Aerial view of Lake como, Italy

Lake Como holds celebrity status when it comes to Italy’s lakes. Famous folk have opulent villas along the lakeside, though Lake Como is far from an exclusive hangout. As one of the most popular destinations in Northern Italy, a visit to Lake Como’s towns top the list of countless tour itineraries. 

Varenna, Bellagio, and Como itself are among the well-trodden towns, though some of the best towns in Lake Como are the ones that have the smallest populations, narrowest streets, and dreamy vistas that you won’t see on a bus tour.  

From Lake Como hidden gems that are spoken with hushed breaths to the best towns around Lake Como that are hiding in plain sight, these charming towns deserve a closer look.

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Villa Oleandra on Lake Como

If Laglio’s name slightly rings a bell, you can thank George Clooney. The famous actor’s Villa Oleandra is in this postcard-like town. While the 18th century villa isn’t exactly Lake Como off the beaten path, the supporting cast of Laglio is. Hiking trails lead away from the paparazzi and into the hillside, granting you panoramic scenes of Lake Como that deserve their own feature on the silver screen. Add a little local flavor to your trek by picking up casoretto cheese to snack on while you watch hawks, falcons, and other local avians soar across Lake Como’s sky.


Villa Balbianello in Lenno, Lake Como

Lenno gets plenty of attention for hosting the villas owned by Sir Richard Branson and George Lucas; Villa Balbianello is particularly notable, used as a filming location for Star Wars Episode II in 2002, and again for James Bond Casino Royale in 2006. However, don’t let that stop you from digging back further into the town’s traditions. Lenno’s origins date back to the first Roman Empire; the territory was colonized by Greek colonies, sent here by Julius Caesar at the time of the founding of Nuova Como, colonies which introduced the cultivation of vineyards and olive groves – there is a centuries-old mill, which can still be seen today, which was used for the production of a high-quality olive oil.

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Colourful buildings and bridge in argegno, Italy

While other travelers have their sights set for the stars, Argegno, just ten minutes south of Lenno, is one of Lake Como’s hidden gems that deserves its own top-billing. Thin alleyways lead you through this quiet commune that’s slowly gaining popularity. You can gaze at Bellagio, one of the most beautiful towns in Lake Como, on a clear day, though even when the clouds roll in, Argegno delivers picturesque views of rolling hills and deep blue waters. Explore the 17th century mosaics in the Santissima Trinità church, admire the colorful houses, and take a steep cable car up to the calm, near-tourist-free village of Pigra.

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Brienno dock on lake como, Italy

Brienno is balanced on the water’s edge of Lake Como, offering a laid-back spot for wanderers since pre-Roman times. Those keen to collect random factoids from history will enjoy learning about Brienno’s long life from the Middle Age churches to the preserved fortification and bunkers from World War I. The thin streets make tightropes look wide, but if you have the footing, a walk around this labyrinth of a village is an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the larger Lake Como towns for a spell.


Town of Nesso viewed from across lake como, Italy

Directly across the lake from Brienno, Nesso is easily one of the most beautiful towns in Lake Como. Like many of these Lake Como towns, Nesso dates back to ancient Roman times. And though it features colorful homes throughout its old town, the Orrido di Nesso is its alluring attraction. This gorge brings two creeks together, joining them in harmony as a cascading waterfall that flows beneath the Ponte della Civera arched bridge. 

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Colico is one of the larger towns, though its northern location makes it a bit of an off the beaten path destination in Lake Como. However you like to vacation, Colico encourages you to do it all outdoors. The Forte Montecchio Nord open-air museum offers guided tours about Lake Como’s presence in the Great War while events like the Water Music Festival and the World Cup of Kitesurfing draw audiences looking for alternative experiences. There’s a sunny spot on the beach for you to relax, unless you’d like to join the fun topside and rent try your hand at paddle boarding, kitesurfing, or one of the other aquatic activities available from various Lake Como tour groups.


Town of Lecco with mountains in background and water in foreground, Italy

Sharing the name of the province, Lecco is an affordable alternative to the more expensive Como on the opposite prong. Lake Como and Lake Garlate are joined by the Adda River, giving Lecco’s coastline three unique viewpoints. Stroll the Garlate for dramatic views of the surrounding mountains. Let a chef row you out to Isola Viscontea for a risotto dinner on the Adda. Or simply grab a gelato and take in the medieval ruins from the Lungolago di Lecco promenade. 

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Lake Como at night with reflections on the water

Gittana is such a small hamlet on the eastern shore of Lake Como that it often goes unnoticed, despite being a 10-minute drive from Varenna train station. Its few dozen sand-colored roofs act like cobblestones leading up the hill from the man-made pebble beach to the clock tower of the sole church. Gittana’s village is brushed modestly upon Lake Como’s canvas, which is why it’s worth the visit. Climb to the top of the village for undisturbed views of the lake, take your time munching and mingling with the owners of the Semi di Grano ristorante, then rent a bicycle for a smooth shoreline ride to Bellano or Varenna.


A view of Varenna from Lake Como

Found on Lake Como’s eastern shore and previously a small fishing village, Varenna is still full of rich history and well worth a visit. Amble through the botanical gardens such as Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi, or take a romantic stroll through Passeggiata degli Innamorati (Walk of Lovers), which begins at the pier of Varenna for a beautiful view of the lake. For an unparalleled view of the lake, visit the nearby Castello di Vezio. As with many Lake Como towns, you won’t want to skip visiting the church here in the central square, Piazza San Giorgio. The 14th century Church of San Giorgio is home to numerous paintings from the late 15th and 16th centuries. As you wander through this picturesque town, don’t forget to look down; the pavements are made from local black marble.

Gravedona ed Uniti

A view of Gravedona ed Uniti from Lake Como

Located on the western shore of Lake Como, Gravedona ed Uniti is a calming, charming Lake Como town. History and art lovers will want to visit the Palazzo Gallio which sits high above the town, facing directly onto the lake; try and catch one of the concerts, exhibitions and workshops that take place here over the summer. On the water, soak up the town’s history in the marbled Romanesque Church of Santa Maria del Tiglio while taking in the view of the lake. Meanwhile, the narrow streets to the harbour are the perfect spot for a walk with a gelato, or take your pick of one of the many exceptional restaurants serving fresh seafood and some of the finest Italian produce.

Are you ready to discover the most beautiful towns in Lake Como? Join Luxury Gold’s Ultimate Italy trip. This 12-day journey ends in Venice, a short train ride away from Lario, making it effortless to schedule Lake Como tours or travel to the many towns and villages at your own pace. Join us for an adventure that delivers countless memories between Cinque Terre and Capri then complete your Italian itinerary with a relaxing weekend at one of Lake Como’s towns.