Milan to Lake Como Day Trip: How to Get There & What to Do

Wondering how to make the most out of a Milan to Lake Como day trip? Then, you’re in the right place! It’s so easy to get to Lake Como from Milan and the train only costs €5 which is mind-blowing. This post will plan all the details for you so you can sit back and relax. We will cover how to get to Lake Como from Milan and what to do to make the most out of one day in Lake Como. Whether you want to take it easy and go to one town or visit multiple towns, we’ll cover it here. Visiting Bellagio, Varenna, and Como is possible to do in one day believe it or not!

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Before you go:
🎫 Best Tour Option is From Milan: Lake Como and Bellagio with Private Boat Cruise
🧷 Travel Insurance with SafetyWing in case of any accidents. Better safe than sorry!
📱Mobile E-sim card to stay connected while traveling without the hassle of changing out your sim card!
💜 Best time to visit Lake Como: Wisteria season is the most amazing time to visit Lake Como! You will find most of the villas blooming with gorgeous Wisteria. The time varies each year but it is typically around the end of March and into April. You can ask the hotel staff at Villa Cipressi or one of the other villas when they expect it to come as you plan your trip.

Best Milan to Lake Como Tours

If you don’t want the hassle of planning a day trip to Lake Como or thinking about how to get there, then you can book one of the many tours from Milan to Lake Como.

Here are the best ones based on reviews and activities planned!

Read my full post on the Best Lake Como Towns

One Town in One Day: Milan to Lake Como Day Trip

If you only want to visit one town in one day from Milan, then I’d go for Varenna or Como. The reason is that there are direct trains from Milan to both of these towns. If it was me, I’d opt for Varenna because you have many things to do here including visiting 2 beautiful Lake Como Villas!

One Day Varenna Itinerary from Milan

Read my full guide on The Best Things to Do in Varenna, Lake Como Italy

Train from Milan to Varenna

Note: The first train to Varenna is around 5:20 am and the last train is around 9:35 pm. Be sure to check Omio to book trains and check timelines in case it changes.

Buy Train Tickets via Omio here: Milan Centrale to Varenna-esino (1 hour 4 min journey, trains every hour)

Recommended departure: 7:20 am arriving at 8:24 am

9 am: Villa Monastero 

Time needed: 1.5 hours

Villa Monastero is one of the most beautiful villas in Lake Como so this should be a must for your one-day trip to Varenna. Starting the day here to beat any crowds is a good idea.

The villa’s architecture includes medieval, Renaissance, and neo-classical elements. The property is full of greenery and flowers including wisteria during April. The views of Lake Como from the villa are stunning.

I’d recommend going inside the house museum too for an extra €3. I would also buy the combo ticket for €22 so you can also visit Villa Cipressi too and save money.

📍 Location: Villa Monastero in Varenna (Google Maps)
Opening Times: Beginning of April to November. Hours are 930-8 pm Daily (Winter hours are different so check online here for exact timings).
🎟️ Entry: Entry is €13 for the garden and house museum. €10 for gardens only. No need to pre-book tickets but if you do, you can here.
💡Pro-Tip: Visit the Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi Botanical Gardens together and pay only €19 (€22 with House Museum too). To book the combination ticket, you must do so at the villa’s office.

10:45 Villa Cipressi

Time needed: 1 hour

Villa Cipressi is much smaller than Villa Monastero but still worth seeing especially if you’re here during wisteria season. You will be able to see the stunning gate that opens up to the lake covered in gorgeous purple flowers. A magical experience to see. You can check out my Instagram video to see what it looks like.

Today, Villa Cipressi functions as a charming hotel and wedding venue. If you can stay at Villa Cipressi, I’d highly recommend it as it looks like the dream hotel!

📍 Location: Villa Cipressi (Google Maps)
Opening Times: 8-5 pm Daily
🎟️ Entry: Entry is €10. No need to pre-book tickets for this one!
💡Pro-Tip: Visit the Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi Botanical Gardens together and pay only €19 (€22 with House Museum too). To book the combination ticket, you must do so at the villa’s office.

