Lake Como Ferries: Info & Guide to Planning Your Trip in 2023
Lake Como, Italy
by Coco Tran On October 22, 2023
Lake Como, located in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, is famous for its stunning landscapes, quaint villages, and luxurious villas. One of the best ways to explore this picturesque lake is by ferry, allowing you to hop between destinations and take in the beauty of the surroundings.
Lake Como Ferries: Info & Guide to Planning Your Trip
This complete guide provides everything you need to know to plan your Lake Como ferry trip in 2023, including:
- Overview of Lake Como’s ferry system
- Types of ferries: passenger, car ferries, fast ferries
- Ferry routes and major destinations
- How to buy ferry tickets
- Timetables and schedules
- Tips for using the ferries
So whether you’re planning a day trip or an extended vacation, read on for the ultimate Lake Como ferry guide!
Lake Como ferries map
Overview of Lake Como’s Ferry System
Lake Como is serviced by a public ferry system operated by Navigazione Laghi. Ferries connect villages and towns along the shore of the 50 km long inverted Y-shaped lake.
The ferry network consists of three main routes:
- Como Town to Colico (northern tip of the lake)
- Ferries servicing only the mid-lake region
- Lecco (southeastern branch) to Bellagio
The mid-lake area between Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna is the most popular for visitors, with frequent ferry traffic between these towns.
During the summer high season (June to early September), ferries run frequently – about every 30-60 minutes. Service is reduced during the winter months. Schedules vary by route and also depend on weather conditions.
lake como ferries prices
key details about Lake Como ferry ticket prices and costs:
- Ticket prices vary based on the distance travelled and type of ticket purchased.
- A sample one-way fare from Como to Bellagio costs around €10-11 on the regular passenger ferries.
- Free circulation daily tickets allow unlimited ferry travel within a designated zone. For example, a 1-day mid-lake pass costs €15.
- Fast ferry tickets cost extra – around €2-3 more for a single journey. These supplements must be purchased separately.
- Children under 4 travel free, while kids ages 4-12 receive about a 30% discount on most tickets.
- Eurail pass holders get a discount of around 20% off regular ferry tickets. Make sure to validate your pass before boarding.
- Ferry tickets can be purchased at ticket offices near the piers or online ahead of time. Buying online avoids ticket lines.
- One-way, round-trip, and free circulation tickets are available. Free circulation is best for hop on/hop off sightseeing.
- Private boat tours are also available, ranging from €150-€300 per hour depending on the boat size and amenities.
- Tips are not expected on the ferries, as a service charge is already included in the ticket prices.
Lake como ferries tickets / lake como ferry tickets online
details on where and how to purchase Lake Como ferry tickets:
Where to buy lake como ferries tickets:
- Online – Tickets can be purchased ahead of time on the Navigazione Laghi website. This is the most convenient option to skip ticket lines at the piers.
- Ticket offices – Located at the ferry docks in each town. You can buy just before boarding but often have to wait in queue.
- Onboard – Tickets can also be purchased onboard ferries but there is a €1 surcharge.
What you can buy online:
- One-way and roundtrip point-to-point tickets
- Mid-lake free circulation daily passes (when available)
What you can ONLY buy at ticket offices:
- Free circulation tickets – often sell out online so best to buy at ticket office on arrival
- Supplements for fast ferry tickets
- Discounted tickets for children/seniors
Tips for buying online:
- Purchase tickets at least 1-2 days in advance online to avoid sell outs.
- Print tickets or have mobile voucher ready to scan when boarding.
- Verify schedule changes before planned trip date.
Tips for buying at ticket office:
- Arrive 20-25 min before departure to allow for queues.
- Have your ticket ready when boarding to keep things moving.
- Check ferry schedules on screens or info boards to plan your trip while in line.
details about tickets for the Lake Como ferry system:
- There are one-way tickets, roundtrip tickets, and free circulation tickets available.
- Allow travel between two designated towns without stopovers.
- Prices based on distance travelled, starting from around €4 for short trips.
- Purchase at ticket offices or online.
- Allow return journey between two towns.
- No discounts compared to one-way tickets.
- Can also buy online or at ticket offices.
Free Circulation Tickets:
- Allow unlimited ferry travel within a zone for one day.
- Best value for hop on/hop off sightseeing.
- Zones include Mid-Lake (€15), North Lake (€23), Entire Lake (€25).
- Can sell out during peak season, so purchase early.
- Only sold at ticket offices, not online.
Fast Ferry Supplements:
- Extra fee for fast hydrofoil ferries – around €2-3 per journey.
- Must be purchased separately at ticket office, not online.
- Children under 4 free, ages 4-12 approx 30% off.
- 20% discount with Eurail pass – make sure to validate.
Types of Lake Como Ferries
There are a few different types of ferries operating on Lake Como:
Passenger Ferries (Battello)
These ferries allow passenger transport only. Most routes use these traditional ferries which make stops at towns along the way. They are ideal if you want to take in the scenery during your crossing.
Car Ferries (Traghetto)
Car ferries operate between major mid-lake towns of Bellagio, Varenna, Cadenabbia and Menaggio. They allow vehicles and passengers aboard. Even if you don’t have a car, you can still take these ferries.
Fast Service Ferries (Servizio Rapido)
Fast ferries, also called aliscafo, are the hydrofoil boats that provide faster service with fewer stops. They cost a bit more but are useful when you’re short on time. Tickets are sold separately at ticket booths.
Major Ferry Destinations on Lake Como
The main ferry hubs in the mid-lake region include:
Bellagio – At the center point of the lake, allows easy connections in all directions.
Menaggio – Located on the western shore of Lake Como with service to Varenna and Bellagio. More laid-back than other mid-lake towns.
Cadenabbia – Stop for the car ferry on the western shore, near the Villa Carlotta.
Tremezzo – Scenic town located north of Cadenabbia, departure point for Villa Carlotta.
Lenno – Charming village near Villa Balbianello, served by mid-lake ferries.
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How to purchase tickets on Lake Como Ferry Tickets
You have a few options when it comes to purchasing boat service tickets for Como lake ferry:
- Buy at the ticket office – Located at the pier, allows you to purchase just before boarding but often has long queues.
- Online purchase – Convenient way to buy tickets in advance and avoid lines. Limited to certain types of tickets.
- Buy onboard – Tickets can be purchased onboard but there is a €1 surcharge.
When buying lake como ferry tickets, choose between:
- Point to point ticket – Valid for direct travel between two towns.
- Free circulation ticket – Allows you to hop on and off ferries between the designated towns for one day. Best option if you want flexibility.
- Fast ferry supplement – Must be bought separately at ticket offices to use the fast hydrofoils.
Tip: Purchase free circulation passes early to avoid missing out, as they tend to sell out quickly in peak season.
Lago di como Lake Como Ferry Timetables and lake como ferry Schedules
Ferry timetable lake como schedules include:
- Summer season: Early June to early November
- Winter season: Early November to late May
- Schedules can also vary by day of the week
The ferry company Navigazione Laghi provides PDF timetables. But I recommend using the search form on their site instead to get the most accurate real-time results.
You can search Point to Point schedules or use the drop-down to view Free Circulation timetables. Make sure to check the box for “Include Fast Service” so you see all options.
Tip: Don’t rely solely on third-party sites for ferry schedules, as they may have outdated information. Always confirm directly with Navigazione Laghi.
Tips for Using the Lake Como Ferries
Here are some useful tips to make the most of your time on the Lake Como ferries:
- Buy free circulation tickets early – They often sell out so purchase in advance online or at the ticket office upon your arrival. This allows you to hop on and off different ferries.
- Confirm ferry schedules – Timetables provided on the official Navigazione Laghi website are the most accurate. Schedules get updated closer to the travel date.
- Allow extra time – Try to arrive at the pier 20-25 minutes before departure to account for queues at the ticket counter and boarding.
- Pick a ferry route based on your priorities – Fast ferries get you there quicker but you’ll miss the views. Opt for the slower ferries if you want to better enjoy the scenery.
- Download the Navigazione Laghi app – Provides up-to-date schedules, notifications in case of cancellations or delays.
- Consider weather – Lake ferry service may be impacted by storms and heavy winds. Check forecasts in advance and confirm with the ticket office if concerned.
- Travel light – Bulky luggage can make boarding tricky. Pack light to keep boarding smooth.
- Reserve mid-lake hotel – Opt to stay overnight in Varenna, Bellagio or Menaggio if you want easy access for seeing multiple mid-lake towns.
Travelling across Lake Como by ferry is one of the top things to do to fully experience all the area has to offer. By planning ahead and using this ferry guide, you’ll be ready to hop aboard and make the most of your time on the waters of beautiful Lake Como!
Lake Como Villa Monastero Varenna Lush Flowers And Fountain Aquamarine Lake Bell Tower Mountains Palm Trees
Lake Como’s Best Ferry Destinations and Attractions
Now that you know how to navigate Lake Como’s ferries, let’s explore some of the top towns and attractions accessible by boat on your visit!
- Charming fishing village on the eastern shore
- Walkable historic center with winding alleys and harbor
- Attractions like Villa Monastero with lakeside gardens
- Departure point for ferries around Lake Como
- Direct train connection from Milan makes it popular starting point
- Called the “Pearl of the Lake”, located at center of inverted Y shape
- Classy lakefront promenade lined with cafes and shops
- Excellent base for ferry travel to other mid-lake towns
- Nearby Villa Melzi and gardens popular sight
- Largest town on Lake Como’s western shore
- More laid-back atmosphere than Varenna or Bellagio
- Starting point for scenic Greenway hike
- Departure point for ferries to Bellagio and Varenna
- Resort town with lakefront promenade
- Quiet mid-lake town on the western shore
- Departure point for car ferry from Bellagio and Varenna
- Close to Tremezzo and Villa Carlotta attraction
- Upscale mid-lake resort town north of Cadenabbia
- Home to Villa Carlotta and its gardens
- Grand lakefront hotels like Grand Hotel Tremezzo
- Pleasant village near Villa Balbianello
- Quieter mid-lake alternative to busier Bellagio
- Departure point for ferries around Lake Como
- Historic city located at the southern tip of the lake
- Close to the Como train station for easy connections
- Fast ferry departures to mid-lake towns like Bellagio and Varenna
- Attractions include the Gothic Como Cathedral
- Shopping street of Via Vittorio Emanuele II
Lake Como Ferries FAQ
Q: What is the best ferry route for Lake Como?
A: The most popular ferry route is from Como Town to the mid-lake towns of Bellagio, Varenna, and Menaggio. This allows you to see the famous mid-lake region of Lake Como.
Q: How long is the ferry from Como to Bellagio?
A: The regular passenger ferry takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes to travel from Como to Bellagio. If you take the faster hydrofoil ferry, the journey takes about 45 minutes.
Q: Is there a ferry that goes between Como and Bellagio?
A: Yes, there are regular ferry services connecting Como Town to Bellagio operated by the company Navigazione Laghi.
Q: Where do the ferries depart from in Como?
A: In Como, the ferries leave from the dock at Piazza Cavour. This is located just a 5-10 minute walk from the Como train station.
Q: Are there toilets on the Lake Como ferries?
A: There are toilet facilities available on the larger passenger ferries, but generally not on the smaller and faster hydrofoil boats.
Q: Are there ferries on Lake Como?
A: Yes, Lake Como has an extensive ferry network covering the whole lake. There is frequent ferry service during the summer and reduced service in the winter months.
Q: How late do Lake Como ferries run?
A: The ferries generally run from early morning around 6 AM until evening around 7-9 PM. However, schedules vary depending on the specific route.
Q: How do you use the Lake Como ferries?
A: It’s best to purchase tickets online or at the ticket booth in advance to avoid long lines. Free circulation tickets allow you to hop on and off different ferries between designated towns.
Q: Is there a ferry from Como to Bellagio?
A: Yes, regular ferry service connects Como Town to Bellagio. The journey takes around 1.5 hours on the regular boats or 45 minutes by fast ferry.
Q: Do Lake Como ferries sell out?
A: Yes, the ferries can sell out, especially on busy summer weekends. Booking your tickets in advance is highly recommended to avoid missing out.
Q: Do Lake Como ferries run in winter?
A: The ferries operate year-round, but service is reduced during the winter months from November to May. Some routes may be canceled in poor weather.
Q: Do Lake Como ferries take cars?
A: Yes, there are car ferries called traghetto that transport vehicles between the mid-lake towns of Bellagio, Varenna, Cadenabbia and Menaggio.
Tips for Visiting Como lake :
- Check ferry timetables in advance and reconfirm once onsite for any changes
- Purchase a free circulation ticket if visiting multiple towns in one day – allows hop on and hop off flexibility
- Keep your plans flexible – allow time for unexpected delays or extra time spent in a town you enjoy
- Travel early in the day to avoid crowds – popular mid-lake towns get congested with day trippers later on
- Stay overnight in the mid-lake region – makes it easy to catch early ferries and avoids rushed day trips from Milan or Como Town
- Hike between towns instead of ferries when possible – allows you to take in beautiful lake views at your own pace
- Visit Villa Carlotta early – try to arrive right when it opens to avoid crowds
- Book Villa Balbianello tours in advance – slots fill up quickly in peak season
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