We flew into Bergamo Orio Al Serio airport and spent a night in Bergamo before travelling to Como the following day.
Although the distance from Bergamo is only around 30 miles (50km) there is no direct route by train.
Another thing to bear in mind is that Como has several railway stations. The two main ones being Como San Giovanni and Como Largo Nord. Where you are travelling from dictates which station you arrive at and travelling from Bergamo you arrive at San Giovanni.
There are several options to get to Como San Giovanni from Bergamo. The first is to travel via Milan and is the most expensive option (it uses Euro City trains), the second is to travel via Lecco with a change at Lecco and also Molteno, and the third option (and the best in my opinion) is via Monza.
Taking the Monza connection costs €6.45 each way (Sept 2012) and the journey time can vary between 1 hour 30m and 2 hours 15m depending on how long you have to wait for a connection. There's a pleasant enough cafe at Monza station to pass away the waiting time if you feel the need to.
The train to catch at Monza invariably goes to Chiasso which is one stop further on from Como. The reason it's worth mentioning this is because not all the intermediate stops are displayed on the electronic notice boards.
With a frequent service, the train from Milan to Como gives you quick access to Lake Como and its surrounding areas.
There are three train stations in Como, two are on the line which gives closest access to the lake whilst the third gives access to Como's commercial district.
Como Nord Borghi and Como Nord Lago serve passengers on the line to the lake with Nord Lago being the station closest to the lake (and with a bus stop outside it's entrance which serves buses operating out along lakeside towns and villages on the western side of the lake). Como Nord Lago is served by trains on the LeNord service. Como San Giovanni is situated within the commercial district.
Trains from Como Nord Lago (and Nord Borghi) arrive at Milan's Cadorna station whilst those from Como San Giovanni serve Milan Centrale.
Timetables and fares can be accessed on the website below.
Very easy indeed.
Trains run from Milan Nord Cadora and Milan Centrale stations. Trains from Milan Centrale arrive at Como San Giovanni station, trains from Cadorna arrive at Como Nord Lago (very near the lakeside and ferry pontoons) and Como Nord Borgi.
Journey times (under an hour) and fares vary according to departure. You do not need to buy tickets before your day of travel. Just get them from the ticket machines at the station; all have English language options (and other languages too).
Make sure you validate (date-stamp) your ticket before boarding using the machine son the platform. For Trenitalia trains these are yellow, for Le Nord trains they are green (see photo).
Train times, details and fares for both Le Nord and Trenitalia in English here;
The Le Nord is a private railroad that runs north and northeast of Milan. For people arriving at Malpensa Airport, Le Nord makes it possible to go straight to Como without going through Milan first.
Currently, the English side of the Le Nord website is not working - so the following explains how to use the Italian website...
1. Go to www.lenord.it
2. "Ramo" means "branch"; it should say "Ramo Milano", or "Milan branch", which is the system that you want (so leave it alone ;-) ).
3. To the right of "stazione di partenza" (departure station), there are two fields. In the rightmost field, use the pulldown menu to choose "Malpensa Aeroporto" (Malpensa airport).
4. To the right of "stazione di arrivo" (arrival station), there are two fields. In the rightmost field, use the pulldown menu to choose "Como Lago" (the station in Como closest to the lake).
5. For "Data", enter a date in the next week or two that is the same day of the week as the day you intend to travel (why? because if you choose a date too far in the future - more than 60 days or so - the schedules may not be complete, but since schedules don't change much over the year, next week will be good enough for planning). I entered 8 Aprile 2010 (April 8, 2010).
6. Enter a reasonable time of departure next to "Ora di partenza". Make this an hour or so after you land at Malpensa. I entered 09:00.
7. Click "Ricerca" (Search).
You will be presented with the following:
da Malpensa Aeroporto a Como Lago il 8/4/2010 a partire dalle ore 9:00
(from Malpensa airport to Como Lago on April 8, 2010 departing at 9 a.m.)
(solutions that were found)
Partenza = departure
Arrivo = arrival
Durata = length of trip
Tipo = type of train (or bus, maybe, in some cases)
Prezzo cl. 1^ = price for 1st class
Prezzo cl. 2^ = price for 2nd class
Cambi = "Changes" (i.e., where you change trains if it's not direct)
Opzioni = Options - under this, we have "Transport details" which you can click on to see the trains involved, and "Pricing details" which link is not currently active.
It is odd that the Price is "N/A" in each case; in the past, the website listed the prices...not to worry, as the prices are pretty cheap, a few euro each way. This is a commuter line, not a premium train, so the prices are reasonable.
So the first solution I get is:
departure = 08:56
arrival (in Como) = 09:55
trip length = 59 m(inutes)
type of trains = Malpensa Express and Treno (generic train)
price = not listed
where you change trains = Saronno (yes, the same one of Amaretto di Saronno fame)
The second solution may seem odd to you, it leaves at the same time (08:56) but doesn't arrive in Como until 10:43, This is because they are listing a possible second connection from Saronno to Como in case you miss the first one. Don't worry, your ticket is good on either one, as there are no reserved seats.
So, the net result for you is (1) a train leaves in the direction you want from Malpensa about every 30 minutes, and (2) the total trip will be 1 to 2 hours, depending on which train you catch and how long of a layover you have in Saronno. Clear now?
There are two train stations in central Como, served by two different companies. The one considered to be the main station is San Giovanni and it is the station of trains of Trenitalia. Here you can find fast trains to Milan Centrale or north on to Basel and Zürich in Switzerland.
I used the other station, Como Lago, which is served by LeNord. Trains from Como Lago station stops at Milan Codorna, which was the train station closest to my hotel, so it was more convenient for me. The trains from Como Lago to Milan leaves about every half an hour and the ride takes an hour. The ticket was 3.60 Euro (February 2009).
You can reach Como by train using two different railways:
-Ferrovie Nord Milano (FNM): this net connects Como to Milano. In Como the 'Como Nord lago' station is in front of the lake.
-Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) connects Como to the rest of Italy and Europe. 'Como San Giovanni' station is very close to city center.