Menaggio is one of the most visited towns on the shores of Lake Como, situated on the western side and about half-way along the lake. The town is popular because as well as the lake activities and a pretty promenade and town to explore it is also well placed for hiking and cycling in the surrounding hills and as a base for reaching other towns and villages on Lake Como.
Italy This Way comment: several of the towns around this part of Lake Como are very attractive, some perhaps more so than Menaggio, but the town is lively and interesting so it is our preferred base when exploring the central part of Lake Como
The main ferry terminal where you can find ferries to the other towns on Lake Como is a short distance south of the centre.
As with almost all the most popular towns in this area, Menaggio has a promenade along the lakeside, a main square full of cafes and a small historic centre to explore. The promenade along the lake front is one of our favourites on the shores of Lake Como, especially in late spring when the flowers along the promenade are at their best but really any warm evening is ideal!
The promenade starts in the town centre near the small harbour to the south and continues north from here: along the route you pass the main square and the tourist dock. At the end of the promontory to the north of the town you reach an unusual monument, dedicated to the silkweavers that were once important in the town.
Returning to the town centre, you will want to explore the main square in Menaggio - this plaza has the advantage that one side is directly on to the lake and it is pleasant to explore and to sit enjoying a drink in one of the cafes on the edge of Piazza Garibaldi while planning your next activity - or your next ice-cream! On the other sides of the square you can find lots of cafes and ice cream shops.
Behind the square you can enter the streets of Menaggio old town. Although it is not very extensive, and there are no major historic sites of importance, the town is also a pleasure to explore. The church in Menaggio is painted pink and in the baroque style. Go inside the church to see the paintings that decorate the columns, the walls and the dome above the altar.
If you have time you can hire a boat, and the more adventurous can try their hand at waterskiing on the lake. There is also a large swimming pool as well as the long established Menaggio and Cadenabbia Golf Club, an 18 hole golf course on the road towards Lake Lugano.
You can also go swimming in Lake Como at Menaggio: there is a safe pebble beach here (entry charge payable) although the season when the water is warm enough to swim is quite short.
If you are staying in a hotel in Menaggio you should be aware that although the town near the lake is flat, the rear part of the town is on quite a steep slope. If you don't like walking up a steep hill after your evening meal you might want to choose acordingly!
With ferry services from Menaggio and the central position on the lake it is easy to explore all parts of Lake Como from here - and it is this that really makes Menaggio so popular with visitors.
Several trails are easily accessible that lead into the mountains - ask for details at Menaggio Tourist Office in Piazza Garibaldi. We also suggest you head west from Menaggio on the road towards Lake Lugano (across the border in Switzerland): it is a scenic road through the hills and you can take a walk around the small Lago di Piano, now within a protected nature reserve.