How to get to Lake Como from Milan by train

Everyone needs a holiday now and then, don’t we? When the people of Milan get tired of the elegance, fashion and sophistication of their hometown, they head straight for Milano Centrale train station and Lake Como.

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Mr & Mrs Romance - Lake Como at duskMr & Mrs Romance - Lake Como - Varenna

One of the most beautiful (and most accessible) great lakes of northern Italy, Lake Como has become a long-standing holiday destination for the wealthy Milanese. Here’s how the locals get there – especially those who can’t be bothered driving all that way!

How to get to Lake Como from Milan by train

There are two ways to get to Lake Como, depending on which part you wish to visit.

If you imagine the shape of Como as a giant pair of trousers, the town of Como is on the cuff of the left leg. If you want to get to Varenna, that’s on the right side where the lake’s belt loop would be. Varenna is the easiest way to get to the breathtaking town of Bellagio, in the crotch of the trousers!

Mr & Mrs Romance - How to get to Como - Map of Lake Como




To visit Varenna & Bellagio and the northern part of the lake:

Mr & Mrs Romance - Lake Como - Bellagio

Our tip is to head directly to the pearl of Lake Como. Take the train from Milano Centrale to Varenna-Esino.

Mr & Mrs Romance - Milano Centrale station

It’s only an hour by train and costs around €13 for a return trip but you find yourself at the middle of the lake. From here, take the ferry to Bellagio (at the tip separating the two southern points of Lake Como). The ferry costs around €9 per person return and takes around 15 minutes.

[Please check the comments at the bottom of this post – updated prices and details courtesy of John Heath – thanks John! Ed.]

If you have happened to drive to Varenna, no problems. You can still get to Bellagio. The bottom deck of the ferry is a drive-on platform.

Mr & Mrs Romance - Lake Como car ferries at Bellagio

Even the emergency services use the ferry!




To visit Como town, and the southern part of the lake:

Take the train from Milano Nord Cadorna direct to Como Nord Lago. The trip takes an hour and is around €13 return. Cadorna is a city metro station so you must buy your tickets at the station just before you travel. From here you can take the ferry to visit other towns on the lake.

We headed straight for Varenna and Bellagio as we heard that Como town wasn’t as nice. We weren’t disappointed! You hop off the train at Varenna, cross the tracks and head down towards the lake shore.

Mr & Mrs Romance - Lake Como - the train to Varenna

The train and ferry schedules change depending on the season and the day of the week so please check before you leave. You can find the ferry timetables here.

You can pre-purchase train tickets to Varenna here up to 7 days before you go. Head to www.trenitalia.com.

Extra tip for Italian train travel!

Validate your train tickets before you get to the platform! There should be a little green box (usually with no sign) that you put your ticket in.

[Check comment below for updated details on this courtesy of John Heath – thanks John! Ed.]

Mr & Mrs Romance - inside Milano Centrale station

If you don’t do this, the conductor (and there always is one) will be very grumpy with you and you’ll feel the stares of your fellow passengers boring into you!

Here are more things we’ve written about Lake Como and Milan that I bet you’ll find handy!

Have you been to Lake Como? Let us know what you thought of it!

Images by Mrs Romance.

107 Comments

  • […] The train from Milan was quick and painless. Here’s our post on how to get to Lake Como from Milan. […]

    • Reply September 24, 2014

      John Heath

      Thanks for the info on going to Varenna Esino etc. we went today and it was great. FYI the little green
      Boxes are now yellow for train ticket validation. First class train fare is 9.70 euros each way and the ferry costs 9.20 euros return to Ballagio. The train we took had a final destination of Tirano and runs every hour from Milan Centrale. If you know where you want to go you can buy the tickets from the very good vending machines in the ticket office without having to queue for 90 minutes to speak with a real person who will probably have poor English. Definitely a cheaper way to go than an organised tour….saw a couple in Bellagio and they looked very bored with the commentary etc. had a lovely light lunch with a couple of wines for very reasonable prices.

      • Reply September 25, 2014

        Mr Romance

        Hi John. Thank you for that extra info. Really handy. I wonder why they’ve changed to colour of the validation boxes?
        Those prices you’ve given are really helpful and great tips for going self-guided rather than with a tour. I feel kind of sorry for that couple really. Fancy being bored at Lake Como! Didn’t think that’d be possible!
        Thanks again.
        Jim

    • Reply January 15, 2016

      Paul

      Hi all

      First thing great site and information.

      Planning a trip to Italy for 3 weeks end off September, flying into Milan and working way down south by train.
      Has anyone got any tips for me and is it best to buy train tickets from uk or on the day?

      Places am looking at visiting are Milan, Como, Florence, Pisa, Roma, Naples. already done Venice so going to give it a miss.

      • Reply January 15, 2016

        Mr Romance

        Hi Paul. Your trip sounds awesome. Very jealous. Especially at the end of September. Not too hot, not too busy, just right.
        As far as train travel in Italy goes, it can get a bit confusing, so it depends on how you travel. If you want total security and peace of mind, buy the tickets while you’re still in the UK or alternatively try an online travel agent. An earlier commenter – Aria – mentioned she found an ok deal with Viator (http://www.viator.com/) that you might like to check out.
        Buying train tickets in Italy on the fly will be cheaper – and you can buy them for travel in advance too – though we found not all train lines work via the primary provider Trenitalia, so things do get a bit confusing. You may have to print out your booking sheets beforehand too, which we found very annoying and seemingly pointless. Even when we showed our booking on our phone, the ticket man wanted hard copy for some reason. And of course the ticket office didn’t have a printer. We ended up getting our hotel to do it.
        We did save money though and also saved ourselves the stress of wondering if we’d been ripped off by a travel agent, which I always worry about!
        Hope this helps – drop me a line if you need further info or more clarification.
        Have an amazing time in Italy. Buon fortuna!
        Jim

      • Reply January 20, 2016

        lewis

        Great schedule but try and fit in Perugia , you will not be sorry

        • Reply January 21, 2016

          Mr Romance

          Hi Paul. Yes, that’s a great idea. Perugia is a beautiful town, isn’t it? There’s a really cool little bar overlooking the valley we found completely by accident. Stayed in a really cool hotel there too with Etruscan ruins visible through the floor of the pool in the basement. Check it out: http://mrandmrsromance.com/2013/03/where-to-stay-in-perugia-hotel-brufani-palace.html
          Cheers
          Jim

          • March 16, 2017

            Sophie

            Hi, I have just been looking at the winter timetables for ferries from Varenna to Bellagio (we go to the lakes next week) Am I correct in thinking the service isnt available on a Sunday?

