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How to get here from MXP and What to do

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posts: 26
reviews: 41
How to get here from MXP and What to do

Thrilled to be going to lake Como for just two days in early september. How does one get from MXP to Bellagio by train? I have read to take the train to varenna and then ferry to bellagio. Can tickets be purchased in advance? Is there a website etc.

Next, where to stay in Bellagio. We are thinking of splurging and booking The Grand Hotel Serbelloni since it is only one night's stay and they seem to boast the best views and a lovely pool area. Any other recommendations?

Any recommendations on must do/sees for this short trip?

And lastly, where to eat. So far my search has lead me to this:

Lunch at La Pergola

Dinner at Il Gato Nero

Gelato at Gelateria del Borgo

any advice is deeply appreciated!

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 65,605
reviews: 12
1. Re: How to get here from MXP and What to do

You take a train from Malpensa to Milan Central, and change there for a train to Varenna.

There is no point in trying to buy train tickets in advance over the Internet. These trains have no seat reservations (so tickets cannot sell out) and no discounts. Buy the tickets at Malpensa.

I don't think it is possible to buy ferry tickets online.

I would stay at the Metropole. It costs less and, although it does not have a pool, it has lovely lake views. This was the view out of our window: nickbooth.id.au/Europe09/…view_bellagio.jpg

Things to do in Bellagio are pretty much limited to wandering around the town, enjoying the streetscare and the lake views.

Milan, Italy
posts: 36
reviews: 8
2. Re: How to get here from MXP and What to do

You can buy the ticket for the malpensa express that takes you to central milan here: http://www.malpensaexpress.it/

and then buy the ticket from central milan to Varenna here:http://www.fsitaliane.it/

You can't buy the ticket for the ferry in advance but here you'll find all the prices and timing www.navigazionelaghi.it/eng/c_crociere.asp

About the accomodation GH Villa Serbelloni is the best, good choice! And I can suggest Hotel Florence that is on the lakeside, too.

What to see in Bellagio:

Villa Serbelloni

Villa Melzi

Torre delle arti

Museum of navigational instruments

Some churches and basilicas (San Giacomo, San Giorgio, San Giovanni Battista)

You can do some excurtion on foot: there is an historical tour anche you can ask for a map at the tourist office. Then you can go to Punta Spartivento, Pescallo, Loppia, San Giovanni that are 30 minutes walk tour. If you like to walk these are 1 hour tour: Mulini del Perlo, Chevrio-Makallé and to Monte San Primo.

You can take the midlake shuttle and with a daily ticket of 15 euros you can go and visit Lenno (Villa Balbianello where they filmed Star Wars and James Bond movies and Island Comacina) Tremezzo (Villa Carlotta) Menaggio and Varenna.

You can do watersports in Bellagio and hire a boat to go swimm wherever you want.

And you can go shopping!

About restaurants, I know that the Mistral (at villa serbelloni) is very good. I heard also about Vecchio Borgo.

Imperia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Italian Riviera
posts: 23,190
3. Re: How to get here from MXP and What to do

The trouble with buying these train tickets online in advance is that they are only valid for one booked time and for the four hours after that. So if your flight arrives over four hours late (hardly unprecedented), your tickets will be worthless.

Because of this, and as there are no advance reductions and no seat reservations, it seems pointless to buy in advance.

posts: 11
reviews: 2
4. Re: How to get here from MXP and What to do

Please don't take the train to Varenna, it is a whistle stop, a commuter stop, the station is not announced, many people have missed the stop because they did not know they were there, also the platform in varenna is short and your car may not stop at the platform. I wouldn't want to try to get off of a very tall train with luggage and another person in tow to ground level. Arrive in Bellagio as you should, by water, and leave the train from Milan to Varena to the inexperienced. The easiest way is to go from Milan Centrale to Como S. Giovani, which is a 10 minute taxi ride to the ferry landing and you can take a nice hour or so boat ride to Bellagio. There is another train depot in Como right at the ferry landing, but you leave from, I believe, Milan Cardona station instead of Centrale. Also, wait for the rapido ferry. Look up ferry at Lake Como and the website will come up. Navigation something or other. If you want to stay at a palace, stay at Villa de Este, just up the lake, it costs more.

posts: 2,616
reviews: 6
5. Re: How to get here from MXP and What to do

Don't let wanderer3_12"s post deter you from taking the train to Varenna, I've done it several times - and if all goes to plan, I hope to do so again next month.

