Skip to Content

Can You Swim In Lake Como? (Is It Actually Dirty?)

Can You Swim In Lake Como? (Is It Actually Dirty?)

Yes, you can actually swim in Lake Como. Some pebbled beaches of Lake Como are known to harbour the most swimmable waters to exist – but should you? As swimmable as the waters are, it is also considered by a handful minority to not be the most ‘ideal’ place to do so, for several reasons. One is simply the fact that it is a Lake – a body of water with deep areas. The other is the mass settlement of moss and dark areas within the lake which could be somewhat unappetizing.

However, if you do want to swim there, rest assured, these Italian waters do invite hundreds of tourists annually. As to whether it’s actually dirty, you’d have to read on to find out!

You might be interested in 25 Amazing Places to Visit in Italy

Is Lake Como Safe to Swim In?

Is It safe to swim in? or is it not? Quite interestingly the answer to this question is both yes and no due to a wide variety of diverse opinions. It also has to be noted that only experienced public opinion provides some kind of conclusive insight about its safety.

The safety of Lake Como is closely tied to the earlier question of ‘Is Lake Como actually dirty?’ as the only safety concern it poses right about now is pollution.

Back in 2014, it was reported that pollution was often observed in the southern areas of the Lake, closer to the city of Como. In contrast, northern parts of the lake, bordering towns like Domaso and Gravedona are some of the cleanest areas to dip yourself in: due to the constant stream of fresh water from River Adda. Additionally Argegeno, Bellagio and Sorico are some of the safest places in Lake Como to soak yourself right in after a sunbath.

Surprisingly, fresher and newer reports about the safety of Lake Como suggest that nearly 99% of the public beaches are an absolutely ‘safe delight’ (No pollution) to indulge in. According to a data analysis of almost 18 beaches surrounding Lake Como, only the Spiaggia Rivabella Crotto at Lezzeno was closed due to pollution. The rest of the beaches were completely safe, other than a few trace amounts of bacterial evidence.

If you’re still second-guessing your bets on the safety of Lake Como, be rest assured! Even the water quality is checked every month from April to the end of the swimming season.

Does A Monster Reside In Lake Como?

Once knee-deep in the waters of Lake Como, if you happen to come across a peculiar, reptile-like creature please do say Hi on behalf of us (Or maybe run for your life?). Yes, the possibility of the existence of such a beast within the Lake cannot be denied.

This creature named the ‘Lariosauro’ is believed to be an evolutionary descendant of dinosaurs called the Lariosaurus. Several different sightings of this beast have been reported.

The first sighting was reported by two hunters who claimed they saw a creature with ‘harsh crimson scales’ that disappeared with a ‘hissing’  sound near the north shore of Lake Como. Shortly after, a father and son spotted a creature with ‘webbed feet’ about the length of 80 centimetres swimming in the water. In 1957 a diver proclaimed that he’s seen a peculiar creature with the ‘head of a crocodile’ and ‘feet like a reptile’. The final sighting was in 2003 when a ‘massive eel-like’ creature was reported.

Conclusively it is yet to be revealed whether this urban legend is regarded as a reality or fantasy. Despite all this, the fact that all these sightings took place at Lake Como symbolises its mysterious allure as a wondrous creation of nature: making it the subject of heightened public curiosity (We know you are curious too).

What Places Can You Visit In Lake Como?

Video footage of Lake Como

The beaches of Lake Como with their grandiose appeal draw hundreds of tourists for swimming, sightseeing, sunbathing and even idling in its natural glory. Below are some of the most noteworthy beaches that you should consider visiting!

Spiaggia Pubblica di Bellagio

Bellagio Beach

Location

Enriched by wilderness and cocooned within the province of Lecco, these blue shores are lined by a multitude of vibrant vegetations and plants. With very few artificial institutions (Buildings, etc) and commercials, this beach provides the getaway experience of a completely natural vacation.

Spiaggia Lerai (Menaggio)

Menaggio Beach

Location

The picturesque view Menaggio offers as one of the most panoramic spots makes it a popular place for wedding celebrations. It has sandy lowlands and rocky cliffs, ready for comfort-seeking campers and a callous, rigorous experience for hardcore thrill-seekers.

Freckled with both bathing fronts and nightclubs, it could be the beach of your dreams. So the next time you plan your wedding, maybe consider Menaggio a possible location?

Lido di Argegno

Argegno Beach

Location

This is a private, well-kept beach maintained by a Pizzeria. Access to the beach requires an admission fee while the place is ideal for a full-day outing with friends and family. Visitors can rent parasols or sunbeds and nestle themselves within the beautiful Lido di Argegno.