          • March 16, 2017

            Mr Romance

            Hi Sophie. It’s a bit confusing, isn’t it? I believe there are ferries almost every Sunday throughout the year apart from during the Christmas week and during special (secret?) festivals I can’t find any info on. Until later this month (25th March) there are only the fast ferry services going between Bellagio and Varenna. After that there’s the mid-lake shuttle that goes very frequently all week round. After the spring period, there are no timetables available. I think they release the summer timetable when spring starts. No idea why.
            I recently spoke to someone who went to Varenna in the middle of winter and they said that service ran pretty much as normal though it was obviously much quieter and some of the shops were shut. She didn’t mention the ferries being a problem, but then I don’t know if she was there on a Sunday.
            Hope this helps and I hope you have a lovely time on Lake Como.
            Cheers – Jim

    • Reply March 18, 2017

      Megan

      Hi, thanks for the informative post! I am taking my mum to Lake Como for her 50th Birthday, as we are staying in Nesso (which is believe is between Como city and Bellagio). We are going mid-september and I was looking for some advice on how to get to Nesso, cost isn’t so much a problem, but I want the most scenic/enjoyable route there would that be via Varenna? Do you know if the ferry goes to Nesso in September as the timetable only applies to May that I found, entering on the water would really be spectacular! (She has dreamt of going to Italian Lakes her entire life!)

      • Reply March 20, 2017

        Mrs Romance

        Hi Megan, what a gorgeous trip you’ve got planned! We’ve not been to Nesso but the all stops ferries do go there. Most fast / express ferries will miss it. Not sure of the timetable (Italy definitely does what it wants and can change its mind!) but September they should all still be running. Alternatively, have you contact the place you’re staying at to see if they can organise a boat transfer for you? You might be able to get a water taxi / charter to meet you as you arrive. Have a wonderful trip and happy birthday to your Mum!

  • […] Here’s our quick guide to Como and also how to get to Como from Milan by train. […]

    • Reply March 16, 2017

      Sophie

      Hi Jim, thanks for your help! We will probably try and go on Monday to be safe. We’d like to go on the day we have the nicest weather so just thought I’d check for Sunday too as we are in Milan Sat to Tues. Thanks! Sophie

      • Reply March 17, 2017

        Mr Romance

        Hi Sophie. That makes sense. Though I think Lake Como is one of those rare places that looks incredible even in the worst of weather. You’re going to have an amazing time. Quite jealous! Enjoy Italy. Such a beautiful country. Cheers – Jim

  • Reply September 24, 2014

    John Heath

    Not sure my email address was correct in last post

    • Reply September 25, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Hi John. Just changed your email on your previous comment to the one you used on this comment. Let me know if that didn’t work. 🙂
      Cheers
      Jim

  • Reply January 12, 2015

    Margaret

    Hi we are going to Lake Como in April straight from the airport for 3 nights. i have booked an apartment near the lake in Como. after reading your views to stay in Bellagio instead i am having second thoughts, although i have paid for our accommodation! i know Bellagio is a nicer touristy town and easier to get to the other towns from Bellagio but i thought as we are only staying for 3 nights it would be best to stay in Como, i have read different reviews about Como, some saying it is quite nice others saying Bellagio is the place to stay. what is your opinion. Did you visit Como?

    • Reply January 15, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Margaret. Your trip sounds awesome! Don’t worry too much if you’ve already booked an apartment in Como. It’ll still be spectacular – and probably not a busy as places like Bellagio. We haven’t been to Como but friends of ours stayed nearby and had the best time.If you’re there for three nights, you’ll have plenty of time to get out to Bellagio and other towns – I say stick to your guns!
      Have a great trip!
      Jxx

  • Reply April 27, 2015

    Kara Ferrazzano

    Hi John!
    My girlfriend and I are heading to Menaggio straight from the airport when we land Thursday afternoon. Do we still take the train to Varenna-Esino from Milano Centrale? Does the Ferry from Bellagio go to Menaggio? Thanks for your help!!

    Cheers,
    Kara

    • Reply April 29, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Kara
      To be honest I have no idea – we were already in Milan when we travelled to Como. Centrale was just round the corner from our hotel. However, I’ve had a quick look online and it looks like there might be trains that avoid Milan but none that go direct to Varenna, which means you’d have to change a couple of times. I think it would be quicker and easier to get on a train from the airport straight to Centrale then change for the train north to Varenna.

      As for the ferries, we only went to Bellagio, not to Menaggio. However, a quick look at Google Maps tells me there are ferries that go direct from Varenna to Menaggio or Varenna-Bellagio-Menaggio. So it’s up to you whether you stop in Bellagio on your way through.

      Have an awesome time in Italy. Quite jealous actually! Hope I was able to help.

      Cheers
      Jim – not John! 😉

  • Reply May 13, 2015

    Charlotte

    Hi Mr. Romance,

    My friend and I plan to go to Milan as well as Lake Como in June. We would like to spend 3 nights in Lake Como, but could not make decision where we should stay among Varenna, Bellagio, and Como. Fyi, we will travel by train from Milan Centrale to Varenna.

    Do you have any suggestion regarding the train and any other relates issue for our concerns?

    Thank you in advance for your advice.

    Have a nice day!

    • Reply May 17, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Charlotte. Sounds like you’ve got a great trip ahead of you. I’d probably avoid Como town – we haven’t been there but friends have said it’s not the best place to stay. It’s big and touristy. Varenna is the easiest place to stay as it’s right on the train line, though I think Bellagio is a nicer town to stay in. You can get to Menaggio on the other side of the lake easily from Varenna too, which you might want to think about.
      As far as accommodation goes, I’d look into AirBnB first and foremost if I were you. We only spent the day there, but our previous experience with Italy and its hotels would make me think you’d have better luck with private house hire.
      Have a lovely time on the lake. It’s a spectacularly beautiful part of the world.
      Cheers – Jim

  • Reply May 18, 2015

    Amanda

    Hi! This post has been very helpful in deciding if me and my boyfriend will do a day trip to Bellagio and Lake Como, thanks! The only thing I’m wondering about is how we should get the tickets for the train and ferry, online or at the train and ferry station? What do you recommend? We’re going there at the end of June.
    Cheers!
    Amanda

    • Reply May 19, 2015

      Mrs Romance

      Thanks Amanda! You’ll love it! We just bought tickets on the day but you can buy train tickets ahead of time. It’s a good idea to print the train tickets as some guards won’t accept electronic tickets. Have a great trip!

  • Reply July 9, 2015

    Hi Jim

    Firstly, thanks for such great advise on what to do in this area, and secondly, I was hoping for some info on the trains if that’s not too much trouble…
    We fly into Milan Malpensa on 11th Oct, and leave on 13th Oct so are not staying long.
    We’re booked to stay in Como and I was wondering if you’d advise us to get an airport transfer (50 mins) or the train? Would it take a huge amount of time?
    Apparently, the nearest station to our hotel is Como San Giovanni, but I hear Como Nord is not too far.
    Can you advise at all? Thank you so much

    • Reply July 22, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Katien. We didn’t actually go to Como town itself, only Varenna and Bellagio further north on the shores of Lake Como. To be honest, if you’re only in Como for a few days, I’d get the transfer. Getting the train might be more fiddly and will definitely be more time-consuming. 50 minutes to get from the airport to your hotel? That sounds like a bargain. Do that.
      Maybe you can try getting back to the airport by train though. You’ll definitely be more relaxed by then at least.
      Hope this helps. Enjoy your time in that incredibly beautiful part of the world.
      Jxx

  • Reply July 11, 2015

    Supriya

    Hi Jim,

    We will be in Milan Oct 1st and plan to go to see lake como on oct 2nd , day trip only, want to get back as same late evening we plan to take train to go to venice from milan.

