Lake Como in December, what to see and do
I start with a necessary premise: one cannot disregard the seasonality of these areas and thus the fact that during these months (say from mid-November until early March) the lake “half works.” Many hotels are closed, many restaurants and stores also, boat rides halved, tourist attractions as well.
However, the half that works, works well, and so, wanting to see the glass half full, the advantage for sure is the fact that you can enjoy the beauty of these places quietly, avoiding the chaos of the high season (which is no small thing!).
The trick is to get organized and keep a few tips in mind.
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7 tips if you visit Lake Como in December and only have 2 days
1# Many boats are stopped, but not all!
In the center of the lake and in the area around Como (Como – Torno) there is no shortage of rides, so it is possible to visit many of the most beautiful villages on the lake.
I have written an article with all the information you need to best organize a nice boat trip on the lake! Of course, for details and updates on schedules it is always best to consult their official website.
2# Many villas are closed, but some are not!
Always check the official websites of the individual attractions for the exact dates of winter openings. Generally the historic houses with the longest opening period are Villa Monastero (in Varenna) and Villa Balbianello (in Lenno).
And in this regard I suggest you read: Villa Monastero in winter and 10 shots of Villa Balbianello.
3# Then of course there are the small villages!
Among the several I could name, some that are particularly nice even in winter, with a nice square to stop and have a hot chocolate and look at some shop windows, are Menaggio, Varenna, Argegno, and Cernobbio.
Beautiful to visit in any season!
4# If it’s nice weather and you like walking
Well, there is fun to be had even in winter!
Mountain walks are many and of varying levels of difficulty, always to be done judiciously, evaluating well the timing and weather forecast.
In my blog you will find ideas for mostly easy walks, doable even in the colder months!
5# The town of Como is a must in christmas time
What makes Como unique in December is the “Città dei Balocchi“, an event that animates this city for almost a month and a half with a magic atmosphere.
A true paradise for families, but not only!
Among the various initiatives not to be missed is the Magic Light Festival that at dusk transforms Como into an enchanted place to say the least.
[Update December 2022: This event is not held in the streets of Como, but in the beautiful park of Villa Erba, in Cernobbio]
6# Lake Como Christmas Light
The Lake Como Christmas Light is the new Christmas event, inaugurated in 2018.
It is an itinerary of lights positioned to illuminate as many as 40 architectural wonders scattered along the shores of the lake. Several cruises are organized to admire them: in 2019 I was lucky enough to participate in the one in the center of the lake and it was wonderful!
You start at dusk and as the light fades you begin to spot the different illuminated attractions and the magic begins. It was like seeing a roundup of nativity scenes on a human scale.
7# And speaking of nativity scenes…
… if you like them, here is another good reason to spend a few days on Lake Como even in December.
In fact, there are many lakeside towns where you can admire this art form: Como, Bellagio, Torno, Varenna, the Tremezzina, Gravedona, Argegno, Moltrasio, Sora…to name the best known.
In particular, the Sora nativity scene in Val Cavargna is a very special living nativity scene.
Visiting it is the equivalent of stepping back in time and immersing yourself with all five senses in a one-of-a-kind experience!
As for all the others, the great thing is to go and unearth them in the most characteristic corners of the various villages, through routes dedicated for the occasion!
A different way to get to know the lake and its picturesque villages.
You may also like: 20 most romantic hotels on lake Como