Lake Como Boat Tours from Bellagio

The best place to experience Lake Como is from the water and setting out from Lezzeno or Bellagio puts many of the lake’s must-see sights within easy reach. The possibilities are quite literally endless when it comes to discovering Lake Como by boat!

Public ferries and cruises

Navigazione Laghi has a large fleet of car ferries, hydrofoils and steamboats that regularly make the rounds on Lake Como, with some cruises offering a bar service or delicious meals. The summer timetable is published early May – we promise to bring you all the details as soon as they are available. In the meantime, check out the Navigazione Laghi website for timetables and useful info on all of the lakeside stops.

Public ferries and cruises

Navigazione Laghi has a large fleet of car ferries, hydrofoils and steamboats that regularly make the rounds on Lake Como, with some cruises offering a bar service or delicious meals. The summer timetable is published early May – we promise to bring you all the details as soon as they are available. In the meantime, check out the Navigazione Laghi website for timetables and useful info on all of the lakeside stops.

Concordia

In July and August, visitors to Lake Como can enjoy a cruise on the historic steamboat Concordia. She first launched in 1927 and recently spent five years in dry dock to repair the inner workings and restore the Liberty-style public areas to their former glory. There’s something quite nostalgic about being aboard a steamer on the lake, with the toot of the horn and the chug of the big wheel. Inside, the red leather chairs and gleaming wood floor make for an elegant backdrop to the bar and meal service. On deck, you can lean on the railing or take a seat on the wooden benches and watch the Lake Como world go by – the majestic villas, the quaint lakeside villages and the wooded mountains. Look on the Navigazione Laghi website for more details and schedules of the lunchtime and sunset cruises.

Private boat rental and boat tours

Boat rental on Lake Como is available from several suppliers, with the option to self-drive or hire a captain. Most 40 horsepower rental boats don’t require an extra license, so even amateurs can cruise to their hearts content! We have a number of suppliers we work with and would be happy to assist in finding the best boat rental to suit your needs. If you prefer to leave the driving to someone else, talk to the Palazzo staff about hiring a boat to take you on a sightseeing cruise that leaves right from our convenient landing stage. Our captains know every curve and cove of lovely Lake Como and can make recommendations on the perfect spots to stop. For an extra special tour, take one of our Lake Como guides along for some interesting historical and cultural background – maybe even a bit of juicy Lake Como gossip!

Private boat rental and boat tours

Boat rental on Lake Como is available from several suppliers, with the option to self-drive or hire a captain. Most 40 horsepower rental boats don’t require an extra license, so even amateurs can cruise to their hearts content! We have a number of suppliers we work with and would be happy to assist in finding the best boat rental to suit your needs. If you prefer to leave the driving to someone else, talk to the Palazzo staff about hiring a boat to take you on a sightseeing cruise that leaves right from our convenient landing stage. Our captains know every curve and cove of lovely Lake Como and can make recommendations on the perfect spots to stop. For an extra special tour, take one of our Lake Como guides along for some interesting historical and cultural background – maybe even a bit of juicy Lake Como gossip!

Lake Como Boat Tours

We’ve chosen a few of our favorite boat tours on Lake Como to whet your appetite, but we’d be happy to recommend additional itineraries to suit your personal tastes – from cuisine to cultural sights and garden tours to great walks.

Central Lake Tour with Villa Carlotta and an Island Lunch

There is no better way to experience Lake Como’s quaint villages, proud centuries-old villas and postcard-perfect panoramas than on a lake cruiser, and your expert guide makes the scenery come alive with tales from the area’s storied past. Your first stop is lovely Varenna for a wander past its pastel-colored cottages and through its warren of cobbled alleys. Then, crossing Lake Como at its widest point to Cadenabbia, you can already see lovely Villa Carlotta. After an extensive tour of the 17th-century villa, you can wander the meticulously manicured 17-acre garden with its terraces and fountains, statues and stairways along with a dizzying array of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. On the return cruise, stop at the lake’s only island, Isola Comacina, for lunch at Benvenuto Puricelli’s traditional restaurant Locanda dell’Isola. The 7-course menu, that hasn’t changed since 1947, features true Italian comfort food and ends with Benvenuto’s flaming brandied coffee ceremony believed to break the island’s legendary curse. Buon appetito!

