How to travel by train from Milan to Lake Como, Italy

How to travel by train from Milan to Lake Como, Italy

If you are wondering what is the best way to travel from Milan to Lake Como, the answer is: It is super easy, affordable and fast to travel by train from Milan to Como

If you are planning a trip from Milan to Como, I have great tips to help your trip to be as easy as possible. From finding the best train options, how prices compare and the other alternative transportation to take a trip from Milan to Como.

It was only in my third visit to Italy when I decided to travel by train from Milan to Lake Como, and I am so happy I did it. Lake Como is one of the most scenic destinations in Italy, and it is very easily visited from Milan or Lugano in Switzerland. 

Lake Como is an iconic Italian lake that draws travelers from around the world, any time of the year, and with a good reason.

Clustered in the middle of Lake Como are the villages of Bellagio, Varena and Menaggio plus many other stunning lakeside villas and nearby mountains. The views are stunning, nestled in the foothills of the Alps, where the rich and famous spend their vacation in luxurious villas, and we, the visitors, enjoy the incredible lakeside towns.

If you are looking for a great destination for a day trip from Milan, or visiting for a few days, Lake Como is a great option.

Enjoy it and Buona Giornata!

BONUS RESOURCES:  In this guide you can find all the best travel tips to travel by train from Milan to Lake Como, and also, all the resources you need to book your train, and in addition, best options for private or group tours, best hotels in Lake Como and much more. 

Milan to Como train - PIN IT FOR LATER!

Milan to Como by Train: Orientation and Map

Before deciding on your transportation from Milan to Lake Como, check the map for distance and orientation of what you want to visit first

The southern shore of Lake Como is just 32 miles (51 km) from Milan and it’s very easy to travel from Milan to Lake Como. 

The main places people tend to visit are the towms of Como, Bellagio, Menaggio, Varenna, and Tremezzo.

But if you have more time, there are also plenty of stunning villas to visit all around the lake.

Note that the Lake Como resembles an inverted “Y” shape, and it’s the third largest lake in Italy.

Measuring 46 km in length, it is nestled into the foothills of the Alps in the Lombardy region.

 Known as the “golden triangle”, set in the middle of Lake Como, at its fork, are Varenna, Menaggio and Bellagio. This is a spetacular location, with a combination of mountain vistas, opulent villas and charming towns.

The town of Como itself is situated on the southwestern arm of the lake at its most southern point. Being the closest lakeside town to Milan, it is one of the most popular towns on Lake Como.

Best way to travel from Milan to Lake Como

Lake Como is located in Northern Italy, and it is not far from the Swiss boarder, and it is very close to Milan and Lugano.

Personally, I decided to take the train from Milan to Lake Como, but there other options for transportation that I am also including here. 

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, to just explore Lake Como at a slower pace if you have only one day in Lake Como region. 

  • Train: Taking the train from Milan to Lake Como is affordable and efficient.
  • Car: Driving to Lake Como is a straightforward trip. 
  • Ferry: Navigazione Laghi ferries connect the lake shore towns, and allow you to explore with or without a car. 
  • Bus: Bus service from Milan to Como is available, but it is less practical than other transportation options.

Below you will find in detail all the transportation options to travel from Milan to Lake Como.

Milan to Como train

Milan to 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 to stay in a neighborhood by the main stations.

Check the section Resources below for best options of accommodations in Milan. 

PAULA’S 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 in the top for you to insert and validate your ticket.

Departure 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 Garibladi 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 of 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 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:

  • Italia Rail: Check train schedules and you can also book online using italiarail.com with a booking fee of €5.
  • Tren Italia: This is another option to travel by train from Milan to Lake Como and you can book online at trenitalia.com and there is no extra fee.  

Arrival at Lake Como

The Como San Giovanni train station is only 10 minutes 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 makes fewer stops, while the trains from Porta Garibaldi stop in every single local station, and as you can imagine, it takes double the time.

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

Milan to Como
Milan to Lake Como

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

Milan to Como: Other options for transportation

Milan to Lake Como by car

Driving to Lake Como is a straightforward trip. Because of the proximity from 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

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 (batallo): To visit all towns takes approx. 2-3 hours and one-way ticket for each ferry cost €10.40 
  • Fast-boat (hydrofoil): Visiting all towns takes approx. 45 min to 1 hour and 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 your prefer avoiding having to arrange the transportation and you don’t want to worry about 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: 

Trip from Milan's airport to Lake Como

Visiting Lake Como straight from the Mapensa 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 hour. Trains operate from 7:12 am to 11:12 PM, once every 2-hours and it costs €17 each way.

day trip Milan to Lake Como

How to get to Lake Como from Lugano, Switzerland

From Lugano 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 by bus

It takes approx. 1-hour to travel from Lugano to Menaggio. Arriving in Menaggio you take a ferry to Bellagio. You can check bus options here

Milan to Lake Como

How to do a Milan to Lake Como day trip

Most day trips from Milan to Lake Como start with seeing the town, then taking a ferry up to Bellagio and visit 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 take about 2-hours since it makes at least 10 stops.

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 entratain 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 archicteture 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, 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.

Train from Milan to Como

Final thoughts on a Milan to Lake Como trip

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, 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. 

I really recommend visiting Lake Como if you are visiting the Milan area, and be prepared for a long day with a lot of walking and amazing places to see and visit. 

I hope you find this guide helpful, and don’t forget to check the Resources section below to make your trip from Milan to Lake Como as perfect as possible. 

TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES

WHEN TO VISIT LAKE COMO

Lake Como is a great destination all year round:

  • Summer: Between June-September is the high season, and you can expect to see large crowds, full ferries and very busy restaurants. The weather is hot with temperatures in the upper 30°C.
  • Spring and Fall: Considered the shoulder season, with cooler temperatures and you can expect some rainy days.
  • Late Fall to early spring: The temperature is chilly and less crowds, but the ferries run less frequently.

ITALY GUIDE BOOK

Some of the excellent guide books that helped me to prepare in advance for my trips to Italy. 

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: 

BEST ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS IN BRUSSELS:

WHERE TO STAY CLOSE TO MILAN CENTRAL STATION

If you are planning to go on day trips from Milan, I recommend finding an accommodation close to the Milano Central 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:

BEST ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS IN BRUSSELS:

TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR YOUR COMO TRIP

Considering that anything can go wrong with any trip, we don’t want to risk the fun, right? Risks are of breaking down, losing your luggage, or even worse,  having an accident and getting injured.

I recommend and also use reliable insurance through World Nomads. You can just do a quick quote below, and you will be surprised to find out how little it can cost, for the benefit you will get. 

RENTAL CAR IN MILAN

If you are planning to rent a car for your trip in Italy, I recommend requesting a quote and comparing prices from different car providers to get the best deal. 

BEST TOUR OPTIONS 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. 

Feeling romantic in Lake Como? You can 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 the above and see the aerial view, it is possible to take a scenic helicopter tour

mY PACKING TOP PICKS

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Disclaimer: This post may have affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission at a no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to you.

Thank you so much for stopping by! I'm Paula, a Brazilian native who calls U.S. home. I am a world traveler, adventure seeker, and an athlete who is always in search of authentic and real-life experiences. I am passionate about cultural immersion, responsible traveling, and to empower people to live a Healthy Lifestyle. Let's Pin the Planet together!

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