    Do you recommend we get a rental car , to visit Varenna and Bellagio or train is better option.

    Thanks In adv fro you help

    Supriya

    • Reply July 22, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Supriya. Sounds like you’ve got a lovely trip planned. No, I don’t think you need to get a car to explore Varenna and Bellagio. In fact I think it would probably make things more difficult as parking around Lake Como doesn’t look too easy. Both Varenna and Bellagio are only little towns. Just hop on the train, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the scenery. No need for a car.
      Have a superb time in Italy and watch out for the guys in Venice who want to ‘help you’ with your luggage. They’ll want money every time. Mrs Romance got very annoyed with them!
      Jx

  • Reply July 17, 2015

    Dony Chism

    Hello Mr & Mrs Romance,
    Thank you for providing information on how to get from Milan to Lake Como. We used it this past week to take a day trip. You saved us quite a bit of cash because we were looking at bus tours that would have cost at least $85 each. The total cost was less than $30 per person including the round trip ferry.

    Thanks so much!
    Dony Chism

    • Reply July 22, 2015

      Mr Romance

      That’s absolutely fantastic! Thank you so much for letting us know, Dony! So glad we could help. It’s a beautiful part of the world isn’t it?
      Jim

  • Reply July 28, 2015

    Jess

    Hi Mr & Mrs Romance,

    My husband and I arrive on a Saturday in Milan (land 2:30pm) and would like to go straight to Lezzeno to our accomodation. What would be the easiest/fastest way to get there? I have seen some information stating that there are 6pm cut off times for bus services in the Lezzeno area, is this correct?

    Thanks in advance,
    Jess

    • Reply July 28, 2015

      Mrs Romance

      Hi Jess, we haven’t been to Lezzeno so I’m not sure. Can your accommodation suggest the best way for you to arrive? Enjoy your holiday and definitely visit Bellagio and Varenna too while you’re there. Christina

  • Reply August 2, 2015

    Mustafa

    Hi Mr & Mrs Romance,

    Thank you for the heads up! really helpful information.

    My wife and I will be staying in Milan for 4 nights this August and I thought I should give Varenna and Bellagio a visit.

    I plan to spend one day there and I will going by the train from Milan Centrale to Verenna as you suggested but I am a little concerned about the tickets for the train & ferry. Is it okay if I buy them the same day I am heading there? and How is my return the same day is going to be, easy or hard?

    What do you think?

    Cheers,
    Mustafa

    • Reply August 2, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Mustafa. Definitely get out to Varenna and Bellagio. It’s so beautiful out by Lake Como. You can definitely get tickets for the train the same day – just remember to validate them on the platform before you get on the train. You can get return tickets for the train. Tickets for the ferry are available from the office near the wharf.
      There’s definitely enough time to get to Varenna and Bellagio in a day. Very easy. We stayed for dinner and caught the evening train back to Milan. Awesome day. You’re going to have a ball!
      Jim

      • Reply August 3, 2015

        Mustafa

        Thanks a lot Jim!

        • Reply August 4, 2015

          Mr Romance

          Pleasure, Mustafa. Enjoy your trip to Lake Como, mate. 🙂
          Jim

  • Reply August 3, 2015

    María Laura

    Hi Mr & Mrs Romance, I´ll be travelling to Lake Como in November and I was wondering if it´s neccesary to buy the tickets in addvance or if there´s always place at the train and the ferry, thank you!

    • Reply August 3, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Maria Laura. I believe you can buy your train tickets beforehand if you want to, but we just bought them at the station. I don’t think you can buy ferry tickets ahead of time. It’s not really necessary either and in November, Milan and the Como area will be nice and quiet with far fewer tourists. Best of luck and enjoy your trip to this beautiful part of Italy.
      Jxx

  • Reply August 4, 2015

    Ciera

    Hi Mr. Romance,

    I have a trip to Italy in the works for this coming May/June 2016 after graduating college and Milan is on the list of places to visit. Thanks for your post because now Id like to work a day in to visit Lake Como. I live in the Adirondacks and spend my summers on the lakes, but to visit a gorgeous lake in Italy would be incredibly different and exciting. Your advice on transportation will definitely come to use and it sounds like it will be the easiest way to get there so thank you very much!

    • Reply August 4, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Ciera. We’re so glad you found our post on Milan and Como useful. Your trip to Italy sounds like the perfect way to celebrate graduating college. You must be so excited. The Adirondacks look amazing – you’ll definitely get a lot out of seeing what Lake Como has to offer. It’ll be like being home away from home!
      Thank you so much for your kind words.
      Jim xx

  • Reply August 5, 2015

    Rachel

    Hi Mr. Romance,

    Loved reading your article about Lake Como! I am traveling from Milan to Bellagio. Is there a train that goes directly to Bellagio from Milan Malpensa? I tried clicking on your ferry timetable link but it is no longer working. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    • Reply August 5, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Rachel. So glad you enjoyed reading our piece on Como. Unfortunately there are no trains direct to Bellagio. There are only roads up to that part of the lakeshore.
      Apologies for the broken link. Seems the Italian ferry service there decided to rename its url. All fixed now though. Just choose Varenna and Bellagio from the departure and arrival drop-down menus and select the date you want to travel.
      I think you’ll also be better off going into Milan city and leaving from Centrale rather than trying to catch the complicated network of local trains that take you eventually to Varenna from Malpensa. The link between the airport and the city is pretty good.
      Best of luck with your travels. Hope you enjoy Milan and Lake Como.
      Jxx

  • Reply August 6, 2015

    Claudia

    Hi Mr. Romance,

    Could you please also tell me if there are any ferries operating from Como to Varenna during December, thank you. I am interested in the period 7th to 11th of December.

    Thank you in advance,
    Claudia

    • Reply August 9, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Claudia. I’ve just had a quick look at the ferry timetable (there’s a link towards the bottom of this post for the website) and it looks like they only run ferries until October. That’s definitely when the timetabling stops. Perhaps they issue a winter timetable closer to the time, though I suspect it means there are no services running in the colder months.
      Here’s a link to the website and the email address to the lake’s ferry information service. Perhaps they can help you a little more. Sorry couldn’t give any further clarification. Hope you enjoy your trip to Italy.
      Cheers – Jim
      http://www.navigazionelaghi.itinfocomo@navigazionelaghi.it

  • Reply September 12, 2015

    Lyn

    Hello,

    My husband and I are travelling to Italy in a few weeks and I was just wondering if I could take the train from Milano Centrale direct to Lake Como then catch the ferry to Bellagio? Or do I have to take the train from Milano Centrale to Varenna?

