Julie Italy 34 Comments

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.

Bellagio Italy

Strolling the city streets

 

Bellagio Cafe

Bellagio Tour

Walking through 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.

Bellagio

Salita Serbelloni

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.

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.

Basilica of San Giacomo

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.

Melzi Gardens

Bellagio Waterfront from Melzi

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

Italy Travel Guide

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.

Punta Spartivento

View from Punta Sparitvento

 

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 Fishing Village

Pescallo

 

Pescallo best things to do in Bellagio

Pescallo Drone Photo

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 del Balbianello

 

Cruising Lake Como best things to do in Bellagio

Villa la Cassinella

Villa la Cassinella

 

Villa Carlotta best things to do in Bellagio

Villa Carlotta

 

Swimming Spot best things to do in Bellagio

Swimming spot on Lake Como

 

Bellagio Boat Tour best things to do in Bellagio

Bellagio

 

Cruise Lake Como best things to do in Bellagio

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

By Train

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.

By Car

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.

By Tour

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.

 


From Como

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.


From Lugano

By Bus

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.

By Car

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.

Best Things to do in Bellagio

Bellagio (by drone)

Visiting Bellagio: 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 any questions about the best things to do in Bellagio, 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.

 

 

Bellagio Lake Como Italy

Best of Bellagio Italy Travel

 

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Comments 34

  1. Avatar for Chris
    Chris

    Hi Julie,

    We will be in Lake Como in April for a day. Do you think it’s worth strolling inside Melzi Gardens or we can get the same view by doing a boat tour?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Melzi Gardens are nice but not an absolute must-do. You will get a similar view on a boat tour (the boat tour is very worthwhile and a better use of your time, in my opinion). Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Janice Judge
    Janice Judge

    This is a great helpful site. I need some help and/or recommendations. We will be staying in Bellagio first week of June 2024.
    Since it is close to Swiss border; I’m trying to navigate how to take the Bernina express train (day trip) or do you suggest the boat tour to Lugano.
    Any suggestions are welcome.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Janice. Those are located in two different areas, so it depends on what you want to do. The Bernina Express is a scenic train ride from Tirano, Italy to St. Moritz and Chur, Switzerland. This takes a full day and is usually done point to point. If you want to do it after Bellagio, you will have to travel to Lugano, take the Bernina Express bus to Tirano, and then take the Bernina Express to St. Moritz or Chur (there are other ways to travel from Bellagio to Tirano but the one I mentioned is the one I am most familiar with). Alternatively, you can visit Lugano on a day trip from Bellagio. We have information on how to travel between Bellagio and Lugano in our Lake Como day trip guide. Once in Lugano, you can take a boat tour of Lugano. If you have any other questions please let me know. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for rick
    rick

    Hi,
    I don’t know how I found your site….but it is very helpful for someone like me…..good job! I hope this email gets to you.
    Please let me tell you our plan. Two of us are traveling to Switzerland in late Sept. Oct 8. We will have a Swiss Travel Pass.
    Question 1- Jungfrau region- We will take a train from Lucerne to Interlaken. We hope to catch a train by 8.30 so we get to Interlaken by 11 am. How long is the train ride from Lucerne to Interlaken? Soo….lets say we have a half day…..then two more full days. What would you do in those 2.5 days ?? making best use of our time , and seeing as much, as we can?
    a. I saw that you really liked Murren. That was one of the things we wanted to know….where should we stay. Then I saw you have suggested places to stay in Murren. A couple of the places are apartments, and they look nice- and it looks like people need to stay 4-5 nights, we are not that. Sooo…What hotel should we stay in, in Murren,please ?
    b. I see the hiking on the cliff from Murren to Gimmerwald. If the weather does not permit this…..can you walk back and forth?
    2. We are going on to Montroux —-then from there to Zermatt. If we leave Montroux by train by 9 am–get to Zematt by noon. We only have a half day….do we have time to go to the Grongerat???? What would you do in a half day?
    3. We are taking the Glacier Express to St. Moritz…..then the Bernina Express from St. Moritz to Tirano….then the bus from Tirano to Lugano. I don’t know if the bus stops anywhere….like Menaggio.
    My 2nd big question is for the Ticino region. ….If the bus does not stop and it goes only to Lugano. We have 2 full days in the Lugano area. I was thinking of making a big circle on one day- taking the train from Lugano to Como….then get on a boat to Belliagio, Varrena and Menaggio…..then bus back to Lugano. Can that be done in one day? Then day 2 go the other way from Lugano to Locarno area and back. Is this a good plan? or….if you had two days in the area- what would you do? Also….I need a place to stay….would you be based in Lugano…or another city? what hotel would you suggest?
    Bottom line…..2.5 days Jungfrau…..2 days in Lugano/Lake Como…any and all suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks, Rick

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Rick. The train from Lucerne to Interlaken takes about 2.5 hours. For suggestions on how to plan your time, refer to our Jungfrau Itinerary article, which has suggestions based on how active you want to be. As for where to stay in Murren, you can look at our suggestions in our Where to Stay article and check which places allow a shorter stay, or look on Booking.com for more suggestions. If the weather doesn’t allow you to do the via ferrata, you can walk between Murren and Gimmelwald on the roads/paths but it is no where near as scenic. With a half day in Zermatt, you can visit Gornergrat and that would be our #1 suggestion for what to do in Zermatt. As for the bus to Lugano, you will have to check the schedule to see if it stops along Lake Como. Your plan is good and we have more info on our Lake Como Day Trip guide for how to spend a day here, with travel info from Lugano. We also have an article about day trips from Lugano which might also give you some good ideas on what to do. In our Guide to Lugano we have recommended hotels. Finally, to see all of our Switzerland content, take a look at our Switzerland Travel Guide. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for rick
  4. Avatar for Saritha
    Saritha

    Wow! This site is extremely helpful! Thank you very much!
    Are there any restaurant recommendations you have in bellagio?
    I am staying 2 days in Bellagio and booked the 1hr boat tour you recommended. Thanks again. Very helpful. I will also look into my tranfer from milan to Bellagio:)

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      We only ate breakfast in Bellagio and then had lunch in Varenna so I can’t speak from personal experience as where to eat. However, we use TripAdvisor to find restaurants that get good reviews. I just did a quick look on TripAdvisor and there are lot of restaurants that get fantastic reviews, from budget friendly trattorias to Michelin starred restaurants. Have a great time in Bellagio! Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for serena
    serena

    Hi, Thank you for great tips.
    We will be staying one night in Belagio and interested in doing a private boat tour. The one you mentioned – “LIDO DE BELLAGIO” – can this be pre-booked or only in person at the site? Thank you!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      1. Avatar for serena
        serena

        Thank you so much Julie!! It’s showing 190 Euro on their website for 1 hour. Do you think it’s better to pre-book or can I find less expensive boat rides local there? Thanks!

        1. Avatar for Julie Post
          Author
          Julie

          I don’t you’ll find anything cheaper once there. I’d book it now so you get it. We priced out a taxi before we went to Bellagio and that was surprisingly expensive. Cheers, Julie

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