The Island’s Legendary Curse

No man, says the poet, is an island. There is however one island – L’Isola Comaciana, the only island on Lake Como – that is inextricably linked to one man. Benvenuto Puricelli runs the restaurant Locanda dell’Isola and considers himself first and foremost an Oste, in the historic sense of the word. In 1169, long before Benvenuto and the Locanda graced the island, Bishop Vidulf of Como placed a curse on the island, declaring that anyone who dared inhabit the island would die “an unnatural death”. Pooh-poohed as simple superstition for centuries, the curse seemed to rear its ugly head when two of the Locanda’s early owners died rather suddenly and rather “unnaturally”. British author Francis Drake, who dined here in the 1940s, suggested a fire ritual would dispatch the curse – and thus the “exorcism of fire” was born. At the end of the meal, Benvenuto sounds a bell and exorcises the curse as he burns brandy in a copper pot. The fire is doused with strong Italian coffee and copious amounts of sugar before serving to save his guests from certain death. Cin Cin!

Central Lake Tour with Villa Carlotta and an Island Lunch

There is no better way to experience Lake Como’s quaint villages, proud centuries-old villas and postcard-perfect panoramas than on a lake cruiser, and your expert guide makes the scenery come alive with tales from the area’s storied past. Your first stop is lovely Varenna for a wander past its pastel-colored cottages and through its warren of cobbled alleys. Then, crossing Lake Como at its widest point to Cadenabbia, you can already see lovely Villa Carlotta. After an extensive tour of the 17th-century villa, you can wander the meticulously manicured 17-acre garden with its terraces and fountains, statues and stairways along with a dizzying array of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. On the return cruise, stop at the lake’s only island, Isola Comacina, for lunch at Benvenuto Puricelli’s traditional restaurant Locanda dell’Isola. The 7-course menu, that hasn’t changed since 1947, features true Italian comfort food and ends with Benvenuto’s flaming brandied coffee ceremony believed to break the island’s legendary curse. Buon appetito!

The Island’s Legendary Curse

No man, says the poet, is an island. There is however one island – L’Isola Comaciana, the only island on Lake Como – that is inextricably linked to one man. Benvenuto Puricelli runs the restaurant Locanda dell’Isola and considers himself first and foremost an Oste, in the historic sense of the word. In 1169, long before Benvenuto and the Locanda graced the island, Bishop Vidulf of Como placed a curse on the island, declaring that anyone who dared inhabit the island would die “an unnatural death”. Pooh-poohed as simple superstition for centuries, the curse seemed to rear its ugly head when two of the Locanda’s early owners died rather suddenly and rather “unnaturally”. British author Francis Drake, who dined here in the 1940s, suggested a fire ritual would dispatch the curse – and thus the “exorcism of fire” was born. At the end of the meal, Benvenuto sounds a bell and exorcises the curse as he burns brandy in a copper pot. The fire is doused with strong Italian coffee and copious amounts of sugar before serving to save his guests from certain death. Cin Cin!

Boating the Primo Bacino

Lake Como locals divide the southwestern branch of Lake Como into three basins, or bacini, the first of which, the Primo Bacino, stretches from the city of Como to the promontory of Torno. This has always been prime real estate for moguls and magnates, thanks to its proximity to Milan and the industrial hubs of Italy’s northern corridor, and the coastline is lined with extravagant villas and manicured gardens. With your guide along for the ride, you’ll learn the fascinating history of the area along with amusing anecdotes about some A-list holidaymakers. There’s Villa Erba, where film director Luchino Visconti sought inspiration, and Villa Fontanelle, the site of Gianni Versace’s legendary model-packed parties, as well as Villa Troubetzkoy, the chalet-inspired cottage built for an exiled Russian prince. Charming Cernobbio is one of the must-see sights of the Primo Bacino and home to the Grand Dame of Lake Como hotels. We can arrange for you to arrive at the world-renowned Villa d’Este in style, disembark at the hotel’s private pier and stroll through the beautiful garden to the lakeside terrace for a light lunch or a cocktail.

Troubetzkoy, il Turbascogli

The striking Villa Troubetzkoy resembles more an alpine chalet than a lakeside palace, and its precarious perch directly on the lake is a feat of engineering that boggles the mind. Legend has it Prince Troubetzkoy escaped from certain death in Russia, after his family was implicated in an insurrection against Tsar Nicolas I. His mother-in-law, famous ballerina Maria Taglioni, put in a good word for him with her aristocratic fans in Russia and he ended up building a villa on Lake Como, not far from his mother-in-law’s own villa, Villa Usuelli. Not one to take things

Troubetzkoy, il Turbascogli

The striking Villa Troubetzkoy resembles more an alpine chalet than a lakeside palace, and its precarious perch directly on the lake is a feat of engineering that boggles the mind. Legend has it Prince Troubetzkoy escaped from certain death in Russia, after his family was implicated in an insurrection against Tsar Nicolas I. His mother-in-law, famous ballerina Maria Taglioni, put in a good word for him with her aristocratic fans in Russia and he ended up building a villa on Lake Como, not far from his mother-in-law’s own villa, Villa Usuelli. Not one to take things

Wind, Watersports and Wines on Lake Como’s Northern Branch

As the windswept sister of the Lecco and Como branches of the lake, the northern branch doesn’t draw the crowds – but it has plenty of interesting sights and exciting activities to offer. Cruising north by boat gives visitors the advantage of exploring the sights on both shores, without taking the “long way round” on the lake road. The narrow promontory of Piona on the lake’s northeastern shore has at its very tip the Cistercian Abbey of Piona. Originally built in the 7th century, the abbey has a lovely Romanesque church with tranquil cloisters and a small shop selling the herbal liqueurs, honeys and cosmetic creams that are still made by the monks. Just north of Piona, the town of Colico is well-known among watersports enthusiasts, who flock here to kite-surf, windsurf or sail. On the western shore, the village of Domaso has a long history of viniculture. Pliny the Elder, noted Roman writer on natural history, praised the Domasino wines cultivated on the sun-kissed hills. It’s impossible to miss Palazzo Gallio, just south of Domaso in Gravedona, as you make your way back to Bellagio. Commissioned by the same cardinal who built Villa d’Este in Cernobbio, Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio sadly never lived to see this imposing palace completed.

Azienda Agricola Sorsasso

Tucked among steep terraced vineyards in the hills above Domaso, Azienda Agricola Sorsasso is a family-run winery that follows in the footsteps of its wine-making forefathers in the days of Pliny the Elder. The rocky soil, summer sun and cool mountain breezes are perfect for cultivating indigenous grapes like Verdesa and Rosseia as well as international varietals like Merlot and Sangiovese. Owners Daniela and Roberta Travi are passionate about sustainability, local heritage and making the best possible wines, spirits and olive oil. With prior arrangement, guests can sample their still and sparkling wines in the stone-clad cellars – or enjoy local cured meats, delicious risotto made with Sorsasso’s Domasino white and desserts drizzled with homemade blueberry grappa liqueur at the estate’s lake-view restaurant.

Azienda Agricola Sorsasso

Tucked among steep terraced vineyards in the hills above Domaso, Azienda Agricola Sorsasso is a family-run winery that follows in the footsteps of its wine-making forefathers in the days of Pliny the Elder. The rocky soil, summer sun and cool mountain breezes are perfect for cultivating indigenous grapes like Verdesa and Rosseia as well as international varietals like Merlot and Sangiovese. Owners Daniela and Roberta Travi are passionate about sustainability, local heritage and making the best possible wines, spirits and olive oil. With prior arrangement, guests can sample their still and sparkling wines in the stone-clad cellars – or enjoy local cured meats, delicious risotto made with Sorsasso’s Domasino white and desserts drizzled with homemade blueberry grappa liqueur at the estate’s lake-view restaurant.

2018-07-10T18:03:14+00:00March 5th, 2018|Categories: Lake Como|0 Comments

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