Want to compare travel options? Find out the best way to travel from Milan to Lake Como by train, bus and car, plus info on day trips and some handy tips for your journey.
So, you’re looking at how to get from the city of Milan to the stunning Lake Como, but are wondering about the best routes, how long it takes and the all-important costs? Whether you’re travelling from the city centre, or straight from Bergamo, Linate or Malpensa Airports, I’ve got you covered.
First things first, there are several ways to reach the lake, and each of them takes you through some beautiful landscapes. You could travel by car, bus, train or fly. There are pros and cons of each option, but hopefully after reading this post you’ll have everything you need to decide how to get there..
It’s also worth noting that Lake Como is pretty big, and some towns are much easier to reach than others. This may mean you catch a bus or train to one of the main towns, then hop on a ferry or find a taxi to complete your journey.
Before deciding on your transportation from Milan to Lake Como, I’d start by checking the map and working out where exactly you want to go! The main places people tend to stay are Bellagio, Menaggio, Varenna, Tremezzo and the city of Como, but there are plenty of stunning spots dotted all around the lake.
Planning your trip to Lake Como? Here are a few quick highlights:
- Visit some of the prettiest towns on Lake Como on this cruise
- Learn how to make some staples of Italian cuisine
- Explore the area on two wheels (and without so much effort!)
- Your own private sightseeing cruise – a great option for groups visiting the lake
- You’ll feel like George Clooney as you speed away on a classic speedboat
- One of the most stylish hotels on the banks of Lake Como
Lake Como Map
So, where is Lake Como located? North of Milan, close to the Swiss border. Distance from Milan to Lake Como: 83 km / 51 miles. Oh and Lake Como is the third largest lake in Italy after Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda.
How To Travel To Lake Como From Milan
Trains From Milan To Lake Como
If you’re starting from the centre of Milan, the cheapest and simplest way to get to Lake Como is by train. The Trenitalia Trenord trains are efficient, comfortable and very reasonably priced.
There are several train stations around the lake, so check your final destination and use the info below to plan the best route. You can go to the city of Como, the town of Varenna or Como Lago Station.
TIP: When travelling in Italy, don’t forget to validate your train tickets before boarding, by inserting it into the validation box.
How long does the train from Milan to Lake Como take?
If you’re trying to reach one of the central towns on the lake (Menaggio, Varenna, Bellagio) where many of the hotels are, I’d recommend the train from Milan Centrale to Varenna Esino Station, which takes just over one hour.
There are frequent trains from Milan Centrale to the city of Como throughout the day. The journey takes between 36 minutes and 1 hour, so it’s much faster than driving.
Or you can go from Milan Cadorna Station to Como Lago station on the R17, which also takes just over one hour.
How much is the train from Milan to Lake Como?
When I checked, you could book tickets on all the different routes I’ve recommended for as little as 6 EUR one way. The price didn’t go up when I tried to book on the day or to travel the next day, so I’d definitely suggest catching the train to Lake Como.
Personally, I’d recommend booking via Omio, a platform which I love to use as it’s really simple and lets you compare times and ticket prices. Most of the tickets listed are mobile friendly e-tickets too, so it takes a lot of the stress away when you’re travelling in countries where you don’t speak the language. You can search here…
Where do the trains depart from in Milan?
Trains from Milan to Como and Varenna depart from the city’s main station, Milan Centrale. It’s a stunning station – arrive early so you can check out the beautiful architecture!
If you’re travelling to Lago Como station, then you’ll need to catch the train from Milan Cadorna.
And where do the trains arrive at Lake Como?
Trains to Varenna arrive at Varenna-Esina Station which is right in the town, and moments from the lake. From there it’s very easy to catch the lake ferry to connect to other towns.
Trains to Como Lago station also arrive right by the lake itself, where you can catch ferries to the other lake towns.
Meanwhile, trains to the city of Como arrive at Como S. Giovanni Station. This is the downside to taking this train as you’re not right on the lake. From Como station, you’ll need to walk 12 minutes to the pier, then catch a boat to one of the lake-side towns. Alternatively, there are buses from the station to many of the towns, such as Menaggio and Bellagio. I’d recommend the boats though, just for the views.
READ MORE: Planning a budget-friendly trip? Find out what to do in Lake Como on a budget
Bus From Milan To Lake Como
There are some buses from Milan, but they’re not as quick or easy, so I’d recommend taking the train.
Once you arrive at the lake, you might want to take one of the local buses to get to your final destination. There are several bus routes, which connect all the towns, and depending on where you’re going, some are more direct than the ferry.
As a rough guide, the C10 goes up the west side of the lake, the C30 goes towards Bellagio and the C40 will take you to the other southern tip of the lake.
