There is nothing like a little armchair travel – particularly when the weather, the stress and the everyday grind has driven you to seek an online escape from the doldrums! Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a trip to Lake Como in the near to medium term and are wondering about the current conditions or perhaps your family and friends are living the high life on the lake shores and you want to see for yourself what they are experiencing. Whatever the case – and no matter the reason – webcams are a great online resource that allow you to live vicariously through a live feed of the world’s favorite lake.
We have put together a collection of the major sources of webcams on the Internet. Some are affiliated with a weather service and provide useful information on wind, rain and future forecasts. Others are from some of Lake Como’s most sought-after hotels and restaurants providing a service to existing and future guests. And still others come from watersports companies and tourist sights seeking to entice outdoorspeople to take the plunge or see what is happening on site at the moment.
Meteo Como has probably the most exhaustive collection of weather webcams on the net. The opening shot is a beauty from the so-called Garibaldina, a site northeast of Como town that overlooks the fist-shaped basin at the south end of the lake’s Como branch. It shows how the town spreads out on three sides of the lake and provides a nice shot of the Lake Como Hilton’s rooftop pool. Other shots include the Aero Club airport with its vintage sea planes, a mountain perspective from Casasco d’Intelvi and Centro Valle Intelvi below Monte Generoso and from lakeside spots like Pigra, Lenno and Cernobbio. The weather forecasts on the site’s homepage are only available in Italian, but they provide probably the most accurate, up to the minute information on wind, cloud cover and temperatures. Use Google Translate to get the gist!
Here at Palazzo del Vice Re, we are great friends with the team at Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Our team attends their annual birthday bash – complete with amazing fireworks! – and we were fortunate enough to attend a Halloween party at the hotel’s sister property, Villa Sola Cabiati, a few years back. One of the grand dames of Lake Como hospitality, this hotel has a history stretching back to the early 20th century, when travel to this area was so popular among the Belle Epoque jetsetters. The Grand Hotel Tremezzo Webcam is a great one for the armchair travel – scroll down to the bottom of the homepage to see it! – with a live, postcard-perfect view of their famous “floating pool” on the lake and the stunning views of Bellagio on its hilly promontory and the Bergamasque Alps behind them. A similar view can be found with the Webcam of the Hotel and Restaurant La Darsene in Tremezzina – minus Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s amazing floating pool.
The Hotel Metropole in Bellagio has a unique interactive live Webcam that lets you “take the reins” and move the camera to different views of the lake. From the Villa Melzi and its stunning lakeside gardens to the Bellagio ferry stop, and from the charming Church of San Martino in the hills above Griante to Villa del Balbianello with the loggia made famous in James Bond and Star Wars movies.
Lenno is a quaint community on Lake Como’s west coast that is often overlooked because of its famous neighbor – Villa del Balbianello. This absolute stunner stands proudly on a promontory jutting out into the lake just below Lenno town with a positively cinematic scene (as seen in the James Bond film, Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode II, Attack of the Clones). That’s too bad, because the village has a lot to offer, whether it is the stylish Lido di Lenno beach club with sunbeds, canopies and umbrellas for rent as well as a cool cocktail bar (see our blog post on Where to Swim on Lake Como!) or the charming town square and lakeside promenade. Just how charming is Lenno? Check out the Webcam on the bottom of Hotel San Giorgio’s homepage – the palm trees, the views of the Dorsale del Triangolo Lariano and the sweet park are quite appealing!
Hotel Paradiso Sul Lago has a Webcam hosted by Centro Meteo Italiano that shows the Como branch of the lake from Brunate, which locals refer to as the “Balcony of the Alps”. Savvy late 19th century engineers built a funicular railway to take posh vacationers from Como town to their Liberty style mansions in this hilltop resort – traveling 2,400 feet in only 7 minutes! – and the railway is still going strong after more than 125 years. Up here, temperatures are quite a bit cooler than by the lake, making it an ideal spot to set off on a hike, like the quick walk to the Faro Voltiano lighthouse, which first shone its light on the 100th anniversary of the death of Alessandro Volta, Como town’s favorite son and the inventor of the battery. Hikers that are more adventurous can extend the trip for a few hours to Torno and catch the ferry back to Como or hike all the way to Bellagio along the ridge, with an overnight stay at a mountain chalet to break up the 22 mile trek.
Hotel Il Perlo Panorama sits on a hill above Bellagio, looking down over the town’s promontory jutting into the lake at its widest point. The Webcam is above their panoramic terrace and has a 270-degree view that encompasses all three branches of Lake Como. Il Perlo has become a haven for cyclists, who speed down the lake shore in Lycra or tackle the challenging mountain bike trails of the so-called Dorsale del Triangolo Lariano (literally, the backbone of the hilly triangle separating Lake Como’s two southern branches). A range of cycling services are on offer at the hotel, whether it’s maps and guided tours or bike rental and repairs.
