• Departure: Milano Cardano
  • Arrival: Lake Como FS
  • Distance: 25 to 30 miles (40 to 48 kilometers)
  • Duration: 60 mins
  • Download Map: Click here
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Lake Como from Milan in a single day, is it feasible?
Lake Como from Milan in a single day, is it feasible?
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I have to admit that I, personally, find 'doing Lake Como in one day' a bit rushed and totally against my slow travel ethos - you see, there is no way you can fully explore all that this beautiful lake has to offer in one day, but you will be able to do various 'circular' boat tours and return on the same day if that's really what you want to do.

How long does it take to travel from Milano to Lake Como?

Before you think you can just hop on a train from Milano Centrale and get off at Como, it's important to know that there is no direct train service from Milano Centrale to Lake Como. However, the train travel time from Milano Centrale with a transfer is only 1 hour and 30 minutes. You can also connect to Lake Como from Milan's main airports, Malpensa and Linate, which takes about the same amount of time. From Milan Cadorna trainstation, the journey is much shorter as the train departs from there.

Batelli station on Lake Como

The train line Milano - Saronno - Como stops at the station Como Lago FS, and from there you can take a boat (batello) to other places on the lake like Bellagio or Varenna. You could also just walk around the city of Como, do some window shopping, have lunch, and return to Milano. However, you will not see any villas in this case, and you could get by with buying a regular train ticket for 5-6 €. I am assuming that you want to see the villas and the lake, so I will explain more about how the train + boat tickets work in the next section, but first for a reality check.

How big is Lake Como?

Lenno

Lake Como is large, comparable in size to Lake Tahoe or about the size of Manhattan. That's why you can only see part of it in a day. Most fast tourists, as opposed to slow tourists, will get as far as Bellagio or Varenna in one day, but you can do more, depending on which boat tour you choose. To give you an idea, the most interesting part of the lake (the end of the first basin) will take you about 2 hours and 30 minutes on boats that stop all over the place, and by then you won't have really explored anything on land.

You can download all the fares for boat trips on Lake Como and other lakes on the official website of Navigazione Laghi. Most people take one of the proposed excursions to explore the first basin of the lake; however, these have set departure times and only go a few times a day (Varenna 2x per day, Villa Carlotta 2x, Bellagio 4x, etc.). The most popular excursion is the Tour of the First Basin of Como, which goes to Como, Blevio, Torno, Moltrasio, and Cernobbio (famous for Villa d'Este and Villa Erba). The various excursions and rates are listed on this page.

Cernobbio - Hotel Villa dEste

What Kind of Boats Are There?

There are three types of boats: the batelli, tragetti (car ferries), and the aliscafi (FAST services), but the tours are mostly done on the 'batello' (plural batelli).

Which Tours Do I Recommend?

  • The First Basin: This tour, by batello, allows you to hop on and off at your convenience at Tavernola, Cernobbio, Moltrasio, and Torno. This circular line runs every 30 minutes, offering flexibility to explore these areas.
  • The Bellagio Tour: Also operated by batello, this trip takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. Given the length of the trip, it's recommended to stay on board if you're doing a day trip. Many choose to return to Como by speedboat (reservation required) or bus.
  • Central Lake: Another batello tour, lasting a minimum of 2 hours, where you can disembark at Menaggio, Varenna, Bellagio, San Giovanni, Villa Carlotta, Tremezzo and Lenno. This tour covers some of the most scenic parts of the lake and encourages exploration of the shores and villages. In order to fully enjoy this tour in one day, it is recommended to depart from Como between 9 and 10 am.

The Journey to Lake Como with the Trenord Railway Company

Grand Hotel Tremezzo

To travel by train to and from Lake Como you will be traveling with Trenord, a subsidiary of Trenitalia. The company offers extensive connections throughout Lombardy, connecting major cities such as Milan, Bergamo, Brescia, Como and Varese. The service is particularly useful if you're arriving from one of the Milan airports. Trenord's network also includes the Malpensa Express, which is separate from the regular service and has a different fare.

In addition to domestic routes, Trenord provides cross-border services to Switzerland, connecting Italian cities with Swiss cities such as Lugano and Chiasso. Its operations include a large number of suburban lines in Milan, allowing easy transfers to the Trenitalia network. For a seamless travel experience, download the Trenitalia app.

Trenitalia app download 

Lake Como Lifestyle - AIG

How to Take the Train to Lake Como?