Driving From Milan To Lake Como
The drive from Milan to Lake Como is pretty simple, and once you get closer to the lake, you’ll pass through some lovely scenery. It’s worth noting that your route out of Milan will vary depending on whether you’re heading to Como and the west side of the lake, or to Bellagio and the east.
Once you leave the main highways and start to navigate the edges of the lake, the roads become narrower and windier. Distances may not look far on the map, but these aren’t roads to race on! With incredible views at every turn, you’ll never forget your first time driving around Lake Como.
So how far is Lake Como from Milan? Well, the distance from Milan to the city of Como is 50 km, and assuming there are no major hold ups, you should be able to get there in just under one hour.
Meanwhile, to get from Milan to Bellagio it’s around 73 km with an approximate journey time of 1 hour 25 mins. There are quite a lot of toll roads in Italy, so prepare for those with some small change or a debit/credit card you can use abroad.
READ MORE: A Northern Italy Road Trip Itinerary
If you want the freedom of your own private transfer, there are several options available. You could investigate taxis once you get to Milan (perhaps with the help of your hotel) and see what quotes you get.
There are also transfers like this one, which offer a set price per person from Milan city centre or its airports (including luggage).
Carpooling To Lake Como
One option you might not know much about yet, is the app BlaBlaCar, which is basically a way of car-pooling… or modern-day hitchhiking!
It’s a popular app / website used across Europe, with drivers offering pick-ups to people who want a lift to somewhere. When I had a quick look to see what was available on the day, I found someone offering a lift from Milan to Como for just 6 EUR – a bargain for a private transfer!
As a solo traveller, I’d be sure to check the reviews of the drivers and trust your gut. Obviously, if you’re travelling with friends then you’ll feel safer. A few of my female friends used BlaBlaCar to travel across Europe last summer and said it was amazing! Very cheap and they met some really fun characters. It’s actually an amazing way to meet locals and learn a bit more about the culture as you travel.
One of the most popular ways to visit Lake Como is on a day trip from Milan. It’s not far away, so you can see and do a lot in one day.
This tour in particular is excellent, as not only do you have luxury transport to and from the lake, you get to explore Como on a walking tour, before hopping on a private boat to visit Bellagio and Varenna (two of my favourite lake towns!)
Tours like this are great when you’re short on time but don’t want to miss out on seeing such a stunning place. They also give you a flavour of some of the key locations around the lake so you can plan a return trip at a later date!
Travelling From Milan’s Airports To Lake Como
Lots of you visiting Lake Como won’t be planning to spend any time in Milan. You want to fly in and head straight to the beautiful lake. The nearest airport to Lake Como is Milan Malpensa, which is 45 mins away by car (to the city of Como).
Travelling From Milan Malpensa Airport To Lake Como
If you want to travel from Milan Malpensa Airport to Lake Como by public transport then the best option is to catch the Malpensa Express train to Saronno, then change to another train to connect to Como Nord Lago Station. From there you can catch the ferry to other towns on the lake, or catch the bus. When I checked, you could buy a single ticket from Milan Malpensa to Como Nord Lago for 10 EUR 90 via the Trenitalia website.
Travelling From Milan Bergamo Airport To Lake Como
Travelling from Bergamo to Como is a little more complicated. Your best options are either to cach the bus from the airport to Bergamo Bus Station, then change to the C46 which goes to the city of Como.
Alternatively, take a train to Milan Centrale, and then follow the options I suggested earlier.
Travelling From Milan Linate Airport To Lake Como
As Milan Linate Airport is south of Milan, it’s a longer journey to get to the lake. The least complicated option is to catch the train to Milan Centrale and then follow one of the routes I’ve suggested above.
Travelling By Helicopter From Milan To Lake Como
Ok so this is the most extravagant option by far, but I wanted to add it in as… WOW! Yes, you can actually charter a helicopter and fly to Lake Como! You’ll be picked up at one of Milan’s airports, and dropped off right by the lake. The journey takes just 30 minutes, and the views are as breath-taking as you can imagine!
However, luxury travel options like this one come with a serious price tag… but we can dream…!
I hope you’ve found this post helpful for helping plan your trip from Milan to Lake Como. I adored the lake, and I’m sure you will too!
If you’re looking for more guides to this region, check out these posts:
- 17 Amazing Things To Do In Lake Como
- 20 Top Things To Do In Lake Como In Winter
- What To Do If You Only Have One Day In Milan
- The Ultimate Italy Road Trip Itineraries: Routes, Sights, Guides, Maps And More
- 23 Best Hidden Gems In Italy: Venture Off The Beaten Path In Italy
- Riva del Garda: Restaurants, Food Experiences and Activities
- Where To Stay In Lake Garda, Italy – Hotels For Every Budget