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Villa Balbianello and Flavors of Lake Como Walking and Boating Full-Day Tour

Varenna, Italy
Villa Balbianello and Flavors of Lake Como Walking and Boating Full-Day Tour

From $321.87

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icon7 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 1 more
Good for avoiding crowds


Book 48h in advance and Capture the spirit of Lake Como on a walking tour of Bellagio and Varenna, two of the mid-lake region's most enchanting towns. Stop at a historic olive oil mill to taste one of the region's local specialties, accompanied by cured meats and wine. A Lake Como boat cruise takes you to visit Villa Melzi's lush gardens and the opulent Villa del Balbianello, including a traditional lunch at a lakefront restaurant.
  • Explore the towns of Varenna and Bellagio around Lake Como
  • See opulent villas that were once home to Italian aristocrats
  • Eat lunch in a lakefront restaurant and taste olive oil, cured meats, and wine
  • Lake Como boat tour lets you view lakefront properties from the water
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Professional, English-speaking guide
Tasting of delicious local specialties in a charming old mill
Guided walking Tour of Varenna
Special lunch in a local restaurant: starters, pasta, water, a glass of wine and coffee
1h Boat Tour (open top Venetian taxi)
Tickets to Villa del Balbianello
Tickets to Villa Melzi
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Varenna , Via Imbarcadero Piazza Martiri Libertà, 23829 Varenna LC, Italy

Our Tour starts in front of the Ferry Terminal Ticket Office in Varenna at 1030 am . Just look for the team with a LAKE COMO FOR YOU sign ! If you are arriving from Como, Cernobbio or Moltrasio please do get in touch with us for directions.

Hotel du Lac , Giuseppe Mazzini, 32, 22021 Bellagio CO, Italy

The tour ends in Bellagio. There are plenty of mid-lake shuttles or car ferries linking Bellagio to Varenna and other locations. The last speedboat to Como will depart at the end of our tour. Our tour guide will be happy to show you departure point.

Meet your local guide and tour group at the Ferry Ticket Office in Varenna. After getting acquainted, embark on your full-day exploration of Lake Como's central and western regions.

Walk through Varenna's steep, narrow alleyways, learning about its Celtic origins from your local guide. Pause at a historic mill for a tasting of the locally produced olive oil, accompanied by cured meats, wine, and some Valsassina Valley cheese. 

Sit down for a traditional Italian lunch at a renowned lakefront restaurant. Relax and enjoy the views while dining on a menu of appetizers sourced fresh from the lake (meat or vegetarian menu will also be available). 

After lunch, step aboard a comfortable open-top Venetian water taxi for a sightseeing cruise. Get views of opulent villas, once homes to Italian aristocrats during the years of the Renaissance, Romanticism, and Belle Epoque. Snap photos of the majestic mountain backdrop and lush lakeside gardens. Disembark at Villa del Balbianello, a lavish home that has been used as a filming location for features like 'Casino Royale' and 'Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones'. 

Back on the boat, continue to the verdant gardens of Villa Melzi, then walk through the streets of the elegant town of Bellagio.

Your tour ends in Bellagio, where you are free to explore further on your own.
Stop At:  
Villa del Balbianello
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
I Giardini di Villa Melzi
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Chiesa di San Giorgio
The group will enter the church and be given a detailed description.
Duration: 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • A minimum of 2 adults per booking is required
  • A maximum of 14 people per booking
  • Dress code is casual, comfortable shoes
  • A fair amount of walking is involved. The trail to the mill for the morning tasting entails a descent with some steep steps which must also be ascended on the return trip. Please make sure you are physically adapt and wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Please advise any specific dietary requirements at time of booking
  • The tour runs rain or shine. In case of bad weather conditions it is possible that the tour undergoes some slight changes and that the transfer to Villa Balbianello is done using public transport and not with the private boat taxi due to safety reasons
  • Please Note: hotel pickup is not included for this activity, however it will be requested at the time of booking.
  • Near public transportation
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • We are following Italy's rules as they change. Covid restrictions in Italy are changing constantly and from May 1st they are getting loosened. We no longer ask for vaccination or tests to take our tours but suggest bringing with you a FFP2 mask in case it is needed on transports. HOWEVER, for future bookings in the fall, please inform us in case you/your clients have not had 2 doses of vaccination + booster before booking.
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 14 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Lake Como For You
You can cancel up to 7 days in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 7 full days before the experience’s start time.
  • Any changes made less than 6 full days before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • For a 50% refund, you must cancel 3–6 full days before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 2 full days before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 2 full days before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

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Traveler Tips

  • "Please be aware this is a hiking tour; not for the lazy or unfit." See review
  • "A lot to see in one day, but well worth it." See review

