Perched where the two branches of Lake Como gently touch, Bellagio has a quaint and fascinating taste, which has been charming travelers for centuries and has earned the town the prestigious nickname of “Pearl of the Lake”.
Bellagio’s one-of-a-kind harmony between nature, history, and urbanism, has been praised by millions of visitors: lush aristocratic gardens, picturesque alleys, and elegant villas are immersed in the soothing natural scenery of Lake Como, creating a blend of views and sensations that has no equal in the world. Bellagio also rhymes with top restaurants, relaxing hours of shopping in its unique boutiques, and romantic sunset strolls on its typical promenade.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know to make your experience at the pearl of Lake Como be as you have always imagined: unforgettable.
How to get to Bellagio
It’s fairly easy to reach Bellagio from Como, Milan, and its international airports.
By public transportation
The quickest way to get to Bellagio is to catch a train in the station of Milano Cadorna, easily reachable via the Green or Red lines of the urban metro or, if you just landed in Malpensa, catching a direct train (the Malpensa Express).
LCE Tip : You can easily plan a one-day trip to Bellagio. However, we suggest you spend at least one night to make the most out of your experience …and to get enchanted by the amazing colors of a sunset on Lake Como!
Once at one of these two stations, just hop onto the first train for Como Lago Station (you can find the timetable here). They usually depart from Milan twice per hour, with a ticket cost of €4.80. Booking or pre-purchasing your ticket is not mandatory, it is possible to purchase it directly at the station. Remember: before catching the train, validate your ticket with one of the automatic yellow machines located around the station.
If you choose to start your trip from the station of Milano Centrale, catch a train in direction to the Swiss town of Chiasso and make sure you get off at the station of Como San Giovanni. This itinerary is offered at the same price as the previous option from Milano Cadorna.
From Como, you have two options to get to Bellagio: by bus or by ferry boat. The bus offers the most direct way: the bus station is located across the road from Como Lago (or just outside of Como S. Giovanni). The journey lasts just over an hour and costs €3.70.
On the other hand, taking the ferry boat will allow you to enjoy a constant view of Lake Como’s coastlines, with superb villas, pretty little towns, and verdant mountains.
The trip to Bellagio lasts 2 hours at a cost starting from €10.40. We recommend visiting the Navigazione Laghi website, where you will be able to identify the solution which suits your desires best!
If you are looking for an exclusive and tailored experience, allowing you to live the magic of the lake without compromise, hop on a classic Venetian Limousine: you’ll just have to pick the solution that inspires you the most and share with your captain the itinerary of your dreams: he will take care of all the rest, allowing you to live an unparalleled travel experience.
Finally, if you cherish total autonomy when traveling, you might want to reach Bellagio by car. The quickest (and most scenic) way is to take the SP583 road, starting just behind the bus station outside Como Lago. Enjoy a relaxing 1-hour drive, strolling around Lake Como’s roads until reaching the Pearl of the Lake.
Did you know? The name Bellagio is believed to derive from the composed word bail-las (pre-roman local languages), meaning “high ground/village on the waters”.
The history of Bellagio starts in ancient times: in the 7th century BC, the area was inhabited by the population of the Insubres. In the following centuries, Lake Como underwent roman domination, during which many vegetal species that nowadays give life to the local landscape were introduced from southern Italy (olive trees, cypress trees, etc.).
During the Roman Empire, Bellagio started being appreciated for its beauty and tranquility. Roman aristocrats were the first ones to be captured by the amenities of Lake Como: Virgilius and Pliny the Young were both in possession of Roman summer villas nearby the village.
It is with the modern age, however, that Bellagio acquires its contemporary beauty, thanks to the flourishing of arts and centuries of relative peace.
Nowadays, Bellagio is known and praised all around the world: it lends its name to Las Vegas’ most famous resort, and it hosts the only office of the Rockefeller foundation outside the USA.
Things to do in Bellagio
Despite its small size, Bellagio offers heaps of cool things to do and places to see, making it one of the most exciting destinations of Lake Como.
Visit the downtown center: there is no need for sophistication: a simple stroll around Bellagio’s alleys will lift your soul. Walk the urban steps of Salita Serbelloni (one of the most Instagrammable spots of Lake Como), save some energy for a little walk to Punta Spartivento, where the two branches of Lake Como lightly touch each other, and along the romantic city’s promenade (memorable pics are guaranteed).
Along your promenade, don’t forget to pass by Basilica di San Giacomo church, which dates back to the XII century: it will be just like going back in time!
