Nestled in the heart of Italy’s Lombardy region, the ageless beauty and enduring romance of Lake Como have been drawing visitors from around the world for centuries. The waterfront towns and quaint villages of Lake Como are the perfect place to catch a glimpse of the famed lakeside life.
Compared to the artistic urban chaos of Rome or the serenading gondolas of Venice, Lake Como offers a tranquil escape, making one wonder — can you swim in Lake Como? Yes, you can swim in Lake Como. In fact, Lake Como’s enchanting allure is best appreciated by dipping your toes into the crystalline waters, a soothing contrast against the warm Italian summers. From serene swims to aquatic adventures, we take you deeper into the canvas of Como’s beaches and their timeless allure.
Where To Swim In Lake Como: Beaches, Lidos, and Waterfronts
Lake Como’s shores are filled with a medley of beaches and waterfronts, each offering a new invitation to embrace la dolce vita. From sandy stretches like Faggeto Lario to grassy nooks perfect for picnics, the lake’s shoreline presents a delightful selection of spots to swim, lounge, and revel in Italy’s sun-kissed beauty.
The waterfront is also home to an array of lidos (Italian for “beach shores”), where neatly arranged sun loungers and parasols offer a touch of luxury, and beachside bars serve up refreshing aperitivos. Whether it’s the jazzy vibe of Como or the romantic atmosphere of Bellagio, there’s a lakeside spot to fit every mood and moment.
Lake Como Public Beaches and Swimming Spots
While the white sand ocean beaches in Cannes offer a glamorous allure, the mountain lake beaches of Lake Como provide a contrasting beauty — a place where rugged alpine landscapes and serene lakes meet, a picturesque retreat that speaks to a different kind of romance. From sandy stretches to pebbled shores, Lake Como offers various shoreline escapes that make each swim a unique experience.
1. San Giovanni Beach, Bellagio
Near the enchanting town of Bellagio, San Giovanni Beach offers a combination of grassy areas and a rocky shore, plus a relaxed ambiance perfect for picnics and relaxation. Nearby luxury hotels like Villa Serbelloni add a touch of elegance to the vicinity, and a charming beachside cafe serves delightful refreshments.
2. Ontano Beach, Colico
This sandy paradise is well-equipped with a vibrant beach bar, a restaurant, and grassy areas for some shade. For those craving adventure, there are plenty of opportunities for windsurfing, kitesurfing, and sailing here, and the area also boasts scenic hiking trails and local markets.
3. Spiaggia di Piona, Colico
Tucked away in a quiet bay, Spiaggia di Piona offers a tree-lined pebbled shore with scenic views and calm waters perfect for a swim. The nearby Abbey of Piona on the hill of Olgiasca adds a layer of historical charm, while the local cafes are perfect for a leisurely lunch. For those seeking a peaceful retreat from the bustling world, Spiaggia di Piona stands as a serene sentinel where time seems to slow down.
4. Tremezzo Beach, Tremezzina
Tremezzo Beach is a picturesque, quiet spot in the heart of Tremezzo. Offering a serene blend of soft grassy areas and patches of sand, the beach provides ample space for lounging and picnicking. The nearby beachside cafes offer the chance for a light al fresco lunch and then retreat at the historic 18th-century Grand Hotel Tremezzo.
5. Lido di Villa Geno Beach, Como
One of only two public beaches in the town of Como, Lido di Villa Geno Beach offers a pebbled shore, plush sun loungers, a beachside cafe, and an expansive layout with plenty of room to enjoy the sun or take a leisurely swim in the clear waters. For an extra touch of luxury, Il Sereno Hotel is just minutes away and offers simple elegance along the pristine Lake Como shoreline.
Exploring the Best Beach Clubs (and Hotels) on Lake Como
Some of the best beach hotels in Italy are located around Lake Como. These lakeside oases offer more than just a place to lay your head — these Lake Como hotels provide an entire experience, from sumptuous sun loungers to world-class dining.
Lido di Villa Olmo, Como
Lido di Villa Olmo is a luxurious beach club offering an array of amenities, including a grand swimming pool, direct access to swimming spots in the lake, a grassy beach area, and a bar with views of the lake.
