How to take a Lake Como Day Trip from Milan

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Best ways to reach Como from Milan

There are several ways for you to get to Como from the center of Milan, you can drive your own rental car if you’re on an Italy road trip, however, train travel is the most convenient, the fastest, and easiest way to get to the lake, here I list every other possibility for you to have a greater range of possibilities to choose from.

Getting to Como by car

There are two highways that take you to Milan:

  • Drive along the A9 / E35 highways in the direction of Como (north), the road is 49.4 km and the trip takes a bit less than an hour under normal traffic conditions. It’s a very trafficked road, so estimate at least one hour and a half.
  • Drive along the Milano-Meda-Lentate Highway, it’s about 48 km and the trip should take about an hour.

Train travel to Como

There are three railway lines that connect Milan and Como.

  • From Milano Porta Garibaldi Station to Como San Giovani Station: The ticket is €4.80 and the trip lasts an hour.
  • From Milano Centrale Station to Como San Giovani Station: The trip is shorter because the train stops only twice before reaching Como, it lasts about 40 minutes and the ticket price ranges from €4.80 to €11.90.
  • From Milano Cadorna Station (close to Sforza Castle) to Como Nord Lago Station: The trip is also an hour long and the ticket €4.8.

If you want to reach Milan from the three most important airports in the Milan Area, these are the detail you should keep in mind:

  • Getting to Como from Milano Malpensa International Airport: It’s possible to rent a car at the airpor, if that’s your case, take the A36 motorway for about 15 km and then the A9 highway to Como (towards Como – Chiasso).
  • Getting to Como from Milano Linate Airport: Start driving in the towards Milan and then at Tangenziale East (highway exit), take the A51 highway and then the A) in the direction Como – Chiasso. There’s a bus service that connects Linate Airport to Milan Central Station where you can get your ticket to Como by train. The ticket is €5
  • Getting to Como from Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport: If you rent a car at Bergamo airport, you can get to Como in less than an hour, choosing the direction Como – Chiasso.
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Now that you know how to get there, let’s see what you can do in Como once you’ve arrived.

Best things to do in Como

Walk along the Medieval Walls

The Medieval Walls enclose the old town of Como, the heart and center of town. The best thing you can do in the area is discover vintage objects, such as clothes, bags, and jewellery at the outdoor market, next to Porta Torre, the main access gate to the old town.

The market is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the mornings and on Saturdays all day long.

Piazza del Duomo and Como Cathedral

Piazza del Duomo is another area worth a visit, surrounded by traditional houses, artisan shops, and several bars, the square is home to the most beautiful church in town, the Cathedral or Duomo di Como.

The imposing building beautifully combines different architectural styles, with Romanesque and Gothic traits.

Close to the Duomo’s bell tower you can discover the Old Town Hall, Palazzo Broletto, a fantastic building that today functions as the main tourist information office in Como.

Discover San Fedele Square

Right in the center of the old town, San Fedele Square is the most important meeting point for locals and tourists alike. The area, which was originally an agricultural market for the farmers from Como, is home to the stunning church of San Fedele, a building built in perfect Romanesque style dating back to 1120.

Take a walk along the Lake

Probably the most romantic way to discover the village at your own pace and enjoying the vistas. Take some time to have a sit in any of the bars along the shore and enjoy one of Italy’s most popular drinks, a Negroni.

Visit the Tempio Voltiano

Alessandro Volta has its own museum in Como, since he was a Como citizen. The museum collects several objects related to his life and works, including the first version of the electric battery.

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The exhibition is hosted in a magnificent neoclassical building dating from 1927.

The ticket is €2 and it is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm. The museum is located on Viale Marconi.

Check the city from above

One of the best ways to have an aerial view of the city and the lake is to ride the Como cable car!

To do so, you should board the Como-Brunate cable car. Brunate is a picturesque town on top of a hill overlooking the area, It stands on top of a hill, about 700 meters high.

The cable car station and departure point is on Viale Geno, a few meters away from the Como Nord Lago Train Station.

The ticket is €3.10 one-way and €5,70 return. Kids can travel for free if they are up to 110 cm high.

Go to the beach!

Not everybody knows that there are beaches around the shores of Como. You can go to Lido Villa Olmo where the beach boasts two amazing swimming pools as well as a beach bar for you to relax.

You can also discover the Lido di Faggetto, a small beach that’s very popular among locals, especially on hot summer days. Here, it’s possible to rent a sunbed and to enjoy a drink at the beach bar.

Boat trips

One of the main reasons to visit Como is to discover the beautiful landscape around Italy’s most remarkable Lake, Como Lake.

The best way to discover those stunning hidden landscapes, aristocratic villas, and gorgeous gardens along the margins of the lake is by means of a boat.

There are several tours and trips for you to choose, some of them simply navigate the lake while others take you to explore the unique towns and villages that surround the lake. The most famous ones are Bellagio and Varenna, and it’s a good idea to estimate that you’ll be probably spending some extra time in any (or even both of them!)

