How to Get to Lake Como
Como is located 50km north of Milan and 30km South of Lugano (Switzerland).
Easiest way to get from Milan to Lake Como is by car. Take the highway A9 (Como-Milan) and in 30 minutes you’re there. From Lugano you need to take the Switzerland highway A2 (remember to take the Toll Stickers when you enter in Switzerland – you can buy at each Borders Office for 40CHF).
Como is also well-served by 3 different Airports located nearby and from 2 railways from Milan and from Switzerland.
Closest Airports to Lake Como
Como is close to 3 different Airports. Click on the airport to receive more information on the different possibilities you have to get from the airports in Milan to Lake Como.
Milan Malpensa Airport (IATA: MXP ICAO: LIMC) is the largest international airport and one of the three airports operating in Milan area, in northern Italy. It serves Lombardy, Piedmont and Liguria regions as well as the Swiss Canton of Ticino.
Malpensa Airport is located in Varese, 30km from Como (20 miles) and 50 km (30 miles) northwest of Milan.
Milan Linate Airport is the second largest international airport in Milan area. Linate Airport is located in south of Milan, 30km from Como (20 miles) and 50 km (30 miles) northwest of Milan.
Orio al Serio Airport is the third international airport and the most distant from Como. It can be a solution if you’re traveling from Europe with Ryanair since most of their routes land here.
Orio al Serio Airport is located in Bergamo, 60km from Como. Time travel is 1hr by car. If you don’t won’t to rent a car consider more then 2hrs to get in Como with bus/train.
How to Get Lake Como by Train
You can get from Milan to Lake Como by train using two railway lines which connect Milan and Como – from Milano Centrale/Milano Porta Garibaldi, and from Milano Nord Cadorna.
Milan Centrale / Porta Garibaldi to Como San Giovanni
The first option to go from Milan to Lake Como by train is travelling by train from Milan Centrale orPorta Garibaldi to Como S. Giovanni, a station about 10 minutes walk from the lake front.
The trains departing from the two stations travel along the same railway line – the only difference is that trains from Centrale make fewer stops, but there are also fewer departures, while trains from Porta Garibaldi stop in every single local station and as a result take about double the time, but departures are much more frequent.
Travel time from Centrale to Como is 36 minutes, while from Porta Garibaldi to Como is just over an hour.
If you’re leaving from Centrale, the final destination of your train may not be Como, as most trains travel onwards to Chiasso or other Swiss cities. To find your platform easily, pay close attention to the departure boards, as they usually also list intermediate stations, or just ask station personnel.
Milan Cadorna to Como Nord Lago
A slower but more scenic alternative to travel from Milan to Lake Como is taking the train from Milan Nord Cadorna to Como Nord Lago, the last station along the line. ‘Lago’ means lake in Italian – as you walk out of the station, the lake will literally be just steps away from you!
How to Get Lake Como By Car
To drive or not to drive… that’s the question.
Driving around Lake Como gives you the flexibility to explore the region deeper, beyond the most popular tourist attractions. However, many roads are very narrow, totally congested in summer, and you have to share them with pedestrians, buses, and delivery trucks…
Furthermore, parking can be a complete nightmare. While most towns have some kind of parking, it is very limited in the smaller villages, and especially in summer.
If you visit in high season, you might be spending more time driving and looking for a parking spot than sightseeing… I honestly think that taking advantage of the many options for public transport will make your visit to Lake Como much more relaxing and enjoyable than driving.
A variety of bus, ferry and hydrofoil services make it easy to explore the entire Lake Como region without a car. And yes, some towns and villages have better transport connections than others, but if you’re just visiting the most popular places along Lake Como, you should be able to see most of them just by taking a boat.
That being said, driving is also an option and car ferries make it easy to get from one shore of the lake to the other. In the low season, when there are fewer boats and buses, exploring Lake Como by car is a better option.
From Milan to Lake Como by Car
The drive from Milan to Lake Como is pretty simple, and once you get closer to the lake, you’ll pass through some lovely scenery. It’s worth noting that your route out of Milan will vary depending on whether you’re heading to Como and the west side of the lake, or to Bellagio and the east.
Once you leave the main highways and start to navigate the edges of the lake, the roads become narrower and windier. Distances may not look far on the map, but these aren’t roads to race on! With incredible views at every turn, you’ll never forget your first time driving around Lake Como.
The distance from Milan to the city of Como is 50 km, and assuming there are no major hold ups, you should be able to get there in just 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, to get from Milan to Bellagio it’s around 73 km with an approximate journey time of 1 hour 25 mins. There are quite a lot of toll roads in Italy, so prepare for those with some small change or a debit/credit card you can use abroad.
From Switzerland to Lake Como by Car
The shortest possible itinerary to get in Como from Switzerland is via the Gotthard tunnel. Consider it 4 hours under the best possible circumstance.s In the Gotthard tunnel only a set number of cars per hour is allowed due to safety regulations, so at busy times there are queues at accesses. An average queue is one (extra) hour long but two hours or more are possible at very busy times.
A longer but still easy itinerary is through Chur and the St.Bernardino tunnel. This itinerary is entirely on motorways, but the St. Bernardino motorway is really scenic, the tunnel is at an higher elevation than the Gotthard and the motorway is quite steep at times, so the itinerary is longer but a viable and scenic alternative. Consider it around 5 hours.
A very scenic alternative is through the Gotthard pass. If there are queues at the tunnel usually cars going direction Andermatt and the pass are allowed to bypass the queue or made to exit the highway before the tunnel. Be careful to follow the direction Andermatt, you will climb up the narrow Schollenen gorge, then the climb to the pass is quite easy. The opposite side of the pass is a very beautiful highway, with curves built on pillars over the empty space. The driver will not turn his/her eyes out of the road, but the passengers will have, on a clear day, the impression of being on an airplane landing at the airstrip on the bottom of the valley. One of the most scenic routes in Europe, but only on a clear day. Check if there is snow as at times the road may be closed.
Another possible scenic itinerary is again getting out the motorway direction Andermatt, then the Oberalp pass, a short stop for lunch in Disentis for a visit to the abbey and lunch at Stiva Grischuna (warning – Graubunden cooking has extremely heavy dishes), then the Lukmanier pass. The Lukmanier is easy to drive but the Oberalp road has some narrow stretches on the Graubunden side. Oberalp pass may be closed for snow, Lukmanier is open all year long but on very bad weather days.