7 Most Beautiful Lake Como Villas and Gardens

Lake Como is known for its many beautiful villas built during the Renaissance and Baroque periods by wealthy Italian aristocrats as summer homes. These iconic landmarks in Italy served as status symbols for their owners and were designed to impress with their grandiose architecture, luxurious furnishings, and beautiful gardens. 

It was somewhat confusing to keep on top of what tickets needed to be purchased, when to go, and which villas were the best. After much research and visiting firsthand, here are my tips for visiting the most beautiful Lake Como villas.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase something through the links, at no additional cost to you. Read our Affiliate Disclosure here.

Before you go:
🏨 Best place to base yourself is Varenna and Albergo Milano is the most affordable hotel with a balcony lake como view.
🎫 Best Tour Option is a private boat tour around the lake in a classic speed boat.
🧷 Travel Insurance with SafetyWing in case of any accidents. Better safe than sorry!
📱Mobile E-sim card to stay connected while traveling without the hassle of changing out your sim card!
💜 Best time to visit Lake Como: Wisteria season! You will find most of the villas blooming with gorgeous Wisteria. The time varies each year but it is typically around the end of March and into April. You can ask the hotel staff at Villa Cipressi or one of the other villas when they expect it to come as you plan your trip.

Most Beautiful Lake Como Villas

1. Villa del Balbianello in Lenno

Villa del Balbianello is a picturesque villa located in Lenno. It is one of the busiest and most famous villas in Lake Como. Many movies were filmed here including Star Wars Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Casino Royale.

Built by Cardinal Durini in 1787 on the site of a former monastery, the villa boasts a unique blend of Baroque and Neoclassical architecture. Over the years, it has been owned by several prominent Italian families.

The stunning villa is surrounded by beautiful gardens with stunning views of the lake and mountains. Today, the latest ownership of the villa is under the National Trust of Italy (FAI) since 1988. Shortly after the villa was restored and open to the public for guided tours.

Check out my Instagram Video on Villa del Balbianello and how it looks!
and this video shows my 5 favorite villas I saw!

How to Arrive:

The easiest way is to take a ferry into Lenno from wherever you’re based. From there, you have 2 options. The first is to take a taxi boat (it costs €6 one way and €9 roundtrip) at Lido di Lenno (7-minute walk from the Lenno ferry station). The second option is to walk to the villa which takes a total of 30 minutes. The main gate is about a 20 minute walk from the Lenno Ferry Station. If you are arriving at opening time, the gate is closed until 30 minutes prior to opening. From the gate, you need to walk straight uphill for another 10 minutes. The last 10 minutes is the most difficult part of the 30-minute walk but it’s not too bad.

I opted to walk but it is also nice to see the villa from the boat as you enter if you choose this option. If you want more time taking photos with a boat in front of the villa then I’d actually recommend doing a private boat tour. While it won’t stop there so you can visit the villa itself, it will take you to many beautiful spots around the lake. The private boat tour can be expensive but it’s definitely a must-do experience when in Lake Como. The one I booked can be found here.

Best time to go:

Villa del Balbianello is extraordinarily busy compared to all the other villas. Therefore, the best time to visit is right at opening which is 10:30 during spring and 9:30 am during summer. It does not open on Monday or Wednesday FYI.

If you want a photo at the iconic spot with the columns in front of the water, then go straight to that spot first as it will start to fill up fast with people wanting to do the same. It can be really windy sometimes so be sure to check the weather before you go. If it’s windy then the taxi boats won’t even run to get there.

How long to visit:

If you take the guided tour to see the inside of the villa that is one hour long. Additionally, the gardens will take another 1 to 2 hours to visit depending on how long you spend taking photos.

📍 Location: Lenno (Google Maps)
Opening Times: Open daily except Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:00 to 18:00
Last entrance to the park at 17.00 and to the Villa at 16.00
🎟️ Entry: Tickets need to be purchased in advance from the website as they do sell out. It costs €12 for the garden only. If you want to visit the inside of the villa a guide is required and that costs €23.

2. Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo

Villa Carlotta is another stunning villa located in Tremezzo. It’s not too far from the iconic hotel, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. So you can have lunch at one of the hotel restaurants like T Pizza or T Bar. Then, head to Villa Carlotta before or after. It was built in the late 17th century by the Marquis Giorgio Clerici.