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There are two different types of boat tours that you can take. A private tour is more personalized and they are ok if you have a more flexible budget.

https://www.getyourguide.com/milan-l139/lake-como-bellagio-and-varenna-from-milan-t146676/

If you’re travelling on a more limited budget, no worries! You can also discover the wonders of Lake Como taking a public boat.

There will be no amenities available, but you can buy a few drinks and snacks before boarding and make it your own special experience.

The local service is named Navigazione Laghi, there signs in every boarding area with the inscription “Navigazione Lago di Como”.

The routes connect the central port of Como to many of the beautiful towns around the Lake with a more affordable price.

There are three different types of boats and routes you can pick, the motorship routes (in Italian Corse Battello) connect all the villages along the lake, it’s a slow navigation, ideal to enjoy a laid-back journey.

The two main routes are Como Colico (with stops in Bellagio and Varenna), and Leco-Bellagio, the most scenic of both, running only during the Summer months, and navigates the south of the lake.

The so-called Corse Rapide are the routes navigated by the hydrofoil, they do not reach the southern part of the Lake and are somewhat faster than motorships.

Ferry routes, also known as Corse Traghetto, move around the main towns in the central part of the lake and they also allow to board the boat with your car. This route allows you to visit the towns of Menaggio, Varenna, and Bellagio among others.

In all cases, the tickets need to be purchased before boarding. Tickets can be either one-way or round, without intermediate stops. Or you can by day-passes (up to six days) with gives you unlimited trips in the area of choice and allows you to stop in every town you want.

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Prices start at €4.60 and vary according to the length of the trip and the type of ticket. Tickets are sold at the ticket office close to the dock.

Only when you take the boat in a town where there’s no ticket office you’re allowed to buy the ticket onboard. Credit cards are accepted.

Bellagio

Exploring the village of Bellagio is one of the best things you can do in Como while navigating the lake. Locals usually call it the pearl of the lake since it’s considered to be one of the most ravishing towns in the Lombardy region.

Take some time to stroll the cobblestone alleys that take you from the dock to the old town center. The walk is quite pleasant but there are dozens of stairs, so don’t forget to pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes if you really want to enjoy your walk in the village.

In the center, you can visit the Basilica of San Giacomo, a Romanesque church built in the 12th century.

In the area, several magnificent villas with lush gardens, colorful flowers, and impressive facades overlook the lake adding a touch of elegance to the already impressive landscape.

The most remarkable of them are Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni, currently a luxury hotel. Only guests are allowed in the villa, but visits to the garden are open to the public.

In Bellagio, it’s also possible to spend some time at the public beach of San Giovanni, a pebbled beach with stunning views of the lake. Or you can also discover the Lido di Bellagio, a private beach well organized and beach bar serving unforgettable Italian aperitivi.

Varenna

Often overshadowed by the beauty of Bellagio, Varenna is a stunning little town on the shore of the Lake well worth a stop during your boat trip. Varenna is located on the eastern side of the Lake, only 15 minutes from Bellagio by boat.

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The shore is dotted with magnificent villas overlooking the lake. One of the most spectacular views is Villa Cipressi, today a luxurious hotel surrounded by unique terraced gardens that extend up to the shore.

They say that the villa owes its name to an ancient cypress tree that is still standing in its gardens.

Those keen on hiking can walk their way up the ill to reach Castello di Vezio, a medieval fortress on the highest spot in Varenna which overlooks the village in a protective fashion.

In the castle you can explore a natural history exhibition devoted to the extinguished Lariosaurus, an ancient reptile that gave origin to the local myth of the Como Lake monster… any resemblance to the Loch Monster legend is not a coincidence!

Where to eat in Como and surrounding area

La vita è Bella

Piazza Domenico Croggi 4 – Como

A value-for-money venue located quite close to the lake, serving traditional dishes from the Lombardy region with very affordable prices and truly huge portions!

Da Luciano – Bottega e Caffe’

Via Vecchia Regina, 61, 22010 – Laglio

Laglio is a small town on the western shore of the south branch of Lake Como, about 14 kilometres from the Como city center.

Da Luciano is not such a well-known place in the area of Laglio, but it is a true gem where to enjoy fantastic views and unique dishes, don’t miss their impressive and delicious cheese platters paired with a bottle of Italian wine.

Lake Heart Restaurant

Via Cernobbio 2 – Como

Another top-rated restaurant in Como worth also for the stunning views in the surrounding areas. A perfect place for pizza and pasta. Seafood is a must-try in this venue.

Kitchen

Via Cernobbio,41A – Como

Classic Italian gastronomy with a twist, the restaurant serves seasonal dishes with a modern touch of fusion cuisine. If you visit in summer, ask to be seated in the romantic outdoor terrace.

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