Milan to Bellagio by car 75 kilometres from Milan.
Just use the autobahn and don't miss the turn-off, if you do its better to go back than attempt the road along the lake from Lake Como to Bellagio. Its takes approx 1hour and is very hairy with tight bends and curves although the scenery is spectacular.
The best way to get around Bellagio and Lake Como is by ferry. The ferry service runs from Bellagio on a daily basis to direct ports within the region.
You can obtain a ferry ticket which lasts 6 days for approx 28Euro's or you can purchase a daily ticket for 10euro's a day.
The Bellagio ferry is located opposite Hotel Florence and next door to Hotel Metropole on the waterfront. There is a ticket operator box which is just near the entrance gate to the ferry.
Car tickets can also be brought from here. Timetables are listed on a large board just near the ticket operator.
Car Ferries run twice a day from Bellagio up to Verenna, Cadenabbia and Menaggio.
Passenger ferries run regularly.
Parking is extremely difficult in Bellagio, especially through the summer months. There are a few car-parks. One just opposite Bellagio Wharf and one next door to Hotel Metropole. However, you do need to pay on an hourly rate if you are lucky enough to snap a car space up.
The other alternative is to park your car up the hill, there are numerous spots around the outskirts of the town to park.
We flew into Milan, and hired a private car to make our connections easier. It wasn’t cheap, but we felt it was worth it; the 90 minute drive was scenic and relaxing. We seriously considered our other options, which would have involved various connections with train, bus and ferry. In the end, we felt that we wanted to start out our trip in a low-stress way (hence our 2 nights in Bellagio), and were concerned that if our flight was delayed, we could miss the last trains, buses, or ferries to Bellagio. The car service we chose was excellent: Autonoleggio Barindelli (http://www.barindelli.it/). As it turned out, we missed our connecting flight in Madrid, due to our flight from JFK being delayed by 4 hours. We e-mailed the car service to notify them of our delay, and when we finally arrived in Milan, our friendly driver was there waiting for us.
Guide books (and this site like the others) tend to give the impression that there are lots of ferries up and down Lake Como from Bellagio. Not in winter there aren't. In winter the car ferry runs regularly to Cadenabbia and Varenna, and a couple of times a day to Menaggio, and the hydrofoil runs to Como and up to the top of the lake about four times a day each way. And that's it. The little boats that stop at romantic places like the Villa Balbianello and the Villa Carlotta are laid up from November to April and the only way to get to many places is by bus, or even by taxi in some cases. Which can come expensive. If you want to spend the day on a leisurely tour of the lake by boat you have to do it in the summer season and check the timetables before you book your holiday. And if you decide to travel by bus then the more prudent traveller should be aware that its sometimes a good idea to ignore the view and shut your eyes if you don't want to suffer a heart attack. The buses are remarkably unscarred, a tribute to their drivers, but the same can't be said of local cars which seemed to me to have one of the highest dint rates I've ever seen anywhere.
Driving in winter is only for the local or the brave - its easier in summer because there is so much traffic that it usually moves much more slowly.
Like many roads in Italy, the road from Como to Bellagio can be very narrow in sections. It certainly predates the invention of the automobile, especially SUVs and large buses. If you drive your car there, or rent a car, just be careful driving around corners because there are usually a lot of motorcycles going to and from Bellagio. The drive took me approximately 45 minutes each way.
As everywhere in Italy, especially in very touristy area, it's impossible to park. I mean, in theory it is possible, but there is never the space! And the prices are hideous of course, even if you are super lucky to find a space for parking! If you're thinking to park in the downtown Bellagio, you're a great optimist! Instead of being stuck in the que and trapped in the mess, try parking somewhere along the way on the descent, although that might be a trouble as well... Good luck!!!
Do not miss the chance to take the ferry to or from Bellagio! You can go to Varenna, Como, Lecco and other places on the lake, the trip is so beautiful and unforgettable! Ferries are going every 10-15 minutes, and they have deck seats, on the open air and in the cabin.
There are regular services from the lakeside promenade at Bellagio to other towns around Lake Como (it's one advantage of its central position on the Lake)... there's a choice of normal ferry, car ferry or hydrofoil. We rarely had to wait longer than half an hour for the next service (might be more if you're limited to the car ferry). One of the best ways to see the scenery, as well as get from one place to another.
We flew from the UK to Bergamo Airport with BMIBaby, but Ryanair also use Bergamo as a destination for Milan. Regular buses run from the airport to Bergamo (1.05 Euro) station where you can catch a train to Varenna Esino (via Lecco or Milan Centrale)then hop on a ferry across the lake to Bellagio. Trains from Bergamo also run to other popular destinations like Verona, Venice, Brescia etc.
Closest train station is actually on the opposite east coast of the lake at Varenna (a little town worthy of visiting in its own right) which offers connections north to Bellano/Tirano, or south to Lecco. Trains were pretty regular, and punctual, running along the east coast of Lake Como, with some great views en route. You have to get the ferry to Varenna first though. All our journeys seemed reasonably priced too (eg 1.95 Euros from Lecco to Varenna Esino)
There's a regular bus service (about every hour) running from Bellagio to Como which is cheaper than the hydrofoil, and takes about the same time (50 mins) I think. The roads are a bit scary, but the drivers all seemed pretty cool about blind corners and precipitous drops towards the lake far below! Avoid journeying at peak hours as we had to stand with all the local commuters one afternoon.
What I could suggest u if u come from Como (check back the map) is to drive along the external side of the lake (through Cernobbio, Argegno ...) and take a ferry at Cadenabbia. The "internal" way from Como is not impossible but longer.
My guide book listed no train station in Varenna yet one does exist and there are frequent trains towards Lecco.
If in doubt check the FS railway website.
There are a few boat hire places in Bellagio to use around Lake Como.
Its advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Smanboats - Tel +39 031 914621