How to travel from Milan to Lake Como: Train, Car, Tour + Tips

If you are planning a Milan itinerary and wondering if you should travel by train from Milan to Lake Como, you are in the right place! After tripping around Italy many times, and learning how to move around using different transportation options, I am here to share all my best insider tips to help you plan your trip of your own!

This is the most complete guide you will find on the internet about how to travel from Milan to Lake Como. It covers pretty much every mode of transportation possible, including how to travel by train from Milan to Lake Como, driving, ferry, and tours. You will also find tips on how to visit Lake Como on a day trip and the best places to stay.

The chepeast and easiest way is to travel by train from Milan to Lake Como. For this reason, in this comprehensive guide, I cover all the details for you! I also share information about getting to Lake Como from Milan or Switzerland. So, without further ado, let’s find out about the best options to travel from Milan to Lake Como.

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travel from Milan to Lake Como

How far is Milan to Lake Como

If your first question is “How far is Milan to Lake Como?” the answer is: It is very close. The southern tip of the Lake, where the city of Como is located, is just 31 Miles (50 kilometers) from Milan, while the town of Bellagio is over 50 Miles (80 kilometers) away. It is very easy to add a day visit to Lake Como to your Milan Itinerary.

Trains can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over one hour to reach Milan to Lake Como, depending on where you’re getting off, so plan accordingly if you have set plans once you get to your destination. If you are driving or traveling by bus, it will take approximately 1 hour.

Lake Como is a perfect option for an easy day trip from Milan. All the transportation options for the route from Milan to Lake Como are full of beautiful sights with blue waters, winding roads, and postcard-worthy views.

Read More: Lake Como 1, 2, and 3-day itinerary

Day trip from Milan

How to travel from Milan to Lake Como | Overview

Lake Como is located in Northern Italy, and it is not far from the Swiss border, and it is very close to Milan and Lugano. Personally, I decided to take the train from Milan to Lake Como, but there are other options for transportation that I am also including in this guide. 

Lake Como is big, and if you have only a day trip, it won’t be enough time to explore the other villages of Bellagio, Varena, and Menaggio. I would recommend instead, just exploring Lake Como at a slower pace if you have only one day in the Lake Como region. And the best way to explore Lake Como villages is by taking a private or group boat tour.

Transportations Options to Get from Milan to Lake Como:

TRAIN: Taking the train from Milan to Lake Como is the most affordable and efficient. You have the option to travel by Trenitalia or Italia Rail. They are both comfortable and reasonably priced – check below for more details.
BUS: Bus service from Milan to Como is available, but it is less practical than other transportation options. When you arrive at Lake Como from Milan, you will need to take one of the local buses to get to your final destination.
CAR: Driving to Lake Como is a straightforward trip and it takes about 1-hour. Unless you already have a rental car for your trip, I would not recommend you to rent a car just to travel from Milan to Lake Como.
BY PRIVATE TOUR: One of the best ways to explore Lake Como villages is by taking a private or group boat tour.
 
Best Tour Options in Lake Como
  • The best way to explore Lake Como is by taking a boat tour – check here for the top-rating boat tours in Lake Como
  • You can explore Lake Como on a private sailing charter. 
  • What about taking a kayak tour on Lake Como from Pescallo di Bellagio beach to see the Rockefeller cliffs from the lake. 
  • Enjoy a romantic experience in the middle of the lake, surrounded by nature and the colors of the sunset with this Lake Como romantic sail and sunset experience
  • If you want to experience the amazing lake Como from above and see the aerial view, it is possible to take a scenic helicopter tour
Milan to Como train

How to Travel from Milan to Lake Como by Train

There are three main train stations in Milan – Cadorna, Centrale, and Garibaldi. If you’re planning to go on day trips from Milan, I recommend staying in a neighborhood by the main stations. Below in this guide, I am providing the best options for accommodations. 

PRO-TIP:  Make sure that before boarding any train in Italy, you VALIDATE YOUR TICKET – otherwise you can get a fine. On the train platform, you can find the brightly colored box with a slot on the top for you to insert and validate your ticket.

Departure Train Station from Milan:

There are 2 railway lines connecting Milan to Como – from Milano Centrale/ Milano Porta Garibaldi, and from Milano Nord Cadorna. 

The trains departing from Centrale and Porta Garibaldi use the same railway line – the difference is that the trains departing from Centrale make fewer stops, with also, fewer departures – and the trains departing for Porta Garibaldi stop in every single local station, but with more departures.

The Milan Nord Cadorna to Como Nord Lago is a slower but also, more scenic alternative.

These are the options for the train from Milan to  Como:

  • Milano Centrale Station ⇒ Como San Giovanni Station
  • Milan Porta Garibaldi ⇒ Como San Giovanni Station
  • Milano Centrale Station ⇒ Varenna=Essino Station
  • Milan Nord Cadorna ⇒ Como Nord Lago
Milan to Lake Como train
Train Options from Milan to Lake Como:

Taking the train from Milan to the Lake Como region is a fairly straightforward process. If you are heading to Como, the journey should last no longer than 1-hour, depending on which type of train you select.

