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Lake Como Or Amalfi Coast: Which Is Better?

Sunrise, Positano

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Lake Como and Amalfi Coast are two of Italy’s most spectacular destinations. Each destination has much to offer and is a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural and historical richness. Major cities like the eternal city of Rome, Milan, Florence, Venice are incredible but the real charm of Italy lies in the smaller towns. You are in for a visual treat whether it is Lake Como or Amalfi Coast!

Choosing Lake Como or Amalfi Coast is a tough decision to make. Both are equally dreamy and Instagram worthy! We spent a good amount of time in both Lake Como and Amalfi Coast and choosing one over the other is difficult. This blogpost provides a comparison of Lake Como vs Amalfi Coast and list of things to consider before making a decision. In the end, it depends on your personal preference and the rest of your Italy/Europe itinerary.

LAKE COMO VS AMALFI COAST: A COMPARISON

Lake Como Or Amalfi Coast –

Which is better for:

Honeymoon & romantic stay: LAKE COMO & AMALFI COAST
Families & kids: Lake Como
Wedding destination: AMALFI COAST
Instagram worthy photos: AMALFI COAST
Girl’s trip: AMALFI COAST
History buffs: AMALFI COAST

When deciding between Lake Como and Amalfi Coast, several factors need to be considered to ensure that the destination aligns with your preferences and expectations. Here a few things to consider before visiting Lake Como or Amalfi Coast.

GEOGRAPHY

Lake Como and Amalfi Coast on Italy map
  • Lake Como is located in Northern Italy in the Lombardy region. It is closer to Milan and borders Switzerland. Lake Como is also accessible from Zurich. It is surrounded by the Alps.
  • Amalfi Coast, on the other hand, is in Southern Italy near Naples and is closer to Rome. Amalfi Coast has breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and stunning hillside landscapes.

While Lake Como and Amalfi Coast are both incredible, there are a few key differences between the two.

  • Lake Como is a perfect choice for travelers seeking a calmer environment and is a great choice for nature lovers. It is an ideal destination for those interested in historical villas and gardens and those who enjoy outdoor activities like boating and hiking.
  • Amalfi Coast is perfect for those who prefer a vibrant and lively atmosphere, with lots of beach activities, exploring coastal towns, cultural and culinary experiences. There are several historical sites near Amalfi Coast that may be of interest for history buffs.

CROWDS AND SEASONALITY

Amalfi Coast and Lake Como are busy and crowded in the summer months.

  • Lake Como is slightly less crowded compared to the Amalfi Coast, offering a more tranquil experience. However, it is still popular in the summer. Shoulder season can be wet and chilly in Lake Como. Our Lake Como trip was in early September and was perfect with fewer crowds but warm and sunny.
  • Amalfi Coast can get quite crowded, especially during peak tourist season (summer months of June, July and August). Consider visiting in the shoulder season (spring or autumn) for a less crowded experience. Our favorite months are May and September. We visited Amalfi Coast in May and had the best time with fewer crowds!

TRANSPORTATION AND GETTING AROUND

Lake side town Bellagio's beautiful homes from the water

Ease of travel and access to and around each destination depends on the rest of your itinerary and arrival/departure airports.

  • Lake Como is an hour away from Milan. It is accessible via direct trains from Milan train station. Lake Como borders Switzerland and is about 3.5 hrs from Zurich by train. Getting around Lake Como is fairly easy through ferries and buses. Like anywhere in Italy, renting and driving a car is cumbersome. We barely used our rental car in Lake Como and relied heavily on the ferries.
  • The Amalfi Coast is closer to Naples and about 2 hours from Naples airport. Rental car may not be the best option here due to Amalfi Coast’s narrow, winding roads. It is best to use private transportation as opposed to a rental car. Public SITA buses and ferries are also available in Amalfi Coast.

BUDGET

  • Lake Como and Amalfi Coast are both expensive and the hotels need to be booked early. Lake Como is relatively budget-friendly with luxury hotels as well as plenty of boutique hotel options.
  • Amalfi Coast can be on the pricier side, especially the picturesque towns of Positano and Capri can be expensive to stay and dine. The towns of Amalfi and Sorrento are more budget friendly.

