How to Take a Day Trip to Lake Como From Milan

Updated on February 26, 2018
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Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures, experiences, and makes the world a better, more tolerant place.

Lake Como from Varenna
Lake Como from Varenna | Source

One of the highlights of our recent visit to Milan was our day trip to stunning Lake Como and its collection of lakeside communities. Located just thirty miles north of Milan at the base of the Italian and Swiss Alps, Lake Como is an area with such gorgeous scenery that it has to be seen to be believed. We knew from photos and research that this area was beautiful, but nothing prepared us for the absolute paradise that awaited us. This trip is easy to do on your own, so if you are visiting Milan, there are no excuses for not heading north to what is arguably one of the most scenic regions of Italy.

Varenna
Varenna | Source

There are numerous options available for visiting the Lakes Region of Italy. You can certainly take an organized tour from Milan, and a little research will yield various choices. This is fine, as long as you don’t mind being on a strict schedule and not having total control over what you see and do. A much better option, which will also be much cheaper, is to set out on your own so that you can see what you want to see and spend your day without someone else’s schedule hanging over your head. I think you will find this an easy trip to make, and it will result in a much better experience.

Lake Como
Lake Como | Source

The Route

Most day trip itineraries for visiting Lake Como from Milan will have you take the train to Como, see the town, and then take the ferry up to Bellagio before ferrying back to Como for the train ride back to Milan. In an effort to maximize our visit, and see as much as possible, we decided to take the train to Varenna, followed by the short ferry ride to Bellagio, followed by the longer ferry ride to Como, and then the train back to Milan.

One of the reasons we decided on this itinerary was that taking the ferry from Como to Bellagio, and then back to Como, means you’re spending an awful lot of time on the water. Not that this is a bad thing, but each leg of this journey can take an hour or two, depending on which ferry you take. Doing this round-trip means missing out on the opportunity to see one of the beautiful lakeside communities. Also, we decided on a route that went from Varenna to Bellagio to Como; you can certainly do this in reverse. We wanted to get the longer train ride out of the way early as opposed to late at night, but either way works just fine.

Lake Como
Lake Como | Source

Why Varenna?

Well, Varenna is one of those sleepy, lakeside communities with an abundance of charm and stunning views. You will find that it is also not nearly as crowded as some of its more visited neighbors. Varenna is located about midway up on the eastern shore of the lake. The train ride from Milan Central Station to Varenna will take approximately an hour and the cost is only about 7 euro. Trains leave pretty much every hour.

Varenna - Passeggiate Degli Innamorati
Varenna - Passeggiate Degli Innamorati | Source

Varenna is special for a number of reasons. First and foremost is that it offers a less touristy experience than some of the other lakeside communities. It has a wonderful path called the Passeggiate Degli Innamorati, or Lover’s walk, that hugs the coast and allows for great views of the lake. Its cobblestone streets and narrow alleys will eventually lead you to the historic center of Varenna, and the Church of San Giorgio with its clock tower rising above the town. Within eyesight of Bellagio and Menaggio, it’s the perfect location for exploring the mid-section of Lake Como. If I were to spend some extended time on Lake Como I would seriously consider using Varenna as my home base.

Varenna
Varenna | Source

World-Famous Bellagio

After a morning exploring Varenna, you can take the very short ferry ride to its more famous neighbor, Bellagio, often referred to as the “pearl of the lake. I envisioned Bellagio as a ritzy, glamorous, home for the rich and famous. What it is, in reality, is a beautiful and very interesting community loaded with charm and character. I personally found Bellagio to be a joy to explore. We walked the shoreline, climbed up the hill to the heart of town, explored ancient churches, shopped in narrow alleys, and had an absolutely fantastic lunch. And, you can do all of this with a stunning view of the lake always there to enjoy. It’s easy to see why so many tourists flock to Bellagio.