You don’t need to book your train in advance. I arrived at the station and bought my ticket to Como.

There are different services you can use to book your trip from Milan to Lake Como by train:

TRENITALIA: You can purchase tickets online, and I recommend booking in advance at trenitalia.com and there is no extra fee.  
ITALIA RAIL: Check train schedules and you can also book online using italiarail.com with a booking fee of €5.

Arrival by train from Milan to Lake Como

Arrival at Lake Como:

The Como San Giovanni train station is only a 10-minute walk from the Lake Como front. The trains departing from the two stations in Milan travel along the same railway line and the only difference is that the trains from Milano Centrale make fewer stops, while the trains from Porta Garibaldi stop in every single local station, and as you can imagine, it takes double the time.

PRO-TIP: There are 2 train stations in Lake Como: Como Lago and Como San Giovanni, and they are only a 17-min walk apart. Make sure you purchase the ticket for the correct station.

Arrival at Bellagio:

If you are planning to visit Bellagio, please note that there is no train station. You will need to take a train to Varenna or Como first, and then transfer to Bellagio by ferry.

Arrival at Varenna:

The train from Milano Centrale to Varenna-Esino gets you to Varenna in one hour. From there, you can visit Varenna or take a Navigazione Laghi ferry to Bellagio, a 15-minute trip.

Milan day trips lake Como

Read More: Best Lake Como Boat Tours for All Budgets

Milan to Lake Como | Other transportation options

Milan to Lake Como By Car

Driving to Lake Como is a straightforward trip. Because of the proximity of Milan to Lake Como, taking a taxi or hiring a private driver can also be a good option.

  • Milan to Lake Como by car: The 50 km (31 miles) trip will take approx. 1 hour.
  • Milan to Varenna by car: The 80 km (50 miles) takes approx. 1.5 hours. Arriving there you can park the car near Villa Monastero (Parcheggio Multipiano).
  • Milan to Bellagio by car: it takes 75 km (47 miles) approx. 1.5 hours. Parking is limited, and you will need to arrive early to be able to park. You can find options to park in Bellagio here
  • You can get a 15% off your rental car when you book through this site. I use and recommend RentalCar because it is the most reliable rental car source, and it allows you to compare the prices of different places.

Lake Como To Varenna and Bellagio By Boat

You can take a slow boat or a fast boat (hydrofoil) to go visit Varenna and Bellagio – Check here for options. 

The ferries run frequently, at least once an hour, and to get between each town the rides are about 15-minutes. There is no need to buy the tickets in advance, you can buy the ticket at the ferry terminal. 

  • Slow-boat (Batalla): To visit all towns takes approx. 2-3 hours and a one-way ticket for each ferry cost €10.40 
  • Fast-boat (hydrofoil): Visiting all towns takes approx. 45 min to 1 hour and a one-way ticket for each ferry costs €14.80 

Private Transfer from Milan to Lake Como

While it’s very easy to take a train from Milan to Lake Como, and to self-explore for a day, it is also possible to hire an organized Lake Como day tour from Milan.

If you prefer avoiding having to arrange the transportation and you don’t want to worry about the timing to visit the main sites, and prefer to have a professional guide sharing all the insights about the history, I have listed great options below: 


From Milan Airport to Lake Como

Visiting Lake Como straight from the Malpensa Airport (MXP) by car is very convenient too. You can rent your car at the airport, or take a private taxi for around €100 or book a private tour.

You can also reach Lake Como from Milan airport by train, traveling along two different routes. You can take one of the 9 direct TILO trains, from the airport to Como San Giovanni and the total trip takes 1.5 hours. Trains operate from 7:12 am to 11:12 PM, once every 2 hours and it costs €17 each way.

Lake Como

Lake Como from Lugano Switzerland

From Lugano to Lake Como by Car: The driving from Lugano to Menaggio is only 40 minutes, and you need to arrive early to be able to find a spot at the parking lot located near the ferry terminal.
From Lugano to Lake Como by Bus: It takes approx. 1-hour to travel from Lugano to Menaggio. Arriving in Menaggio you take a ferry to Bellagio.
Milan to Lake Como

Milan to Lake Como Day Trip

If you are planning to have an Itinerary in Milan and add Lake Como as a day trip, it is a perfect option.

Most day trips from Milan to Lake Como start with seeing the town, then taking a ferry up to Bellagio and visiting the charming villages by the shore – you have the options to hop on a slow ferry, the fast ferry, or the hydrofoil.

The cost of this trip is about €10.40 and the length of this trip will depend on which ferry you decide to take. The fast ferry takes about 1 hour and the slow ferry takes about 2 hours since it makes at least 10 stops.

If your budget allows, you can also book a private or group boat tour in Lake Como, as it is the best way to explore the villages around and catch the most stunning vistas.

If your option is to take the hydrofoil the journey takes about 45 minutes, but it will cost you about €15 more for this trip. Lake Como is larger than Varenna and Bellagio, so if you decide to just explore one place Lake Como can entertain you for a whole day trip.