Villa D’Este Hotel, Cernobbio
Once an aristocratic residence, Villa D’Este has been the epitome of timeless elegance for centuries. A small private beach area, formal gardens, and a floating pool extending into the lake are just the beginning of this five-star resort’s offerings. Add a world-class spa and gourmet dining and you have a destination where every detail caters to comfort and style.
Lido di Cernobbio, Cernobbio
Lido di Cernobbio is a full-service club offering a cafe and an open-air restaurant that celebrates Italian gastronomy, a pool area, and a lounge serving cocktails in a cozy atmosphere overlooking the lake. Whether it’s a family day out or a romantic escape, Lido di Cernobbio provides an unforgettable experience.
Hidden Gems: Como’s Local Secret Beaches and Secluded Swimming Spots
Lake Como’s renowned beauty extends far beyond its most popular beaches and into an intimate world of secluded beaches and secret swimming spots whispering invitations to a more personal connection with the lake.
Sala Comacina Beach is a secluded nook surrounded by vast lawns and colorful fishermen’s houses, a quiet place so quiet you can hear the soft lapping of the waves. The little harbor village of Sala feels miles away from the outside world and is the perfect escape if you’re looking for a place where time seems to slow down.
Pianello Beach offers another discreet retreat, with its pebbled shore and clear waters that mirror the sky. Nestled near the small village of Pianello del Lari and on the slopes of Monte Bregagno, this Lake Como beach offers all the simplicity and solitude you might want. No water sports, no loud sunbathers — just romantic lakeside restaurants and the gentle kiss of the lake’s breeze.
Beyond Lake Como: Nearby Swimming Destinations
While Lake Como is a masterpiece in its own right, the beauty of Northern Italy’s lakes doesn’t end there. Just a stone’s throw away, Lake Lugano straddles the border between Italy and Switzerland. Framed by lush mountains and quaint villages, the lake draws those seeking beauty and tranquility.
Further to the west, Lake Maggiore also stretches its arms into southern Switzerland, drawing you closer to hidden gems like the Borromean Islands, where manicured gardens and elegant villas whisper tales of romance and history.
Not far is Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake. Surrounded by a tapestry of picturesque towns and the dramatic cliffs of Riva del Garda, this is the ultimate playground for swimmers and water sports enthusiasts alike.
Northern Italy also has plenty of on-land charm and beauty, including the town of Bellagio with its cobbled streets and lush gardens. You can also venture to the stunning Monte Isola in Lake Iseo, a serene island where vehicles are a rarity, and the gentle lapping of the lake sets the rhythm of life.
Embracing Water Activities on Lake Como
Beyond its captivating beauty, Lake Como also serves as an aquatic playground, filled with water-based activities to complement lakeside strolls. The lake’s blue waters provide countless opportunities to spend a day under the sun, from leisurely boat rentals to thrilling water sports.
For those looking for a traditional way to experience Lake Como’s beauty, a boat rental (whether that means a classic wooden boat or a speedy motorboat) guarantees a unique perspective on the sprawling lake. Boat rentals are available in several towns, but Bellagio’s Cadenazzi Boats’ expansive fleet comes highly recommended. Bellagio and the many smaller inlets around it are also popular destinations for paddleboarding.
For those seeking a more adrenaline-fueled experience, the towns of Colico and Domaso are renowned for their winds, making them perfect for windsurfing and kitesurfing. Check out Boarderline Surf School for rental services and lessons. More adventurous souls will also appreciate Lezzeno’s many opportunities for wakeboarding and waterskiing.
Safety and Water Quality on Lake Como
Lake Como’s waters don’t just mirror the surrounding natural beauty — they’re also proof of the region’s commitment to pristine water quality. Tucked into the embrace of the surrounding hills, the lake is a thriving ecosystem and a safe haven for swimmers.
During the buzzing swimming season, buoys are strategically placed to mark safe swimming areas and lifeguards keep watch over popular public beaches. Several other rules are in place to ensure safety in the boat-lined horizon. This includes speed limits in designated areas, right-of-way rules, and specific zones for different water sports to avoid any collisions.
The best time to jump into Lake Como’s crystal-clear waters is between June and September when the sun-kissed months ensure steady water temperatures of between 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit — perfect for both a quick splash and lingering laps.