    Thank you,
    Lyn

    • Reply September 19, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Lyn. Your holiday sounds amazing. Quite jealous. The answer to your questions is – for the most part – yes! You can take a train that goes direct from Centrale to Como. It takes about half an hour if the timetables are to be believed. There is a ferry that goes from Como to Bellagio. The only problem is this is only a summer route and stops on the 4th October this year. Hopefully you’ll be in Italy before then though.
      Alternatively the train ride we took to Varenna and then the ferry crossing to Bellagio was lovely. If the ferry isn’t running to Bellagio at that time, you’ll still have an amazing time in Varenna. It’s a beautiful town and – from what I’ve heard – better than Como, which can be a bit grotty.
      Hope this all helps. The ferry timetable I found that tells you more is here: http://www.navigazionelaghi.it/eng/c_crociere1.asp?ID=151
      Happy travels.
      Jxx

  • Reply October 9, 2015

    Steve

    We are thinking we might rent a place with a kitchen in Varenna but are concerned about availability of food to eat at home. Can you comment on what is available? ie markets, food shops etc.

    • Reply October 9, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Steve. Self-contained apartments like you can find through Air BnB are a great way of saving money and also getting into the real life of a place. Good idea. As far as supermarkets go, looks like there’s one in Menaggio – a ferry ride across the other side of the lake – and there seems to be a couple down the road in the next town – Mandello del Lario. I don’t remember seeing any supermercarto in Varenna though. On the other hand, pretty much every town has a bakers, a meats and cheese place and a greengrocers… and everywhere sells wine and beer! That’s all you need, isn’t it?!
      Good luck and have a lovely trip. It’s a beautiful place.
      Jim

  • Reply October 16, 2015

    michelle camilleri

    hi, we will be staying in venice and then over milan and we have decided to spend the last 2 nights in Como instead of staying in milan however im confused as for which town to stay. we will be going to the milano airport back from como?

    Since is just for 2 nights what town do you remommend to stay in and is it difficult to travel to milano bergamo airport if we stay in Como/ Bellaggio then?

    thanks you!

    • Reply October 16, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Michelle. Your trip to Venice and Lake Como sounds amazing. Very jealous! Looks like you have to go to Milan Centrale to get to Varenna if you want to travel by train. From Venice to Milan Centrale it’s about 3 hours, then another 45 minutes or so to get to Varenna from Milan Centrale. It’s not a cheap option by the look of things – about Euro46 per person. Might be better off hiring a car for the day and driving to Varenna or finding a bus service maybe?
      Travelling back to Milan Centrale from Varenna is easy and a taxi ride or connecting train back to the airport will not cost you much time or money.
      To get to Bellagio from Varenna is very easy – just a quick (and lovely) ferry ride – though please be careful as ferry times change and even stop during winter months. Please check the ferry timetable here: http://www.navigazionelaghi.it/
      For accommodation, it’s hard for us to say as we were only on a day trip to Lake Como from Milan, but there are lots of AirBnB places in the area. Hotels are expensive and small, whereas AirBnB will give you options for renting an entire house, apartment or villa. We’ve stayed in some amazing places in Italy through this service.
      One last thing, we’ve heard Como town isn’t very nice and not really worth visiting. Better to go straight to Varenna, Bellagio or Menaggio, or one of the other towns along the lake.
      Hope this information is helpful for you. Have a lovely trip through northern Italy.
      Jim

  • Reply October 30, 2015

    Aditi

    Hi, Lovely post! I am travelling to Milan on Saturday for 3 days and was looking for day trips when I came to your space. Possible to do a day trip from Milan to either Lake Como or Bellagio? My stay is already booked in Milan so only a day trip would be possible. 🙁
    Aditi recently posted..A Date with Gin, Scotch and Vodka @LiquortoLips @LDNCocktailWeekMy Profile

    • Reply October 30, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Aditi. Sounds like you’ve got a great trip planned. I know how you feel about not being able to stay at the lake for longer. We only had a day there but we were so glad we did it. Such a beautiful part of the country. Definitely go to Bellagio via Varenna, which you can reach by train. We’ve heard Como town isn’t that great anyway. Have an awesome time and thanks for stopping by.
      Cheers – Jim xx

  • Reply November 1, 2015

    Aditi Kaushiva

    Thanks for the suggestion Jim! Lete see if o can workout Bellagio via Varenna on Mon! 🙂
    Aditi Kaushiva recently posted..A Weekend in Oslo (Part 1)My Profile

    • Reply November 2, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Awesome, Aditi! Good luck – I’m sure you’ll have a lovely trip. By the way, make sure you check the ferry timetable via the link in my article. The times change as we go into November.
      J

  • Reply November 7, 2015

    Paul and Christine

    We stayed in Bellagio for a week four years ago to see our son get married in Varrena, we are all from England but they set their hearts on a romantic wedding on lake Como.
    Needless to say we had a fantastic time, wine tasting, cookery school and of course the wedding its self.
    Found your web site because we’re here in Milan on business and plan to re visit the Lake tomorrow when we have a free day.
    To anyone who has not experienced the beauty of the towns and friendliness of the people, (restaurants are particularly welcoming for those with children) then I envy you your first time, the only two warnings I would give are 1) the streets away from the lake edge can get hilly and possibly not suited to elderly or or some disabilities 2) be warned, it’s so attractive you will find it difficult to leave!
    Thanks for all the useful info on getting there by train
    Regards
    Paul And Christine.

    • Reply November 12, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Paul and Christine! Varenna and Bellagio really are amazing, aren’t they? Truly enchanting. Great tips to add by the way. The streets do indeed get very steep. Must be a nightmare when it rains! And your caveat on wanting to stay is also right on the money. We were intending to get back to Milan for dinner but ended up just making the last train. Really didn’t want to leave.
      Your son’s wedding must have been absolutely incredible. What a setting!
      Best of luck for your next visit to Lake Como. Hope it’s as much of a delight for you as your first visit.
      Cheers
      Jim

  • Reply January 14, 2016

    Aria

    Hi! I love your site so far – adorable 🙂

    I’m going to Milan next week and want to do this trip. What do you think it’ll be like in the winter? I googled “Lake Como Winter” and it still looks pretty.

    Also, doing some math.. about 30 EUR for Milan – Lake Como and ferry to Bellagio. Unable to find out how much the funicular is. Did you guys do it? I found a Viator tour for $80 ($ to EUR almost 1:1) that includes train ticket, ferry, funicular, and food. Not sure if that’s the way to go.

