Read our guide on how to get to, and around, Lake Como in Italy without a car.
A visit to beautiful Lake Como in Italy’s north is a highlight of any trip to Europe. Quaint villages dotted along the stunning lake, soaring mountain views from every angle, wonderful Italian restaurants, pretty shops and delicious wine – there isn’t much not to love!
Not everyone likes to drive on their holidays (particularly if it means driving on the other side of the road!), luckily the Lake Como area is easy to get to and around without your own wheels.
How to get to Lake Como
Trains leave from Milan Centrale Station to both Varenna (click here to see out post on this pretty village) and the larger town of Como regularly, about 17 times per day to Varenna (approx. 1hr and 10 minutes) and 7 times a day to Como (approx. a 33 minute journey).
If you arrive at Varenna-Esino station you will be perfectly located to catch the regular ferries that travel to nearby Menaggio, Bellagio, Tremezzo and Lenno (note some changes may be required at Bellagio and Menaggio to service the other villages).
It is a fairly steep hill to come down from the station to the ferry with some steps and it is about a 10 minute walk, so if you have heavy suitcases be prepared (trust us it’s much worse going back up the hill!). If you find steps or walking difficult a taxi will be your best option to get down to the ferry stop.
Ferries are the most popular form of transport in the region and they travel regularly between the villages during peak months. Current timetables are available at the ticket kiosks at every ferry jetty. One-way ferry journeys for adults are currently 4.50 Euros, however day or longer passes are also available.
Ferries can be busy, however we have visited twice in the height of the peak season and have never had any trouble getting on to the ferries at all different times of the day. Make sure you check last ferry times for the evening to make sure you can get back to your accommodation.
You can find out more info including routes, cost and ferry timetables here.
Other transport options
If you are staying in Menaggio there is also a little tourist road train, the Trombetta Express, which travels to Lenno and is a very scenic trip.
Local taxis also service the area but aren’t readily available at all times, so if you do prefer to travel by taxi try to book ahead as often as possible. We have had wait times up to 1 hour for taxis in peak season.
If you are feeling a little more flush or simply want to enjoy the lake on your own timetable, you can book a private charter boat that will either transfer you from village to village (price approximately 80 Euro to get from one village to another), or hire for a longer trip which is a great way to spend some time on the lake or travel between villages at your own leisure.
This can be convenient and cost effective if you are travelling in a group and can split the cost (most boats take up to 6-8 passengers).
If you arrive in the town of Como, there are ferries that travel to Bellagio, the slow ferry will take about 2 and a 1/2 hours but is a pleasant way to see the lake, the faster hydrofoils will take about 45 minutes but aren’t quite as scenic.
Another option is to hire your own boat at one of the villages if you are confident driving yourself, this option is a great idea if you want to travel around completely on your own timetable.
Whichever way you choose to travel around stunning Lake Como, you will be rewarded with incredible views, great Italian hospitality and spectacular mountain and lake views.