How To Plan For A Dream Vacation In Lake Como
Lake Como is Italy’s most famous and beloved lake. Located about 50 km north of Milan, it is the Milanese’s favorite destination on hot, muggy summer days. With its breathtaking views, villas and gardens, it has also become a dream wedding destination to many.
So if you’re planning a trip to Lake Como soon, here are some very useful tips to help you have a smooth stay there, and make the best out of your time.
Make sure to view our Lake Como photo diary.
How to Get There
The lake is easily reachable as there are daily express/local trains running from Milano Centrale Station. For as low as 13 euros and a quick 50 min scenic train ride, you will arrive in Como – the first town on the southwestern tip of the lake.
The tickets can be purchased from any Trenitalia kiosk, located around the station. It’s best to buy them ahead of time for cheaper options. You are also able to buy them online. The site’s link is included at the bottom of the post.
Warning: Avoid calling for cabs from your hotel if possible. We ended up paying 20 euros for less than a mile ride. Cabs are ridiculously expensive and are traps for tourists. The driver starts the meter not when you board the car, but when he leaves his previous location to arrive to yours! It’s better to fetch a cab on the street or take the bus.
How to Plan Where You Stay
The lake looks like an upside down ‘Y’ with lots to see and do in the breathtaking towns surrounding it. With only five days in the region, we had to pick our top sites and it came down to: Como, Menaggio, Lenno, Bellagio, and Tremezzina.
It’s best to do your research of the towns prior to arriving, and to consult the ferry or bus schedules. Some helpful links are included at the bottom of the post.
If you want to make the best out of your trip and limit the travel time, we suggest that you diversify your stays around the lake. If you are hoping to visit Menaggio, Varenna, and Bellagio, it’s best to stay in the center part of the lake. While you can stay in Como/Cernobbio, keep in mind that the ferry ride takes about an hour (for fast boat) and 2 hours for the slow boat to get there.
How to Commute?
Taking the ferry is the tourists’ favorite means of transportation. Although you can buy daily ferry passes to go all over the lake (for as low as 28 euros), the ferries don’t run on an hourly basis and some routes end as early as 5 PM. Therefore, it’s ambitious to try to get to the northern tip of the lake, but keep in mind that it can take you the entire day and you will have to sleep there once you arrive.
It’s worth trying the ferry once to get a feel of the lake, and take amazing pictures of the villas around it. However, due to limited routes and an overcrowd of tourists, we recommend that you take the local bus instead to explore the towns. The bus offers an elevated scenic route, as you will be going up the mountain around the lake. The fares are cheap and the bus is reliable in schedule with no major delays and a stop in every town.
What to See/Do?
The difference between visiting Milan and visiting Lake Como is that for the latter there is no official guide/map drafted by the Ministry of Tourism to what to see or do around the lake. The lake is 45 Km long and each region/town operates on its own, so don’t expect to arrive there and ask your hotel for a travel guide.
Each region has something to offer with its different architecture and landscapes, from a peaceful vacation on the lake, to exploring villas and castles, to even an adventure trip packed with activities such as rock climbing and canyoning.
If you are visiting Como, make sure to check the Como-Brunate Funicular. The funicular is cheap (5 euros round trip) and it will take you to top part of Brunate to admire the breathtaking view of the lake and its neighboring towns. During high season, the funicular runs every 15 minutes from 6 AM till midnight.
If you love magnificent architecture and gardens, we suggest you visit the following places (all links are posted at the bottom of the post): Villa Carlotta (in Tremezzina), Villa del Balbianello (in Lenno), Villa Erba (in Como), and Villa Melzi d’Eril (in Bellagio).
If it’s within your means, we suggest you stay at Villa d’Este, the luxury hotel in Como with the famous exquisite private gardens.
If you have any questions regarding planing a trip to Lake Come, feel free to drop us a comment and we will help as much as possible.