How to go from Milano city center or from Milano Malpensa airport to Como lake main destinations: Como and Bellagio. A complete set of options and travel tips, including a travel map.
Como lake (actually we should call it Lario lake) is one of North Italy top destinations, and lovely Bellagio is its pearl. Despite being relatively close to Milan, getting there as independent travelers could be tricky. So here is a quick guide with all the information you may need to go from Milano to Como and to Bellagio, should it be for a day trip or for a longer period.
From Milan city center to Bellagio
The easiest way to get to Como and Bellagio from Milan is to start from the “Trenord” station in Cadorna square. You can easily get there by metro Red and Green.
In Cadorna station catch a train to Como Nord Lago. There are many trains, at least one per hour, and they take one hour to get you to Como. Tickets cost 4,80 € per person. Here is the Trenord web site to check departure times.
Actually there is no need to purchase tickets in advance, these trains have no seat reservations (so tickets cannot sell out). It’s your choice whether to purchase the ticket on line or at the train station, just remember that:
- train tickets must always be purchased before travel. You must stamp your tickets in the yellow machines usually to be found at the end of the platform. During your journey, an inspector will check your tickets and if you are found without a ticket or an unstamped ticket, you will be fined.
- tickets bought online must be used on the booked train, or a similar train in the following 4 hours.
Once you get to Como lake station you have 2 options to proceed to Bellagio: the bus or the boat.
The boat is of course the most enjoyable way to get to Bellagio, especially if the weather is nice. However it’s more expensive than the buss, less frequent, and it can take up to 2 hours if you take the normal Ferry boat which stops in all the lake shore villages. It’s a very enjoyable trip if you are not on a rush. Otherwise you can take the hydrofoil, which only takes 45′.
To get to the pier, walk 5 minutes to the lakefront and boat ticket office (Cross the road to the lake opposite the station and turn left). Tickets must be purchased prior to boarding. Here is the link to the schedule.
Otherwise, you can take the convenient bus which will get you to Bellagio in a little more than one hour.
Buses depart just outside the train station. Use the exit toward the lakeside and you find the bus stop at your left. Tickets can be purchased from the bus station ticket office and cost 3,70 €.
Bus stop in Bellagio is on lakeshore, between Villa Melzi’s garden and the car ferry terminal. Here is the link to the schedule.
In case you wish to go to Bellagio as a day trip, you will be better off if you plan ahead, so not to lose too much time waiting for your buses or boats.
From Milano Malpensa airport to Como and Bellagio
Milano Malpensa airport is the main international hub in Milan, if you are coming from outside Europe you will probably land here.
To go from Milano Malpensa airport to Como you will need to take the Trenord Malpensa Express train, which leaves from Malpensa Terminal 1 (below the Ground Floor / Arrivals area) and connects to Milano Cadorna every 30 minutes.
Purchase your ticket to Como Lago, take the train (Milan direction, you can’t get it wrong) then get in Saronno and catch the first train to Como. You Have trains at least every hour, more frequent during rush hours, expect to get to Como in 50 minutes. Here is the Trenord web site
Once in Como, just follow the same directions explained in the previous paragraph to get to Bellagio by boat or by bus.
Alternative route to and from Bellagio
You also have the possibility to leave from Milan Central Station and catch a train to Varenna, and from there a boat to Bellagio. This is a less convenient solution since you will need to walk or take a taxi from Varenna station to the pier. However it could be a good solution in case you have connecting trains leaving from Milano stazione centrale, for instance to go to Venice or to the Cinque Terre.
Here is what it looks like:
Catch a train to Varenna at MIlan Central Station with Trenitalia. This is their web site. The final destination of the train is Sondrio or Tirano (this is what you will see on the information boards). Trains leave approximately every 2 hours and the journey takes roughly one hour.
From Varenna to Bellagio, exit the station and either take a taxi to the boat landing stage (approx. cost €10) or turn left and walk down the numerous steps to the road at the bottom. To avoid steps you can follow the normal road. Turn right until you come to a crossroads (there’s a bar on the right hand corner). Turn left and cross the road – you are now on the main road. Take the immediate right hand turning and walk down towards the lake. At the bottom, turn left and you’ll see the boat ticket office on the right. It will take max 15 min. on foot.
There is a choice of either boats or car ferries from Varenna to Bellagio – both are 15 minute crossings and the only difference is the different point of arrival in Bellagio. The ferry and boat landing stages in Bellagio are within a 5 minute walk of each other right in the centre of the historical part of the town.
Frequency: approx. every hour, 15 minutes journey, € 4,60 per person
If you have enough time and a very light luggage, you may consider to go on the ferries and discover the small towns in the vicinity of Bellagio for a day. These can be done easiest and cheapest by purchasing a ticket called “Centro Di Lago” from the ferry terminal in Bellagio for about 10 euros. The ticket lasts all day but make sure you check which towns they allow you to visit.
Hope this is useful.
Enjoy Como and Bellagio!