Explore the gardens of Villa Melzi: get ready to discover some of the most beautiful gardens of Lake Como. Designed in the early 1800s, they are one of Bellagio’s hot spots for inspiration. Opening hours are from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm every day, during summer (make sure you check the official website to know the opening months, usually from March to November). Adults’ tickets are sold at €8.00 and children up to 11 years old have a free entrance.
Visit Villa Serbelloni’s Park: would you like to immerse yourself in the scenario that charmed Lenoardo Da Vinci and Queen Victoria? Then, you can’t miss the chance of visiting Villa Serbelloni and its botanical garden. Open to visits from March to November, a guided tour is possible and available at 11:00 am or 3:30 pm; tickets are sold at €10.00 (children between 7 and 13 get a 50% discount, younger kids enter for free).
At Villa Serbelloni lanes and paths unfold amid local and exotic vegetal species, with terraces, statues, and stunning views of Lake Como. A fairy tale landscape opens its doors at you.
Bonus tip 1: Are you a foodie? You are at the right place! Bellagio’s lakeside offers a decent amount of bars where you can enjoy a typical Italian aperitivo.
Make sure you check out the Bar Splendid or Aperitivo Et AI, you won’t be disappointed!
Do you maybe fancy learning how to cook Italian with a local chef? Surprise your friends and family with an authentic homemade Italian specialty during these cooking classes. Buon appetito!
Bonus tip 2: Got some extra time? You already explored Bellagio far and wide and still got some time. If that is the case, stray away from the beaten path: the ancient fishermen’s hamlet of Pescallo is a must-see, as it is the tiny village of S. Giovanni. A more relaxed atmosphere and a little taste of pristine Italian daily life will be waiting for you.
LCE tip: do you want to enjoy a lake tour from Bellagio? Book your personalized boat tour and visit the nearby charming town of Varenna!
Where to eat in Bellagio
Discovering Bellagio’s delights will get you hungry. Lucky you, gastronomy is as important as the culture around here: top restaurants and ancient trattorias will grant you to taste the best Italian delicacies.
Ristorante Mistral (Grand Hotel Serbelloni): high-level cuisine at its finest. Awarded with a Michelin star, the Mistral is under the wise guidance of chef Ettore Bocchia, who combines tradition with experimentation. Wines of the most prestigious labels will accompany your dinner, carrying your palate to the ultimate food experience in Bellagio.
Alle darsene di Loppia: imagine tasting delicious Mediterranean food, caressed by a light breeze from the lake and surrounded by vines of a romantic pergolato. You will find all this (and much more) at the Alle Darsene di Loppia.
Ittiturismo Mella: once upon a time, fishing was the activity of Bellagio. Nowadays, there is just one, last professional fisherman left: Alessandro Sala. Ittioturismo Mella proposes a homemade cuisine, with the freshest products straight from Alessandro’s nets: with an eye on the exploration of less popular fish breeds and preparations, it will be a genuine, unrepeatable taste of locality.
Trattoria Baita Belvedere: the best food in the world will always be the one that tastes like home. At Trattoria Baita Belvedere, Chiara and Alessandro will share with you recipes from their past, with a delicious rural taste and coziness. Plus, you will be able to enjoy one of the best views Bellagio has to offer. Benvenuti.
Where to sleep in Bellagio
You have been feasting all day on the marvels Lake Como has to offer, and time for some rest has arrived. Let’s discover together some of the best places where to stay that Bellagio has to offer:
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni: the quintessence of a luxury stay in Bellagio. It is the only 5-star hotel in town, a place of uttermost elegance and style where, from April to November, you will be able to spoil yourself. Be sure to experience some of the best aspects of your stay in Lake Como.
Belvedere Hotel: nestled on the very lakeside, Belvedere Hotel will cuddle you with a magic mix of splendor and familiarity. It’s been managed by 5 generations of women from Bellagio, with an incomparable love for their lake and rare attention to detail. Welcome home.
Villa Ponti Bellavista: resting in 3 acres of private gardens and surrounded by a suggestive forest, it is one of the classiest and most peaceful options in Bellagio. You will be able to rent the entire villa, which can boast prestigious design features by the Italian architect Gio Ponti. A perfect blend between luxury and privacy, complemented by a jaw-dropping view.
Villa Sole: Perched on the hilltop just above Bellagio, Villa Sole is one of the shiniest gems of the lake. Featuring a private swimming pool, a gym, and a wide terrace, it has room for up to seven people. Villa Sole offers the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the town while having the prestigious shops and restaurants of Bellagio within easy reach. Have you booked yet?