Lake Como has an extensive shoreline with stunning mansions facing the lake, and you can easily spend hours just admiring the architecture and taking pictures. You can stop for lunch in some of the cafés by the lake, or just as the locals do, have a picnic in any of the parks while admiring the views of the lake. 

You can also walk in Como city center, visit the cathedral, cafés, and shops and explore the narrow cobblestone alleys.

There is also a cable car that can take you up the mountain to a community called Brunate, and from there, you have exceptional views of the lake and the Alps. If you are looking to spend an overnight or a few days in Lake Como, check my Complete Itinerary and Travel Guide here.

Lake Como

Where to Stay in Lake Como

If you are planning to stay in Lake Como, I have selected the best hotel options for all budgets: 

How to travel from Milan to Como by train

GREAT VALUE: Ostello Bello Lake Como

If you are looking for great value accommodation, Ostello Bello Lake Como is a great option. Every room is fitted with a private bathroom and shower and free Wi-Fi. Excellent location, close to the Ferry Terminal, and the Cable Car.


How to travel from Milan to Como by train

BOUTIQUE HOTEL: Hotel Villa Flori

This restored 19th-century villa is set on the western shores with amazing views of Lake Como. It offers elegant rooms, and a private park and you will love the Venetian stucco work and frescos.


How to travel from Milan to Como by train

BEST RATED: Como Lake Suits

This hotel has an excellent location with the best views. Very close to the Broletto and the Como Cathedral, the apartments have a balcony with lake views, a seating area, a satellite flat-screen TV, a fully equipped kitchen, and free bikes so you can easily explore Lake Como.


How to travel from Milan to Como by train

TOP LUXURY: Mandarin Oriental Lago di Como

Now if you are looking for luxury, you cannot go wrong with the Mandarin Oriental. The rooms are elegantly decorated with 2 stand-alone villas, in Blevio. With a fine restaurant, free indoor and outdoor pools, free parking, and vast gardens. The wellness center includes 2 massage rooms and 2 private Spa.

Where to Stay in Central Station in Milan

If you are planning to go on day trips from Milan, I recommend finding accommodation close to the Milano Centrale Station. The city has many different options for accommodations, from budget to luxury, it depends on your style and budget. I have selected some great options to make your trip as fun and easy as possible:

Train from Milan to Lake Como

BEST VALUE: B&B Hotel Milano Central Station

The best location is only a 5-minute walk from Milano Centrale Train Station and 1 km from Porta Nuova district. Each room at this hotel is air conditioned and is fitted with a flat-screen TV. The private bathroom is equipped with a shower.


Train from Milan to Lake Como

WHERE I STAYED: HD8 Hotel Milano

1.7 km from Bosco Verticale, HD8 Hotel Milano is set in Milan, this 4-star hotel offers an ATM and luggage storage space. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk, a shared lounge, and currency exchange for guests.


Train from Milan to Lake Como

BEST RATED: iQ Hotel Milano

Just directly opposite Milano Centrale Train and Metro Station, offering links throughout the city. Breakfast is included, and the rooms have a modern design and feature a flat-screen TV, air conditioning, a free minibar, and a private bathroom.


Train from Milan to Lake Como

TOP LUXURY: Milano Central Station

Guests Rating

Very close to the Milano Centrale Station the accommodations have a balcony and free Wi-Fi. The apartment has a bedroom, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, an equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave, and a washing machine.


TRAVEL INSURANCE: SIMPLE & FLEXIBLE

I never leave my home without travel insurance which is designed to help cover your expenses if something goes wrong on your trip. Things can go wrong, and you don’t want to get stuck paying tons of money if you get sick or have an accident without travel insurance. 

World Nomads Travel Insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover their trip essentials. Especially if you are like me, travel insurance is ideal for adventurous travelers. Travel smarter and safer – You can do your quick quote below and find out how little you can pay for the essential benefit of Travel Insurance for your next trip!

How to Get from Milan to Lake Como Conclusion

I recommend traveling from Milan to Lake Como by train. It is fast, cheap and very easy and you can make your own itinerary.

A single-day trip from Milan to Lake Como is worth it because there is no place like Lake Como. The stunning landscape is scattered with colorful houses, fascinating history, and incredible people. Explore the villas and towns, go on boat trips across the lake and enjoy the great laid-back lifestyle of Lake Como.

Another option if you are planning a trip to Lake Como from Milan, is to take a train to Varenna, and take a ferry to travel to Bellagio. To return to Milan, you can take a train from Varenna or take a ferry to Como and then take a train from Como to Milan. 

If you are planning a trip to Italy, you may enjoy the following:

Lake Como by train

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6 thoughts on “How to travel from Milan to Lake Como: Train, Car, Tour + Tips”

  1. Great guide! I love traveling by train and this really breaks it down and makes it so easy! Such a beautiful destination too!

    Reply
  2. What a detailed post and your pics are just stunning. Anyone looking to visit Lake Como must definitely have a look at your post to plan through 🙂

    Reply

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