The country of Italy has an amazingly diverse range of cultures and scenery. From the Amalfi Coast to Venice to Rome, the scene is entirely different nearly everywhere you go. This incredible diversity includes two of its most popular destinations: Milan and Lake Como.
Many people head to Milan because it is an epicenter of fashion, architecture, and food. But did you know that the stunning Lake Como area is just a short way away? If you want to take a day trip to Lake Como, we have all the information you need to get from Milan to Lake Como and explore the area.
What is Lake Como?
Lake Como (also called “Lario”) is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world! This stunning lake in northern Italy is also distinct because it’s a wishbone-shaped lake and the third largest lake in Italy.
The Lake Como area includes several gorgeous lake towns, but the most popular are Bellagio, Como, and Vareena. It’s no wonder because the views at Lake Como are perfect, thanks to the mountain scenery of the Alps surrounding the blue glacier-fed waters.
This beauty draws thousands of visitors each year who find it hard to leave. You may even spot a few celebrities enjoying Lake Como while you’re there! George Clooney liked the area so much that he purchased an 18th-century mansion on the water, and Donatella Versace and Richard Branson also have homes nearby.
Lake Como is a relaxing place to visit and enjoy some time off. There are hiking trails, boat tours, beaches, spas, museums, sights to see…and more! Explore the charming towns with their historical architecture or take a ferry ride along the shore. You can even rent your own private boat if you want to explore on your own.
The closest airport to Lake Como is Milan’s Malpensa Airport (MXP), which is about 40 miles away. You can also fly into Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport (BGY), but it’s a bit further at about 60 miles.
How to Get from Milan to Lake Como
Thanks to the many available transportation options, Lake Como is an easy day trip from Milan!
The easiest way to get to Lake Como from Milan is to head to the nearest train station! Your best plan is to head to the town of Como, which is on the southern tip of Lake Como and has two train stations. You can always head further north because there are train stations along Lake Como’s western side. But arriving in Como will get you on Lake Como’s beautiful waters the fastest.
Milan to Como San Giovanni Station
You can almost always get a direct train from Milan to Como San Giovanni station. When you book a direct train, your trip will take about a half-hour to one hour, giving you plenty of time to explore the Lake Como area!
You can get train tickets at either Milan Central Station (Milano Centrale) or Milano Porta Garibaldi to take you to the central Como train station. 90 different trains are coming and going each day (63 of them are direct trains), so you’ll be able to return to Milan whenever you want. Plus, ticket prices are incredibly affordable and only cost $5.31 when you book in advance.
Trenitalia is the fastest line, but Trenord should still get you from Milan to Lake Como in under an hour.
Milan to Como Nord Lago Station
Como also has another train station called Como Nord Lago. Unlike Como San Giovanni, this station only runs regional trains, and you may have to change trains along your route. For that reason, it takes a little bit longer to get to the Como Lago station, but the average journey is still about an hour.
You can get train tickets from Milano Centrale, Milano Porta Garibaldi, or Milan Cadorna station.
If you’re in the area of the Milan Malpensa airport and want to take the train straight to Lake Como, you’ll take the Malpensa Express train at the Milan Cadorna station. You’ll have to switch trains once, but you’ll end up at Como Nord Lago Station in less than an hour.
You may find cheaper train tickets on the Como Nord Lago route during peak travel times, so don’t be afraid to check it out if you’re on a budget!
Why not drive straight to Lake Como if you have a car at your disposal? It’s a fairly direct route, and you’ll be able to move around Lake Como’s different towns at your leisure. This is a great option, even if you’ve just landed in Milan.
Lake Como from Milan Linate Airport
Take the A51 motorway until you reach the A9. Head toward Como/Chassio and follow the A9 until you reach the Como Centro exit.
Lake Como from Milan Malpensa Airport
Head toward Como/Chassio. Follow the A36 motorway for about 9 miles, then take the A9 motorway until you find the Como Centro exit.
Day Trip Itinerary at Lake Como
If you’re visiting Lake Como during peak tourist season (June to early September), you’ll get more crowds, but you’ll also see it in its prime. These sunny summer days are perfect for slow boat trips on the water, a walking tour past luxurious villas, or lazy days on the shoreline. And thanks to the ferry service, it’s easy to start from nearly anywhere and visit other lake towns.
Start with the most popular spots if you’re only taking a day trip to Lake Como.
You’ll want to explore Como, the lake’s namesake, to see the Piazza San Fedel, Piazza del Duomo, and the impressive Como Cathedral.
Then grab your ferry tickets and visit Bellagio, a trendy location on Lake Como, due to its stunning views and luxurious villas. Book a visit to Villa Serbani or Villa Melzi which have incredible gardens–not to mention extraordinary architecture.
Next, head back to the ferry terminal for a ride to Varenna, a beautiful town that is very traditionally Italian. The town center, Piazza San Giorgio, is particularly famous for the 14th-century Church of San Giorgio and pavement made of solid marble. Don’t miss a stroll down the Riva Grande waterfront and the famous Lover’s Walk, Passeggiata degli innamorati. If you have time, you’ll also want to visit the botanical gardens at Villa Monastero.
As you explore, don’t forget to spend time shopping along the narrow streets of these colorful towns for local goods and delicacies. If you’ve planned to spend a full day in the area, you may still have some time to visit one or two of the other towns or enjoy a slow boat tour at sunset.
If you plan to visit Lake Como for more than a day and plan to visit some other towns, we recommend adding a beach day at Lido di Bellano, touring the Villa del Balbianello in Tremezzina, and visiting the clock tower at Lecco.
When it comes to accommodation, Lake Como has something for everyone. If you’re looking to splash out on a luxurious stay, there are plenty of five-star hotels with all the bells and whistles. For those who want to enjoy the lake without breaking the bank, there are also a number of budget-friendly B&Bs and guest houses.
And for those who want something in between, there are plenty of mid-range options to choose from. So whether you’re looking for luxury or a more affordable option, there’s sure to be something to suit your taste and budget. Whichever option you choose, you’re guaranteed to enjoy stunning views of the lake and its surrounds.
Things To Do in Lake Como
Looking for something to do in Lake Como, Italy? Here are a few ideas:
1. Visit Villa Carlotta.
This beautiful villa was built in the 17th century and is now open to the public. Be sure to stroll through the gardens, which feature an impressive collection of sculptures and flowers.
2. Take a boat ride.
Lake Como is unsurprisingly gorgeous from the water, so hop aboard a boat for a relaxing tour of the lake. There are plenty of companies offering boat rides, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one.
3. Explore Como city.
Como is a charming city with plenty to see and do. Be sure to visit the Cathedral of Como, which dates back to the 13th century, and wander through the city’s quaint streets.
4. Go hiking in the foothills of the Alps.
If you’re looking for some outdoor adventure, head to the foothills of the Alps for some hiking. There are plenty of trails to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that suits your fitness level.
5. Visit Villa Melzi.
This gorgeous villa was built in the 19th century and is now open to the public. Be sure to stroll through the gardens, which are absolutely beautiful.
6. Sample some of the local food.
Lake Como is known for its delicious cuisine, so be sure to sample some of the local specialities, such as Casoncelli and Ossobuco. And don’t miss a glass of the region’s signature white wine, Torbato!
Whether you plan to spend your day relaxing on the beach or exploring the beautiful countryside, Lake Como is sure to impress. So why not start planning your trip today?