Getting between villages on Lake Como is very easy using the lake transport system. We used the boat from Lecco to Bellagio (just over and hour) and then from Bellagio to Varenna (15 minutes). The boat to Bellagio makes approximately 6-7 stops along the way. The scenery is magnificent and even though the weather was cool sitting outside on deck was delightful. There did not appear to be any departures between 11:30 and 2:30.
We stayed on Lake Como for 4 days and we decided to rent a small motorboat (40Hp - to drive without any license) to visit Lake Como all around. It's the best way to discover towns and typical water landscapes.
We rent a boat from AC BOAT (www.acboatrentals.com) in Menaggio. The company is very professional and boats are new and very clean, probably more clean than other around here. The staff is very friendly and give you lots of suggestion about Lake Como.
We moored the boat in Varenna for a small lunch (there there is a public floating dock where you can stop the boat for free) and after 4hrs boat rental we returned at the check in harbour.
Wonderful experience and good rates!! Fuel Included...Excellent service!!!
There are many boat services on the lake, from ship to motor boats and ferries. You can go to/from all the major towns on the lake. Check out the nagivation routes and schedule at:
The easiest way to explore the lake is ON the lake. The views are the best. If you drive....you have to concentrate so hard on the narrow roads not to get killed that you miss a lot of the spectacular scenery. Also a lot of the roads are through villages and tunnels and a short distance away from the lake.
There are a variety of passes you can get for the lake that are worth looking into. There are also 'slow' boats which call at many villages and 'fast' boats with fewer stops. The hydrofoil is an exciting example of a fast boat which was really fun!
When going to Lake Como in Italy make sure to rent a car. The boats going up and down the Lake can be quite expensive and don't run all night. Also from what I heard the buses aren't too comfortable and don't run all night.
Como Station San Giovanni is on Italy's main railway network and trains run from Milan to Como frequently. Journey time is approximately 45-60 minutes. They depart from Milan's Stazione Centrale and Stazione Porta Garibaldi, and arrive at San Giovanni, Como's main station.
I rented a car for this part of the trip, thinking we would go to Lugano one day. Not only did we not go to Lugano, the car sat parked the entire time. Do yourself a favor, have a driver pick you up in Milan and take you to your hotel on Lake Como. You will only be on boats during your stay, unless it's a longer one of course (we were there three nights).
From Bellagio to Como or from Como to Bellagio it is a good idea to take a ferry. A single ticket will cost 6,20 euros for an adult and 3,10 euros for children between 4-11 years old. It's a good way of visiting two delicious towns while enjoying the sailing. There are also another possibilities of taking a ferry from Bellagio to Menagio or to Lecco.
Desde Bellagio a Como o viceversa, es una buena idea coger el ferry. Un billete sencillo costara 6,20 euros para un adulto y 3,10 euros para ni?os entre 4 y 11 a?os. Es un bueno modo de visitar dos lugares deliciosos mientras disfrutas de la navegacion. Tambien hay otras posibilidades de coger un ferry desde Bellagio a Menagio o a Lecco.
The ferry and hydrofoil service on Lake Como is very good. I think you could go to virtually any village or town on the lake by boat. The service between Varenna, Menaggio and Bellagio runs hourly and it is only about 15 minutes between them. Cost is around 3 euro per leg and I think you can get an all day pass for about 7 euro if you want to do some lake hopping. There is a posting of departures and prices at most of the docks and probably also at many hotels. Some terms that help in reading them:
"Alicafo" means hyrofoil
"Festivo" means Sunday
"Feriale" means Monday thru Saturday
"Partenza da" means departing from
If you are visiting Lake Como for more than a day or two, I would highly recommend you rent a car. There are so many "Off the Beaten Track" spots that are so stunning that it would be a shame to be locked onto the main road. One of our most memorable days involved a road trip from Ossuccio around the northern end of the lake through Colico and then south. Problem was that even though we started out at 9:00 AM (this is vacation) we didn't reach Varenna until 5:30 PM. and by that time we were on the other side of the lake from our "villa". Driving back was impractical and finding a one night accommodation would have been expensive and wasteful.
The solution was simple. We bought a ticket for our car on the autotraghetto (aka auto ferry) between Varenna and Menaggio for 9.60 euro and rode back in style in about 15 minutes. Aside from being very efficient, it was another great experience for the memory banks.
We did not have a car at this point in the trip. Arrived at Malpensa in the morning, took bus from Malpensa to Milano Centrale train station and took a short train ride to Lake Como.
This was done after arriving on a night flight from the States and we were at our hotel by afternoon.