DURATION OF STAY

If you have a longer vacation and much time to spare, you might prefer Amalfi Coast for its variety of activities and nearby historical sites like Pompeii and Herculaneum. Lake Como is ideal for shorter, relaxed stays.

WEATHER AND CLIMATE

Consider the time of year you plan to travel. Lake Como has a mild climate and can be cooler outside of the summer months. Amalfi Coast offers a warmer Mediterranean climate, ideal for a beach day and water activities. Lake Como and Amalfi Coast are sunny and warm in the summer. Both the destinations are pretty much deserted in the winter.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS AND THINGS TO DO

Lake Como is close to Milan and the Alps with plenty of hiking trails and outdoorsy activities. The main attractions of Lake Como are its charming small towns, villas, beautiful gardens and the surrounding Alps.

The Amalfi Coast is near historical sites like Pompeii and the vibrant city of Naples. It is more diverse and offers many different experiences and activities like historical tours, day trips, beach activities, exploring small towns, wine tasting and boat tours.

CUISINE

Both regions offer incredible cuisine. You will enjoy the food at both destinations – it is Italy after all!

Lake Como is known for its lake fish and risotto while Amalfi Coast is famous for classic Mediterranean seafood, pasta, limoncello and fresh olive oil from the olive groves.

PHYSICAL ACCESSIBILITY

Consider the terrain and accessibility especially if traveling with young children. The Amalfi Coast’s steep, hilly terrain might be challenging for those with mobility issues and kids. The winding roads of Amalfi Coast might be difficult to navigate unless you hire private transportation.

LAKE COMO OR AMALFI COAST

Choosing between Lake Como or Amalfi Coast for your Italian vacation depends on your personal preferences and different experiences that you are looking for. Here’s a comparison to help you decide:

Lake Como vs Amalfi Coast: Location and Scenery

LAKE COMO

Woman in black maxi dress standing against backdrop of Lake Como and surrounding mountains

Nestled in Northern Italy, Lake Como and surrounding area is known for its dramatic scenery, set against the foothills of the Alps. The Y-shaped lake offers stunning views of the mountains and crystal-clear waters of the lake.

AMALFI COAST

Sunrise, Positano

The Amalfi Coast, located in Southern Italy, is known for its extraordinary coastal landscape. Amalfi Coast’s steep cliffs, colorful vertical villages and dazzling Mediterranean waters are some of the most beautiful landscapes you will see. It has one of the most breathtaking coastal views in the world.

Lake Como vs Amalfi Coast: Best things to do and places to see

LAKE COMO

Colorful homes and boats in the marina in Mennagio

The area of Lake Como is known for its colorful small towns, stunning villas and beautiful gardens. Lake Como area is ideal for hiking, boat tours and exploring lakeside towns like Bellagio, Varenna, and Como itself. These are some of the popular activities in and around Lake Como:

  • Explore the historic Como town center and visit the Como Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta).
  • Ride the funiculare from Como to Brunate for panoramic views of the city and the lake.
  • Visit the most popular photo spot in Lake Como – the picturesque town of Bellagio.
  • Visit the most popular villa of all Lake Como – Villa del Balbianello.
  • Explore the colorful small town of Varenna. Take a walk along the promenade and enjoy sunset over the lake.
  • Visit the beautiful gardens of Villa Carlotta, Villa Melzi, Villa Monsatero and Villa Cipressi.
  • Take a boat tour of Lake Como. A boat tour is the best way to see the colorful villages of Bellagio, Varenna and Menaggio.
  • If you have free time and would like to explore the nature, visit Orrido di Bellano.
  • Explore the silk shops and museums in the town of Como.

AMALFI COAST

Positano beach, Amalfi Coast
Positano beach, Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast area is renowned for its picturesque cliffside towns like Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello, the Island of Capri, the Blue Grotto and historic places like the Cathedral of Amalfi and the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. The coastline is ideal for boat trips, beach hopping, water sports and exploring hidden coves. With the most breathtaking views of the sea and the cliffs, Amalfi Coast is surely an Instagrammer’s paradise. These are the best activities and things to do in the Amalfi Coast.

