Walking tours, biking and beautiful scenery in Italy’s Bellagio Lake Como
Lake Como, Italy

Walking tours, biking and beautiful scenery in Italy’s Bellagio Lake Como

BELLAGIO LAKE COMO — Northern Italy’s famed Lake Como region has been an A-list destination for well-heeled travellers since Roman times and continues to be popular with celebs from Sting to Sir Richard Branson to George Clooney.

Walking tours, biking and beautiful scenery in Italy’s Bellagio Lake Como

Bellagio, Italy

And with its expansive Lake Como views and classically-styled villas lining the shores, the upscale destination of Bellagio beckons, especially as a destination for those seeking active holiday options.

“It’s an easy life. Bellagio is a place where you can enjoy nature, culture and good food,” said Luca Leoni, President of the Hotel Association of Lake Como.

“Now the activities in Bellagio have become more active: you can paddle around the lake, rent a bike, visit the surrounding areas and go trekking all around the lake area,” he says.

Embracing a tourist season that extends beyond the traditional summer months, Bellagio Lake Como has created self-guided walking itineraries.

Beginning in the centre of town, the hour-long introductory historical tour includes many of the most famous hallmarks: the Tower of the Arts, the much-photographed fountain outside Basilica di San Giacomo, Bellagio’s Town Hall and Salita Serbelloni, AKA the stone Serbelloni steps.

The second tour of the hamlets on the eastern region can take up to three hours, and includes highlights like Olivero and Villa Guilia, Aureggio, San Vito and the Church of San Vito and Visgnola, Church of San Martino and Church of Santa Maria Annunciata di Breno.

The third tour of 22 suburbs in two hours takes visitors through the sightseeing points of Loppia, Villa Meltzi, the mausoleum of Giancarlo Poldi Pezzoli, the Museum of Navigation Instruments and the church of SS Biagio.

Leoni explained the charm of visiting Bellagio Lake Como at any time of year: “In the spring it’s very romantic with the gardens, so we have a lot of people getting married. In the summer you can enjoy all kinds of activities around the lake like swimming, walking and socializing in the nice warm evenings. And in the fall it’s quieter but still a lovely time to visit.”

He added that Lake Como is a very strong brand thanks to George Clooney, and Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. “Lake Como rivals any of the other beautiful areas in Italy,” says Leoni.

Paula Canali, director of the local tourism office, Promo Bellagio, spoke about the increase of visitors seeking opportunities for a Lake Como adventure. “There’s lots of trekking in summer, and of course all the usual activities on the lake and many beautiful gardens to visit,” she said.

Another activity growing in popularity in Bellagio Lake Como is cycling. “You can do more and more biking, especially now that e-bikes are increasing in popularity and being used more in our town, since it’s pretty hilly around here,” explained Canali.

Local outfitter Como Lago Bike provides all-inclusive bike guiding and a bike shop, with a team of 10, including a Tour de France veteran, to help guide and show visitors the many bike routes around the lake.

The hotel association’s Leoni wears another hat in representing the region: he’s the owner of two well-known Lake Como hotels, Hotel du Lac and Hotel Bellagio, operating since 1955. “My hotel is like a home,” says Leoni proudly. “We like guests to come as guests but leave as friends. We love for guests to enjoy our rooftop bar that opens in the evening, and give them all the information they need to have an enjoyable time in Bellagio.”

The elegant Hotel du Lac is a five-storey traditional property with unobstructed views of Lake Como from hotel balconies and its popular rooftop terrace.

An additional accommodation option includes the private hillside retreat of Hotel Belvedere, a gem surrounded by lavish gardens and overseen by five generations of women, passed from mother to daughter since 1880.

There’s also the charming Agriturismo Il Colle, a farmhouse B&B with eight rooms, near the gardens of Villa Melzi, which offers guests stunning views of the lake, peaceful surroundings and farm-to-table breakfasts.