12:00 pm Lunch at Ristorante Giardino or Victoria Grill

Time needed: 1.5 hours

Now it’s time for a lunch break after all the exploring so far. I would try Ristorante Giardino or Victoria Grill. These restaurants are part of the beautiful Hotel Villa Cipressi. You can easily visit after the garden villa tour.

1:45 pm Coffee Break at the Hotel Royal Victoria Varenna

Time Needed: 45 minutes

Another stunning Lake Como Hotel is the Hotel Royal Victoria. If you head to the outdoor terrace, you’ll get to see a small table overlooking the lake. During wisteria season, there will be that lovely purple hue hanging from the tree above. This is such a photogenic spot. If you aren’t staying at the hotel, I’d recommend popping in for a drink or a snack.

2:30 Explore Varenna Town Center

Time Needed: 2.5 hours

You’d likely have passed through the town center on the way to the villas from your morning walk. Now is the time to explore it more deeply. Soaking in the atmosphere and wandering through all the pretty alleyways. No real agenda is needed here!

5 pm Aperitivo at Bar il Molo

Time Needed: 1 hour

Bar il Molo is one of the most picturesque cafes in Lake Como. The cute white tables in front of a flowered archway and the colored houses of Varenna make for a postcard-worthy photo. It would be lovely to visit here during sunset for a drink but since you’re only here for a day, there may not be time. Nevertheless, you can go earlier at 5 pm, and relax with a drink. The food I hear is hit or miss, so I would get a drink and possibly a light snack/ aperitivo when visiting. It is also possible to walk by and take a photo if you’re short on time.

6 pm Dinner at Caffe Varenna

Time Needed: 1.5 -2 hours

Many Lake Como restaurants don’t open until 7 pm so keep that in mind when planning a place for dinner. You’ll want to opt for an earlier dinner since the last train back to Milan is around 9:30 pm.

Caffe Varenna is an excellent choice as it’s located on the waterfront, the food is good, and it will be open before 7 pm.

8:35 pm Train back to Milan

Buy Train Tickets via Omio here: Varenna-esino to Milan Centrale (1 hour 4 min journey, trains every hour – the last one is around 9:30 pm)

Recommended departure: 8:35 pm arriving at 9:40 pm

One Day Como Itinerary from Milan

Train from Milan to Como

Note: The first train to Como S. Giovanni is around 5:20 am and the last train is around 10:49 pm. Be sure to check Omio to book trains and check timelines in case it changes.

Buy Train Tickets via Omio here: Milan Centrale to Como S. Giovann or Lago Nord (1 hour journey, trains every 30 minutes)

Recommended departure: 7:09 am arriving at 8:11 am

9 am Boat Ride in Como

Time Needed: 1-2 hours depending on the tour selected

Exploring Como by boat is a must! It is the quintessential experience. You can do this either by private boat tour or for a more affordable option, you can get a shared boat. I opted for the private classic boat tour and it was so amazing! If you can share the cost with a group of friends, it’s totally worth it. Otherwise, it can be a bit pricey and you might try the shared boat option.

11 am Ride the Funicolare Como-Brunate

Time Needed: 2 hours

For the best views in Como, ride the Funicolare Como-Brunate from Como to the charming village of Brunate. It is situated on a hill overlooking Lake Como. The funicular is a fun way to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. After the 7-minute ride, you can explore the small village of Brunate.

12:45 Lunch

Time Needed: 1.5 hours

After much exploring already, you’ll want to break for lunch. Try La Vita è Bella Ristorante or Riva Café. Or, just walk along the waterfront and find something tasty as there will be plenty to choose from.

2 pm: Villa Olmo

Time Needed: 1.5 hours

Villa Olmo is the only public villa that is free to visit! It is located about an 18 minute walk from the town center. The villa was built by Ticino architect Simone Cantoni in the 18th century. The villa is surrounded by extensive gardens adding to the allure of the stunning place. Before you reach the palace, you’ll find neatly arranged flowerbeds leading to the lake.

3:30 Explore Como Town & Enjoy Dinner

Time Needed: 5 hours

Now it’s time to explore Como town, full of charming streets, historical landmarks, and picturesque views of Lake Como. Stroll through the lakefront promenade, enjoying the scenic views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. Next, wander through the narrow alleys lined with quaint shops, cafes, and gelaterias. Don’t miss the Como Cathedral, a Gothic-Renaissance church. To end your day, head to one of the many restaurants for dinner before taking the train back to Milan.

8:35 pm Train back to Milan

Recommended departure: 9:16 pm arriving at 10:18 pm

Buy Train Tickets via Omio here: Como S. Giovanni to Milan Centrale (1 hour journey, trains every 30 minutes – the last one is around 9:30 pm)

📍 Location: Villa Olmo Como (Google Maps)
Opening Times: The villa is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 to 6 pm. The public park is open daily.
🎟️ Entry: Entry is FREE.

Visiting Como, Varenna, and Bellagio in One Day

If you get FOMO then you will probably want to see more of what Lake Como has to offer. I mean, you could easily spend a week here as there’s so much to do. It’s definitely possible to visit 3 Lake Como towns on a day trip from Milan, and here’s how!

Firstly, you could do a tour like this one which takes you to Como, Varenna, and Bellagio. It even takes you on a cruise along the lake too.

Alternatively, you can travel around on your own in case you don’t want to do a tour.

Here’s what an itinerary would look like:

6:30 AM: Depart from Milan

  • Catch an early train from Milan Central Station to Varenna-Esino Station. The journey takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

8 AM – 11:00 AM: Explore Varenna

  • Arrive in Varenna and spend the morning exploring this charming lakeside village. Visit Villa Monastero, walk through its beautiful gardens, and enjoy breakfast at a local cafe.

11:30 AM: Ferry to Bellagio

  • Take a ferry from Varenna to Bellagio. The ferry ride offers beautiful views of Lake Como and takes approximately 15-20 minutes.
  • Ferry tickets can be purchased at the ferry terminals or online on the Navigazione Laghi website.

11:50 AM – 3:00 PM: Discover Bellagio

🏞️ Read my full blog post on The Best Things to do in Bellagio, Lake Como Italy

  • Arrive in Bellagio and explore the “Pearl of Lake Como.” Spend the afternoon wandering through its cobbled streets, visiting the gardens of Villa Melzi, and enjoying lunch at a lakeside restaurant such as the wisteria-covered restaurant at Hotel Florence.

3:30 PM: Ferry to Como

  • Take a ferry from Bellagio to Como. The ferry ride takes about 50 minutes.
  • Ferry tickets can be purchased at the ferry terminals or online on the Navigazione Laghi website.

4:20 PM – 7:30 PM: Explore Como

  • Arrive in Como and spend the evening exploring the town. Visit the Como Cathedral, stroll along the lakefront promenade, and shop for local souvenirs. You can also enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants in Como.

7:50 PM: Return to Milan

  • Catch a train from Como back to Milan. You should plan to arrive in Milan around 9:00 PM.

It will be a packed day, but doable for sure! Alternatively, you can pick 2 towns like Varenna and Bellagio. Or stick to one town as described earlier if you prefer a slower pace.

This was my full guide on visiting Lake Como on a day trip from Milan. Hope you enjoyed reading and I would love to continue the conversation in the comments below!

You may also like these posts!
📝 Lake Como 4 Day Itinerary
🏠 Best Lake Como Towns
🌸 The Best Things to Do in Varenna, Lake Como Italy
🏞️ The Best Things to do in Bellagio, Lake Como Italy
🌳 Most Beautiful Lake Como Villas & Gardens
🚤 Best Lake Como Boat Tours
💡Northern Italy Itinerary Ideas
🤍 Hidden Gems in Italy
👩 Solo Female Travel Guide to Italy
🇮🇹 For more travel inspo visit my Italy section

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