxed journey. Take a direct train from Varenna Esino to Milano Centrale and then to Parma, with a travel time of around 3 hours.
15. Genoa: A Colourful and Vibrant Adventure from Lake Como
Genoa is a vibrant city bursting with energy and colourful architecture that offers a dynamic day trip option for those seeking to immerse themselves in an authentic Italian experience. Wander through the labyrinthine streets of the historic centre and marvel at the vibrant facades that line the alleyways. The city is a treasure trove of architectural wonders, from grand medieval palaces to elegant Renaissance buildings.
For a dose of seaside charm, a short journey from Genoa lies Portofino, an enchanting port town known for its picturesque harbour and glamorous atmosphere. Indulge in the Mediterranean ambience as you explore the charming streets lined with pastel-coloured buildings and boutique shops. Enjoy water sports, take a walk along the scenic coastline, or bask in the beauty of this coastal gem.
How to get to Genoa
To reach Genoa from Lake Como, you can opt for a scenic drive through the stunning Italian countryside, with a travel time of approximately 3 hours.
When it comes to magical lakeside scenery, both Lugano and Lake Como offer breathtaking views that will leave you in awe. Surrounded by rolling hills and lush greenery, these destinations are a nature lover’s paradise. However, while Lake Como is renowned for its stunning villas and famous attractions like Villa Balbianello, Lugano offers a unique blend of Italian and Swiss influences.
Both locations boast picturesque towns that are perfect for a stroll. You can explore the charming Old Town with its narrow cobbled streets and the Piazza della Riforma in Lugano. At the same time, Lake Como offers the enchanting towns of Bellagio and Varenna, with their colourful houses and vibrant atmosphere.
Cultural attractions are also abundant in both Lugano and Lake Como. In Lugano, you can visit the Art Museum of Lugano and the Cathedral of Saint Lawrence, while Lake Como is known for its historic villas, such as Villa Melzi and Villa Olmo.
While Lugano offers a mix of Italian and Swiss influences, Lake Como stands out for its beautiful villas and the possibility of celebrity sightings, with George Clooney being a notable resident. So, whether you prefer the blend of cultures in Lugano or the allure of Lake Como’s villas, both destinations promise a truly unforgettable experience.
When it comes to picturesque lakes in Italy, both Lake Maggiore and Lake Como offer breathtakingly scenic beauty that will mesmerise you. These lakes are surrounded by magnificent mountains and lush landscapes, epitomising a serene getaway.
Lake Maggiore is known for its unparalleled views and the famous Isola Bella, a small island that boasts breathtaking gardens, palaces, and a charming old fishing village. On the other hand, Lake Como is renowned for its upscale resort towns, such as Bellagio and Varenna, which exude elegance and offer a luxurious experience.
Both lakes have their fair share of picturesque villages, where you can get lost in the narrow cobblestone streets and soak up the local atmosphere. Lake Maggiore is home to charming towns like Stresa and Laveno, while Lake Como is adorned with enchanting villages like Menaggio and Tremezzo.
Lake Maggiore’s Isola Bella and Lake Como are known for their famous attractions. Isola Bella stands out with its stunning gardens and palaces, while Lake Como boasts remarkable Renaissance villas like Villa Balbianello and Villa Carlotta.
While both lakes offer unparalleled beauty and charm, Lake Maggiore shines with its magnificent views and Isola Bella. At the same time, Lake Como takes pride in its upscale resort towns and historical villas.