Lake Como is one of the most famous and glamorous lake destinations in Italy. Popular with both travellers and numerous celebrities who come to enjoy the area’s luxury villas and wonderful weather on their holidays, it’s a fantastic part of the country that offers brilliant scenery along with plenty of tourist attractions and accommodation options.
Found on the border between Italy and Switzerland, Lake Como has impressive mountains on offer as well as the distinctively Y-shaped lake that is surrounded by picturesque towns and villages. It’s an area that is rich in history and culture, with many artists and writers claiming it to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.
October is proving a more and more popular time of year to visit Lake Como and enjoy the incredible scenery of the area as autumn fully arrives in Italy. Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast, a big fan of sightseeing or are just looking for a luxury break to a beautiful part of the world, Lake Como is certainly a destination worth visiting.
October is the first month in Lake Como where temperatures begin to fall and autumn creeps in, but this does not mean that you should expect grey and cold weather during your trip. It’s one of the best times of year to visit Lake Como if you’re after mild but clear weather that offers the perfect conditions for sightseeing or walking.
The average temperature in Lake Como in October is 13°C, which is warmer than many other parts of Europe at this time of year. High temperatures during the month can be up to 16°C or over, but it will start to get very cold in the evenings and the temperature may drop below 10°C towards the end of the month.
Autumn starts to bring rain to Lake Como, but there is only an average of 12 days that see rain during the month. Showers can be prolonged at this time of year, so make sure you bring a waterproof coat if you’re planning on spending a lot of time outdoors. You can expect some days to be grey and overcast, but an equal amount will be brilliantly clear and sunny, if a little cool.
There are around 11 hours of daylight in October in Lake Como, with sunrise happening just before 7 am and the sun setting between 6 pm and 6.30 pm. In terms of sunshine, there is an average of 4 hours of bright sunlight every day during the month, so make sure you get out and enjoy it whilst it lasts!
How to Get There
Lake Como is situated in the north of the Lombardy region in Italy, just below where the country borders Switzerland. It’s one of the easiest non-city destinations in Italy to get to, which is one of the many reasons why it’s such a popular part of the country.
The easiest part of Italy to get to Lake Como from is the city of Milan, which is just over 50 miles away. There are two airports in Milan – Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate – which are both about an hour from Lake Como and have frequent flights to numerous international countries.
You can also travel to Lake Como by train, either from elsewhere in Italy or from one of Milan’s airports. There are train stations all around Lake Como, so your final destination will depend on where you are staying in the area, and it’s worth remembering that Italy rail fares can be very expensive so booking advance is essential.
Driving to and around Lake Como is perhaps the best option for those who don’t want to be tied down by public transport timetables, but you should bear in mind that the roads around Lake Como are quite mountainous and can be difficult to drive if you’re new to the area. If you’re planning on hiring a car don’t let this put you off, just be prepared to take things slowly and watch out for the fast-driving locals!
Once you have arrived at Lake Como, you may also want to get around the area by ferry. This is one of the easiest ways to reach most of the lakeside towns, and there are plenty of ferries going to all locations. Services might be slightly more limited in October than the summer months, but most ferries are still running a frequent service.
Festivals and Events
Morbegno in Cantina
Morbegno in Cantina (Morbegno in Winecellars) is an annual wine event held in the town of Morbegno in Valtellina near Lake Como. Many of the town’s wine cellars, stores and tasting rooms open up over the festival weekends and allow visitors to sample local foods as well as a brilliant selection of Valtellina wines. It’s the perfect event for those who are serious about their wine and want to sample some of the produce from this famous vineyard region of Italy.
Castagnata is an Italian autumnal festival dedicated to chestnuts, and there are several celebrations in towns around Lake Como in October that offer a perfect chance to try this seasonal delicacy. The word ‘castagnata’ is not only the name of the festival, but is also what the Italians call the roasters set up to heat the nuts before serving at these events. The festival is rooted in historic traditions of eating roasted chestnuts and is a great way to spend an afternoon at the weekend if you’re in Lake Como in October.
Mostra del Bitto
The small town of Morbegno is found close to Lake Como, and is the home of the famous Bitto cheese that has a whole festival dedicated to it in October. Mostra del Bitto focuses entirely on the Bitto alpine cheese that has a distinct taste and scent, and comes exclusively from this part of Italy. The whole town is wrapped up in the festival, with numerous tastings, workshops, markets and cooking demonstrations as well as other entertaining events.
Things to See and Do
Despite October being the shoulder season for tourism in Lake Como, there is still plenty to see and do in and around the area during the month.