    • Reply January 14, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Aria. Thank you for your kind words! 🙂
      Very jealous that you’ll be in Italy for winter. It’ll be so pretty – especially the mountains. With regards to the ferries around Lake Como, you might want to check the timetables. I remember reading something about services being different over the winter and some even not running from November. Not sure when services start again.
      We didn’t do the funicular ride, but I bet the views from the top would be stunning. I’d say €80 is a bit more than if you’d book it yourself but with an agent’s fee, it sounds about right. And then you won’t have the extra stress of things being closed for the season too. Oh, and you get food as well? Didn’t see that bit. Yeah, I’d go for that! Nice work!
      Have a lovely trip to Como. You’ll have the best time!
      Jxx

  • Reply January 19, 2016

    Lake Como Travel

    Great article and pictures! I live in Como, and I’m so proud of my lake 🙂

    • Reply January 20, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Thank you, Alessandro! You’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world. We can’t wait to get back there.
      Jim

  • Reply January 22, 2016

    stacey

    hi what a great site we are looking at staying in bellagio in june this year for our 10th wedding anniversary whats the best place to stay at we dont mind walking and wont be hiring a car would like to be close to the lake and whats the best airport to fly in its coming up with 2 in milan

    • Reply January 23, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Stacey. Congratulations on your 10th wedding anniversary! Bellagio would be a beautiful place to celebrate it. Especially in June. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in the post, we only spent the day at the lake so we don’t have any great tips for accommodation in Bellagio itself. However, I believe there are lots of AirBnB places in the area, which would be cheaper than hotels and you’ll get a real sense of living there. Plus you’ll probably get more space than in a hotel.
      As for the airport, you’ll probably fly into Malpensa as it’s the biggest.
      If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Milan, we stayed in the Best Western Galles. It’s a beautiful old palace conversion: http://mrandmrsromance.com/2013/10/where-to-stay-in-milan-best-western-hotel-galles-milan.html
      Hope this helps and you enjoy your time in Italy.
      Jxx

  • Reply January 28, 2016

    Aria

    Just returned and this was so helpful! It was cold and still beautiful and the entire town of Varenna and Bellagio were DEAD. Maybe tooo dead for me, but got some nice tranquility by the lake.

    • Reply February 1, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Thank you so much, Aria! So glad we could help you! I bet it was so cold there this time of year. Not surprised it was beautiful though. I can’t imagine a time when that part of the world could be anything else!
      When we were there mid-September, it was fairly busy but still not crazy. I think the beauty and tranquility of the place makes everyone just sort of calm down a bit when they arrive. So interesting that Bellagio and Varenna were so dead though. Wonder where everyone was! Thanks for your lovely comment though. Made my day. 🙂
      Jxx

  • Reply February 9, 2016

    Martha Selleck

    Mr Romance,
    My daughter is planning to have a wedding at Lake Como sometime the end of Aug or beg. of Sept. We are in the early days of making decisions about where, venues & etc. Do you have any particular advice to give us…
    Thanks, Martha

    • Reply February 9, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Martha. Lake Como is such a beautiful place – ideal for a wedding venue! Unfortunately I don’t have any specific information to help you on a hunt for a wedding venue, but there are a few tips I’d love to share with you.
      First off, I would probably avoid Como town itself. Although it’s on the lake and is one of the biggest towns on the lake’s shores, there are nicer places than Como town. We visited Bellagio and Varenna while we were at Lake Como, and they were two of the most beautiful places we found in Italy.
      Friends of ours stayed further southeast on the lake in Torno and loved it. They were in the Hotel Vapore (http://booking.com/hotel/it/vapore.html), which isn’t far from Como town if that’s where you’d prefer to be.
      On the other hand, other friends of ours got married in Tuscany in a little castello. It was the most amazing wedding we’ve ever been to. They had a wedding planner organise everything for them, which seems to be quite a popular thing to do in Italy. Their venue was in Castello di Modanella (http://modanlla.com). We also stayed there as there’s plenty of accommodation for wedding guests.
      Hope all this helps. Hope your daughter has the best day.
      Cheers
      Jxx

  • Reply February 15, 2016

    Jaikishen Pillay

    Hi Mr Romance,

    My wife and I plan to visit Lake Como by train on 27th March. What time do you suggest should we reach Varenna in the morning from Milan Central? Do you suggest to spend time in Varenna or should we head straight for Bellagio. Considering all factors and your personal experience what time should we return to Varenna?

    • Reply February 18, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Jaikishen. When we went to Varenna, we took a morning train from Milan Centrale and got to Varenna at about 10am. We found that was enough time to explore a bit of Varenna – just the little town, a few of the shops and along the shore of the lake. There’s plenty more to see and do but we took it easy, got a gelato and relaxed. Then at around lunchtime we took the ferry out to Bellagio and walked around there. We had a beautiful lunch out on the waterfront then got the last ferry back in time for sunset over the lake, which was stunning!
      We grabbed dinner in Varenna at around 8.30pm (we were there in summer so sunset was much later than it is in March) then got a train back to Milan at around 10.30/11.00pm. It was a full day, but not a busy one. And a day that neither of us will ever forget.
      I hope this is helpful and you have the best time in one of the most beautiful parts of Italy.
      Jim

  • Reply February 21, 2016

    Jaikishen Pillay

    Thank you Jim. Much appreciated 🙂

  • Reply February 22, 2016

    Justina

    Thank you for this trip advice, today I had a perfect day in Varenna and Bellagio! Im really thankful:) As it’s not a season until end of March many many of attraction places are closed, such as Castello di Vezio in Varenna (which I found out after 30min of going to a steep hill). Not many restaurants or shops are working but it means that you can enjoy more private visit with less tourists. If you are lucky with the weather, it’s gonna be awesome!

    • Reply February 24, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Justina. Thank you for such a lovely comment. Made our day! Yes, we had to walk up that hill to the castle as well only to find it had closed about 2 minutes earlier! And it was a really hot day! It must be so lovely and peaceful there with fewer tourists around. So glad you had a great time at Lake Como. It’s such a beautiful place, isn’t it?
      Jxx

  • Reply February 22, 2016

    Christine g

    Hi there,
    I plan on visiting Milan and Lake Como late June for 3 nights. We will be staying at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo . But I am unsure whether to stay 2 nights in Como or Milan. My coworker said to stay in Como 1 night as Como is a very small town . I am just thinking of trying to maximize our time and make our trip practical and reduce travel time . What would you do?
    Thanks!
    Chris

    • Reply February 24, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Christine. Sounds like you’ve got a wonderful trip planned. We love Milan and Lake Como, so it’s hard to choose between the two. I’ve heard that Como town itself isn’t that great – especially in the peak tourist season when you’ll be there. We stayed in Milan and travelled to Lake Como (Varenna and Bellagio) by train, which was very quick and easy.
      If you’re not sure of what there is to do in Milan, here are our top 10 things to do there: http://mrandmrsromance.com/2014/08/10-top-things-to-do-in-milan-italy.html and also where we stayed in Milan, which was a beautiful old palace converted into a hotel: http://mrandmrsromance.com/2013/10/where-to-stay-in-milan-best-western-hotel-galles-milan.html
      If you have a couple of nights to spare to stay by Lake Como, I’d look into AirBnB-ing it in Varenna. There are lots of places in the area to rent and it’d be a cheaper, more authentic experience than paying for a hotel by the lake.
      Hope you have a wonderful time in Italy. Please stop by again and tell us how your trip goes.
      Jxx

