- Delicious breakfast on the beachfront full of fresh fruit and crepes
- A castle to climb around and explore
- A boat ride around the charming villages of Lake Como
- Climbing around the castle
- A boat ride on the lake
- Eating their weight in pizza and pasta
Prepare in advance
I suggest you book the boat in advance during the busy season. We reserved the same day (the rental location is right by where you'll have breakfast), but we were there in the off season. Also, pack snacks and water for your hike, there will be drinks at the top available for purchase, but we stopped a few times to take a break and recharge.
Recommended time of the year
Since this activity is majority outside, I wouldn't recommend it during the winter months.
About This Day
Heading to Lake Como with kids? This family-friendly day is going to give you a full view of what Lake Como has to offer. Boat riding, castles, hiking, pizza, and more!Begin your day with breakfast on the beach at Bar il Molo and enjoy fresh fruit, crepes and lattes. Then head to Castello di Vezio and climb to the top of the tower of this historic castle. You’ll see all of Lake Como and beyond. After your hike, pick up some pizza at Albergo Del Sole Varenna and go for a boat ride on the lake. Who doesn’t like a boating picnic?! Cruise around while taking in views of the Swiss Alps, sneak a peek at George Clooney's home and pull over for an afternoon espresso and tiramisu. It will be a jam-packed Italian adventure that you and your nuggets won't forget.
Bar il Molo is the ideal spot for breakfast. We had a beautiful spread of fruit, crepes, eggs, toast and bacon. Make sure to top it off with a latte. If you're still hungry, the chocolate cake comes out warm and is the perfect post-breakfast dessert. The restaurant also has high chairs available and outdoor seating (covered, so it is great even on rainy days) which we prefer with kids in case they're being loud or having a hard time sitting still.
DIRECTIONS From the train station or the center of town, walk down towards the beach. The town of Varenna is very small, so as long as you're descending you’re heading towards the beachfront, which is where this restaurant is located.
TIP This restaurant is a B&B as well, and breakfast comes with your stay. While I can't speak for the accommodations, you can't beat the location so it may be worth looking into.
Once you reach the top, there’s a stand to purchase tickets, and beyond that is the castle. Our 4-year-old loved being able to climb in and around a real castle, and you simply can't beat the views from the top of the tower! There is also an aviary, so you will spy all kinds of birds (even an owl, which was a big hit).
DIRECTIONS Walk towards the center of town where signs point towards the castle. Follow these signs, going up the narrow cobbled path next to Hotel Olivedo. Once on the trail, the route is very clear.
TIP It was a bit of a steep hike, but I was able to do it while wearing our 9-month-old. Our 4-year-old was able to complete most of the hike on his own. Make sure to bring water and snacks for pit stops along the way.
Today you're here to grab a pizza and some pasta to go for a boating picnic lunch. But if you have time later, I'd suggest coming for dinner too. Beyond the incredible food and beautiful ambiance, they were so generous with our kids, treating them as if they were their own.
DIRECTIONS Return from the castle to the main square. The restaurant is just across from the historic church Chiesa di San Giorgio.
TIP Everything is made to order, so prepare to wait for a bit. We split up, with one parent getting the boat ready and one parent grabbing the food. It worked out great!
This boat ride will be the highlight of your trip to Lake Como with kids. We drove around, spied George Clooney's home, then stopped in a tiny town that had a merry-go-round and cafe. It was magical and easily the highlight of our trip. Varenna Rent a Boat was super flexible and helpful with arranging our reservation. They even let us push back the time since we were late due to being slower hikers than we thought.
DIRECTIONS Head back down to the beach where you were this morning for breakfast, right next door you'll see the boat rental location.
TIP Varenna Rent a Boat also provides maps for tours of specific places, but we enjoyed just wandering and experiencing the lake at our leisure.