The villa is known for its meticulously designed and beautifully landscaped gardens, featuring exotic plants, blooming flowers, and sculptures. The villa’s interiors are equally impressive, with a collection of art and historical artifacts. It is home to world-famous artworks like the Last Kiss of Romeo & Juliet. One of the highlights of Villa Carlotta is the picturesque Terrace of the Caryatids, offering views of Lake Como. Today, the villa is open to the public and owned by the Foundation.

Check out this private boat tour – it includes entry to Villa Carlotta and Villa del Balbianello!

How to Arrive:

From the Tremezzo ferry port, it’s only an 8-minute walk here.

How long to visit:

Exploring both the villa and its extensive gardens usually takes about 2 to 3 hours.

📍 Location: Tremezzo (Google Maps)
Opening Times: From mid-March to early November. 10-6pm daily. Winter hours are limited.
🎟️ Entry: Entry is €15. Tickets can be purchased online here.

3. Villa Monastero in Varenna

Villa Monastero is one of the most beautiful lake como villas. It is located in Varenna, a charming town on the eastern shore of Lake Como, Italy.

Read my full post on the best things to do in Varenna & also where to stay in Varenna

Varenna has 2 beautiful villas you can visit. This one and Villa Cipressi so be sure to save money and buy a combined entry ticket when you arrive at the ticket counter.

Originally a Cistercian convent dating back to the 12th century, it was later converted into a beautiful residence. The villa’s architecture reflects a mix of different styles, including medieval, Renaissance, and neo-classical elements. The property boasts lush botanical gardens with a range of plants and flowers including wisteria during April. Today, Villa Monastero is open to the public, allowing guests to explore its elegant interiors and wander through the gardens with breathtaking views of Lake Como.

If you are only visiting Lake Como on a day trip or are short on time, then I would definitely recommend seeing Villa Monastero before others. I would also advise you to see both the beautiful interiors of the house museum in addition to the gardens.

Check out my Instagram video on Villa Monastero

How to Arrive:

From the Varenna ferry port, it’s only a 9 minute walk here.

How long to visit:

A visit to the villa and its gardens can take around 1.5 to 2 hours.

📍 Location: Varenna (Google Maps)
Opening Times: Beginning of April to November. Hours are 930-8 pm Daily (Winter hours are different so check online here for exact timings).
🎟️ Entry: Entry is €13 for the garden and house museum. €10 for gardens only. No need to pre-book tickets but if you do, you can here.
💡Pro-Tip: Visit the Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi Botanical Gardens together and pay only €19 (€22 with House Museum too). To book the combination ticket, you must do so at the villa’s office.

4. Villa Cipressi in Varenna

Villa Cipressi is a historic villa situated in the picturesque town of Varenna, very close to Villa Monastero. Many visit both on a trip to Varenna and you can save money by purchasing a combo ticket for €19 at the ticket office.

Villa Cipressi dates back to the 12th century. Set on the waterfront with beautiful views of Lake Como, you’ll find beautiful winding pathways full of greenery and flowers. The main gate opening up to the water is famous on Instagram. Pictured peacefully in front of the lake with a mountainous backdrop, you can easily see why this is such a hot spot. If you’re lucky to visit during wisteria season, you’ll find the gate draped with it making it even more magical to see.

Today, Villa Cipressi functions as a charming hotel and wedding venue. If you can stay at Villa Cipressi, I’d highly recommend it as it looks like the dream hotel!

Check out my Instagram video on the magical gate at Villa Cipressi.

How to Arrive:

From the Varenna ferry port, it’s only a 9-minute walk here.

How long to visit:

Villa Cipressi is one of the smaller gardens so you could visit it in an hour.

📍 Location: Varenna (Google Maps)
Opening Times: 8-5 pm Daily
🎟️ Entry: Entry is €10. No need to pre-book tickets for this one!
💡Pro-Tip: Visit the Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi Botanical Gardens together and pay only €19 (€22 with House Museum too). To book the combination ticket, you must do so at the villa’s office.