  • Reply March 3, 2016

    Lee B

    Hello Mr R,
    I am heading to Milan for 2 nights in a couple of weeks – would you receommend a day trip to Lake Como or stick to Milan for the 3 days I’m there?
    Cheers,
    Lee

    • Reply March 7, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Lee. It’s a good question. There’s plenty to do in both places. Even with only 2 nights in Milan, I think it’d be worth taking a train out to Lake Como after breakfast, spending lunch and early evening there and heading back to Milan that night. It’s pretty much what we did – though we didn’t really start off that early. Trains from Centrale leave for Varenna quite regularly, then from there you can get a ferry over to Bellagio very easily. We ended up having dinner in Varenna too, but there are plenty of places in Milan to eat too.
      Don’t bother with Como town itself though. Just head to Varenna or one of the other smaller towns. They’re less touristy and friendlier. Plus the lake seems to get prettier the further north you go.
      I’d also go on your second day, so spend a bit of time exploring Milan first, then head to the lake the next day. That way you won’t feel like you’re missing out on seeing Milan as much!
      Hope you have a great time.
      Cheers – Jim

  • Reply April 12, 2016

    Deb Logue-Hart

    Hi. We visited Lake Como yesterday and were completely enchanted with Bellagio. We had originally planned to go to Como but stumbled on your post the evening beforehand and took your advice. So glad we did. It was perfect. Instructions about the train were very helpful, particularly the ticket validation process. We are only in Milan for 3 nights but glad we spent time at Lake Como. We got an all day ferry pass so we could visit the main towns near Varenna. Thanks for your post.
    Deb and Rob. Mt Eliza. Australia.

    • Reply April 12, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Deb. Your comment has just made our day! So glad you had a great time at Lake Como. Isn’t Bellagio amazing?! Hope you have the best time in Milan and in Italy and hope your trip back to Australia is a safe one.
      Jxx

  • […] Our trip from Milan to Lake Como is one of our favourite train journeys, and makes visiting Como without a car incredibly easy. […]

  • Reply May 17, 2016

    Alison

    Reading through the posts, and they’ve been very informative. However, I haven’t come across any discussing Milan Central. My son (25) and I are visiting Milan first 5 days in September. I’m going to Bellagio via Varenna by myself. I’ve read many posts on other sights that Milan Central is a very high crime area. Pickpockets, luggage theft are the biggest. I’m pretty savvy traveler, but apparently even purchasing your ticket at the kiosk is a risk because they’ll steal your change right out of the machine! What has been your experience? Also, once ticket has been purchased and validated, is it fairly easy to find track? Any information is much appreciated!

    • Reply May 19, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Alison. If you search for ‘Milan’ on site – or actually if you just use this link: http://mrandmrsromance.com/?s=milan , you’ll be able to see all our posts on Milan and surrounding areas. I’m quite surprised that there are so many people out there saying that Milan is dangerous though. We were there for about a week and never once felt in danger or at threat of being robbed or pick-pocketed.
      Even when we were there during September Fashion Week – probably the busiest time of year for the city – and it was fine. Providing you take the usual amount of care you would whenever you’re travelling, I can confidently say you’ll be fine in Milan.
      Of course there are dodgy bits to the city – especially in the outer suburbs and between the San Siro stadium and the main city, but otherwise it’s fine. The only crooks to be aware of are the taxi drivers, who try their best to rip you off. Here’s what we’ve written about getting taxis in Italy: http://mrandmrsromance.com/2014/03/how-to-take-a-taxi-in-italy-and-not-get-ripped-off.html
      Hope this all helps and hope you have a lovely time in Milan and at Lake Como in September. It’s a beautiful time of year to be in Italy… though if you’re there during Fashion Week, expect craziness and delays. The city goes quite mad!
      Jxx

    • Reply May 19, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Oh, and as for the train, yes, it’s very easy to find your platform once you’ve got your ticket and have validated it. There are signs everywhere – just like most modern stations. As for your return trip from Varenna, there’s only one platform, so just make sure the train you get is pointing the right way!
      Jxx

  • Reply May 17, 2016

    Polly

    Hello Jim
    We are going to Monza for F1 in September 4th and staying in Monza area for 3 days and 2 nights. We are wondering where to go there. Also we are planning to go to Lake Como and see the place. We also booked 5 nights in Centrale Milan. Any suggestions on what to do and where to go, not too pricey places though 🙂 We are also planning to cross border going to Lugano from Milan.
    Thank you in advance

    • Reply May 19, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Polly. Sounds like you’ve got a lovely trip planned. It’s definitely worth getting out to Lake Como – even for the day. It’s so pretty there. As you’ve commented on this post, I presume you’ve read our ideas of how to get to Varenna. From there, you can get the ferry across to Menaggio and catch another train across the border to Switzerland. We haven’t done it, but it looks simple enough. And thanks to Europe’s open border policy, crossing into other countries is very simple.
      As for what to do in Milan, perhaps you’d like to see what we’ve written here with our top 10 things to do there: http://mrandmrsromance.com/2014/08/10-top-things-to-do-in-milan-italy.html and our other pieces on Milan in general are here: http://mrandmrsromance.com/?s=milan
      Hope this all helps. Have fun in Italy. It’s such a great place to visit.
      Jxx

  • Reply May 21, 2016

    Faris

    Hi. Thanks for this helpful post. I will be going to Milan this June and I have some questions for you. Is it cheaper to buy the ticket to Varenna at the train station (6.70 euro one way on Trenitalia’s website) or the price is the same as the one online? Which one is more recommended – buy at the train station or online?

    Did you visit Venice too? Any tips for a day trip to Venice from Milan?

    • Reply May 21, 2016

      Faris

      Oh, and how much is a one way ferry ticket for Varenna-Bellagio and how long is the ferry ride?

    • Reply May 22, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Faris. Thanks for your kind words – and the questions! I’m not sure about the train fares – I think it’ll probably be about the same buying the tickets online or at the station. One thing you might want to watch out for if you do buy online is that a lot of tickets are specific to an actual train rather than a route. That’s why we just bought ours at the station. If there is a saving to be made, I wouldn’t have thought it would be that much anyway.
      I’m not sure if a day trip to Venice from Milan is a good idea – it’s quite a long way, which means you probably wouldn’t get much time in Venice itself. If you search for Venice on our site (the search bar is in the top right corner on a desktop), you’ll find all our posts on Venice. Hope this will give you some travel inspiration for this lovely city.
      As for the ferries on Lake Como, it depends on a few different things. A regular one-way adult ticket Varenna to Bellagio is E4.60. Pensioners and children get cheaper fares. If you buy a day ticket, you can travel an unlimited number of times between ports – including intermediary ports – for that price. So I’d probably buy a day ticket to somewhere like Menaggio and use it to go between there, Bellagio and Varenna.
      Also if you have a car you want to take across, that’ll cost more obviously.
      The ferry ride to Bellagio from Varenna is about 15 minutes.
      Hope this all helps. Thanks for dropping by
      Jim

  • Reply May 24, 2016

    Alison

    Thanks so much for your tips on our visit. Sorry for the confusion in my question on safety, posts claimed the central station in Milan was risky not the city itself. Son is attending the F1 race, so I’m on my own to explore! I’ll check out your links, not planning on using taxis but I’ll read up on them in case!

