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Cinque Terre to Lake Como mid-lake

Hello fellow travelers,

I'd like some input on how best to get from the Cinque Terre in mid-July up to Lake Como by train (we don't have a car and bus looks like it takes too long).

We're staying in Mennagio and Varenna a few nights each (psyched!), so want to make the best journey up to the mid-lake.

My definition of best is:
1) Least complicated, so as not to be stressed out about changing trains or missing connections; 2) Fastest (not bullet-speed, but least waiting in cities); 3) Most scenic (i.e. is Milan to Menaggio as pretty as Milan to Varenna); and 4) Least costly.

Also would love input about must-see places up and down the lake. Has anyone bought a multi-day ferry pass? I saw the Six-day pass for the area Como-Bellagio for €69.90 -- is that worth it?

It looks like the Como-Brunate Funicular is a 50-minute ferry ride from Mennagio, is that accurate? And if so, is that a reasonably doable round trip from Mennagio (or Varenna)?

Best of luck to fellow travelers going to Italy earlier this spring. Stay healthy!

Thanks for any advice!

Posted by
15 posts

Correction: We're ok with a bullet train from Monterroso to Milan.

Posted by
30931 posts


It would help to know which town in the Cinque Terre you'll be travelling from?

There are no "bullet trains" operating on those routes. The quickest and easiest will be a direct Intercity train from Monterosso to Milano Centrale (time 2H:58M) and then the Regionale from there to Varenna-Esino (time 1H:03M). There are numerous other trains on that route but they take longer or have more changes. There are a few direct Intercity trains each day from Monterosso to Milan, and I'd probably use the departure at 10:55, arriving 13:53. The next train leaving Milano Centrale for Varenna is at 14:20, arriving at 15:23.

The easiest way to reach Mennagio is to go through Varenna and then take the Ferry across the lake. You'll have to walk down the hill from the station to the Ferry dock, which is right in front of Albergo Olivedo. There's a ticket booth there where you can buy Ferry tickets.

Posted by
11677 posts

Ken gave you the best option: that Intercity train that goes from Monterosso to Milano Centrale, without a change at Genoa. The train goes up the coast but parts of it are in tunnels.

Menaggio is not served by train—-the tracks only go up the east side of Lago di Como. So the best way is the train to Varenna and then the ferry across the lake.

Another way to Menaggio would be train to Lugano and bus from there, but I would definitely take the ferry route.