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Climbing Stairs In Bellagio

Things To Do in Bellagio That are Fun

Bellagio, a small town in Italy, sits on a promontory on Lake Como where the lake splits into two southern branches. It’s a fabulous setting but definitely not what I expected. The hills are bigger, it’s very lush and there are far more towns and villages around Lake Como than I ever anticipated.

Bellagio is a very popular tourist destination – but it’s not for everyone. Mostly I saw romantically inclined couples and young families but there wasn’t a backpacker in sight, perhaps because of the lack of hostels. There’s enough to keep you busy for a few days and I think that’s probably enough time for most people. Check out these fun things you can do in Bellagio, Italy.

Bellagio from the water
Bellagio from the water

Things to do in Bellagio – wander the back alleys 

Enjoy window shopping as you wander the back alleys. There are some superb clothing, jewelry, wine and art stores that will tempt you – and that’s coming from a non-shopper.

Things to do in Bellagio - go window shopping
Window shopping in Bellagio requires a lot of up and down on steep steps

Stroll the promenade in Bellagio

Head to the waterfront and hit the promenade. Find a bench and watch the world go by while enjoying the views of Lake Como.

Watching the world go by on Lake Como
Watching the world go by on Lake Como
The promenade in Bellagio
The promenade in Bellagio
Looking down Lake Como from the promenade
Looking down Lake Como from the promenade

Check out the formal gardens at Villa Melzi

Visit the Gardens of Villa Melzi. For only 8 Euros (2019 prices) you can spend an enjoyable hour meandering the garden designed by architect, Luigi Canonica, and Luigi Villoresi. The paths take you along the lake and then up the short hill with a view to the towns on the far shores.

The Gardens of Villa Melzi, Bellagio
The Gardens of Villa Melzi, Bellagio
Looking out towards the gardens at Villa Melzi
Looking out towards the gardens at Villa Melzi

Take a boat tour of Lake Como

You can rent private boats but an inexpensive option is to get a day’s pass for 14 Euros. This will allow you to jump on and off at a variety of towns on Lake Como – including Menaggio, Varenna, Lenno, Tremezzo and Cadenabbia.

You do need to pay attention to what type of boat you get on – the fast ones (which are more expensive on a one off ticket basis) or the slow ones which basically do the milk run stopping at every town along the way. Also check the schedule so you aren’t waiting around on a dock for a few hours.

Take a ferry from town to town - as a walk on or in your car
Take a ferry from town to town – as a walk on or in your car
A private boat tour would be a great way to see the Bellagio area
A private boat tour would be a great way to see the Bellagio area

Have lunch or dinner in another town on Lake Como

Hp on a boat and head over to Varenna or Menaggio, popular options to explore, dine and then hop back on the boat again. It’s a fun way to experience Lake Como.

Varenna - another town on Lake Como
Varenna – another town on Lake Como

The cafe culture is alive and well in Bellagio

Find a table at one of the many lakeside cafes and have a mid-morning coffee. Or perhaps a gelato in the afternoon. People watching and checking out the activity on Lake Como is an enjoyable way of spending a few hours.

Lovely lake side dining
Lovely lake side dining

If you’re more adventurous then try a swim in Lake Como (though not for me with the amount of boat traffic and the look of the water), rent a windsurfer or paddle a canoe.

Bellagio is accessible by car but if you don’t have one then try a boat ride from Como or a combination of a bus ride from Como to Menaggio and then over to Bellagio by boat.

If you’re looking for more adventures in a drop-dead beautiful landscape check out Laurel’s post on hiking the Cinque Terre in Italy.

View of the Bellagio waterfront from our hotel room
View of the Bellagio waterfront from our hotel room

Where to stay in Bellagio

This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you very much for your support.

For a B&B experience with a view of Lake Como check out Miralago B&B and Apartments.

The Hotel du Lac where we stayed has a great location and is rated superb.

Further reading on travel in Europe

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

7 things you can do in Bellagio, Italy

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. My girlfriend and I stayed in Menaggio and did wonderful hikes around Lake Como. Some of the hikes were so navigationally friendly, we didn’t even stick to the trail, just as long as we could still see the lake. Great post 🙂

  2. We ended our honeymoon trip through Italy in Bellagio. Was a great drive in (and out to Milan) around Lake Comp. The town was tiny and beautiful, with some fun walks and friendly people. And tasty gelato. We got a room facing the lake, and watching a storm roll in over the water was awesome. I’d definitely second your recommendation as a great stop on anyone’s Italian tour.

  3. What a wonderful tour around Lake Como! Have never seen Italy’s Lake District but next week, I will have the opportunity the visit Como’s sister, Lake Garda! Thanks for all of these fine tips!!

  4. One of our favorite things in the town of Como was visiting the opera. The theater is really beautiful- it’s one of those old European theaters with the ornate boxes- and the performers were excellent since this town is very close to Milan. We also loved going up the funicular railway from Como, and hiking up to the small town at the top- the home town of Volta I believe. Also there was an amazing pizza place at the top of the funicular railway with a view over the whole lake- it is set up for tourists with a menu in many languages, but the food was great and the view is to die for.

  5. You need to add 8 & 9 to the list for hiking and biking! Too bad we missed you in 2019, Bellagio is a superb location and base for many epic bike rides and hikes, the trail network is endless. We actually believe that Lake Como is an outdoor lover’s paradise, so much to do outside and on the lake! Be sure to stop by next time and we can share some good routes/activity ideas with you!

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