  • Visit the colorful vertical village of Positano, the main attraction of Amalfi Coast.
  • Visit the larger towns of Amalfi and Sorrento. 
  • Hike Positano’s path of gods for stunning views of the coast.
  • Indulge in the Mediterranean cuisine, wine and limoncello. Visit a limoncello factory or go wine tasting around Amalfi Coast.
  • Take a private boat tour of the Island of Capri. Visit the Blue Grotto and Ana Capri.
  • Visit a beach club and spend a day by the sea.
  • A day trip to the UNESCO world heritage site of Pompeii is a best way to explore the historical sites around Amalfi Coast. Herculaneum is another great place to explore the rich history of the area. A guided tour is highly recommended.
  • A boat tour of Amalfi Coast is a good way to check out the spectacular views from the water.
  • Visit the charming town of Ravello. Check out the stunning sea views from Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo.
  • Take a day trip to Mt. Vesuvius. Visit the fishing town of Atrani.

Lake Como vs Amalfi Coast: Best places to stay

LAKE COMO

Grand Hotel Tremezzo in lake Como

You will find some of the best luxury resorts and boutique hotels in Lake Como. If you really want to experience the grand hospitality of Lake Como, choose one of the luxury hotels from the list below.


Hotel du Lac, Bellagio

Grand hotel Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio

Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Villa d’Este, Cernobbio

Hotel Belvedere, Bellagio

AMALFI COAST

View of Caesar Augustus hotel Capri Italy

Depending on where you stay on the Amalfi Coast, you will find many luxury hotels, boutique stays and Airbnbs. For a luxurious experience, I highly recommend staying in one of the 5 star hotels listed below. Book the hotels early as they get sold out very quickly.

Le Sirenuse, Positano

Hotel Caesar Augustus, Capri

Palazzo Avino, Ravello

Il San Pietro di Positano

Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello

Hotel Santa Caterina, Amalfi

Lake Como vs Amalfi Coast: Vibe and ambience

LAKE COMO

Lake Como is serene, sophisticated and exudes elegance. It is calm and surrounded by mountains. Evenings in the small towns of Lake Como are quiet. The region’s pace is leisurely, making it perfect for those looking to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty.

AMALFI COAST

Amalfi Coast is vibrant, lively and busy. Evenings are bustling with tourists, live music and fun atmosphere. Amalfi Coast is known for its Mediterranean charm, olive and lemon groves, limoncello and wine. Amalfi Coast area is great to visit if you are adventurous, enjoy beach days and water activities.

Lake Como vs Amalfi Coast: Dining and cuisine

LAKE COMO

dish with fresh lake fish

The cuisine of Lake Como includes simple Italian fare like risotto, pizza and seafood made with fresh and local ingredients like lake fish.

Osteria Quattro Pass

T Pizza Grand Hotel Tremezzo

La Terrazza Lake Como

The Veranda, Villa d’Este

Ristorante La Terrazza Gualtiero Marchesi

La Grotta

AMALFI COAST

Lunch at Le Tre Sorelle, Positano

The classic Mediterranean cuisine of Amalfi Coast is rich with seafood, famous Amalfi lemons, and classic Italian dishes served. These are some of our favorite restaurants to try in the Amalfi Coast.

Le Tre Sorelle

Da Adolfo

Franco Bar

Casa e Bottega

La Tagliata

La Terrazza di Lucullo Capri

LAKE COMO OR AMALFI COAST: Which is better?

Lake Como or Amalfi Coast Honeymoon: Best honeymoon destination?

LAKE COMO AND AMALFI COAST

Lake Como and Amalfi Coast, both are perfect for honeymoon. Both regions offer luxurious hotels and resorts in the most breathtaking settings. Either of the destinations would be perfect honeymoon destinations. Amalfi Coast was one of our first Italian vacation as a couple and was the most memorable!

Lake Como or Amalfi Coast: Best wedding destination?

Villa Rufolo, Ravello

AMALFI COAST

The Amalfi Coast is hands down the best destination for wedding. While Lake Como is gorgeous, the turquoise waters and cliffside views of the Island of Capri and Ravello would make Amalfi Coast the perfect setting for a wedding.

Lake Como or Amalfi Coast: Which is better for families?