Reviews by Viator travelers.  We perform checks on reviews


58 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers

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Showing 1-10 of 58 reviews
Loving Lake Como and all it had to offer!
, Jul 2022
Another Fabulous Full Day Tour in Lake Como! Wonderful Guide and experience! Highly recommend! Our guide was excellent and very knowledgeable. The food and tour was superb! We enjoyed chatting with our Guide very much-
Amazing tour!
, Jul 2022
The tour was amazing! Varenna and Villa Balbianello were incredibly beautiful. The only negative is that it was a little too long of a day for some of my group. If I had to cut the tour short somewhere, it would be the Villa Melzi gardens. All in all, I would highly recommend this tour as a must do!
Lake Como at its best!
, Jun 2022
This tour was excellent. Our guide was very informative and the tour well planned out. We felt very well taken care of. The tour of Varenna was so lovely and Villa del Balbianello was the absolute highlight!!!
, Jun 2022
A full day tour in Lake Como - be prepared for lots of walking and wear very comfortable shoes and clothing. Really good value for your money and small enough group to not feel overwhelmed. Started with an olive oil tasting at the mill, then a walking tour of Varenna followed by a boat tour with a guided villa tour and a tour of the Melzi gardens. An incredible way to see Lake Como learning the history and seeing so much in one day. The open air water taxi was so special and gorgeous. The food was delicious and our guide Pietro was so much fun and very knowledgable! Wish we could go back again today!
Wonderful small group highlight
, May 2022
This was a small group tour and hit the perfect highlights of Lake Como. The lunch was delicious and the view was incredible. We had our 10 year old son and 12 year old daughter with us and they were entertained and interested the entire time. Our guide Peter was knowledgeable and wonderfully personable. I highly recommend this tour. I truly loved the water taxi tour of the lake.
Amazing day in Lake Como with the full day tour
, Oct 2021
Our experience with the Villa Balbianello and Flavors of Lake Como Walking and Boating Full-Day Tour was exceptional!! It was truly a great day, and the tour service was a perfect way to see and experience Lake Como. Our tour guide, Madalena (maybe spelled wrong? sorry) was absolutely fantastic. She was outgoing, friendly, enthusiastic, very helpful, down to earth and fun ... and also she was very knowledgeable of the area and of the sites we saw, so she was able to not only be our guide, but also inform us about what were seeing, the history, stories, etc -- and she spoke excellent English (she is native Italian and lives locally). We did alot of walking, in addition to the boat ride, so do be aware that this tour does involve walking and some stairs and some hills -- it was very enjoyable for us. The first stop was an old mill where we met the local maker (and business owner, and as it turns out new mayor of the local town) of olive oils and wine, and had a tasting of those plus cured meats and cheeses. Fantastic! She took us on a walking tour of Varenna, toured the old churches, seaside walks and interior streets, and all the time she was explaining cool facts and history about the area and the buildings. Lunch was great -- very nice restaurant with excellent food -- not just a tourist place. We took a water taxi in a traditional boat across the lake to view the beautiful villas, stopping at a major one to walk the grounds and take the interior tour (for which that tour guide at the villa was also very very good). Boarded the boat again and went to another gardens at Bellagio, then walked around the gardens and into the town of Bellagio where we parted for the evening. All in all, it was perfect and we could not have asked for a better host/tour guide. It essentially felt like a private tour. Lake Como is gorgeous, Varenna is amazing, and I would highly recommend this tour to anyone looking for a great way to spend a day without having to plan it or look at a map, and especially if you have only 2-3 days in the area -- you see and do a lot. Thanks Madalena!!
Amazingly beautiful
, Sep 2021
This was a wonderful tour, very informative. The tour guide was excellent and spoke perfect English. I would highly recommend this tour.
1 traveler found this review helpful
Interesting Fun Day
, Sep 2019
This tour far exceeded our expectations. The pace was just right for a full day tour with a wonderful lunch
1 traveler found this review helpful
A fabulous tour in an amazing place with a terrific guide!
Emilie H
, Aug 2019
Our day with Alessandra could not have been more perfect. When we met her near the ferry ticket office in Bellagio, we were delighted to find out that we were the only people who had booked the tour that day, so we ended up with a private tour with her; we were so lucky!! She instantly made us feel totally at ease and spoke excellent English. She had a driver waiting and they drove us to a cool ancient mill where we had olive oil and wine tasting, and then we spent the rest of the morning in Varenna, where she shared lots of interesting tidbits and facts about the area and its history, etc. The tour included a delicious lakefront lunch at a nice hotel in Varenna and after that we got on a very cool speedboat for a tour of the lake and the destination of Villa Balbianello. The villa is spectacular and we enjoyed the tour of it, but truly the time on the boat where the driver was stopping at various points and giving us local insight was just as much fun. Then after the villa visit, we took another boat to Bellagio to walk along some lovely gardens, with more fascinating insight from Alessandra. When we decided to make Lake Como one of our destinations in our 10 days in Italy, I knew we would get more out of it by doing a tour. But I originally hesitated slightly on this one because for some reason there weren't a ton of reviews. I am so glad we took the plunge and did it, because it was SO worth every penny and truly was one of the best days on our trip. Our time at the Italian Lakes would not have been nearly as memorable if we hadn't spent that amazing day with Alessandra!
