Sailing Lake Como: Best Routes and Scenic Spots

Set sail on the pristine waters of Lake Como, exploring the best routes that weave through majestic scenery and idyllic spots, offering an unparalleled perspective of Italy’s most picturesque lake.

12/26/20237 min read

Are you looking for an incredible sailing adventure? Look no further than Lake Como, a stunning destination in northern Italy. With its breathtaking scenery, charming towns, and crystal-clear waters, Lake Como offers the perfect setting for an unforgettable sailing experience. In this article, we will guide you through the best routes and scenic spots to explore on Lake Como, as well as provide valuable tips to ensure your sailing adventure is nothing short of extraordinary.

Understanding Lake Como's Geography

Before setting sail, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Lake Como's unique geography. The lake, shaped like an upside-down 'Y', stretches over an area of approximately 146 square kilometers. It is surrounded by majestic mountains, with the Alps to the north and the Prealps to the south. Lake Como is located in the Lombardy region of Italy, just a short drive away from Milan.

When it comes to natural beauty, Lake Como is truly a gem. Its crystal-clear waters are fed by the Adda River, which originates in the Swiss Alps. The lake's depth varies, with the deepest point reaching about 410 meters. The water temperature in Lake Como is generally mild, making it a popular destination for swimming, water sports, and leisurely boat rides.

The Unique Shape and Size of Lake Como

One of the most fascinating aspects of Lake Como is its shape and size. With a length of about 46 kilometers, it is the third-largest lake in Italy. The lake is divided into three distinct branches: the northernmost branch, known as Colico; the central branch, which includes the town of Bellagio; and the southernmost branch, where you'll find the city of Como. Each branch has its own unique charm and attractions.

Exploring Lake Como by boat allows you to fully appreciate its unique shape and the breathtaking landscapes that surround it. As you sail along the lake, you'll be treated to panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks of the Alps and the lush greenery of the Prealps. The changing scenery as you navigate from one branch to another is truly awe-inspiring.

Key Towns and Villages Around Lake Como

As you sail along Lake Como, you'll encounter several enchanting towns and villages that are worth exploring. From the romantic Varenna with its picturesque waterfront promenade to the vibrant Bellagio, often referred to as the "Pearl of the Lake," you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to idyllic spots to anchor your boat. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the charming town of Como, known for its elegant villas and lively atmosphere.

Each town and village around Lake Como has its own unique character and attractions. Varenna, with its narrow cobblestone streets and colorful houses, exudes a romantic ambiance that is perfect for a leisurely stroll. Bellagio, located at the intersection of the lake's three branches, offers stunning views from its hilltop gardens and a bustling atmosphere with its shops, cafes, and restaurants. Como, the largest city on the lake, is known for its historic center, elegant architecture, and vibrant nightlife.

When exploring these towns and villages, be sure to indulge in the local cuisine. Lake Como is famous for its delicious fish dishes, such as risotto with perch or lavarello, as well as its traditional pasta dishes and mouthwatering desserts. Pair your meal with a glass of local wine, and you'll have a true taste of the region.

a sailboat in the water at sunset in lake como
a sailboat in the water at sunset in lake como
a sailboat sailing on the water in front of a mountain
a sailboat sailing on the water in front of a mountain
Preparing for Your Sailing Adventure

Now that you're acquainted with Lake Como's geography and its charming towns, it's essential to ensure you are well-prepared for your sailing adventure. Here are some key points to keep in mind before setting sail:

Essential Sailing Equipment

Prior to embarking on your journey, make sure you have all the necessary sailing equipment. This includes a reliable GPS navigation system, nautical charts of Lake Como, life jackets, and a first aid kit. Remember, safety should always be a top priority when sailing.

When it comes to choosing a GPS navigation system, opt for one that is specifically designed for marine use. These systems provide accurate and up-to-date information about your location, speed, and direction, ensuring a smooth and safe sailing experience. Nautical charts are also essential for navigating Lake Como. They provide detailed information about the lake's depth, underwater hazards, and important landmarks, allowing you to plan your route effectively.

Life jackets are crucial for everyone on board. Ensure that you have enough life jackets for each person and that they are in good condition. It's important to choose life jackets that are appropriate for the type of sailing you'll be doing. For example, if you'll be sailing in rough waters, opt for life jackets with higher buoyancy ratings.

A first aid kit is an essential item to have on board. It should include basic medical supplies such as bandages, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications. Familiarize yourself with the contents of the first aid kit and ensure that everything is in good condition and within its expiration date.

Safety Measures on Lake Como

Lake Como is a popular destination for both sailors and other water sports enthusiasts. To ensure everyone's safety and enjoyment, it's crucial to adhere to a few key safety measures. Keep an eye on the weather conditions and always be aware of any speed limits in the area. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the local boating regulations and respect the environment by disposing of any waste properly.

