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In this post I’ll tell you about a day trip from Milan to Lake Como in Italy, which I did in October of 2013. I’ll share with you information about the Lake Como area, how to get there from Milan and if Lake Como is worth visiting.
Where is Lake Como Located?
Lake Como, also popularly called “Lario”, finds its origin in a glacier. Located in the Lombardy region, the lake is a part of Italy’s “Northern Lake District”. Covering an area of 56 square miles, the lake enjoys the honor of being the third largest lake in Italy. The depth of the lake has been measured to be 1600 feet or 400 meters, a fact that makes this lake the deepest in the entire European continent.
The shape of Lake Como resembles the letter ‘Y’ in its inverted form and thus has a lengthy perimeter. Tourists love to visit this picturesque place surrounded by hills and sprinkled with attractive villas, resorts and villages. It’s interesting to note that the lake has been a favorite retreat for Roman aristocratic people since the ancient times. A mosaic of culture and art, Lake Como is definitely the kind of place that takes your breath away.
How to Get to Lake Como from Milan?
Lake Como is easily accessible from Milan – you can either take a train or get there by car. For me, it was cheaper and easier just to take a train from the Central train station in Milan (Milano Centrale). When buying a ticket you should be looking for a train that goes to Sondrio-Tirano and stops at the station “Varenna – Esino”. Varenna is a little village, located right in the middle of the Lake Como, I think it’s a perfect place to start for your one-day visit. A one way ticket from Milano Centrale to Varenna (Lake Como) cost me 12.90 Euros.
An important thing to keep in mind when you head back from Varenna to Milan: there is no ticket office at the Varenna station. But you can get a ticket at Tivano Tours travel agency in Varenna (it is just a few minutes walk from the train station) or directly from the conductor after you got on the train.
More options of getting to Lake Como area from Milan by train is to take the line Milan (Centrale) – Como – Chiasso in direction “Como San Giovanni”; or taking the line Milan (Cadorna railway station) – Saronno – Como.
Places to Visit at Lake Como
First off, let’s take a look at the map of the major towns in Lake Como.
You can start your visit from any town in the area. Whether you are on the side of the Province of Como or the province of Lecco, you’ll have plenty of transport options to move between the towns, such as by train, bus, boat, cable car or taxi… Everything you want is at your disposal on the territory of the lake.
Like I said before, the starting point of my day trip to Lake Como was the little town of Varenna.
It’s a cute little village with less, than 800 inhabitants who live there. Born as a fishing village, Varenna keeps alive its traditional character. The most famous attraction in Varenna is probably the castle called Castello di Vezio, renowned for its gardens and for the breeding of falcons in it. These days it is a very popular tourist destination at Lake Como.
From Varenna you can take a ferry to the towns Bellagio and Como. Here on the website of the ferry company “Gestione Navigazione Laghi” you can find actual routes and schedules. One adult ticket for the ferry from Varenna to Bellagio will cost you 4.60 Euros, for children of age 4 to 11 – 2.30 Euros.
Bellagio is the most famous place at lake Como. This town, together with Como and Lecco, is part of the “Larian Triangle”, and is known for the presence of Gallic and Roman elements in its territory. In Bellagio, you can visit many aristocratic villas, including Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni; see some beautiful churches and typical Italian architecture.
From Bellagio, by ferry, you can get to the towns Como and Lecco.
In Como you will take a bath in the architectural magnificence of the religious, civil and military buildings present in it and mirror of Italian architecture. Here you can visit such historical attractions, like the Duomo of Como, Villa Olmo, Il Tempio Voltiano, the Walls of Como, the old Roman baths and many more.
Lecco is also full of magnificent historical and architectural sights, including the Basilica of St. Nicolò, la Chiesa dei Santi Materno e Lucia, la Chiesa di Sant’Andrea, the monument of Garibaldi, the monument of Manzoni, Villa Manzoni and il Palazzo delle Paure.
When is the best time to visit Lake Como?
I visited Lake Como at the end of October. It was a little bit chilly outside, but I didn’t have to deal with crowds of tourists. I would say that the best time to visit the lake is during the months April – May and September until beginning of October.
Obviously, summer is the most crowded time at lake Como and I would avoid going there, especially in July and August.
Is Lake Como worth going to?
No doubt. If you have a chance, even for one day, you should definitely visit Lake Como. I’ve been to a lot of places and I’ve seen many beautiful sights, but I can say that Como will always have a special place in my heart :). I spent there one of the most memorable days of my life, my one day trip from Milan to Lake Como was surely worth it.