The beautiful Lake Como, located in the northern lakes region of Italy, is one of the most charming and romantic places on earth. You’ll have plenty of time for a boat trip around the lake and visiting famous villas, but if you’re looking for a change of scenery when you visit Lake Como, there are plenty of interesting places to explore within easy reach.
Many people will use Milan as a base for day trips in Northern Italy, but if you’re planning to stay in Lake Como, you can venture out to these amazing places. Whether you’re in the mood for a city break, a relaxing beach holiday, or something more adventurous, here are some great day trips from Lake Como.
And be sure to explore the best towns on Lake Como before venturing out on your day trip.
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Milan is an obvious day trip from Lake Como because it’s the closest major Italian city to Lake Como. Milan is an amazing place to visit and the perfect day trip from Lake Como.
It’s only an hour away by train or car and offers a wealth of attractions including world-famous fashion boutiques, art galleries, and historic monuments like the Duomo di Milano cathedral. You can see da Vinci’s Last Supper and explore the canals of Navigli. Plus, if you’re feeling peckish, there are plenty of delicious Italian restaurants to choose from.
And since Milan is so close to Lake Como, you can also consider these day trips from Milan.
For those who want to explore another country, but don’t want to venture too far, Lugano, Switzerland is just an hour away by car or train from Lake Como. This Swiss city boasts stunning lakeside views of Lake Lugano and some great shopping opportunities, not to mention plenty of delicious chocolate shops (please go to Laderach and thank me later)!
The Bernina Express
If you’re looking for a truly spectacular scenic train journey through the northern Italy countryside and into Switzerland and the Swiss Alps, the Bernina Express is a perfect choice. Taking a ride on the Bernina Express is a once in a lifetime experience.
This iconic train journey starts on Lake Como and winds its way through some of Northern Italy’s most stunning landscapes, including the majestic Dolomites mountain range. Onboard, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, and pristine lakes as you make your way up to 2,253 meters above sea level – a truly breathtaking sight! You’ll end in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where you can explore the old town and take in the spectacular views of the Swiss Alps.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or just want to take in some beautiful scenery during your next trip to Italy, this is one journey that shouldn’t be missed. This is one of my favorite day trips from Lake Como by train. You can book the Bernina Express tour here.
If you’re looking to get away from the lovely Lake Como for a day, why not take a trip to Venice? It’s a straightforward journey on the train from Varenna to Milan, to Venice for about two and a half hours. Once you finally reach Venice, get ready for a beautiful display of canals, picturesque narrow alleys, waterways and piazzas, as well as some truly breathtaking architecture.
There’s something special about visiting this city built on the water, so take a gondola ride or hop aboard the vaporetto to make your way around the city – it’ll be an experience you won’t forget! And while there take plenty of photos to remember your journey! Since your Venice day trip from Lake Como is so short, I recommend taking a walking tour or a boat tour to really maximize your time in Venice. Or take a guided tour and skip the logistics.
If you are looking to dive into Italy’s culture, take the train and within 2.5 hours you will reach Florence. Once arrived in this charming city, be sure to explore its many museums, stroll along the Arno river – including crossing the Ponte Vecchio bridge, shop for leather goods, or enjoy a food tour. But don’t forget that Climbing the Duomo is also an absolute must-do if you want to grasp all of what Florence has available!
Eat at local restaurants or take a food tour. Grab a gelato and head to Boboli Gardens to enjoy some green space. Walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo and enjoy the incredible views of the city. To maximize your time in Florence I recommend booking a tour and booking your museum tickets in advance.
An unforgettable experience awaits you in the quaint town of Verona, nestled in Northern Italy’s Veneto region. Its rich history and vibrant culture make it a must-see destination for tourists seeking an enriching cultural journey. Just a short day trip away from Lake Como, Verona is sure to capture your heart with its breathtaking views and captivating sights!
Romeo and Juliet balcony in Verona, Italy
Explore the ancient Roman ruins, take in breathtaking views of the Adige River, and visit Juliet’s house and balcony. Plus, with convenient train services running between Lake Como, Milan and Verona Porta Nuova station, it’s easy to make your way back and forth in just one day! The train will take around 2.5 hours, stopping at Milan. You can take a guided walking tour of Verona to maximize your time or you can purchase the Verona Card which includes skip the line access to the Verona Arena, Juliet’s House, Torre dei Lamberti, several museums, and free transportation on the ATV, the Verona public transit.
Lake Garda & Malcesine
Want to see even more beautiful Italian Lakes? An excursion to the picturesque Lake Garda from Lake Como is an ideal day trip. Situated in Lombardy, Northern Italy, it’s a place of beauty and charm with captivating views that stretch as far as you can see. And did we mention that this majestic lake is also the largest one in Italy? You’ll discover plenty of vivid villages along its shore too!