Via Riva Bianca

Location

Imagine lounging under the lazy sun, with the stunning clear waters as your front view- with the castle of Lierna at a distance, and a pizza in your hand with the splashing sounds of water – that’s what Riva Bianca Beach can offer.

Once you wake up from your lulling haze, you can head to the inviting waters to cool off and immerse in the beauty of this beach and all the panoramic vistas it offers.

Lido di Cernobbio 

Cernobbio Beach

Location

Although swimming in the glistening waters off Lido di Cernobbio is not popular, fretting isn’t necessary as the beach in itself is not the primary attraction here. It is the sheer vastness of iconic villas and noble houses scattered around the shoreline that makes Cernobbio a worthwhile place to visit. Some of the prestigious villas on the shores of Lake Como include Villa d’Este and Villa Erba.

If you do need to swim, there is access to an outdoor pool for a fee, just beside the lake shores. Make sure to carry a swimming cap in order to access the pool as it’s compulsory. Advance booking might be necessary as this place is quite popular.

Lido di Lenno

Lenno Beach

Location

Head to the western shores of Lake Como to enjoy this elegant lake setting with refined seafood. The entrance to the beach area requires a small fee, with some chic restaurants, beach bars and nightclubs in the close vicinity.

As for the beach itself – it’s sandy (pebbly in some areas), and it is super scenic. Dip in the clear water to cool off and enjoy a scrumptious meal once you get out. The scenic features make it perfect for camping and weddings.

Spiaggia di Gravedona

Location

If you are heading to the northernmost coastal region of Lake Como, then Spiaggia di Gravedona is where you need to be, a tranquil beach haven that has managed to maintain its natural appearance.

Planning to swim on this freshwater beach? Then you are in for a serious treat! The scenic views around this beach- are priceless!

Spiaggia Parco Ulisse Guzzi (Abbadia Lariana)

Abbadia Lariana

Location

Yes, the coastline of this beach is something else. With rugged mountainscapes reaching to the magnificently blue sky, as the beach calmly flows beneath, reaching the shore in gentle waves, almost like it’s softly kissing it, creates a scenic moment for any visitor.

But keep in mind that, while many do swim here, it’s not safe for small kids, or people who can’t swim, because the water gets deep just a couple of steps from the shore.

Lido Mandello del Lario

Mandello del Lario

Location

On the eastern shores of Lake Como, you will find this graceful beauty. Mandello Beach, the water is calm and very clear, and the mountain sceneries only elevate the beauty of the freshwater beach. The green grassy area has plenty of shade – with sunbeds for hire (bingo!).

There’s plenty of parking, but if you are visiting during the summer holidays, you will need to come pretty early to catch a parking spot and maybe even have the beach to yourself for a minute.

Spiaggia di Onno

Location

Here’s another mesmerising beach on the west shores of Lake Como. Yes, you can find decent parking at this beach (phew!) But during summer, it can get a little crowded. If you visit a little early, you can catch the magical morning beauty.

Be prepared to lose your breath at the sight before you. Mountains, lakes and the majestic blue sky! There’s no entry charge to visit the beach, but you’ll also have to bring your own lounging chairs and umbrellas.

Spiaggia Ontano (Colico)

Colico Beach

Location

If you can’t get enough of watersports then you can also head off to the beautiful Spiaggia Ontano! Here, the winds and the water currents are a little stronger, so it’s truly ideal for windsurfing.

Of course, you can enjoy a lovely dip, maybe go snorkelling and even scuba diving. However, we advise you to go in groups simply because of the strong currents. Don’t underestimate them, be cautious and enjoy!

Map of Lake Como Beaches

You might find this article interesting: Map of Amalfi Coast with Towns to Visit

Is Lake Como Toxic?

Despite what is said, proof of Lake Como’s toxicity had been uncovered in 2016. 

Evidence of DDT and PCBs (toxic chemicals) in sediment, aquatic resources and microorganisms and fish of Lake Como were enquired. The DDT contamination of fish was beyond the safe levels and glacial meltwater was identified as a renewed source of DDT taint.

This was however before a 2020 data analysis that guaranteed the safety of 99% of the beaches of Lake Como. Therefore our final verdict is that Lake Como could still be considered relatively safe for swimming.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lake Como

How Deep is Lake Como?

Lake Como is one of the deepest lakes in Europe, reaching a depth of up to 1,300 feet (400 meters). However, the average depth is only about 260 feet (80 meters).

What is the Water Temperature of Lake Como?

The water temperature of Lake Como varies depending on the season. In the summer, it can go up to 25 degrees Celsius, while in the winter it can drop as low as 4 degrees Celsius. However, generally speaking, the average water temperature of Lake Como is around 16 degrees Celsius.

You might find these related articles helpful:

6 Best Cities To Visit in Italy | Does Italy Get Snow?