    • Reply May 26, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Alison. No worries. I see what you mean now. I don’t remember feeling particularly at risk in Milan Centrale though. No more than in the Paris Metro (where we did witness a small child picking a gent’s pocket!) or in packed stations in SE Asia. I think during rush hour things might be a bit different but after 9am things are calmer. It’s a big station so it’s usually easy to find a bit of space.
      Hope you have fun exploring on your own – and that your boy has fun at the F1 too. I’ve never been but I’ve got friends who never miss a chance to go.
      Cheers – and happy travels
      Jim x

  • Reply June 27, 2016

    Nathan Lisgo

    Visited Lake Como this morning and took the ferry to Bellagio from Varenna. This guide was really helpful. Thank you

    • Reply June 27, 2016

      Mr Romance

      That’s awesome! Thank you so much for the feedback, Nathan. Really glad you had a good time at Lake Como. It’s so lovely there, isn’t it?
      Jim

  • Reply July 13, 2016

    Nathan Unwin

    This is a great read! I’m taking my girlfriend to Milan in August and plan to propose to her somewhere on Lake Como. Any suggestions on a good location for this? I want a stunning backdrop. Will we need the entire day there or do you think we could leave just after sunset?
    I think I’ll get the train from central Milan and head to Varenna as mentioned in your post, grab a ferry and visit Bellagio and see some of the sights.

    • Reply July 13, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Nathan. Thanks for your kind words – and your exciting news. What a great place to pop the question.
      The good news is you’d be hard put to find a place that doesn’t have a stunning backdrop here, but of everywhere in this area I’d go with Bellagio. It’s got the name plus it’s where the two lakes meet. If you head north from the ferry terminal and go up to the tip of Bellagio, there’s a little park right at the tip that would give you a bit of privacy, or there’s a little harbour wall that would be awesome too. The view of the mountains, the lake and the little towns nestled around the shoreline is unbeatable. Just make sure you get her standing facing that view!
      To top things off, there’s a little restaurant there called La Punta where you can stop and have a drink afterwards – believe me, you’ll need it!
      As for how long to stay at the lake, we thought we’d be back in Milan by sundown, but we just didn’t want to leave. We ended up having dinner in Varenna and catching the last train back at about 9.30. So in answer to your question, stay as long as you can!
      It’s an amazing way to spend a day in Italy and a bloody spectacular place to ask one of the most important questions of your life. Nice choice!
      Of course, I give you this advice under one condition: you’ve got to email us a photo or tell us how it all went!
      Best of luck, mate, and let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.
      Jim

  • Reply July 29, 2016

    Ashish

    Hi Mr. Romance,
    I am on a group tour with my wife starting from Venice, I will arrive in Milan 4 days ago and have around 3 nights before heading to Venice so I am thinking of spending one full day in Milan and then 1 or 2 nights in Como, I am staying in Venice for 2 nights is it enough or shall i cut down a night at Como stay in Venice for 3 nights.. Any other ideas will be of great help..Thanks in advance..AV

    • Reply August 2, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Ashish. What a great trip you’ve got coming up! Good question – I think if you’re limited with time, 1 day in Milan is enough. Lake Como and Venice do have more to offer. Whether you spend more time at the lake or in Venice is a tricky one. To be honest I think you can see enough of Lake Como with 1 night there have then 3 nights in Venice.
      It does come down to budget – Venice accommodation is notoriously expensive, but if that’s not a problem, then I’d make the most of being in Venice. It’s such a beautiful city, and with the extra night, you’ll be able to get right out to the northern islands where fewer tourists go. It’ll be a much more authentic experience for you.
      On the other hand, 2 nights on Lake Como would be amazing too. You could spend a whole day exploring the little towns along the coast by ferry and on foot then have dinner wherever you want. We were only there for the day and only got to see Varenna and Bellagio. Menaggio and Griante on the far side of the lake look amazing too and are easily accessible by ferry.
      Hope this all helps and that you have an awesome time in Italy. Quite jealous of your trip!
      Cheers – Jim

  • Reply August 11, 2016

    Michael Labish

    Dear Mr. Mrs. Romance, we are seniors traveling alone in Italy to celebrate my 70th birthday. We are adventurous and want to see as much as we can in our two weeks of travel from Milan (2 nights) to forence, tuscany and Cinque Terra, returning to Milan for one night before flight home. We are staying at hotel Berna which is near the train station and would love to see Lake Como. A little nervous about managing the train etc to get there and considering going one of the organized tours (they are expensive). Could u walk us through the steps to get train out and back? We would like to stay the day and have dinner somewhere romantic before returning to hotel in Milan in evening (this would be Sept 1 ). Is it safe at night? Thanks so much! M L

    • Reply August 11, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Michael. First of all, congratulations on your birthday. It sounds like you’ve got a wonderful trip planned to celebrate. We love travelling through Italy and get back there as often as we can.
      In regards to the Milan trains to and from Lake Como, it’s fairly straight forward – especially with your hotel in Milan being so close to Centrale Station. You can buy tickets from the office on the day very easily – and also ask about platforms too. Alternatively you can buy tickets online up to a week in advance here: http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en
      Tickets are €6 each way or €10 for 1st class.
      It’s only an hour by train and you find yourself at the middle of the lake. Definitely explore Varenna, it’s a beautiful little town and you get some amazing views of the lake.
      From here, take the ferry to Bellagio (at the tip separating the two southern points of Lake Como). The ferry should cost you around €7.40 per person return and takes around 15 minutes. Check timetables and prices here: http://www.navigazionelaghi.it/eng
      You can go on to visit Menaggio if you have time, which is on the far side of the lake and is also amazing.
      As for romantic places to dine, as you can imagine there are quite a few around this part of the lake. I’d recommend the walk along the foreshore in Bellagio to La Punta Ristorante for lunch and for dinner back at Varenna, there’s a beautiful place called Bar il Molo I think you’ll enjoy.
      Keep an eye on the time though – you don’t want to miss the last train back to Milan and remember the platform’s at the top of the hill. We were a bit puffed by the time we got to the station!
      As for safety, Varenna and Bellagio are very safe – you don’t need to worry there. As for Milan, I’ve heard talk of the station being a bit dodgy, however we had absolutely no problem there whatsoever. Yes, it’s a big train station with all kinds of people, but it’s no more or less dangerous than any other station in Europe.
      I really hope you have a lovely time in Italy – and many happy returns once again.
      Jim

