Enjoy la dolce vita during holidays in Lake Como. This simply stunning part of northern Italy will have you daydreaming of movie stars and fast cars as you look out over the great lake to the grand villas and the snow-capped mountains that sit under an expanse of blue sky. .
You can't blame Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney for snapping up a home here (together with a few other notable A-listers): Lake Como is a curvaceous beauty, a glamorous siren of classic proportions; she's a sensuous and striking attraction on the already good-looking map of Italy. Lake Como holidays can begin by flying into one of four airports that are less than two hours away. Two of these are on the outskirts of fashion-capital Milan, so a twin-centre holiday between the city and the lake is a popular choice. Lake Como is situated in the far north of Italy, granting easy access to Switzerland and affording terrific views across the Alps. Those looking for an upmarket experience take holidays in the area, and you have the luxury of selecting from a number of grand hotels. The most popular towns and villages for visitors are mostly on the western shore of the glassy lake, which is constantly criss-crossed by ferries that offer the freedom to explore the lake's treasures. Menaggio is an attractive town, while the mid-lake towns of Tremezzo and Cadenabbia are also popular places to stay. Also on the western shore is Lenno. It's a small village and neighbour to the astoundingly beautiful Villa Balbianello, where Daniel Craig's James Bond smouldered his way through scenes in Casino Royale. The resort of Bellagio, arguably the best looking of all the lake resorts, has a unique location in what appears to be the middle of the lake, where two branches of water split around it. Another popular choice is Varenna, on the eastern shore of Lake Como.Most of the resorts are excellent bases for walking, boating, jet-skiing, and windsurfing, or for simply strolling along cobbled streets, craning your neck at the facades of historical buildings, and stopping every now and then to sip at a coffee. There are many restaurants and bars to choose from wherever you stay on Lake Como. And let's not forget the chance to flex the plastic. There are plenty of shops in which to splash the cash and live out your dreams as an A-list celebrity.
If you are hankering for a spot of culture while on holiday in Lake Como, you'll be spoiled for choice. Tour the incredible gardens of Villa Carlotta near Tremezzo, before popping your head inside to gaze at pieces of art, or visit Villa Monastero in Varenna, which is a monastery with equally famous gardens. The UNESCO listed Sacro Monte di Ossuccio is also worth a few hours. A number of “sacred mountains” crowned by Baroque chapels are scattered around this part of Italy, but this one on the western shore of the lake is a particular treasure. The pace of life is slow in Lake Como, and holidays here suit couples and older families, plus those looking to get away from it all and take a deep lungful of fresh mountain air. Compare prices on your break to Lake Como today with TravelSupermarket.
The weather remains mild year round at Lake Como. Not too hot in summer, not too cold in winter. Expect highs in the mid twenties in summer, while winter temperatures hover at around 1C, with snow falling only in the highest areas. Rain can fall at any time of the year, though winter and summer are drier.
Festival of Saint John the Baptist; June: Religious services, races and other events around the lake are topped off with a magnificent display of fireworks set off from Isola Comacina, the only island in the lake. Como Lake Man; August: Even if you aren't of a sporty nature, it's a thrill to watch athletes compete in this contest of swimming, running and biking to be crowned this year's Spartacus.
Palio del Baradello; August/September: A medieval atmosphere is created in late summer in Como with the re-enactment of a wartime visit from Emperor Barbarossa. There is singing, dancing, eating and much merriment to be enjoyed.
Best of Lake Como holidays for...
Grown-up families: Take a stroll around the historical Villa Carlotta at Tremezzo with its beautiful gardens before hopping on a ferry and taking a short ride across the lake to Bellagio.
Here you'll be able to explore winding streets and interesting shops, stroll along the promenade and watch the world go by from one of the many lakeside restaurants.
Shopping: Towns around the lake such as Como and Menaggio will leave you spoilt for choice with a variety of small boutiques, designer shops and larger department stores.
Or if you fancy travelling further afield and experiencing Italian chic at its best, how about joining the glitterati and taking the train into Milan for the day?
Active types: The location of Lake Como means that it is ideal for watersports such as windsurfing and water-skiing. Horse-riding and golf are also available at various destinations around the lake.