Como is flanked to the east and west by steep and thickly wooded hills (scarred in part by the spread of residential housing). Northeast along the waterfront from central Como, the Funicolare Como–Brunate takes just seven minutes to reach Brunate, a quiet residential village which seems to float above Lake Como – it sits at 720m above sea level.
The views are pretty but partial – this is not the place for a sweeping panorama unless you walk further into the hills. Brunate's baroque Chiesa di San Andrea, with its faded pink exterior and giant bell peeking out of the bell tower, is hard to miss. In San Maurizio, a steep 40-minute walk (the first stage of the Dorsale hike) from Brunate's funicular stop, scale 143 steps to the top of the lighthouse, built in 1927 to mark the centenary of Alessandro Volta's death. The Como tourist office can provide a map with various suggested walks around Brunate.