  • Reply September 11, 2016

    samin

    hi mr and mrs romance
    i and my wife are planning a day trip to lake como from milan on dec 5th 2016 pls advise us 1. can we take a ferry to bellagio from varenna and stay there for lunch or is the ferry just a simple round trip. 2. which is a better scenic place to have lubch by the lakeside in dec; bellagio or varenna?
    thanks

    • Reply September 12, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Samin. Sounds like you’ve got a great trip to Italy planned. Quite jealous! 🙂
      1. Yes, you can take the ferry from Varenna to Bellagio and stay there for lunch – just like we’ve detailed on our post you’re commenting on. There are details here on where we went too, so don’t forget to check it out before you go. The ferries are the main mode of transport all around the lake – even the ambulances use them.
      2. Both Bellagio and Varenna have beautiful views out over the lake. We were only there for the day too, but in late summer, so I don’t know what it’ll be like in the middle of the Italian winter. There were plenty of cute little places in the town itself in Bellagio, but the place we went to – La Punta – is very pretty. There are more places in Varenna on the waterfront too, but they might be closed for winter.
      One final thing – a bit of a caveat actually – is to check the ferry timetables here. I’ve got a nasty feeling that, during the winter months, the ferries either have a reduced service or stop altogether. IF so, it’s still worth getting the train to Varenna and perhaps seeing if there’s a private boat you can hire to get to Bellagio… or just stay in Varenna. It’s very pretty there.
      Hope this all helps. Thanks for stopping by.
      Jim

  • Reply December 14, 2016

    Beverly Kuby

    HI Mr. and Mrs Romance,

    Thank God i found your site! 🙂 I had spend so much time searching and reading but i am so confused. I just want to ask advice/help, I am Backpacking Italy, January 7 to January 15, 9 days.

    1. flight from Denmark to Milan maybe 2-3 days Milan so that i can visit Varenna and Lake Como, what train i am going to take back and fort from Milan to Varenna and Lake Como.? What is best best to do so i can get cheapest trip.
    2. then from Milan to Venice 2days. 3.Florence and Pisa 2days then last trip 4. Rome 2days then back home.
    what is the best way to travel city to city and cheapest? How much is the prices by train city to city?

    it is my first time travelling alone… im so excited and at the same time im nervous…. I hope you can give me some advice and tips…

    Thank you and Merry Christmas to both of you.

    Best, Beverly

    • Reply December 14, 2016

      Mr Romance

      Hi Beverly. Really glad we can help you with your trip. It sounds amazing.
      You need to take the train from Milano Centrale station to Varenna-Esino. As the post says, it’s about an hour’s journey and will cost you about 12 Euros return. There is only one ‘platform’ at Varenna, so you just have to make sure you’re going the right way when the train arrives. If you’re looking at getting a ferry from Varenna to Bellagio etc, please check the ferry timetables (there’s a link towards the bottom of this post) as some services are reduced or go offline in the winter months on Lake Como.
      As for getting to Venice from Milan, it’s quite simple – from Milano Centrale you head to Venezia S. Lucia, which will bring you out on the Grand Canal in Venice. Check out our tips on how to use the vaporetto boat system in Venice here.
      The train from Milan to Venice is more expensive as it’s further – between 20-35 Euro, but still cheaper than hiring a car. Plus you don’t have to worry about parking.
      The train system in Italy is good and the prices are fair too. You can buy your tickets ahead of time or just buy them at the station itself. Here’s the link again to the Trenitalia website.
      As for your other destinations, check the train website for more details. When we’ve been to Rome and Pisa in the past, we’ve either flown in or driven, so I don’t know much about the trains there.
      Good luck and safe travels. Have a spritz Aperol for us!
      Jim

  • Reply June 2, 2017

    Jodie

    Hi Jim,
    I am going on a short break to Milan next month, and plan to dedicate a day to see Lake Como. Looking online, google maps claims it takes almost three hours to reach Bellagio from Milan city centre-I was just wondering if (even being generous) it could ever take this long in practice. Many thanks,
    jodie

    • Reply June 2, 2017

      Mr Romance

      Hi Jodie. Great to hear your going to Lake Como. It’s so beautiful there. And a day trip will allow you to see plenty from Varenna to Bellagio. You’ll need to get a ferry to Bellagio from Varenna, which doesn’t take that long – maybe 15 minutes. But the train to Varenna from Milan Centrale is nowhere near 3 hours. The current timetable says around an hour, which is how long it took us when we were there. Here’s a link to the Trenitalia website where you can check for times and trip durations: http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en.
      Enjoy Italy – let us know how you get on. Cheers – Jim

  • Reply June 27, 2017

    Julie

    Hi Jim,
    I am taking my 10 years old son to Milan and would like to take a day trip to Lake Como. Unfortunately, we already reserved the ticket to Duomo at 3pm. If we only go to see the lake and Varenna, do you think we have enough time? Planning to leave Milan around 8am or even early. Is Varenna a good place for a kid?

    Many thanks,

    • Reply June 28, 2017

      Mr Romance

      Hi Julie. To begin with, yes, Varenna and Lake Como is a great place to take a 10-year-old. It’s really pretty, lots of places to explore and some great gelato shops to enjoy too! I think if you left at 8am, you’d have enough time to see Varenna and have lunch before you leave to get back to see Milan’s beautiful duomo. If you leave Varenna by 2.15 at the latest, you should make it back in time. Have a lovely time at Lake Como and good luck with your travels.
      Cheers – Jim

  • Reply July 8, 2017

    Madalena Torres

    Hi! Me and my twin sister are going to Milan only for 3 days (we arrive Thursday night and leave Sunday afternoon) . We would love to visit the lakes, and we were wondering if it would be better to rent a car for the two of us or go everywhere by train or bus. From your experience, what do you think is the best option? We are both 27 years old and we love traveling together 😀 and we really don’t know which is the best option… With such a few time in Milan, what would be the best option (car VA. Public transportation) and (which lakes?) Thank you!

    • Reply July 9, 2017

      Mr Romance

      Hi Madalena. I bet you’re very excited about your trip. Any time at all in Italy is awesome. I love driving in Italy, so hiring a car is always a good option. Having said that, if you’re basing yourselves in Milan, I wouldn’t bother hiring a car. The metro system there is awesome and the train ride to Varenna is so easy and cheap. You also won’t have to stress about parking either, which can be tricky in Italy.
      If I were you, I would look at going to Varenna by train (the details are in this post you’ve commented on) and then catching the ferry across the lake to Bellagio and Menaggio. There’s plenty to explore around these three little towns or you can catch the ferry further afield.
      I wouldn’t bother with Como Town – I’ve heard there are better places around the lake.
      If you’re looking for accommodation around the lake, AirBnB has some options plus there are hotels you can find through our links on this post too.
      There’s only one lake – Lake Como – but it splits into two as you head south. The tip of the split is where Bellagio is.
      I hope this all helps. Please let me know if you want any more info and I’ll do my best to help.
      Happy travels – Jim

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