Lake Como Day Trip from Milan
Many people think the best route for a Lake Como Day Trip from Milan is on the 2.5 hour passenger ferry ride from the town of Como to Bellagio. After my own self guided trip to Lake Como, I wished we’d stayed with the shorter cruise through Varenna in both directions. Here’s my recommended route for a Lake Como Day Trip from Milan:
- Buy a round trip ticket from Milan to Varenna at the Milan Central Station. The ticket includes a round trip lake cruise to Bellagio.
- From the Varenna Escino station, walk down to the Varenna dock to validate your boat ticket. Then walk 10 minutes to the Villa Monastero botanical gardens. You can also visit the Villa Monastero gardens on the way back instead.
- Catch the boat to Bellagio. Wander the old town streets. Catch a view of the pool and gardens at the entrance to the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. Then walk along the lakefront to the I Giardini di Villa Melzi Botanical Garden.
- Return the way you came and skip the 2.5 hour passenger ferry ride from Bellagio to the town of Como.
Lake Como Day Trip – Varenna
After buying our tickets at the Milan central station, we rode the train to the Varenna Esino station on Lake Como. The ride to Varenna took about an hour. The last third of the trip hugs the lakefront of Lake Como. At the Varenna Esino station it’s a short steep walk down to the ferry port. We got our tickets stamped and had a short wait for the passenger ferry to Bellagio. If I’d known better, I would have also walked along the lakefront to the Villa Monastero botanical gardens. While we waited, the car ferry for Menaggio arrived, which created great confusion among tourists who tried to board the wrong ferry.
Varenna – Bellagio Passenger Ferry
Lake Como Day Trip – Bellagio
The passenger ferry ride from Varenna to Bellagio takes about 15 minutes. The ferry docks right in the middle of the small town of Bellagio. The first thing we needed to do was buy the passenger ferry ticket to the town of Como. Then we wandered the narrow streets on the hillside behind the ferry dock. We also entered the front gate of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni where we caught a glimpse of the magnificent pool and gardens. These are not open to the public. A walk along the lakefront toward the I Giardini di Villa Melzi Botanical Garden completed our visit to Bellagio and we hurried off to the ferry.
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni
Lake Como Day Trip – Como
From Bellagio, we paid the extra fare for the high speed service to Como. The high speed service makes fewer stops and saves more than an hour of travel time down Lake Como. The views of villas along the lake we quite impressive. In Como you can ride a funicular up the hillside and visit the cathedral. The train station is on the lakefront near the ferry landing. The train runs on a regular schedule to Milan, but this is a commuter train with low speeds and lots of stops. By the time we got back to Milan, I was convinced that we should have returned through Varenna instead. Live and learn!