I've never heard of anyone missing the stop, if you know that the journey takes about an hour, then start getting ready before then. Also, the electronic departure board at Milan usually shows all the stations where the train stops, so if you see that it stops at Lecco (for example) before Varenna, then you know that you will need the next station.

I've never noticed the platform being shorter than the train - but I can't swear that it isn't, so sit in the middle carriages to be on the safe side.

The ferry journey from Como takes about an hour and forty minutes to Lenno, so probably a bit more to Bellagio. It's a beautiful ride but if you're strapped for time, it takes a chunk out of your day. There is a hydrofoil which is quicker and more expensive, it's great fun but you just whizz past the scenery.

There's also bus a from Como, but I've never taken it so I don't know much about it. You could also arrange for a private transfer - but I've no idea how much that would be,

For just one night, I think you've made the right choice to spend it in Bellagio - there's much more going on and it's well served by the ferries.

Hope this helps.

Imperia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Italian Riviera
posts: 23,190
6. Re: How to get here from MXP and What to do

Even if you do choose to go via Como city and take the longer boat ride, Wanderer3_12"s post is misleading in suggesting you should travel by train from Milano Centrale to Como S. Giovanni.

From Malpensa, going to Como Nord Lago via Saronno or Milano Cadorna (not Cardona) is faster, and Como Lago train station is near the boat landing.

While to Como S. Giovanni, from Malpensa it is almost always faster to change trains at Milano Porta Garibaldi rather than at Milan Centrale.

Como, Italy
posts: 86
reviews: 60
7. Re: How to get here from MXP and What to do


There is a lot of good sense on these posts. I have to say that I'm a very experienced Italy traveller and I got caught out at Varenna-Esino station because I was behind some other tourists who didn't realise that you have to open the train doors yourself. Also, being at the front of the train we missed the end of the very narrow platform and would have had to get out onto the track. By the time we had worked out the problem the train was on its way to Bellano.

Just look at the map - Malpensa to Milan and then Milan to Varenna, Varenna to Bellagio is a long way round! If you are arriving reasonably early in the day, it will be much more relaxing to book your train to Como Nord Lago, changing at Saronno and arriving on the lakeside, right next to the boat and bus services. Then you get a very scenic trip to Bellagio either by boat or by bus.

An alternative would be to stay in one of the luxury hotels in Menaggio and take the ferry trip to see Varenna and Bellagio. From Menaggio you have the benefit of looking out from your hotel onto these two pretty villages. But the Serbelloni certainly is a great option!

Edited: 6:21 am, August 11, 2013
posts: 26
reviews: 41
8. Re: How to get here from MXP and What to do

Thank you all so much for your input. We arrive at MXP at 10.45 with just small carry on luggage. I suppose this will be a question of whether we want the scenic route or the fastest route (wouldn't it be lovely if the scenic route were the fastest: you can't win em all :)). I will take the time to read all of these again to figure out the best route from the airport.

Many Thanks

posts: 11
reviews: 2
9. Re: How to get here from MXP and What to do

read carefully, I did not say to take the train from malpensa to como s. Giovanni, I said from Milano central, when I travel I don't look for a bunch of train changes and also check your connection times in trenitalia sometimes they are pretttty short.

posts: 11
reviews: 2
10. Re: How to get here from MXP and What to do

Thank you, simpatico.