Lake Como doesn’t have the number of beaches that neighbouring Lake Maggiore has around its shoreline. For those with young children, it can therefore sometimes feel a bit frustrating being so near to the lake without being able to actually access it. That said, beach access isn’t impossible! You just need to know where to go!
The best swimming spots are certainly in the north of the lake. Here the water is much cleaner and there are some good sized beaches. The lake waters are wonderful for swimming in reaching a pleasant 20 to 22 degrees across July and August. Head to either Domaso or Gravedona on the Western shores for the largest beaches. Alternatively, just slightly further south, Dongo has a public lido at the northern end of the town.
Further south, there are some smaller pebble beaches. Argegno has a small pebble beach whilst on the other side of the lake, there is also a small beach just outside Bellagio at Punta Spartivento. There is also limited lake access at neighbouring Varenna.
Whilst other towns may not have beaches, many have created lidos. These tend to have sunbathing areas and pools, allowing you to still relax in the sunshine. Some of the best include the lido in the grounds of Villa Olmo just outside Como. There are two swimming pools here open during the Summer months. Alternatively there is a public lido in Lenno, Varenna, Bellagio and Managgio. The latter is one of the larger lidos on offer with both adult and children’s pools. In addition, it boasts a playground, restaurant, bar and plenty of space for sunbathing.
For those that want to enjoy a day trip to Lake Maggiore, it’s worth heading up the autostrada from Como and across to Locarno and Ascona at the tip of Lake Maggiore. Both these towns have fantastic lidos right on the lakeside. However the lido in Locarno is certainly the best of any around Lake Maggiore.
The Locarno lido is open throughout the year and in all weather conditions. There are numerous indoor and outdoor swimming pools. These include an Olympic size swimming pool, thermal pool, play pool with water effects and 4 water chutes. The water slides cater for all tastes. First and foremost, there’s the Melezza Blackhole with light and sound effects (6 years +). Next there’s the Isorno Whitehole (6 years +) and the Verzasca Abyss (8 years+). And, last but not least is the Looping slide (12 years +). Apparently, the slides are inspired by the many rivers that feed Lake Maggiore. In addition, the lido has a gym and café which overlooks the pools and lake. It serves everything from morning coffee to dinner in the evening.
If heading to the Locarno lido for the day, it’s worth stopping for dinner in Ascona before you head back to Lake Como. Ascona has a really pretty waterfront and you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to good restaurants.
On nearer Lake Lugano, there is also an absolutely fantastic lido which we would highly recommend. Located in Lugano itself, you do have to pay to get in. But we think the entry fee is more than worth it. Once inside, there is access to the lake there as well as 3 beautifully clean swimming pools. These include one Olympic sized pool, one children’s pool with slides and water spray and another family pool. In addition there are also a series of diving boards.