Everyone has their best angle. Lake Como looks incredible from wherever you stand but is at its most beautiful from the water. So is a private boat tour on Lake Como worth it and what do you see?
Lake Como is synonymous with the romance and beauty of northern Italy. Its shorelines are scattered with warm-hearted yet glamorous towns and its waters reflecting the heart-melting scenery.
From the very first time Christina and I came to Lake Como – a lovely journey from Milan to Varenna by train – we fell in love with the place.
We were only there for a daytrip that first visit, but since then have spent more time at Lake Como. If it’s possible, we’re even more in love with the place than we were before.
Is a private boat tour on Lake Como really worth it?
If you want to really see the best parts of Lake Como, a private boat tour is the way to do it.
But let’s look at the other options quickly first:
What’s the best way to see Lake Como?
Arriving by train to Varenna is easy and cost effective. However, you’re limited by how far you can walk to what you can see. Varenna is a beautiful town, but there’s more to Lake Como than that.
Driving around Lake Como is wonderful, but the roads can be very busy and narrow at times. You’re too busy looking where you’re going (hopefully) to really take in the beautiful views.
Plus you don’t get to see some of the best parts of the lake from the shore.
For a taste of what Lake Como looks like from the water, the public ferries that criss-cross the lake offer just that. And it’s a superb service if you want to see more towns around the lake.
Private boat tours on Lake Como
We’ve wanted to go on a private boat tour on Lake Como ever since our first visit. During our stay at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, that travel dream came to life.
The Tremezzo has two beautiful boats – both period Venetian motor launches: Ruy, built in 1961, and Batt. These elegant wooden Riva style speedboats are exclusively available to guests of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo.
Reclining in the comfort of Ruy’s soft white leather seats with a glass of cold prosecco, we watched Lake Como’s beautiful secrets reveal themselves.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Christina so happy!
From the water, you get to see the incredible shoreline of Lake Como, its towns glinting in the sun and the dramatic mountains of the Italian Alps looming in the background.
Most prominent though are the many villas that line the lake’s waterfront. These grand old palaces, holiday homes to the gentry of Italy, are icons of the lake.
You should check out our video from our stay in the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, which includes our footage of our time onboard Ruy.
This is where the private boat tour comes into its own. The driver will be able to get very close to the villas and tell you their fascinating glamorous history.
If you’re not staying at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, there are some other private boat tour companies on Lake Como:
Our private boat tour on Lake Como
We had a 1-hour private boat tour in the sublime Ruy. We went as far south as Isola Comancina, then back up along the western spur of the lake to Bellagio. From this point you can see down both southern spurs of Lake Como and right up to its northern end.
The views are breathtaking.
From there we motored across to the eastern bank to see the picturesque town of Varenna up close and then it was full speed all the way back across to the west, past Villa Carlotta to the Tremezzo.
Being able to explore Lake Como by boat is very special. From the stunning villas and their expansive gardens, to other important landmarks like the abandoned Faustino Monastery and the distant Swiss border and its magnificent alpine skyline.
It’s quite a lot to fit into an hour – 2 hours would have been better – but it’s something everyone should do. It’s just magnificent and is easily one of our all-time great travel highlights.