Lake Como…a destination that is glamorous, romantic, and gorgeous. This lake is a slice of Italian paradise, and for many people, a visit to Bellagio is the highlight. Also called the Pearl of Lake Como, Bellagio is the perfect mix of photogenic streets, small shops, wonderful restaurants, and gorgeous views across Lake Como. If you are planning a visit to Lake Como, here are the best things to do in Bellagio.
About Bellagio and Lake Como
Lake Como is shaped like an inverted letter “Y”. Bellagio is located at the top of the triangle of land mass that divides Lake Como into two.
Menaggio and Varenna also sit on the shore of Lake Como, not far from Bellagio. These three towns are all linked by ferry and form a “golden triangle.” With one day on Lake Como, you can visit Bellagio and Varenna, since they are just 20 minutes apart by ferry.
George Clooney and Sir Richard Branson both own villas on Lake Como.
How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
Best Things to Do in Bellagio
1. Wander the Streets of Bellagio
Bellagio is small and compact. Many of the roads are pedestrian only, perfect for strolling and exploring.
From the waterfront, narrow, cobblestoned streets and walking paths lead uphill through town. From the tops of these streets you get picture-perfect views over the rooftops to Lake Como.
Since the town is so small, you can explore Bellagio in an hour or less.
Strolling the city streets | One of the best things to do in Bellagio
2. Get the Perfect View of Bellagio
If you have seen photos of Bellagio on the internet and Instagram, there’s no doubt that you came across this gorgeous view of the town.
Salita Serbelloni | Best things to do in Bellagio
If you want this same view, walk up Salita Serbelloni to the very end until you reach Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. From the viewpoint on Via Giuseppe Garibaldi you can look down this wonderful little street and its collection of colorful buildings and shops.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: Salita Serbelloni is essentially one long staircase from the waterfront to its endpoint at Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. Along the way, stop in the small shops and go wine tasting at Enoteca la Principessa.
3. Visit the Basilica of San Giacomo
The Basilica of San Giacomo is a Romanesque church built between the 11th and 12th centuries. It sits right in the center of Bellagio so it makes a quick, worthwhile visit as you stroll through town.
4. Melzi Gardens
Villa Melzi was the summer residence of Francesco Melzi d’Eril, the vice president of the Italian Republic that was founded in the 1800’s.
Surrounding the villa are beautiful gardens that are open to the public (the villa is not open to the public). Filled with walking paths, native and exotic plants, and park benches perfectly situated with views of the lake, this is a wonderful place to go for a stroll. On a hot summer day, this is a great place to escape the heat, under the shade of the trees here.
View of Bellagio from Melzi Gardens.
To get here, it is a 5 minute walk from the ferry station.
Website: Get updated hours and pricing here
5. Punta Spartivento
Located on the northernmost point of Bellagio is Punta Spartivento, a small park with a nice view of Lake Como. From here, you can see Menaggio, Varenna, and numerous other towns that line the shore of Lake Como.
View from Punta Sparitvento | Things to do in Bellagio
PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you have plans to take a boat tour of Lake Como or visit Menaggio or Varenna by ferry, the visit to Punta Spartivento is skippable, in my opinion. We thought the views were better from the ferry. You can visit this viewpoint if you are curious, but consider skipping this to save your steps, and your time, for something else on this list if you will also be cruising Lake Como.
6. Visit the Fishing Village of Pescallo
Located on the opposite side of the peninsula from Bellagio is Pescallo, a small fishing village. This small town is much quieter than bustling, busy Bellagio and a great place to escape the crowds. The view out over the fishing boats is also quite nice.
Pescallo | Things to do in Bellagio
Pescallo (by drone)
Getting Here: From Via Guiseppe Giacomo, head south out of town. There will be a sign to Pescallo on the left hand side of the road. From here, you walk up and over the hill on a pedestrian walkway that is really just another long staircase down to the waterfront in Pescallo. This walkway is labelled as Salita Cappuccini on Google Maps. To get back to Bellagio, you will have to retrace your steps back up this stair climb. It takes roughly 10 to 15 minutes to walk from Bellagio to Pescallo.
Are you planning a day trip to Bellagio and Lake Como from Milan? Don’t miss our article How to Plan the Perfect Day Trip to Lake Como.
7. Lido de Bellagio
If you want to take a break from the heat, go for a swim, or just relax by the water, go to Lido de Bellagio. This club/beach sits right on the waterfront next to the Melzi Gardens.
This is also the spot where we booked our one hour private boat tour of Lake Como, the final thing on our list.
8. Take a Boat Tour of Lake Como
Cruising Lake Como from Bellagio was our favorite experience of our day trip to Lake Como. For one wonderful hour, we cruised past extravagant villas, had gorgeous lakeside views of Bellagio, and got up close with numerous small towns that dot the edge of the lake.
We booked a private one hour tour of Lake Como through Lido de Bellagio. It cost our family of four €140 for the hour, which sounds like a lot, but for that hour we could custom tailor what we did and where we went on Lake Como. We ended up defaulting to the usual one hour tour since it included the highlights that were on our list.
Prior to arriving to Lake Como, I contacted Barindelli taxi boats for pricing. Their prices started at €200 for a one hour tour of the lake and ended at €1000 for 8 hours on the lake. To just walk up to Lido de Bellagio and pay €140 for a one hour tour now sounded like a bargain.
Here are some of the sights we saw on our tour.
Villa del Balbianello
Villa la Cassinella
Swimming spot on Lake Como
If you are interested in taking this tour, click here to visit the website for Bellagio Boat Service, the company that we used for our one hour tour.
Another option is to take a kayaking tour. On this 1.5-hour tour, you will kayak from Pescallo and around Punta Spartivento, for great views of Lake Como and Bellagio.
Video of Bellagio
What to see more? Check out our video about Bellagio which includes 4K drone clips.
How to Plan Your Time
Everything on this list can be visited in one day or less.
If you want a leisurely experience, or if you want to stroll through Bellagio at the beginning and the end of the day, free of the day trippers, consider spending at least one night in Bellagio.
Bellagio makes a great day trip from Como, Milan, or Lugano. With an extensive public transportation network of trains, buses, and ferries, it’s rather easy to travel between these cities.
How to Get to Bellagio
From Milan, take the train to Varenna (1 hour). From Varenna, take ferry to Bellagio. The ferry takes 15 minutes and costs €4.60 per person one way.
From Milan, it takes one and a half hours to drive to Bellagio. Click here for information on where to park your car in Bellagio.
For more information, read our article about how to day trip to Lake Como from Milan.
On this full day trip from Milan, visit both Bellagio and Varenna. From Milan, you will travel by coach bus to Como and then cruise to Bellagio and Varenna in a private boat.
You can also join one of these tours from Milan.
By hydrofoil, it takes just over 45 minutes to travel from Como to Bellagio. Motorships are much slower and take two and a half hours to get you from Como to Bellagio.
You can also take a bus from Como to Bellagio (this takes 1 hour 10 minutes).
On this day trip from Como, visit both Bellagio, Italy and Lugano, Switzerland, plus cruise on Lake Como.
It takes one hour by bus to travel from Lugano to Menaggio. From Menaggio you will take a ferry to Bellagio.
Click here for the bus schedule.
Ferry to Bellagio
From Menaggio, take the ferry to Bellagio. You can purchase your ferry tickets at the booth at the ferry terminal. Some ferries do not go directly to Bellagio. It might be quicker, depending on when you arrive, to cruise to Varenna and stay on the ferry to continue to Bellagio. When you purchase your ferry tickets you can ask the cashier which ferry you should get on.
It takes 15 minutes to cruise from Menaggio to Bellagio.
Click here for the links to the timetables and pricing on the official website.
If you have a car, it takes 40 minutes to drive between Lugano and Menaggio. In Menaggio, we parked at Parcheggio gratuito via IV Novembre 102, a small, free parking lot located just south of the ferry terminal. Here are the GPS coordinates: 46.014950, 9.237051
There is no parking at the ferry terminal.
See the instructions above on how to take the ferry from Menaggio to Bellagio.
Bellagio (by drone)
What We Did
We visited Bellagio and Lake Como on a day trip from Lugano, Switzerland. From Lugano, it was a one hour drive to Menaggio. We took a morning ferry from Menaggio to Bellagio and then spent a nice chunk of the day in Bellagio and cruising Lake Como.
Mid-afternoon, we took the ferry to Varenna, spent several hours in Varenna, and then took the ferry back to Menaggio.
It was a very busy, action-packed day but it was also our first day on our latest tour through Europe, so we were full of energy.
We did this on June 30 during the end of the crazy European heat wave. Temperatures got up to 94°F during the day with a heat index near 100°F. It was hot, but the ferry and boat rides, and visits to the cafes, helped keep us cool. Bellagio and Varenna were busy but they were not uncomfortably crowded.
If you will have plans to visit Lugano, check out our post Lugano, Switzerland: What to Do, Where to Stay & Where to Eat
If you have plans to visit Bellagio and have questions, comment below.
More Information for Your Trip to Italy
ITALY ITINERARIES: If you are just beginning to plan your Italy itinerary, take a look at our 10 Days in Italy Itinerary for five different ways to spend 10 days in Italy. We also have a detailed 10 day itinerary that includes Lake Como, Milan, Verona, the Dolomites, and Venice.
NORTHERN ITALY: If you plan to visit the Dolomites, read our article Best Hikes in the Dolomites. Verona is a beautiful city to add to your Italy itinerary and we also have a detailed guides on Riva del Garda on Lake Garda on how to day trip to Lake Como and Bellagio.
VENICE: We cover the top experiences in Venice in our Venice Bucket List. Learn where to get the best views of Venice in our article 12 Beautiful Views of Venice. And to help you plan your time, take a look at our one day in Venice itinerary and two days in Venice itinerary.
PISA: Learn how to visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa while traveling from Florence to the Cinque Terre.
CINQUE TERRE: One of the best experiences in the Cinque Terre is to hike between all five towns. If you are traveling on a budget, get our money saving tips for the Cinque Terre.
We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, and Puglia.
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Hello, I am traveling from Milan to Lake Como and staying in Bellagio for 4 nights. Do you suggest a day trip to Lugano or should we just enjoy the 4 days on Lake Como? Tentative plan:
Day 1 – Arrive Bellagio and explore for the afternoon/check into hotel
Day 2 – Shared 2.5 hours boat tour + visit to Villa Balbianello / afternoon visit Grand Hotel Tremezzo for drinks and visit gardens
Day 3-Ferry to Varenna in the morning and afternoon explore Como
Day 4- Rent a 6 hour boat and spend the entire day on the lake with my dad as the captain (my dad is a big boater)
If we do Lugano, I can move Varenna to the afternoon of Day 2 and skip Como or maybe do this on Day 3 with Lugano? Not sure!
Hello April. I think you came up with a great itinerary. We haven’t been to Como, so I don’t know if it is better than Lugano. But from what I read while planning our trip, Lugano is a more interesting place to visit (Como sounds more like a hub for those arriving to the lake from other parts of Italy…but I could be wrong). You could look through our Lugano article and see if it looks interesting to you. It is a lovely small city and, like Lake Como, you can cruise the lake. One of our favorite experiences was riding the funiculars/cable cars up onto the mountains around Lugano for the views. Either way (keeping your itinerary as is or swapping Lugano for Como) it will be a wonderful 4 days. But yes, you could visit Varenna the afternoon of day 2 and use day 3 for Lugano. Cheers, Julie
What are the best swimming post in Lago di Como
We saw people swimming from the small beaches in Varenna.
Thanks for your great tips!
We will be taking a tour to Villa del Balbianello with Taxiboat Verenna.
Would you recommend the 1-hour private tour still, or would this be too similar? If yes, should we take the north or south tour?
I think you will repeat some of the same views, if you do both Villa del Balbianello and the private boat tour. If you plan to get around by ferry, and visit Varenna and Bellagio, plus the tour to the villa, in my opinion, the private tour is not necessary. Cheers, Julie
It seems that your newsletter will give me a good idea of where to visit for my next vacation!
Your page is very informative. I would loved to visit all these places mentioned in the comments from travelers around the world. so this is my question. What possible recommendation from you, if i come from Milan and visit Lake Como..in order of places to visit so i would not miss one and the last place should be near Lugano.
You can either spend all of your time in the Golden Triangle (Bellagio, Varenna and Menaggio) or add on Como. Como is a larger city that sits on the southern end of Lake Como and it is the first city you will get to from Milan. In my opinion, it’s best to spend the entire day on the Golden Triangle. Then proceed onto Lugano. Check out our Lake Como day trip post, which provides the info you need to pick out what to do and how to get around. Cheers, Julie
This is the best guide that I have found about Bellagio.
Your photos are outstanding along with the level of detail you provide. Amazing!!!
Thank you from a new fan.
Thank you so much for the wonderful comment. Enjoy your time in Bellagio! Cheers, Julie
Love your site and use it all the time. Our family is thinking of traveling to Germany this spring break to visit our oldest who will be in Freiburg all semester. We’ve been spent time in Black Forest area 4 years ago. This time will head to Colmar for a day trip, hopefully get in a couple hikes in the Freiburg area and back to Baden Baden to the spa there.
We’d also love to get back into the Alps (Murren in July 2015 was awesome!) and are wondering what you know of visiting there in early April. 4/8 – 4/14. We could do any area from Interlaken, Lucerne, Como or even Lake Constance. Just worried about weather, hiking conditions and gondolas being open. Any experience going this time of year? Flying PHL > ZRH RT.
Hello April. I’m glad you like our site! We visited Freiburg on a day trip to Colmar last summer…great little German city. We have not been to Switzerland in April (so far, we have only visited during the summer months). You can visit Murren and the Jungfrau region year round, but from the little bit that I know, many hiking trails do not open until June, because of snow. Most but not all of the cable cars should be running. A great place to get more info is the Jungfrau website…they have timetables and operational dates of the cable cars and trains, ticket prices, with info on what to do year round. As for weather, here is the weather in Lauterbrunnen April of this year. It was all over the place! Hope this helps! Cheers, Julie
hello. love your site. very informative!
i plan to visit lake como . milan to Varenna, short ferry to bellaggio and then take the fast boat from bellaggio to Como.
is there a ferry from Bellagio to como?
Hello Jane. Yes, there is a ferry that runs between Como and Bellagio. There is a fast boat (recommended) and a slower boat. Our post on how to visit Lake Como will answer this question and give you more info to help you plan your trip. It also has the links to the ferry service so you can check the timetable. Cheers, Julie
No, there is no ferry from Como to Bellagio and vice versa, If by ferry you mean a boat that carry cars. There are plenty of alternatives if you want to travel by water but the only way by car is to drive from Como to either Bellagio or Cadenabbia or Menaggio and then cross the lake by ferry to Bellagio. Bellagio is so small that you don’t need a car to explore it. Trust me I’m from Bellagio…..ciao
Is there a way to get from Vareena to Bellagio on Friday night at 10:30 pm – we are taking a train from Milan to Vareena Esino.
Do car ferries take solo passengers? I mean walk on passengers?
Hi Julie! Your site has helped me get so many ideas! Thank you! We are traveling around for 10.5 days and I wanted to see if I could get your thoughts on my itinerary and if you thought I may be trying to cram in to much or if it sounds feasible since everything is fairly close. We planned to get a rental car and drive everywhere. A vacation with a mixture of pretty towns, good food, and some outdoors. Would like to go paragliding. I am thinking I may need to cut one location out and I cant choose one! Each location is about 2 hours driving from the next according to Maps. Flying in and out of Milan. I cut a day out of Lucerne/Mt Pilatus so I could have an additional in Chamonix. Do you think I need to cut one out or rearrange my days to make the trip not too overwhelming?
Arrive Lake Como afternoon. Spend 2 nights. (1.5 days)
Drive to Lucerne/Mt Pilatus area. Spend 1 night (1 day)
Drive to Alsace Wine Route. Spend 3 nights (2 days)
Drive to Lauterbrunnen area. Spend 2 nights (2 days)
Drive to Chamonix. Spend 2 night (2 days)
Drive to Milan. Spend 1 night (1 day)
Thank you for your input!
Hello Becca. I’m glad you like our site! Yes, your itinerary is fast but it works. My question is where in Lake Como do you plan to stay? If you choose Bellagio, which is lovely, your travel time to get to Lucerne will be long (about 3.5 hours with time to take the car ferry). That will give you just the afternoon in Lucerne/Pilatus. If you stay in Como your travel time to Lucerne will be a lot faster, but then again, you’ll be spending more time to get to and from Bellagio, Ravenna, etc while touring the lake. Another option is to spend your first night in Bellagio and your second night in Lugano. I guess it comes down to…do you want a leisurely experience at Lake Como OR see Lake Como but also maximize your time at Lucerne. Either is fine, it’s just your preference. Murren is a great place to go paragliding. I wish we did this while we were there.
Here’s one more suggestion. What if you drove from Lake Como to Colmar, spent 2 days in Colmar, then did Lucerne, then Lauterbrunnen, then Chamonix? The day we did Lucerne, we drove down from Colmar and had plenty of time to see Lucerne and Pilatus. Just a thought.
I saw your pictures of the via ferrata in Mürren, If you’re still in Zermatt, try the Gorner Gorge Adventure….it is zip lining, via Ferrara and ladder climbing all in one. My kids enjoyed the VF in Mürren, but thought the Gorner Gorge Adventure was 5 times more fun!
We just got back June 26th….
Hello Travis. Oh, I’m so bummed about missing the Gorner Gorge now. We had just under 48 hours in Zermatt and spent it on Gornergrat, Glacier Paradise, and Rothorn doing the 5 lakes trail. The Gorner Gorge was on our list but we ran out of time and energy. Now I wished we did that rather than the 5 lakes trail, after hearing that you liked it so much. Thanks for writing in with the recommendation, we love getting recommendations from our readers! Cheers, Julie