Malcesine, our absolute favorite location on Lake Garda, is an aged town with a grand castle and remarkable shops. You can reach Malcesine from Lake Como to Milan or Desenzano del Garda station in mere two hours by train services running between them. Once you’re there, why not charter a ship to explore the lake? You can board one of the many ferries that traverse across it or take a lake cruise.
Music lovers will appreciate a day trip from Lake Como to Cremona. Hop on a train from Lake Como and be swept away to the culturally-enriched city of Cremona. Here, you will find stunning architecture around every corner – explore ancient churches that date back centuries, or admire the incredible works of renowned luthiers such as Stradivari, Amati and Guarneri. With so much beauty in one place, it’s no wonder why Cremona is a popular destination for visitors!
Cremona is an international destination renowned for its violins, meriting the moniker “the City of Violins”! While visiting Cremona, you can explore the Violin Museum and even purchase a violin if desired. Shopping here will be an incomparable experience as each violin store provides access to numerous handcrafted instruments made by talented craftspeople using time-honored methods.
If you’re seeking a remarkable and unforgettable day trip, then look no further than Lake Como to Cinque Terre in the Italian Riviera. On Italy’s Ligurian coast, this gorgeous strip of five villages is connected by an iconic coastal path that provides incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s where picturesque landscapes come alive with beauty!
From the stunning, turquoise waters to captivating restaurants and boutiques – every traveler can find something they love here! Travelling between Lake Como to Milan or La Spezia Centrale Station is made easy with convenient train services. If you’re planning a day trip, keep in mind that it takes around 3 hours of driving or on the train for both ways.
So don’t forget to factor in your travel time when preparing for this unique UNESCO world heritage site experience! To maximize your time in Cinque Terre, I recommend taking a boat cruise to enjoy as much as possible during your day trip from Lake Como.
If you’re interested in history at all, Bergamo is definitely the place for you! History lovers will appreciate this beautiful medieval city that has roots that span back to prehistoric times, and it is no surprise that there is plenty of history and culture to dive into.
Take an organized tour around some of the well-preserved monuments, learn about its impressive architecture or soak in the local culture. You could even step into a museum or two to discover more about this incredible destination! So if history is your thing, you’ll love Bergamo.
Pavia is home to one of the oldest universities in Europe, and yet its beauty runs much deeper than academia. This ancient city beguiles with old-world architecture that longs to be admired as you meander through its streets. So if you’re looking for a destination steeped in history, Pavia should be at the top of your list!
Taking a journey down the cobblestone streets of Pavia is sure to leave you in awe, as palazzos and basilicas adorn each one. These timeless works of art have existed for centuries and remain standing today! Furthermore, several bridges can be found here that are almost a thousand years old – providing an incredible opportunity to admire Italian history and culture. Without doubt, this city makes for an extraordinary day trip from Lake Como.
If you’re longing for the most scrumptious Italian cuisine, Bologna is your destination. As one of Italy’s premier cities for food, this university town has so much to offer hungry culinary adventurers! From mouth-watering tortellini and tagliatelle dishes to delectable mortadella specialties, there’s something delicious in store for every taste bud. Come explore all that Bologna has to savor!
Cheese, balsamic vinegar and cured meats have made Bologna a sought-after destination for food travelers. Boasting some of the best gelato you can find worldwide, there’s no shortage of delectable regional favorites to explore on your one-day tour or simply follow your nose down winding alleys in search of new tantalizing dishes! This charming city has so much to offer gastronomes from around the world.
Journey to the stunning Italian city of Parma, home to renowned Prosciutto di Parma ham and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Don’t forget while in this marvelous town to take advantage of its vibrant Renaissance history! From exploring monuments along The Corso Garibaldi or strolling through the lush botanical gardens – it is an experience sure not be forgotten.
When visiting the breathtakingly beautiful city of Parma, visitors can marvel in awe at iconic architecture such as the majestic Baptistery and Palazzo della Pilotta. Not to mention, one will stumble upon extraordinary museum exhibitions exhibiting masterpieces by celebrated artists like Correggio and Parmigianino around every corner! Experience it all just like a local – go discover Parma today!
If you’re looking for a one-day escape from your time in Lake Como, you can’t go wrong with the picturesque Lake Maggiore! Located in Lombardy, Italy’s northern region, this peaceful lake is renowned for its mesmerizing views and charming villages.
Isola Bella is located in the middle of Lake Maggiore you can get with liners or private just 5 minutes off the town of Stresa. The island owes its fame to the Borromeo family who built a magnificent palace with a beautiful garden.
