Not all visits to Lake Como are about waterfront towns – a trip up into the hills over the lake to Brunate offers spectacular views. The small hilltop town overlooks not just Lake Como, but the town of Como itself. The two are roughly 1,600 feet apart, so while you won't be dipping your toes in the lake from Brunate, you'll be enjoying views that the people in Como can't see.
The Como-Brunate Funicular linking the towns was built in 1894, but you can keep going up even after you reach Brunate – climb the steps to the 1920s lighthouse for an even better view.
There is a steep path between Como and Brunate, but the best way to get from the lower to the upper town is by the funicular. The funicular costs €2.90 one-way, €5.25 round-trip for adults (€1.90/€3.20 for children), and runs every half-hour from mid-April through mid-September 8am-12am, and only until 10:30pm the rest of the year.