By MJ, Editor and ELE Travel Writer
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.
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 regulary, 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 (about a 10 minute walk) so if you have heavy suitcases be prepared (trust us it’s much worse going back up the hill!).
Ferries travel regularly between the villages during peak months, and 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.
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.
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.
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.