How to Get to Lake Como, Italy by Bronwyn Townsend (2023)

A resort for Romans and modern jets alike, Italy's Lake Como is the most respected of them all in the northern lake district. Opulent scenes welcome guests – from elegant villas to spectacular gardens and picturesque lakeside villages.

If there's one thing I've learned from visiting Lake Como, it's that it's worth more than just a day trip. I would recommend onea long weekendtake your time to visit each of the towns, visit the beautiful villas and enjoy a drink by the sea.

Whether you choose to take a day trip from Milan or spend a long weekend enjoying the best of Lake Como, it's important to remember that it's actually very easy to get to.

Where is Lake Como?

Lake Como, Italian for Lago di Como, is an inverted Y-shaped lake in Italy located about 40 km north of Milan and less than 30 km east of Lugano, Switzerland.

Nestled between the soaring Swiss Alps on the horizon and Italy's fervent fashion capital, Lake Como is one of the standout destinations in Italy's Lombardy region.

Lake Como is the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore, with an area of ​​approximately 146 km2 and is also one of the deepest lakes in Europe at its deepest point of 410 meters.

How to get to Lake Como from Milan

If you're planning to visit Lake Como, you'll be happy to know that it's easier than it might seem at first glance. Benefiting from Italy's excellent rail network, regular ferry services and roads that wind along the shores of the lake, Lake Como is well connected to both Milan and Lugano in Switzerland, as well as many other smaller cities.

By train

The train from Milan to Lake Como is cheap and comfortable. This is the perfect way to travel from a city in northern Italy. From Milan you have two options to get to Lake Como by train: Como or Varenna. The option you choose depends on your plans, where you live or the cities you plan to visit on your day trip.

If you are traveling to Varenna, start your journey at Milan Central Station and take the train north to Tirano. You will pass Monza, one of the famous Formula 1 Grand Prix venues, and then drive past Lecco at the foot of the eastern arm of the lake. Varenna-Esino is the most convenient train station if you are in the central lake district. The journey from Milano Centrale to Varenna-Esino takes approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes.

An alternative route is to travel to Como San Giovanni station, which is located in Como, the main town on Lake Como, located at the foot of the lake. These services depart from Milano Centrale or Milano Greco Pirelli stations with up to 60 services per day, departures are frequent. The fastest trains take only 40 minutes, while the average trains take around 50 minutes.

By train from Milan Malpensa airport

If you want to fly directly from the airport, Malpensa is the best option and traveling by train is not that difficult. There is no direct train from Malpensa, so you will need to change trains before reaching Como Lago station, usually at Saronno.

Traveling by train is the most convenient, sustainable and enjoyable way to reach Lake Como from Milan. Fares from Milan to Lake Como start from just €5 per person. You canbook your tickets in advance through Trainlineor buy them directly from one of the ticket machines at the train station. The queues can sometimes be long, so make sure you have plenty of time before the train departs.


There is an irregular bus service operated by Flix Bus between Milan and Lake Como. Four services run daily, one around 6.30 and three in the evening between 17.00 and 19.30. A one-way bus ticket starts at €6 and the journey takes an average of 55 minutes. Even if the shift lasts almost two hours.

From the cost-convenience factor, I would recommend the train over the bus because of the number of trips and the frequency.

With car

If you want to drive around the towns on Lake Como, you can rent a car from one of the airports or from Milan and drive to Lake Como. The choice of route depends on which towns and villages by the lake you wish to visit. Closest to Milan at the bottom of the inverted Y-shaped lake are the cities of Como on the western arm and Lecco on the eastern arm.

Personally, I recommend using public transport if you only plan to visit Lake Como and/or Milan. Public transport links are frequent, convenient and cheap. Public transport in Lake Como also saves you the trouble of finding a parking space. This can be difficult, especially during the busy summer months and weekends, and can add up quickly if you use multiple paid parking spaces.

Traffic can also build up during busy periods and windy roads can be a little scary if you're not used to driving on the right. But if you're up for the challenge or have rented a car for a larger regional tour of Northern Italy, don't be put off.

How to get to Lake Como from Lugano, Switzerland

Lake Como is close to the Swiss-Italian border, making it a popular day trip or weekend destination from Lugano. If you are driving to Lake Como from Lugano, the easiest way is to get to the town of Menaggio, which takes about 40 minutes – an hour depending on traffic.


Trains between the Swiss city of Lugano and Lake Como are comfortable and frequent, making it a good choice if you're spending time in this charming Swiss city. The fastest trains from Lugano to Como take just 33 minutes, but the journey usually takes around 45 minutes.

Three companies operate rail connections between Lugano and Como; Trenitalia, SBB and Regiojet. Tickets start at just €10 one way and can be purchased from ticket machines or ticket offices at Lugano train station.


There are several bus connections from Lugano to Como in the afternoon and evening. The journey takes 45 minutes to an hour and prices start from €10 one way. Train service is more frequent than bus service, so I recommend the train instead of the bus if you have to choose between the two.

Use of the ferries in Lake Como

Once you reach the lake, the easiest way to get from one town to another is by taking a ferry. If you live in any of the cities further away than Varenna or Como, take the ferry to your destination as soon as you get off the train.

The ferry is one of the best and most scenic ways to get around Lake Como and sails all year round. There are different routes across the lake depending on which property you are visiting or where you are staying. The most popular ferry routes are:

  • Como i sydvest til Colico i nord

  • Lecco at the southeast end to Bellagio in the central lake

  • Centralne jezioro między miastami Bellagio, Varenna, Menaggio i Cadenabbia

Depending on whether you prefer to travel slowly or reach your destination quickly, you can choose the faster hydrofoil boat or the more relaxed ferry service. The first has a higher fare for speed.

Ferry prices to Lake Como vary depending on the route chosen and scheduled or limited stopovers, as well as daily and return fares. Some examples of popular routes are Bellagio to Como from €10.40 or a one-way trip between Varenna and Bellagio from €4.60.

If you are planning a day trip between the cities of Lake Central, or if you are staying in one of the cities such as Bellagio, Menaggio or Varenna, the Lake Central Day Ticket is a great option.

The ticket costs €15 per day and allows you to hop on and off the ferry between lake towns instead of buying separate tickets for each trip. Provided you do at least four trips, you get value for money. Here you can find timetables for Lake ComoHer.

Ferry tickets can be bought at the stops in most cities, although I recommend arriving 20-30 minutes before departure as queues can be long.

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