To reach Como, the Trenord line RE7 Como - Saronno - Milano is commonly used. This line is one of the most frequent and departs from Milano Cadorna station, which is conveniently located near Sempione Park and not far from the Duomo (1.2km). If you don't start from Cadorna, you have to change to this line; from Milano Centrale you have to change at Cadorna and from Malpensa airport you have to change at Saronno. If you're coming from Milano Linate airport, you have to change at Milano Forlanini station and change at Saronno. There are two exceptions: If you want to start your cruise on Lake Como in Lecco or Varenna, you can take the train to one of these towns instead, but it will take longer and you'll have to leave even earlier, so keep that in mind.

Where is Milano Cadorna Station?

Milano Cadorna train station is about 20 minutes walk from Piazza Duomo or 5 minutes by subway on line M1 direction Rho Fieramilano. For those with luggage, a taxi may be more convenient. If you're coming from Milano Centrale, it's better to take the train or subway to Cadorna station. Note that Cadorna station has a luggage deposit, so you can explore freely and pick up your belongings later.

SEE MAP

Passalacqua Hotel in Moltrasio

How long does it take to get to Lake Como by train?

Trains from Milano to Como Lago Station run approximately every 30 minutes daily from 6am to 10pm. Como Nord Lago (Como Lago) is the railway station in the city of Como. It is located in proximity of the lake and a 5-minute walk to the town centre.

  • From Cadorna to Como Lago Station: Approximately 60 minutes.
  • From Saronno to Como Lago Station: Approximately 60 minutes.
  • From Malpensa to Como Lago Station: Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Train + Boat Packages to Lake Como

To enhance the Lake Como experience, Trenord offers 4 specialized packages that combine train and boat travel. These packages are designed for an eco-friendly and cost-effective exploration of Lombardy during the summer. There is no need to buy one of these packages if you intend just to go to one destination and back. These packages are worth it for their convenience and the small discount. If you were to buy this separately, it would be €10.40 for a return Como - Milano and €20.80 return to Bellagio, i.e. €31.20, the package costs €29.20, so you get a 'piccolo sconto'.

These packages are advertised on Trenord's website and vary in price, with the Bellagio tour being the most expensive. Since the names of the actual train lines may be different from those on the website, it's important to check specific details such as the date and train number when booking. A promotion running until October 6, 2024 offers discounts on these packages, so it is beneficial to check the website prior to purchasing.

  • Tesori del lago di Como: Roughly translated as "Gems of Lake Como." Travel to Varenna
  • Tour del primo bacino di Como: "Tour of the First Basin of Lake Como." Travel to Como
  • Bellagio Tour: A tour dedicated to the beautiful town of Bellagio. Travel to Como 
  • Tour del primo bacino di Lecco: "Tour of the First Basin of Lecco." Travel to Lecco

As you can see: Not all Trenord train+boat excursions start from the city of Como.

What is Included in a Lake Como Train + Boat Package?

Train+boat packages are combination tickets that include both train and boat fares and are available for pre-booking.

  • The Trenord train ticket in all packages allows for a single round trip in second class from any station in Lombardy to Como (all stations), excluding the Malpensa Express airport service and trains operated by other railway companies, including Trenitalia trains.
  • Free-circulation tickets : Unlimited travel by boat with Navigazione Lago di Como between Como and Bellagio, including stops like Cernobbio, Torno, Argegno, Lezzeno, Lenno, Tremezzo, and Villa Carlotta, available on regular services, not the FAST services.
  • The package also includes a return journey option from Varenna, either by boat with Navigazione Lago di Como or by Trenord train.
  • Ticket holders receive a discount on the admission price to Villa Carlotta, with an adult ticket reduced from €15 to €13.
  • The tickets do not need to be revalidated, as they are valid for travel on only one day and are not limited to one line.
  • For online purchases, no ticket printing is required.
  • Validity: Tickets are valid on the date chosen at the time of purchase, are not modifiable, do not require validation, and are non-refundable.

What Does the Milan + Boat Combination Ticket Cost?

  • Adults: from €26
  • Children [4-13 years]: from €14.50
  • Family [2 adults + 2 children]: from €52

Where Do I Find the Schedule for the Boat?

You can find the boat schedules on the Navigazione Laghi website: Boat Schedules for Lake Como.

Where Can You Buy These Packages for Train + Boat Lake Como?

  • Train+Boat Packages are available on the Trenord website: Trenord Lake Como Packages.
  • Train tickets are available at platform ticket machines or major stations throughout Lombardy.
  • Alternatively, you can purchase tickets online via the Trenord website or app, at ticket offices, from distributors, or through authorized retailers.

*Rates provided are for 2024.

Recommended Reading

For more insights on Lake Como, check out Lake Como: 5 Hidden Gems You Don't Want to Miss.

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