Hotel Ristorante Pizzeria Lumin is a rare Lake Como treat that is both off the main road and directly on a long sandy beach. Its village of Cremia is about half way between Bellagio and the northernmost tip of the lake and a popular spot for windsurfers. In fact, they offer rentals and a “garage” for sails! Its Webcam shows the beach with its flags either waving or not, giving surfers an indication whether it’s a good day to hop on the boards.
Gravedona, on Lake Como’s northern branch, is not far from the spot where partisans captured Mussolini and his girlfriend as they attempted to escape to Switzerland, but today it’s more well known as a picturesque and off-the-beaten-track vacation destination with charming hills and leafy vineyards. One such vineyard is the Casarina farmhouse, which offers vacation rentals in addition to its artisanal wine business. Its Webcam gives two good views of the town’s typical ancient stone houses with terracotta roof tiles and the lake stretching out before it.
One of our favorite mountain chalets for a hearty meal of local fare is the Baita Belvedere. Four local brothers run this farm-to-fork restaurant, with a terrace high above Bellagio and a perfectly stunning view. Visitors can brave the hairpin turns to drive up to Baita Belvedere or hike from either the Visgnola or the San Giovanni hamlet of Bellagio – it’s only about an hour either way and quite scenic. The restaurant’s Webcam from this altitude gives you an idea of the stunning day out you could have hiking or driving to the Baita Belvedere, to say nothing of the delicious local delicacies they have on offer, from their own sausage hot off the grill, stuffed and poached organic chicken or the Miascia cake made with cornmeal, apples and dried fruit.
And although it’s not a hotel or a restaurant, we love the Nesso Webcam from Buhl Data Service GmbH, because it’s the closest live shot to the Palazzo that we have been able to find! Nesso is a town just south of the Palazzo, which is cut in half by a deep ravine that two separate mountain springs carved into the mountain over centuries. Guests at the Palazzo can hike to Nesso directly from the village, which takes about an hour along the picturesque Strada Regia hiking trail (more on this in our blog post about Where to Stay on Lake Como Without a Car). The lovely people from Buhl have set up their live feed with the ability to see a time lapse video of the previous day from midnight to midnight, and it’s quite thrilling to see the sun rise and set over the lake from this vantage point and to watch the boats speeding by in fast motion!
Jordan’Surf is a windsurf & kite school in Colico on the northern branch of Lake Como, the wild, windswept sister of the Lecco and Como branches. Surfers rave about the prevalent winds here and it’s a great place to try out a new watersport when you’re staying at the Palazzo. In addition to courses in kitesurfing and windsurfing, Jordan’Surf rents canoes, bikes and standup paddleboards and offers a collection service when the wind takes you a bit off course. Their Webcam is not only entertaining to watch when the surf dudes are on the water, it’s also a great indicator whether current conditions will allow them to go out.
Xtremelement is another Lake Como institution offering kitesurfing courses and rental equipment as well as organizing kitesurfing vacations in Sicily, Sardinia and Venezuela. Although it has its headquarters in Dervio on the eastern shore, the instructors will take students to different locations depending on conditions. Its collection of weather information and Webcams offer a good overview of conditions at the major kitesurfing spots on the lake.
The Wassersport Comersee Domaso (WCD) is located across from Colico in the wine-producing town of Domaso and is run by a German couple who have been living on Lake Como for 30 years. They offer windsurfing, standup paddleboarding and catamaran sailing lessons and rentals to thousands of satisfied customers. A collection of Webcams on their website give surfers and sailors three different perspectives and good insight into current conditions.
The Sole Mio vacation village offers a Webcam with still images that are updated once per minute every day. Located in Gera Lario on the tippy top of Lake Como’s northern branch, the village has 34 little cottages as well as watersports of all kinds, from waterskiing to windsurfing and standup paddleboarding to kitesurfing. This is a rare glimpse of an area of Lake Como that doesn’t get many tourists!
Forte Montecchio Nord is one of the most well-preserved WWI forts anywhere in Europe. Built in just a few months between 1912 and 1914, it was one of the main fortified structures of the northern frontier. The Kingdom of Italy constructed the fort to defend against a possible armed attack by the Germans or the Austro-Hungarians, in an effort to secure the key access routes of the Bernadino Pass, the Splugen Pass and the Bernina Pass, among others. Today it is a tourist attraction near the city of Colico at the intersection of the Chiavenna and Valtelinna valleys, which attracts history buffs and school classes to learn about Italy’s role in the First World War. Its Webcam offers a nice view of the northern branch of Lake Como.