Lago di Como, or Lake Como, is a dreamy getaway nestled far away in northern Italy.
Here you will find a simple way of life winding along the twisting roads, blowing through looming mountains, and following the narrow corridors and secret alleys of the charming resort villages sprinkled throughout this expanse.
It’s been a hotspot for adventurers, families, celebrities, and couples for centuries. Some people escape here for water sports, like sailing and water skiing. Others are desperate for the peace and quiet of nature. There’s just something about the cool breeze of Italy’s deepest lake and the picturesque landscape. When initially entering the region of winding roads and piercing Grigna mountains, you feel like you’re in Florence observing a beautifully painted fresco instead of in the heart of one of Italy’s most beautiful holiday destinations.
Compared to the other five lakes in or around this region, Lake Como is by far the most popular, and for good reason. This region comes alive in the summer when temperatures are perfect and festivals are in full swing across the lake. Tourists flock here, but so do Italians living in nearby cities, like Milan. It’s a perfect weekend trip. So when is the best time to experience this fairytale?
The sunshine of June awakens the hibernating villages and the blooming azaleas, wisteria, rhododendrons, camellias, and bougainvillea. Imagine shedding your layers as you walk along the lake’s edge, following the maze of pastels that not only brighten your view but also envelop you in a swarm of sweet, succulent smells.
The best time to visit Lake Como, by far, is during June when you can experience the liveliness and beauty of the area without the stifling crowds of July and August. Plus this is when local businesses, gelato stands, and the ferries all begin to get into full swing. If you visit Lake Como in June you won’t be disappointed.
Lake Como in June is for blooming flowers and spending all day on a boat exploring the lake’s looming villas and secret coves because the weather is just that perfect.
Temperatures reach a high of about 20°C (68°F) throughout the month, but as June gets closer to July thermostats reach anywhere from 23°C to 25°C (73°F to 77°F). While the average low temperatures sit around 15°C (59°F) when the sunsets at night. Lake Como actually doesn’t ever really get the kinds of chill that are associated with mountainous areas because the lake acts as a thermal reserve and warm weather buffer.
The best part about Lake Como in June is the lack of humidity. The humidity usually sits around 66% throughout the month, and that’s a lot lower than other holiday destinations across Italy, and even Europe. This makes for great exploring conditions, especially since this time of the year is when Lake Como and its visitors are treated to 11 hours of sun throughout the day.
How to Get There
Although Lake Como is situated just below Switzerland in northern Italy’s Lombardy region, it is actually pretty easy to access, especially if you’re coming from Milan. Lake Como is one of the most accessible non-city destinations in all of Italy.
Whether you’re travelling internationally or nationally within Italy, chances are you will find yourself accessing Lake Como via one of Milan’s airports. It’s not only close by, but it’s also a budget option for travellers. Milan has two airports, Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa. And they are both about an hour away from Lake Como. From the airports, you can rent a car or take a train to this region.
If you decide to travel by train from the airport then you will want to catch a ride from Milan’s central station, Milano Centrale. Depending on where you’re staying, you will then want to stop in Como Lago, Como San Giovanni, Sondrio or Tirano. Just remember that in Italy train fares often increase with time so try to book as far in advance as possible, especially if you’re on a budget!
Although you won’t take a ferry to get to Lake Como, you will probably use a ferry to visit the various villages that are sprinkled around the Lake. During June, car ferries and water taxis are busy staying on schedule with all of the summer traffic that begins to work its way into the area. With the help of the ferry, it makes it easy for tourists to base themselves in one village while taking day trips to others.
The roads in Lake Como wind and crisscross at all angles throughout the mountains. Although the views are incredible, driving throughout the region can be quite a daunting task for tourists. The locals, of course, make it look easy. If taking on the challenge of driving in this lakeside region, then you will cruise on the Autostrada A9 before you hit the more daunting roads that flow along with Lake Como. Don’t forget to have money for tolls!
Festivals and Events
One of the best reasons to visit Lake Como in June is for all of the festivals and events that make splashes around the lake. If you happen to be in this area during June, then be sure to not miss these activities that celebrate art, culture, heritage, and Italy.
Fuochi Lariani always happens on the last Saturday of June. It’s an impressive showing of fireworks that light up the sky and the lake with a rainbow of colours. This event paints Lake Como’s canvas with colour and excitement for everyone, including families and children.
Lario Jazz and R&B Festival
What’s an Italian summer without a musical festival? And the Lario Jazz and R&B Festival is one of Lake Como’s finest. Throughout the month concerts pop up all around the lake for tourists and locals to enjoy the sweet rhythm of jazz as the lake’s shore laps in an equal tune. Plus this festival offers free admissions, so it’s really a can’t-miss!