Before setting sail, check the weather forecast for Lake Como. Sudden changes in weather can affect the safety of your sailing adventure. If the forecast predicts strong winds, thunderstorms, or other adverse conditions, it may be best to postpone your trip or seek shelter in a safe harbor.

Speed limits are in place on Lake Como to ensure the safety of all water users. Familiarize yourself with these limits and adhere to them at all times. Excessive speed can not only be dangerous but also disrupt the tranquility of the lake for other sailors and residents.

Respecting the local boating regulations is essential for maintaining a harmonious sailing experience on Lake Como. These regulations may include rules about anchoring, right of way, and noise levels. Take the time to familiarize yourself with these regulations before setting sail to avoid any unnecessary conflicts or fines.

Lastly, it's important to be mindful of the environment while sailing on Lake Como. Dispose of any waste properly and avoid throwing anything overboard. Lake Como's pristine waters and surrounding nature are part of its charm, and it's our responsibility to preserve them for future generations to enjoy.

a scenic view of a town with a church and a church steeple
a scenic view of a town with a church and a church steeple
Top Sailing Routes on Lake Como

Now let's dive into the most exciting part of your sailing adventure - the top routes to explore on Lake Como. Whether you prefer a leisurely cruise or an adventurous sailing experience, Lake Como has something to offer everyone. Let's explore the different routes:

Northern Lake Como Routes

If you're seeking tranquility and beautiful landscapes, head north towards Colico. Along this route, you'll be captivated by the serene atmosphere and the magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the charming town of Domaso, known for its sandy beaches and historical architecture.

Central Lake Como Routes

The central branch of Lake Como is home to the iconic town of Bellagio, often referred to as the "Jewel of Lake Como." Sailing to Bellagio is an absolute must, as you'll pass by elegant villas, lush gardens, and beautiful cypress trees. Take your time to explore the town's narrow alleys, indulge in local cuisine, and soak up the romantic atmosphere.

Southern Lake Como Routes

For a taste of Italian elegance, set sail towards the southernmost branch of Lake Como. Here, you'll find the enchanting city of Como, renowned for its neoclassical villas, vibrant markets, and charming historic center. As you cruise along the southern shores, don't forget to visit the mesmerizing Villa d'Este in Cernobbio, a luxurious hotel with magnificent gardens overlooking the lake.

Scenic Spots to Explore While Sailing

While sailing on Lake Como, make sure to take the time to admire the breathtaking scenery and explore the many scenic spots along the way. Here are some notable highlights:

Natural Landmarks on Lake Como

As you navigate the lake, you'll encounter stunning natural landmarks that will leave you in awe. Don't miss the towering Grigna mountain range, which offers breathtaking views of Lake Como from its peaks. Make a stop at the cascading waters of the Orrido di Bellano, a natural gorge that will leave you mesmerized.

Architectural Marvels to Spot from the Lake

One of the unique aspects of sailing on Lake Como is the opportunity to admire the impressive villas and palaces that line its shores. Keep an eye out for Villa Balbianello in Lenno, a stunning villa perched on a promontory and featured in several films. Another architectural gem is Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo, known for its exquisite gardens and art collection.

Tips for a Memorable Sailing Experience on Lake Como

To make the most of your sailing adventure on Lake Como, here are some additional tips:

Best Time of Year for Sailing

The best time to sail on Lake Como is during the spring and summer months, from May to September. During this time, you can enjoy pleasant temperatures and calm waters. Keep in mind that the lake can be crowded during peak tourist season, so plan your trip accordingly.

Local Customs and Etiquette for Sailors

While sailing on Lake Como, it's important to respect the local customs and etiquette. When passing other boats or approaching the shore, maintain a safe distance to avoid any accidents. Also, be mindful of noise levels to ensure a peaceful and enjoyable experience for all.

Now that you've discovered the best routes and scenic spots on Lake Como, it's time to embark on your own sailing adventure. Whether you choose to explore the northern, central, or southern branches, Lake Como promises a voyage filled with beauty, tranquility, and unforgettable memories. So, hoist your sails, let the wind guide you, and let the magic of Lake Como take your breath away!


As the sparkling waters of Lake Como beckon, don't miss the chance to embark on a sailing adventure like no other. From the captivating towns along the shorelines to the breathtaking landscapes, Lake Como has it all. So, pack your bags, rent a boat, and let your sail unfurl on this magnificent Italian lake. Get ready for an experience that will stay etched in your memory forever. Start planning your sailing trip to Lake Como today for a journey that will inspire and rejuvenate your soul!