The ferry from Varenna to Bellagio takes just 15 minutes and the cost is a mere 4.60 euro. You will thoroughly enjoy all that Bellagio has to offer.

Bellagio
Bellagio | Source

Plan on spending at least a couple of hours in Bellagio before hopping on the ferry for the ride to Como, which is located at the southern end of the lake on the western leg. You have a number of ferry options available to you for this leg of the journey; the slow ferry, the fast ferry, or the hydrofoil. This is one of the most scenic sections of the lake with soaring mountains, beautiful lakeside villages, and charming villas dotting the shore. The scenery is simply amazing! This is also the area where George Clooney has a villa, but unfortunately, he was nowhere to be seen.

The ferry from Bellagio to Como will cost you 10.40 euro and the length of the trip will depend on which ferry you take. The fast ferry takes about an hour with the slow ferry taking approximately two hours while making at least ten stops. The hydrofoil can make the journey in about 45 minutes, but the cost increases to about 15 euro.

Beautiful Bellagio
Beautiful Bellagio | Source

Finishing up in Como

Arriving in Como, you have some options available to you. Como is larger than both Varenna and Bellagio, so it will take a little longer to explore. It has an extensive shoreline and a wonderful cathedral to take in. There is also a funicular here that will take you up the mountain to a community called Brunate. We opted to do this as it affords exceptional views of Como, the lake, and the Alps. The only problem we encountered with this was that we were running out of daylight. But, we anxiously jumped aboard the funicular and up the mountain, we went. It’s a little confusing once you get to the top as to where the best views are but we explored Brunate, found a beautiful church, and eventually worked our way to an overlook with views of the lake and the mountains. Watching the sunset atop a mountain overlooking Lake Como was a special moment and worth the effort.

Funicular to Brunate:

  • Single Ticket: 2.60 euro
  • Roundtrip: 4.60 euro
  • Leaves every 15 minutes from 6 am to 10:30 pm (midnight during summer season)

The train from Como back to Milan takes about 37 minutes and the cost is just 4.80 euro. Adding up all of the transportation charges for the day doing this on your own is extremely reasonable, just about 12 euro for the two train trips, and only 15 euro for the two ferry rides. The real advantage to doing this self-guided tour is that you can set your own schedule and explore as you see fit.

Lake Como
Lake Como | Source

Itinerary Summary

  • So, let’s summarize a very active and full day trip from Milan, keeping in mind that this can also be done in reverse.
  • Take the early train from Milan to Varenna, this should take about an hour.
  • Explore Varenna during the morning. Walk the shoreline path; explore the interior, churches, and villas if time permits. If you are staying in Varenna there is the Castello di Vezio, which is an 11th-century castle, located at the top of the mountain overlooking Varenna.
  • Take the short, fifteen-minute ferry from Varenna to Bellagio.
  • Have a relaxing lunch in Bellagio, and explore its churches, shops, cafes, and narrow cobblestone alleys. If you are extending your stay in Bellagio there are more villa’s to explore including the Villa Serbelloni and the Villa Melzi.
  • Take the fast ferry from Bellagio to Como. This takes about an hour, which gives you plenty of time to enjoy the views and also stops at about half a dozen or so communities along the lake
  • If you timed your day well you should have time to explore Como, be sure to check out the cathedral, and if scenic views are your thing take the funicular up the mountain to Brunate.
  • Take the train from Como back to Milan; this should take about 37 minutes.

Lake Como
Lake Como | Source

When taking a day trip to Lake Como from Milan you will certainly have to do a little planning and decide for yourself what you want to see, and how much time to spend in each community. Anticipate it being a long day and my advice would be to start early. If time affords, you may want to consider an extended stay in the lakes region, this is certainly something that we will consider if we return to northern Italy. It goes without saying that this is a very scenic and beautiful area, but you won’t really appreciate its grandeur until you actually get there and experience it for yourself. Whether you are staying in one of the lakeside communities, or just visiting from Milan for a day, be sure to include Lake Como in your itinerary, you will surely regret it if you don’t.

Ciao for now.

Beautiful Lake Como
Beautiful Lake Como | Source
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Lake Como, Italy:
Lake Como, Italy

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Questions & Answers

  • What kind of train should I take from Milan to Varenna? Should I book the train tickets and ferry tickets ahead?

    You take the local (regional) train from Milan to Varenna. You cannot make reservations on these trains. You simply buy the tickets when you get to the station. Don’t worry, they don’t sell out. Same for the ferry, simply get your tickets when you arrive.

  • We are planning on travelling to Varenna (from Milan Centrale by train), then onto Bellagio then Como by ferry. From Como, how do we return to Milan? Which station in Como do we depart from? And which station in Milan will this get us to?

    You can depart from the San Giovanni station in Como and it will take you to the Milan Centrale station. The total travel time is about 42 minutes. Trains leave pretty much every hour and a quick check of the schedule shows a 17:13, 18:13, 19:13, 20:13, etc. The cost is about 5 Euro.

  • Is Como San Giovanni within walking distance from the base of the funicular in Milan?

    Yes, from the base of the funicular to the San Giovanni Station is under a mile, maybe a 20-minute walk. It’s on the other side of Como, but definitely walking distance.

  • We are planning a visit in mid-November and I was wondering if most of cafes and shops will be open in the smaller towns of Varenna and Bellagio this time of year and if they close on any particular day, like Sunday or Monday?

    While some establishments do close for the season I think plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants remain open. If they do close for a day it will usually be Monday or Tuesday. Enjoy the area, it’s beautiful any time of the year.

© 2018 Bill De Giulio

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    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      5 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Marcelo. Always nice to hear when things work out as planned. Regards, Bill.

    • profile image

      MARCELO 

      5 weeks ago

      We did the Lake Como exactly how you suggested and it was perfect!

      Thanks Bill!

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Abigail. Thank you. I would leave as early as possible, but not crazy early. If you can get on the train to Varenna say between 8 to 9 am or so that would get you to Varenna in about an hour. This would give you time to explore Varenna and walk the water front without rushing. The ferry to Bellagio is only 15 minutes and then the ferry to Como is about an hour if you take the fast ferry. What time you leave Como depends on your tolerance for a late night. The ride back to Milan will take 40 minutes and there are trains right up until midnight. Como is safe, but of course it’s always wise to be vigilant.

      You will love the lakes region, really just a beautiful part of Italy. Have a great time.

      Bill

    • profile image

      Abigail Smith 

      6 weeks ago

      Wonderful article! We plan to follow your route completely. What time do you suggest we take the train to Milan and what time do you we plan to take the train back from Como? We are two women traveling alone so also want to know if the walk to the train station and waiting there in Como is safe in the dark. Thank you so much!

    • profile image

      Matea Kokorovic 

      6 weeks ago

      I'll be going to Como in September while staying in Milan. This itinerary is great! Thank you for taking the time to do this!

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      8 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Aldosari. Enjoy Milan and the surrounding area. It’s a beautiful region of Italy.

    • profile image

      Aldosari 

      8 weeks ago

      Wow, Cool. I really appreciate your efforts. wonderful detailed write-up and very very clear.

      I'm here in Milan for a couple weeks doing my training and staying near MXP airport. Tomorrow I'll have 2 days off the training which I will utilize them for relaxation and recuperate my brain.

      You saved my time.

      Yours sincerely,

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      2 months ago from Massachusetts

      Good luck Patty. The train will be easy. From Milan Centrale just check the schedule going to Varenna. You can't buy the tickets ahead of time so just find the departing train that meets your schedule and arrive at the station in time to purchase your ticket and get to the right track. As for the ferries, when you arrive in Varenna I would suggest you purchase your ferry ticket to Bellagio right away based on how much time you want to spend there. This way you can just show up and board instead of waiting to buy the ticket. Do the same for Bellagio to Como. Varenna is tiny so plan maybe a couple of hours. For Bellagio maybe give yourself a little extra time. From Como just go to the train station and check the schedule for trains going back to Milan, or check online ahead of time so you have a target time to depart. You can buy the ticket then or on the train. Best of luck, it's a beautiful area.

    • profile image

      Patty 

      2 months ago

      My friend and I were going to take a day tour from Milan to Lake Como in 10 days. We have decided to follow your suggestions instead. Wish us well since neither of us speak Italian. And send any tips that could help. Trying to find the right train and the right ferries is our biggest concern.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      2 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you, Judy. It’s a beautiful area. Glad you enjoyed the article.

    • profile image

      Judy Baron 

      2 months ago

      Thank you so much for such a helpful and detailed Itinerary - it sounds just beautiful. I love Italy and was thinking of going to Milan and Lake Como with my daughters for my 70th birthday next year either May or early June before it gets too crowded. Now I am definitely going !!!!

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      2 months ago from Massachusetts

      Perhaps you will? You never know what life has in store for you. Took us almost 60 years to get there.

    • unknown spy profile image

      Life Under Construction 

      2 months ago from Neverland

      Wish I could travel someday to see Lake Como.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      2 months ago from Massachusetts

      You’re welcome.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      2 months ago from Massachusetts

      Glad I could help and it worked out well for you. It’s a beautiful area of Italy.

    • profile image

      Jayaraj 

      2 months ago

      Thank you for this wonderful write-up. The Itinerary looks great in detail. All covered!

    • profile image

      B Shields 

      2 months ago

      We just returned from a two week holiday in Italy. We followed your day trip to Lake Como from Milan. It was a wonderful day and following your itinerary made traveling seamless. Thank you so much. We especially loved Varenna and Bellagio; so beautiful and relaxed.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      3 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you Leah, glad it helped.

    • profile image

      Leah 

      3 months ago

      Thank you for the very detailed itinerary of your trip. It gives me an idea and some better options what to do when I visit Milan in a couple of months.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      3 months ago from Massachusetts

      Cinque Terre is wonderful but it's a pretty far for a day-trip. There is a small town called Bergamo that has a nice upper medieval center that would be interesting to explore. And, as you already mentioned Lugano is beautiful. We did not do this but I always wanted to head to St. Moritiz in Switzerland on the Bernini Express. Something to consider.

    • profile image

      Prakash 

      3 months ago

      Hi,

      We are in Milan for 4 nights in May and plan day trips to Belagio/Como and Venice. 2 days will go in these. May be 3rd whole day in Milan and 4th day option is open. Any suggestions on Cinque Terre or Lugano or any other place good for day trip.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      3 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Ana. With only 3 days in Milan you will want at least a full day or 2 to see Milan. If you take a morning train to Varenna and spend the night you will wind up spending the better part of 2 days in the Lakes Region. Maybe spend the morning and early afternoon in Milan and then take a late afternoon train to Varenna, spend the night, and then spend the day in the Lakes area and return to Milan late that night. Then the following day dedicate to Milan. This way you get a full day in the Lakes area and get a sunrise, and you get a full day and a half in Milan.

    • profile image

      Trip to lake Como 

      3 months ago

      Hi Bill

      I love your itinerary for the day trip but I would love to stay overnight maybe in Varenna to watch the sunrise over the lakes. However we only have 3 days in Milan was wondering if you can recommend how I split my time between Milan and the Lakes

      Thanks

      Ana

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      3 months ago from Massachusetts

      So glad it worked well for you.