Republic Day is a national holiday all across Italy that celebrates and marks the referendum of 1946, which led to the modern republic of Italy. It’s celebrated on the 2ndof June with parades, fireworks and other festivities that will only make your lake holiday that much more exciting.
Sagra de San Giovanni
If you decide to travel to Lake Como you could experience Sagra de San Giovanni, one of the oldest festivals in the entire region. It rolls around every year at the end of the month to celebrate the very entity of Lake Como. If you’re around, you should expect impressive showings of folk art, traditional Italian music and dancing, firework displays, and regional foods and drinks for you to enjoy. But the best part is when the sunsets and the lake erupts in light from hundreds and hundreds of floating lamps. It’s a magical moment that feels like a real-life fairytale playing out before your eyes.
Things to See and Do
There is so much to see and do in Lake Como, but these activities, views, and attractions are a great place to start!
Bike on San Primo
San Primo is a mountain that looms 1,682 metres high above Lake Como, and it’s the perfect place to explore, adventure and capture views of the surrounding area. No matter whether you mountain bike, road bike or hike in this area, you will be treated to a bucket list experience in Lake Como.
Buy silk as a souvenir
Did you even go to Lake Como if you didn’t buy a silk product? Since the 16th century, the textile has been one of the main exports coming from this area. Throughout the region, you can find high fashion boutiques sporting the latest silky fashions, but you can also find outlets or factory shops that offer more accessible prices too!
Visit the Duomo of Como
The Duomo of Como is a beautiful cathedral in the heart of Como. It is one of the more magnificent and inspiring structures of the past in the entire region, even beyond Lake Como. Plus it’s a free activity!
Dine like a local
Lake Como’s culinary palette is full of recipes like polenta and braised boar. But a must-try is Bitto and Bresaola, a combination of local cheese and dried beef that is made in ancient caves north of the lake. The best place for this experience is in Chiavenna. Or another hidden gem where you can not only devour Risotto con Filetti di Pesce Persico and taleggio cheese but also watch the mountains fall silent under the moon’s gaze can be found hidden away above Menaggio. La Baita is very much a local haunt hidden away from the well-worn traveller’s trail, and it’s worth the trip!
Bellagio is Lake Como. It is rife with elegant villas, peaceful gardens, Instagram-worthy staircases, rich history, and views of Lake Como that are unrivalled. If you only have time to spend a few days in Lake Como, then make sure you explore Bellagio because it is quintessential Lake Como and Italy.
Did you know golf is popular in Lake Como? Imagine pristine courses, beautiful scenery and a longstanding history with one of the world’s most popular sports. You can’t go wrong whether you tee off at Golf Club Villa D’Este or Menaggio e Cadenabbia Golf. Plus June weather offers the perfect opportunity for a golf outing on your holiday.
Take a boat trip
The best way to experience Lake Como is by boat. Taking a private tour of the lake for a day is one of the most recommended activities by tourists and locals, alike. You will sail across glassy water, fall in love with villas practically etched into the shore and marvel at the overwhelming amount of nature. Taking a boat trip is a must if you plan to visit Lake Como. If you’re more adventurous then try kayaking!
Ride the Funicular Railway
The Funicular Railway is a great way to experience more of Lake Como and everything it has to offer, including the nearby town of Brunate. Taking a trip on the Funicular Railway will give way to views from the top of Como city. June is the perfect time for this activity since it boasts the least amount of fog throughout the year, and you could be treated to views all the way to Milan!
Taste the gelato at Gelateria Lariana
Lake Como also has gelato shops and stands at practically every corner for tourists and locals to give into after a long day of exploring, walking or wandering. It’s a great way to cool down from the activity of a warmer afternoon in June. One of the best stops is Gelateria Lariana in Como. Treat yourself to the homemade flavours that taste as good as they look.
June is by far one of the best months to experience everything Lake Como has to offer. And here are some tips of the travel trade to make sure you get everything and more out of this popular holiday destination in the Lombardy region.
When you’re packing for your Lake Como adventure, make sure you pack layers for the warm days, cooler evenings and occasional boat or ferry ride. And since this is very much an outdoorsy location make sure to pack sunscreen and an umbrella because the weather in June can sometimes be drastically different day to day. If it rains on your parade just remember how beautiful the foliage will be after a rain shower!
Although renting a car can be a daunting task, it’s even harder to hail a taxi in Lake Como. Plus walking between the towns and villages can be a challenge with the lack of sidewalks. And while ferries and buses are viable options, it can sometimes be limiting and expensive to rely solely on these means of transportation. So if you’re comfortable and prepared, renting a car would be a great way to see and explore Lake Como throughout the month.
To discover more about Lake Como and the rest of your Italian holiday, check out Italian Breaks for where to go, where to stay and what to do.