LAKE COMO

For families, I prefer Lake Como as it is relatively flat and easier to walk. The ferries are fun and most hotels are kid friendly. Amalfi Coast, on the other hand, is quite steep to walk around and push a stroller. Amalfi Coast area also gets super busy in high season and might be overwhelming for kids. We went to Lake Como with our 2 year old and she had so much fun riding the ferries and playing in the hotel pools.

Lake Como or Amalfi Coast: Which is better for a girls’ trip?

AMALFI COAST

Amalfi Coast exudes that youthful vibe and would be perfect for a girls’ trip. Spending a day with your girlfriends in a beach club or a boat tour is my version of an ideal girls’ trip and Amalfi Coast is a great destination for that. Amalfi Coast is also the best for photoshoots!

Lake Como or Amalfi Coast: Which is better for history buffs?

Amalfi town cathedral steps
Amalfi Cathedral

AMALFI COAST

Amalfi Coast has a rich and diverse history and several UNESCO world heritage sites nearby like Pompeii and Herculaneum. If you are interested in history, Amalfi Coast with its long history is an ideal choice.

Lake Como or Amalfi Coast: Which is better? My personal recommendation

AMALFI COAST

Lake Como is incredible but Amalfi Coast is truly special. Amalfi Coast is my version of paradise. The Island of Capri, the terraced views of Ravello, the colorful village of Positano, the town of Amalfi and the smaller towns like Furore and Atrani make it a unique destination. There is much to do and see in and around the Amalfi Coast like beach clubs, island boat tours, day trips to Pompeii, Herculaneum and limoncello/wine tastings. I highly recommend visiting Amalfi Coast at least once in your lifetime.

If you have to choose between Lake Como or Amalfi Coast, my recommendation is Amalfi Coast. Lake Como is a great alternative to Amalfi Coast if you are visiting Northern Italy. Ultimately, it is up to your personal preferences and rest of your itinerary. 🙂

FAQs: Lake Como and Amalfi Coast

How far is Amalfi Coast from Lake Como?

The distance between Lake Como and Amalfi Coast is about 950 Kms. It takes around 10 hours by car and 14 hours by train.

Is there an Amalfi Coast to Lake Como train?

There is no direct train between Lake Como and Amalfi Coast. The best way is to take a train from Salerno to Rome, Rome to Milan and then from Milan to Como. The total journey takes about 12-14 hours.

Is there an Amalfi Coast to Lake Como flight?

Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from Amalfi Coast to Lake Como. The best flight option is to fly from Naples to Milan and use car or public transportation.

What is the best Lake Como and Amalfi Coast itinerary?

The best itinerary to explore Lake Como and Amalfi Coast is to fly into Milan first and spend a few days in Lake Como. Then take a train or flight to Naples and visit Amalfi Coast for 3 – 4 days. Alternatively, you can drive from Lake Como to Florence or Tuscany, spend a few days there and take a train to Naples. Check out my posts about 2 days in Lake Como and 3 day Amalfi Coast itineraries for more details.

Lake Como vs Amalfi Coast vs Cinque Terre: Which is better?

While Cinque Terre is beautiful, it is nothing compared to Lake Como and Amalfi Coast. You can visit Cinque Terre as a day trip from Florence or Milan. Either Lake Como or Amalfi Coast is a better option compared to Cinque Terre to truly experience the beauty of Italy.

Lake side town views from Lake Como waters

FINAL THOUGHTS

Lake Como and Amalfi Coast are truly unique and beautiful. Lake Como is serene and relaxing with beautiful villas and small towns. Amalfi Coast is lively, vibrant with stunning cliffside landscapes, hillside villages, historical sites, beach activities and water sports. Whether you decide to visit Lake Como or Amalfi Coast depends on your personal preferences and travel style. While we enjoyed both, my personal recommendation is Amalfi Coast. The scenery and landscapes of Amalfi Coast are breathtaking and incomparable!

*****

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Lake Como or Amalfi Coast
Lake Como or Amalfi Coast Which is better?

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Hi there!

I am Aswani Kurra. I am an engineer, dreamer and part-time wanderlust, writer and wine lover. I always had an urge to write, create and travel. So I created this space to satisfy my creative itch and combine all my skills to help you plan your Charming Escape.

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