Cernobbio Apartment, Lake Como, Italy


What to Do


Every season offers something special in the region and in our town.

During summer the lake is the focus with boating, swimming and lots of festivals and concerts from May through to October including the Festival Lago di Como.  Summer nights are warm and light till late - and everyone is out enjoying a fabulous meal and a late “passeggiata”.

Autumn is the season of colours where the wonderful woods and gardens of the lake and surrounding valleys take on their orange, yellow and red hues.  Festivals are everywhere – celebrating chestnuts, pumpkins and even witches!  A morning of hiking, walking in the woods or mountain biking are perfect pursuits followed by hearty lunch at a mountain hut called a “Rifugio” – a plentiful meal of polenta, salami, formaggio and stinco washed down with a lovely red.    Literary festivals and Como’s Palio di Baradello stimulate the cultural senses; while in mid October the final race of the pro cycling tour – Giro d’Lombardia – rides straight past our front door!!

We have spent two wonderful winters in Como.   Christmas time is particularly special with Como and its stores decked in festive finery, an ice skating rink on the lake, markets, wonderful decorations lighting the streets and the beautiful 14th century Duomo hosting many celebrations and services.   Cernobbio is also decked in Christmas trees and lots of festive street lights. 

In nearby towns in northern Italy and Switzerland there are Christmas markets - and for something special take a day trip to Switzerland’s Montreux where you can take a cogwheel train up the snowy alps to visit Santa Claus.

Being so close to Switzerland and the Italian Alps, skiing is an easy option in winter, as is cycling and hiking at lower altitudes.

You can enjoy skiing in the Valtellina at the wonderful village of Madesimo; visit Bormia and enjoy their 50 km of ski slopes or take a trip on a dog led sledge; ski the family resort of Chiesa Valmalenco or the wonderful slopes of Livigno.   Skiing Switzerland is also an easy option, with San Bernadino just over an hour away and St Moritz a little further.

Spring is a true delight as the lake blooms with the warmer weather, the gardens are spectacular and hiking in the nearby valleys and alps is a pure pleasure! 

So to inspire you in your holiday’s some things to do:

  • Hop on a ferry and visit a villa and garden, including…

Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo
Villa del Balbianello in Lenno  (film location for Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode 11)
Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio
Villa Olmo in Como
Villa Monastero in Varenna

  • Visit the only island of the lake, Isola Comacina,  walk its foreshore, discover its history and have lunch at the wonderful restaurant Locanda dell’Isola Comacina
  • Village hop – so many pretty villages to explore by foot, car, boat or bike.   Do the “Greenaway del Lago di Como” walk and explore the villages from Colonno to Griante
  • Just chill – and enjoy Cernobbio.  So many great restaurants, galleries, boutiques and gourmet food stores and a wonderful lakeside park for the children and you to enjoy.   Our children love the carousel, feeding the ducks and playing in the playground or just jumping on a ferry and going to a nearby village to explore!
  • Lake gaze…settle into one of the garden seats on the foreshore and enjoy the view - the lake, the hills, the Villa D’Este and the alps in the background
  • Go to our favourite café, Poletti..and enjoy your morning coffee and perfect brioche con marmalata!! (we dare you to stop at one brioche!)
  • Visit the world famous Villa D’Este hotel – just 100 metres from our apartment – and enjoy a glass of Prosecco on the garden terrace.
  • Walk in the hills around our apartment and visit nearby hamlets and their beautiful churches – St Michael’s Church in Rovenna and Piazza Santo Stefano’s Church with beautiful frescoes of the XV1 century
  • Get active and walk or bike from Cernobbio up Monte Bisbino and enjoy the scenic panorama
  • Enjoy the local markets – Cernobbio’s local market is every Wednesday in the lakeside square; Como has a market day three times a week and the villages all have special produce and craft markets
  • Enjoy a day at Cernobbio’s Lido – two swimming pools with a panoramic view of the lake
  • Head to Moltrasio, just three kilometers away, and spend a day at the village’s sandy Lido (beach)
  • Hire a boat from Ricky at Cernobbio’s small marina and spend the day exploring the lake at your own pace
  • Play some tennis at nearby Tavernola, or get some lessons with our personal pro, Giorgio
  • Go water skiing or hire a jet ski or canoe
  • Enjoy the panorama from on high – take a seaplane ride across the lake and alps


  • Visit the Intelvi Valley and enjoy its “Sound of Music” setting.  
  • Go shopping!!! In the wonderful stores of Cernobbio, Como and Milan – or head to Fox Town in Mendrissio Switzerland for the designer brand outlet stores
  • Explore the walled city of Como – the Gothic-Renaissance Duomo and adjoining Broletto, a number of Romanesque churches including the Basilica of San Fedele, the Baradello Castle, the medieval towers and wall that surround the city, the museums, galleries, churches, monuments and many neo-classical villas 
  • Milan for the day – 45 minutes on the train from Como San Giovanni station.   Visit the spectacular Duomo and the elegant Galleria Vittorio Emanuele; see an opera at La Scala; visit Leonardo da Vinci’s famous mural, The Last Supper (bookings req);  score tickets to a game of calcio (soccer) and cheer for one of Milan’s major teams, AC Milan or Inter
  • Visit Lugano and the beautiful villages of Lake Lugano like Morcote or Gandria
  • Take a funicular to a mountain top retreat (Brunate, Pigra, Monte Bre and plenty more) and enjoy the spectacular views
  • Go to Capalago and take an old steam train to the top of Mount Generoso
  • Go walking in the Valley of Muggio or along the Olive Trail in Lugano
  • Visit the wonderful vineyards in the Canton Ticino region
  • Drive to St Moritz for the day
  • Hire a push bike and go exploring
  • Head to the hilltop town of old Bergamo and revel in its architecture and history
  • Explore nearby towns, Pavia or Varese – wonderful Italian towns brimming with history, gardens, monasteries, incredible buildings and beautiful stores
  • Walk in the mountains and settle into a “Rifugio” (mountain hut) for lunch
  • Head to the Casino di Campione – 30 minutes drive – and try your luck at the tables!
  • Go snow skiing for the day
  • Enjoy an outdoor concert in summer, or an indoor concert at one of the Villas.   Take in one of the Festivals or enjoy the theatre or some jazz on the lake

Distance (by car) to some of Italy and Switzerland’s major sights:

  • Lugano – 30 minutes
  • Milan 45 minutes
  • Varese – 45 minutes
  • Bergamo – 60 minutes
  • Lucerne – 2 hours
  • Verona – 2 hours
  • St Moritz – 2.5 hours
  • Florence – 3.5 hours
  • Venice – 3.5 hours
  • Tuscany region – 4 hours
  • Monte Carlo – 3.5 hours
  • Pisa – 4 hours
  • Rome – 6 hours