    • profile image

      pat 

      3 months ago

      Thank you SO much for this. I had a perfect day trip to varenna , bellagio and como based on this itinerary. Great idea on doing varenna first, ferry to bellagio and speed ferry to , furnicular to burnate and back to Milan . Saved almost $100 not doing a tour and was able to do so much more doing it on my own. Much appreciated

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      You don't really need to change much. When you are on the ferry from Bellagio to Como just get off in Lenno and visit the villa. The one thing you will need to be aware of is the time. Spending an hour or two at the villa means less time elsewhere in order to catch a train back to Milan at the end of the day.

    • profile image

      Ofer 

      4 months ago

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for your reply :-)

      How to change the itinerary to include a visit in Villa del Balbianello?

      Milla Grazie

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Kyle. You really won’t need any help getting to the center of each town. Varenna is the least populated and from the train station you just need to follow everyone else departing the train and head down the hill to the shore. From there you can follow the shoreline path, it’s pretty easy. There are small directional signs to follow but the beauty of these communities is to just wander. In Bellagio, the town is right there when you get off the ferry so no searching for it. Most of the ally’s that go up the hill are loaded with shops and cafes. We just wandered, and I think you will have no trouble finding shops, cafes, churches, etc. These towns are not that big so don’t worry about following a set route. As far as how much time we spent in each town it was about what you are planning. Because we took the funicula up the mountain to Brunate we probably spent less time in Como, which is the largest of the 3 towns. Good luck, it’s a beautiful area.

    • profile image

      kylestevens 

      4 months ago

      Hi Bill,

      I'm going to make a day trip to Varenna/Bellagio/Como on 5/22. While your guide is a really helpful outline I was wondering if you could share a little more detailed itinerary. Are there signs that you followed from the shore to the center of each town? Did you just wander about and luckily stumbled upon alleys full of shops and restaurants or were you already aware of a general route that allows for scenery, shopping and sight-seeing? How much time did you spend in each town? I was thinking of allotting ~2 hours in Varenna, ~3.5 in Bellagio, and about 3 hours in Como (these times are in addition to travel which 15mins to bellagio and 45 on the hydrofoil to como). I'm planning on taking the 8:20 train to Varenna and the 7:13 back to Milan. Any tips or suggestions are welcome!!

      Thanks.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Ofer. The main train station in Como is San Giovanni and has numerous trains to Milan. The website for all of the ferries on Lake Como is: http://www.navigazionelaghi.it/risultati.aspx?lake...

      You just punch is where you want the ferry from/to and you’ll get the schedule.

    • profile image

      Ofer 

      4 months ago

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for this detailed and helpful post!

      I'm in Milan in October and will definitively to this day trip.

      Questions:

      1) The "trenitalia" website lists 4 train stations in Como.

      Which station is relevant to this trip?

      2) Can you please post the website of the ferry from Varenna to Como?

      3) Can you please post the website of the ferry from Varenna to Como?

      Thanks again - excellent post!

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Priya,

      I think the 8:20 a.m. is fine. That gets you to Varenna before 9:30 a.m. and gives you some time to explore Varenna in the quiet morning hours. You should have plenty of time to explore Bellagio and Como also. Good luck, it’s a beautiful area.

    • profile image

      Priya Fernandes 

      4 months ago

      Hi Bill,

      When you suggest starting early, what time do you have in mind? We will be visiting in November. Is the 8:20 train from Milan early enough considering sunrise will be around 7:30am? or is the 7:20am train preferable to make the most of a short winter day? Thanks

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      You’re very welcome Alex. Have a great trip.

    • profile image

      Alex Starosud 

      4 months ago

      Dear Bill, 1 000 000s thanks!

      Extremely useful info!

      We will follow your recommendations next month

      Sincerely

      Alex, Calgary, Canada

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you Daisy. Hopefully you found it helpful.

    • goranga profile image

      Daisy Lewis 

      4 months ago from London

      Hi Bill

      Thanks for sharing information on Day Trip to Lake Como From Milan

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      5 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Michelle. Congratulations on your first trip to Italy. You will love it.

    • profile image

      Michelle Logan 

      5 months ago

      Thank you for your detailed and useful information. I was initially going to take a tour but after reading this, I feel confident to do this on my own. Thanks again. Can’t wait, first time to Italy

    • profile image

      gracesteffie 

      6 months ago

      Thank you, Bill. Yes, I shall follow your recommendation to stay in Varenna.

      With kind regards,

      Grace

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you Grace for the kind words. If I had to select between Varenna and Bellagio to stay I think I would choose Varenna. Varenna is very quiet, especially in the morning before the tourists arrive. The ferry to Bellagio is just 15 minutes so it is close by.

      We have not been to Lake Maggiore yet, hopefully soon. Lake Garda we have been to, but we did not stay as we were just passing through. It was many years ago.

      Good luck, you will love the Lakes region.

    • profile image

      Grace 

      6 months ago

      Hi Bill,

      Thank you SO MUCH for sharing such a useful and practical itinerary to Como via Vereena and Bellagio. I shall be in Milan 16-18/3, then 19-21/3 in the Como region. After reading your article, I have decided to stay in Vereena or Bellagio instead of Como. Which would you recommend for a stay for 3 nights - Vereena or Bellagio ?

      We shall book an airbnb.

      Have you been to Lake Maggiore Lake and Guarda ? If so, I would love to read your itinerary too.

      Thank you once again. Much appreciate your kindness

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 months ago from Massachusetts

      You really won’t know until you can see a forecast perhaps a week prior to your arrival. Certainly the weather can be nice in March, but you could also get a rainy cold day. I would wait until you arrive in Milan and check the forecast to see if you will have a nice day while you are there. If so, then go to Lake Como. If not, there are worse places to spend a few days than Milan.

    • profile image

      Batoul 

      6 months ago

      Thank you for this info but could I know if the weather in end March(we are coming to Milan on March 22 and leaving on 25) is nice to visit the lake and spend a day there?

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 months ago from Massachusetts

      Glad I could help.

    • profile image

      Shahnaaz 

      7 months ago

      Wow! Thank you so so much or such a well written and detailed explanation! A friend and I were about to spend 140 euros EACH with a tour company but this is so so helpful! Planning my Europe trip from South Africa in August this year, so this is really helpful!

    • profile image

      Noman Ahmed 

      8 months ago

      Visited Lake Como from Milan on Dec 8, 2018 and here is my itinerary and experience. I was traveling Solo.

      As I read somewhere, I installed the app "TRENORD" (helped me to decide my start time) and I booked ticket online just before I start the journey. When you book tickets online, you don't need to validate as well.

      It's a small journey, so better to book just before you start.

      Milan Central (09:20) - Vareena (10:10 to 11:45) - Bellagio (12:00 to 15:30) - Como (16:45 to 17:45) - Milan Central (19:00). It's been couple of days, can't remember exact timing.

      So I took 09:20 am train (ticket price €6.70) for Vareena from Milan Central and reached at at 10:10 am I guess. The train does not stop at Vareena for long, so be prepared.

      As soon as I got down, I checked the ferry time on Google and it was at 11:45 am. Book it and start walking by the lake and took some amazing photos.

      I reached Bellagio, the 20 mins ferry journey from Vareena to Bellagio is scenic. So don't bother to take a seat.

      Walked and visited the city, you can do shopping followed by lunch.

      The next ferry from Bellagio to Como was pretty late, so I took the bus C30 (check on google maps). The ticket you can collect from the Driver (But if you travel from Como to Bellagio, book the ticket from Kiosk).

      Around 16:45 I reached to Como. Como city is nothing compared to Vareena and Bellagio. I sat down there for 30 mins near the lake (had a cake

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      11 months ago from Massachusetts

      Try this site. You definitely want the direct train. When you get to the station to purchase your tickets be sure to ask for direct.

      https://www.thetrainline.com/en/train-times/como-s...

    • profile image

      Nicole 

      11 months ago

      Hi, thank you for this helpful post. Can you advise the train website to check the train schedules for San Giovani to Milan central station? I saw some trains have a connection and takes an hour and 30 minutes instead of the 37 minutes ride.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      11 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Pete and Carol. Thank you. So glad you had a great day. Certainly is a beautiful area.

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      Peter & Carol from Sydney, Australia 

      11 months ago

      Thank you for your outline. Today we followed your advice. Milan to Varenna via train. Ferry to Bellagio. Walk around. Very nice indeed. Then slow ferry Bellagio to Como. Very close to 3hrs with many many stops criss-crossing the lake. Very lucky enjoying lovely weather. Fantastic journey. Lost count of photos taken sooo scenic. Then finally train from Como back to Milan central. A great day. Would highly recommend.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      12 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Trina,

      You cannot pre-book the train tickets from Milan to Varenna and returning from Como. These are the regional trains and they cannot be pre-booked. Do not worry, it will not be a problem getting tickets when you arrive at the train station.

      We did not pre-book ferry tickets. I’m not sure you can do this, and we did not have a problem getting tickets when we arrived in Varenna. Good luck.

    • profile image

      Trina 

      12 months ago

      Hello, for the train tickets from milan to varenna and como back to milan, did you pre-book the tickets? Also, did you have to pre-book the ferry tickets as well?

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      12 months ago from Massachusetts

      Your welcome Sajid. Enjoy Lake Como, it, really is a beautiful part of Italy.

    • profile image

      Sajid Hussain 

      12 months ago

      Thank you so much, Bill. That's really cleared things up and I will be doing the trip via Varenna. Thanks for your help, and all the best.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      13 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Sajid. Thank you. A cheap day-trip from Milan to Lake Como can be done. The train from Milan to Varenna is just 13.40 euro for a roundtrip ticket. You can spend the morning in Varenna and then take the ferry to Bellagio. It’s just a 15-minute ferry ride and the cost is under 10 euro roundtrip. You might have to spring for lunch somewhere but getting to Lake Como from Milan is fairly easy and cheap.

      You can also just take the train from Milan to the town of Como, it’s even cheaper than going to Varenna. The only problem with going to Como is that it’s a much longer and more costly ferry ride to get up to the mid-lake region where Bellagio and Varenna are located.

      Good luck. Just do it, you never know if you’ll get the opportunity to return to this area.

    • profile image

      Sajid Hussain 

      13 months ago

      Thank you so much for this excellent guide, Bill.

      What would you say is the most cost effective day trip from Milan?

      I am afraid I am on a strict budget but would love to see some of Lake Como.

      Thanks in advance.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      13 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Mary. If I were going to spend 3 days in the Lake Como area I would definitely consider making Varenna my home base. It’s located mid lake, which makes it a nice location for visiting other lake front communities. Plus it’s beautiful.

    • profile image

      May Ho 

      13 months ago

      We are also planning to stay 3 days at lake Como area. So are you suggesting we make Como or Varenna our home base? We need to get back to Milan airport at the end of our trip

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      15 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Salin,

      So, Lombardi is the region in northern Italy that contains Lake Como and the town of Como. You can take the train from Milan to the town of Como and you will find plenty of accommodation options there. No car is needed. The town of Como is located right on the banks of Lake Como, which is beautiful. From Como you can take the ferry to visit other communities on the lake. This is a popular way to see the area. When you look for a place to stay you want Como the city.

      Hope this helps,

      Bill

    • profile image

      Salin 

      15 months ago

      Hello there,

      Thanks a lot for great article. I am planning to go this summer to Como lake. I am not sure I actually understand how is it divided.

      I plan to stay there 3 days, however, when I search on booking for stay it gives me 2 options (Como - City in Lombardi and Como lake)

      We obviosly want to stay 3 days there and go back to Milano... can you anyhow help me with accomodation? Where should I be staying?

      We have no car so have this in mind too. Thanks!

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      16 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Liz. Thank you. It's certainly a beautiful area. Would love to return someday and spend a week exploring all of the villages around the lake. Have a great day.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      16 months ago from UK

      This is a really informative article. I was last at Lake Como nearly 40 years ago, but your images bring the beauty of the area back to me.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      17 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Natalie. Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the tour of Lake Como. It really is a beautiful place. Have a nice weekend.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 

      17 months ago from Chicago, IL

      You truly make me want to travel, Bill. Especially with the weather getting warmer! Thanks for a beautiful vision!

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      17 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Peggy. Thank you. I completely agree, as soon as we arrived in Varenna we knew we should have planned to spend a few days there. Next time for sure. Thanks again, have a great week.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      This is breathtakingly beautiful! Thanks Bill for showing us your wonderful photos and sharing your day trip to Lake Como and the surrounding communities. It would be worth staying longer in those areas if time would permit.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      17 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you Heidi. Glad you enjoyed the tour. Hopefully you’ll get to see some of these places for real someday. Thanks for stopping by, have a great week.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      17 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Terry. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Such a beautiful place. Looking forward to our next adventure.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      17 months ago from Chicago Area

      Again, your photos are breathtaking! Since I don't know if I'll ever get to these lovely places, at least I'm able to virtually enjoy them with what you share. However, I do hope to see some of the wonders you've featured for real! Have a great week!

    • profile image

      Theresa (Terry) DeGiulio 

      17 months ago

      The shimmering sunlight on the shores of Lake Como, simply irresistible!! Gorgeous sunsets, from the mountains, overlooking Lake Como, mesmerizing!! Truly blessed and grateful for our memories here and can't wait to return again and again!!

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      17 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you Linda. Certainly one of the most beautiful places in Italy that we've had a chance to explore. Have a great week.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      17 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This sounds and looks like a wonderful area. I would love to explore it. As always, your photos are beautiful, Bill.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      18 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Thelma. Thank you. It really is stunning. I’m sure it was much less crowded in the 80s when your in-laws went, but just as beautiful. Glad you enjoyed the tour.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      18 months ago from Germany and Philippines

      Awesome! I have heard a lot about this place. My late parents-in-law were there in the 80´s and they showed us a lot of stunning photos of Lake Come. I hope I can go there one day. Thanks for letting me tour with you virtually.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      18 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Flourish. Making it sound easy means I did my job. It’s not that doing this day trip is difficult, it just takes a little planning and the willingness to maybe get a little outside our comfort zone. The rewards were very much worth the effort. It is indeed a stunning place and the pictures do it very little justice.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      18 months ago from USA

      This is stunning, simply a postcard perfect way to spend a day if you’re lucky enough to travel to that part of the world. Your tips make it seem so easy.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      18 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Linda. I should have listened to my gut and stayed at least a few nights in Varenna. Truly one of the most beautiful and scenic communities to be found in Italy. Next time for sure. Thanks for stopping by, have a great day.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      18 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Mary, I had a feeling before we left that one day would not be sufficient for me in Lake Como. Now, I’ll have to find a way to return, such a problem to have. When we do return we are definitely heading to Varenna as our home base. What a beautiful area. Have a great day Mary.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      18 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, my last visit to Italy was in 2006. We stayed in Varenna 4 nights and absolutely loved it. You've described it wonderfully, making me long to go back.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      18 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Such a lovely place. We drove to Como once from Lausanne but I wish we stayed there for a few days. Next time, we will and take your advice of staying in Varenna.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      18 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Bill. This was definitely one of the best days that we’ve had in Italy. I’m basically a lakes and mountains type of person so this was pure heaven for me. The pictures don’t come close to portraying the natural beauty of this area. If we ever go back to this area we will stay awhile.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sigh! It won't happen in this lifetime, but thanks for letting me stow away on your trip, buddy!

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