Bellagio Travel Guide

The Pearl of Lake Como

Bellagio
by Martha Bakerjian

Bellagio, the pearl of Lake Como, is a top Italian lakeside vacation destination and one of the top romantic places to go in Italy. Set in an ideal position where the two legs of Lake Como come together, Bellagio has panoramic lake views and a fairly mild climate. There's a pretty lakeside promenade that leads to Villa Melzi with its beautiful gardens. The village has picturesque stone lanes and stairways with shops, gelato bars, cafes, and restaurants.

Bellagio Location

Bellagio sits on a promontory near the center of Lake Como, about 30 kilometers northeast of the town of Como. The lake is north of the city of Milan and near the Swiss border.

Where to Stay in Bellagio

  • Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is a 5-star luxury hotel overlooking the lake, one of the oldest and most elegant hotels along this part of the lake.
  • Hotel Suisse is a small, 1-star hotel above a restaurant in an ideal position in town facing the lake.
  • Hotel Excelsior Splendide is a 3-star hotel, also facing the lake, with Art Noveau decor and a small swimming pool.
  • Hotel Il Perlo Panorama is a 2-star hotel at the top of a hill 3 kilometers from the town center with gardens, lake views, and parking.

Arriving in Bellagio

Bellagio can be reached by bus or passenger ferry from the town of Como, which is on the Milan to Lugano (Switzerland) train line. By car, it's about a 40-minute drive along the lake from Como or Lecco.

A car ferry connects to Mennagio on the western shore of the lake and passenger ferries and buses connect to other towns along the lake. The closest Italian airport is Milan Malpensa, about 85 kilometers away.

What to See and Do in Bellagio

While the best thing to do in Bellagio may be to simply relax and enjoy the lakeside ambiance, there are several interesting sights in and near the village.

  • Villa Melzi, built in 1808, has a park with sculptures and garden known for its beautiful azaleas and rhododendrons. It's open from the end of March through the beginning of November and admission includes the museum and neo-classical chapel.
  • San Giacomo Church, built between 1075 and 1125, is at the top of the historic center. The church is in Lombard Romanesque style and has mosaics, a 12th-century cross, and a 15th-century triptych.
  • Villa Serbelloni Park, above the historic center, has an 18th-century garden and great views of the lake. It's open April through November 2. A combination ticket includes admission to the Museum of Navigational Instruments.
  • Drink, Eat, and Be Merry on Lake Como is a 1-hour wine tasting with samples of cheese, cold cuts, and fresh fish held in an Enoteca in Bellagio.
  • The Museum of Navigational Instruments, in the hamlet of San Giovanni, can be reached on foot in about 25 minutes, public boat, or in summer on the tourist train. It's open daily, mornings only.
  • Walking paths go along the lake and over the hills to small hamlets and picturesque parts of the lake.
  • Boat tours, water sports, and a touristic train tour are available during the summer season. During summer there are many musical events and festivals held in Bellagio, too.