Genoa & Portofino
Make your next excursion a day to remember and plan an unforgettable tour of the breathtaking coastal cities of Genoa and Portofino. Located in Liguria, these two vibrant destinations offer travelers so much to do -from strolling along bustling streets with their colorful architecture or simply kicking back on idyllic beaches!
Plus, with convenient train services running between Lake Como, Milan, and Genoa’s Brignole Station – you can get there in just over 3 hours! From there, it’s only a short bus or ferry ride to reach the beautiful port city of Portofino where you can take part in various water sports such as kayaking or sailing.
Interlaken & The Swiss Alps
Make your Lake Como trip unforgettable by taking a day to explore the stunning beauty of Interlaken and Switzerland’s iconic Alpine range! Easily accessible from nearby Lake Como, all you have to do is hop on a train or bus for an awe-inspiring journey.
Once you get there, a picturesque landscape awaits – frosted mountain tops, lush valleys, and crystal-clear lakes. No matter if you prefer thrilling experiences such as paragliding or rafting or simply want to relax while taking in the stunning sights – this is one travel destination that shouldn’t be overlooked!
Trade the opulent allure of Lake Como for an unforgettable experience atop Mount Blanc or Monte Bianco in Italy. Take a cable car up to Helbronner peak and be astounded by the breathtaking visuals of the Swiss, French, and Italian Alps.
On your way, stop in the picturesque town of Courmayeur. It’s about a 3 and a half hour drive from Lake Como, but worth the journey for the views. This might not be one of the best day trips from Lake Como in winter as the Skywalk might be closed. If you’re not renting a car, you can book this tour to Monte Bianco which will pick you up after taking the train into Milan.
Cave Paintings in Val Camonica
If you’re looking for a truly unique day trip from Lake Como, lose yourself in the ancient rock drawings of Val Camonica on a full-day journey with a private guide. Leave behind the commotion of the city and admire cave paintings that date back thousands of years, all while learning about their history and significance firsthand!
Head to Valcamonica, in Italy’s Naquane Park, to observe the 10,000-year-old drawing, the largest concentration in Europe. Then, take a tour of the village of Bienno which has a strong Roman and medieval influence. For lovers of ancient history, this is the perfect Lake Como day trip. If you’re taking the guided tour, you’ll need to meet your guide in Milan.
Skiing in the Alps – Madesimo
If you’re looking for day trips from Lake Como in winter and you love skiing, this is the trip for you. This small group tour includes a private driver from Milan to Madesimo where you can either enjoy the slopes on your own or take a two-hour private ski lesson with a professional ski instructor.
This is a really unique day trip from Lake Como, so if you’re there in winter, I highly recommend taking advantage of the beautiful mountains surrounding Lake Como and northern Italy.
Spiez, Switzerland is a picturesque town located in the canton of Bern in Switzerland, and it makes for a perfect day trip from Lake Como. The journey from Lake Como to Spiez takes about three hours by car or train, and the scenic route offers stunning views of the Swiss Alps and the Swiss countryside.
Upon arrival in Spiez, visitors can explore the town’s charming streets and alleys, which are lined with traditional Swiss houses and buildings. One of the main attractions of Spiez is the beautiful Spiez Castle, which dates back to the 13th century and offers breathtaking views of Lake Thun and the surrounding mountains.
Visitors can also take a stroll along the picturesque promenade that runs along the shores of Lake Thun, or take a boat trip to explore the lake and its surroundings. In addition, Spiez offers a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, and skiing, depending on the season.
Another highlight of Spiez is its rich culinary scene, with a variety of traditional Swiss restaurants and cafes offering delicious local specialties, including cheese fondue, raclette, and chocolate.
FAQs About Day trips from Lake Como, Italy
The answer to this question really depends on your own personal preferences and how much time you have available. Generally speaking, a weekend is enough to get an introduction to the area and explore some of the highlights of Lake Como, while spending a week or more would allow you to delve deeper into attractions such as its beautiful gardens and picturesque villages. Staying a week or more allows you to take several day trips from Lake Como and see much of northern Italy. Whatever amount of time you choose to spend in Lake Como, you are sure to be enchanted by its timeless beauty and enjoy the amazing experiences that it has to offer.
The answer to this depends on your comfort level with driving in Italy. I would say that if you’re comfortable driving and you have your International Driving Permit, renting a car would be beneficial, especially if you plan to make several day trips from Lake Como.
Absolutely. Taking a day trip to Switzerland from Lake Como is actually pretty easy. You can easily drive to Lugano, Switzerland, or take the Bernina Express train through the Alps.
Yes! You can board the Bernina Express train from Lake Como to Switzerland for the most beautiful train ride you’ve ever been on.
Of course. I hope the day trips from Lake Como above have given you some ideas of where you want to go.
I hope you found some value here and were able to discover our favorite day trips from Lake Como with us.