2 travelers found this review helpful
Fantastic Tour!
, Aug 2019
Great value for money and the staff was great! A lot to see in one day, but well worth it. The transportation was perfect.
Enjoyable Experience
, Aug 2019
Alessandra, our tour guide, was very knowledgeable about the Lake Como area and our group learnt a lot about the area especially Varenna. The tour of Villa Balbianello was quite an interesting and amazing experience. We covered so much in one day. It is definitely worthwhile and totally recommend it to all who come to Lake Como.
Lake Como in Depth
, Jun 2019
This tour gave us an overall familiarity with the various locales on the lake, included an awesome lunch in a beautiful upscale hotel restaurant, as well as an informative tour of Villa Balbianello, not only the beautifully landscaped grounds, but the extremely interesting story of the owner who built it. We were provided transportation from our ferry drop off point as well as useful recommendations as to which boat to take in order to make the tour on time. Worth the price.
lake como food tour
, Jun 2019
enjoyed this tour. food was delicious and guide was knowledgeable.. learned alot about the lake como region in a fun way
1 traveler found this review helpful
Really good
, Jun 2019
The tour guide was really nice. Villa balbianello was really great. So was the varrena tour and food served.
1 traveler found this review helpful
All in one tour
, Jun 2019
This tour was a great way to experience a bit of all the things you want to see and do at Lake Como in one tour. Get out on the water, visit the top Villa, lunch with an incredible view as well as wine and food tasting with some history. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, friendly, well versed in English and a true joy to spend time with.
Incredible Day at Lake Como
, Jun 2019
We lucked out with a private tour as no one else booked this all-day adventure (their loss). Elena, our guide, spoke perfect English and adjusted the itinerary as my daughter wanted to see the local castle and because we wanted to do more hiking. Please be aware this is a hiking tour; not for the lazy or unfit. You will hike up and down several hills. But the experience is so worth it. We sampled local wines (2 times), ate local food, and sampled local olive oil. The private boat tour gave us incredible views of the Alps and local villages (Varenna, etc.). We visited the gorgeous Villa Balbianello and ended our adventure with a walking tour of the gardens near Bellagio. Although the price may seem high, it is worth every penny. This day trip was a highlight of our 2 week visit to Europe, and it will not be forgotten. If you are thinking of going cheap (which I usually do), don't. You will regret booking a different tour.
icon Response from Host , Jun 2019
It was an unforgettable day we spent together. An honor to meet you, you sure are a beautiful family ! Elena
Lovely day on Lake Como
, May 2019
My husband and I had a great day with another friendly couple and excellent tour guide. We are so glad we chose this tour—it really was one of the highlights of our trip.
1 traveler found this review helpful
This was an incredible tour with a...
, Mar 2018
This was an incredible tour with a GREAT tour guide, Alessandra!! She brought the area to life with all the knowledge and insights she shared. The hike to the old mill was beautiful with the waterfall and bridge, too. The exclusive tasting tour of the area specialties at the Old Mill was prepared so well and the food was delicious! The tour of the area's historic sites and magnificent Lake Como tour that included the unique Villa Balbianello cannot be captured in words.... this is a REAL treat and truly a one-of-a-kind lifetime experience!
Wonderful tour! It was an amazing...
Lisa Z
, Nov 2017
Wonderful tour! It was an amazing day and a great way to see the area in a short period of time.
1 traveler found this review helpful
What an amazing and enjoyable day of...
, Oct 2017
What an amazing and enjoyable day of touring and food Alexandra provided to our group of 8! Our visit to the olive oil mill was equally interesting and tasty. Both walking tours were filled with history and remarkable facts that would be missed without having experienced this tour. Villa Balbianello is incredibly amazing! We'd fallen in love with the villa in the movie A Month by the Lake and were not disappointed to see it in person. In addition to the well-organized guided tour of the unique home we were afforded the opportunity to observe a wedding taking place on the beautiful day when we visited. Our boat tour of the lake was quite informative as our verbally engaging driver Luca pointed out various villas and stopped the boat for photo ops. Alexandra was incredibly knowledgeable about Varenna,Belagio and the surrounding areas. She took the time to engage with each member of our small group of multi-cultural travelers while patiently assisting us and answering a multitude of questions from the group. Alexandra is a real gem!!! We highly recommend this tour.

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