As the peak season for tourism comes to an end, you may find that some larger restaurants and cafes close, or operate at limited opening times during the month. This is actually a blessing in disguise for visitors however, as it allows you to sample the recipes and dishes produced by local people and support businesses that are more geared up for Lake Como’s resident population.
Dishes such as Cotoletta alla Milanese, Risotto Con Pesce Persico and Osso Buco are all local specialities and should be on your list of meals to try, along with local and seasonal ingredients such as chestnuts, polenta and fresh seafood. You should also be sure to sample wine from the local regions to complete your authentic gastronomic experience of Lake Como.
Take a Lakeside Walk
The colours produced by the fade of summer into autumn are known for being beautiful all over the world, but the arrival of October in Lake Como is truly something to behold. Sunlight becomes deeper and richer as the leaves on the tree turn from green to orange, and the whole area seems to glow as evening sets in each day.
There’s no better way to appreciate the changing of the seasons in Lake Como than by taking a walk along the lakeside and admiring how the water offers you double the beauty as it reflects the trees and towns along the shoreline. There will be far fewer crowds in October than the summer months, providing you with blissful quiet as you stroll through the trees and emerge beside the lake.
Take a Day Trip to Milan
The cosmopolitan city of Milan is less than an hour’s journey away from Lake Como, and is an excellent spot for a day trip if you’re staying in the area for longer and fancy a change of scene.
Milan is known as the European capital of fashion and design, and the most obvious thing to do whilst you’re visiting the city is take advantage of its huge range of stores and boutiques and enjoy a shopping spree. There is also a great range of museums and contemporary galleries, as well as a brilliant nightlife scene.
There are numerous beautiful villas to be found all over Lake Como, and during the summer these popular tourist spots can become very crowded. October allows you the perfect chance to enjoy a range of historic architecture without hoards of other visitors, and also provides an excellent activity on days when the weather might not be as good.
Highlights around Lake Como are Villa Carlotta, which has impressive botanic gardens as well as a villa for visitors to explore, Villa del Balbianello which is found on the beautiful Lavedo peninsula, and Villa Bernasconi which was famously designed in an Art Nouveau style.
Sporting activities on the water might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re up for challenge and adventure then you can make the most of October’s mild and breezy weather and try your hand at windsurfing on Lake Como. The north of the lake is one of the best and most popular spots, and in October it won’t be very crowded which is perfect if you’re new to the sport.
Don’t worry if you’ve never tried windsurfing before, as numerous sailing schools offer lessons and provide all of the equipment needed to get out on the water and enjoy the weather conditions.
Explore by Boat
It wouldn’t be a proper visit to Lake Como if you didn’t explore some of the area by boat. The best way to get between the towns and villages that surround the lake is by travelling across the water, so whether you’re catching the local ferry or hiring a boat to sail yourself, you’ll be able to see far more of the area than with any other mode of transport.
The public boat service in Lake Como is provided by Navigazione Lago di Como, and almost every town has its own dock. Services might be reduced in October as there aren’t as many visitors to the areas as in the summer, but you’ll still easily be able to get around.
Bellagio is often referred to as ‘the Pearl of Lake Como’ and is one of the most popular towns to visit in the whole area. You can make the most of the low tourist season in October and take a trip to this spectacular part of Lombardy, enjoying the scenery and hospitality without crowds of other visitors.
Some highlights of Bellagio are the beautiful Villa Serbelloni & Villa Melzi, both of which are open to the public and have very impressive gardens as well as buildings. Bellagio’s town centre is also full of great cafes and shops, and if you explore the town further there are numerous beautiful spots by the lake that are perfect for a picnic or quiet moment.
To help you make the most of your trip to lake Como in October, here are some of our top tips for visiting the area…
If you’ve got a clear idea of where you want to go and what you want to see, your best bet is going to be hiring a car. The public transport around the lake is decent, but if you want to travel quickly and avoid having to plan around schedules, you’re going to find it far more relaxing if you can drive yourself around.
The low season for tourism begins in Lake Como in October, so it’s a brilliant part of the year to enjoy cheaper prices on travel and accommodation whilst still getting to enjoy the pleasant temperatures that the area is known for. This also means that the whole area is a lot quieter, which is ideal if you’re planning on doing some serious sightseeing.
Finally, make sure that you check the weather forecast before you travel and pack a range of clothes to suit all types of weather. While you should be lucky enough to enjoy plenty of autumn sunshine, temperatures in the evening can drop quite dramatically, and rain showers can last for hours. Layers of clothing are a great idea, along with an umbrella or waterproof jacket for if the rain starts coming down.
If you want to find out more about Lake Como, and start planning a holiday to this brilliant part of Italy, explore the rest of Italian Breaks and find out more about top attractions and activities in the area.