5. Villa Olmo in Como

lake como villa olmo most beautiful places in como

Villa Olmo is located in the city of Como and was built in the 18th century in a neoclassical style by Ticino architect Simone Cantoni. As soon as you step foot, you will feel the grandeur of this place. The villa is surrounded by extensive gardens adding to the allure of the stunning place. Before you reach the palace, you’ll find neatly arranged flowerbeds leading to the lake. There are also statues of pagan deities.

Over the years, Villa Olmo has hosted many cultural and artistic events, making it a significant cultural landmark in the region. Today, the villa is owned by the city of Como. It is available for public access and is the only villa you can visit completely free of charge!

How to Arrive:

To get here you can take a ferry to Como from any of the other towns and walk about 18 minutes to reach Villa Olmo.

How long to visit:

The time needed to visit the villa and its gardens is approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.

📍 Location: Como (Google Maps)
Opening Times: The villa is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 to 6pm. The public park is open daily.
🎟️ Entry: Entry is FREE.

6. Villa Melzi D’Eril in Bellagio

Villa Melzi D’Eril, is an elegant villa located in Bellagio on the shores of Lake Como, Italy. The villa was constructed between 1808 and 1810 for Francesco Melzi d’Eril. Francesco was the Duke of Lodi and Vice President of the Italian Republic under Napoleon Bonaparte. The villa showcases neoclassical architecture designed by Giocondo Albertolli. Its picturesque gardens, meticulously landscaped by Luigi Canonica, offer a serene escape. You’ll find winding paths, statues, wisteria during April, and a charming Japanese-inspired area. Although the villa itself remains a private residence, the gardens are open to the public.

Read my full blog post on The Best Things to do in Bellagio, Lake Como Italy

How to Arrive:

It is easily accessible as you can walk about 12 minutes from the Bellagio ferry port and find yourself here.

How long to visit:

Visiting usually takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.

📍 Location: Bellagio (Google Maps)
Opening Times: Open from the end of March to the end of October. Hours are 10-7pm daily.
🎟️ Entry: Entry is €8. No need to pre-book. For more information, visit their official website here.

7. The Gardens of Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio

Parco di Villa Serbelloni, also known as the Gardens of Villa Serbelloni, is a beautiful park located in Bellagio, one of the prettiest towns on Lake Como. The park is part of the larger Villa Serbelloni estate, which includes a grand villa and extensive gardens.

The Villa Serbelloni estate has a long and storied history dating back to the late 15th century. It has been owned by several noble families over the centuries, including the Serbelloni family, from whom the villa and park take their name.

Positioned on a promontory, the park provides breathtaking views of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains. Although the estate is privately owned, the garden is open to the public but only with a guide. You cannot visit the actual villa, just the surrounding gardens. At the time of writing, the tours run 2 times a day at 11 am or 3:30 pm. However, due to its private ownership, access can be limited, and you should check availability online here before planning a visit. The cost of the tickets is €10 and you can book online ahead of time.

Photography: Photography of the villa is not allowed due to the privacy of the current owners. However, your guide will let you know when you can’t take photos on the tour. Anywhere, where the villa is not visible is allowed. So you can take as many pictures of the gorgeous views around as I have above!

How to Arrive:

It is easily accessible as you can walk a short distance from the Bellagio ferry port and find yourself here in just over 5 minutes.

How long to visit:

The guided tour lasts 1.5 hours.

📍 Location: Bellagio (Google Maps)
Opening Times: you can only visit by guided tour and it runs 2x a day 11am or 3:30pm.
🎟️ Entry: Entry is €10. Better to book ahead here but it is possible to show up before the designated tour slots and buy at the counter.

Hopefully this guide made it easier to understand how to visit the most beautiful Lake Como Villas!

You may also like these posts!
📝 Lake Como 4 Day Itinerary
🌳 Best Lake Como Towns
💼 Milan to Lake Como Day Trip
🌸 The Best Things to Do in Varenna, Lake Como Italy
🏞️ The Best Things to do in Bellagio, Lake Como Italy
🚤 Best Lake Como Boat Tours
🏨 Best Hotels in Varenna, Italy
🤍 Hidden Gems in Italy
👩 Solo Female Travel Guide to Italy
🇮🇹 For more travel inspo visit my Italy section

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *