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Getting to Lake Como from Lucerne

We are going to be in Lucerne next April and would like to go to Lake Como. What is the easiest way to get to Bellagio, across all budget points?

Posted by
2768 posts

The rome2rio website can give you the various travel options. If you are considering the option of rental car, take note of the huge drop fee that can be imposed if dropping in a different country than you rented from.

Posted by
11929 posts

Do you mean April 2021, or 2022?

"Easiest", without renting a car ( which would be expensive for a one-way trip) would probably be the EC train that runs direct to MIlan each day, changing at Monza ( before MIlan) to the train to Varenna. This train takes 5 hours. There are shorter journeys with more changes, so not as easy.

At Varenna you walk down to the ferry dock and catch a ferry to Bellagio.

Now, if you had asked "the most scenic" or "most fun and interesting" way to go, that might be the boat+ train + bus + ferry combo. One is the Gotthard Panorama Express, a boat plus train combo* on the scenic Gotthard Pass route: lake boat from Luzern to Fluelen, train from there to Lugano. Then you have two choices: (1) bus ( infrequent) to Menaggio,mthen ferry from there across the lake to Bellagio, or (2) train from Lugano to Como San Giovanni station, transfer by bus or taxi down tonthe lakefront ferry terminal, and a long ferry ride up the lake to Bellagio.

https://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/travel-in-switzerland/panoramareisen/gotthard-panorama-express.html

  • note you can skip the boat ride and get to Fluelen by train, via Arth-Goldau, if you prefer.

You could also go from Luzern to Chur by train, and catch a train for the scenic Bernina Pass route over the Alps to Tirano on the Swiss border. Change there tonan Italian train to Varenna, where you would catchthe ferry to Bellagio as above. This route is longer (more train time) than the one set forth above.

Posted by
34 posts

We actually made this trip in 2014 and found it very easy. Took the train from Lucerne, we changed trains in Lugano where we stopped for a few hours for lunch. Then continued on to Como from Lugano. We walked from the train station in Como to the ferry stop (about 1/2 mile) we stopped for coffee and window shopping, its a pleasant walk. We then took the 'slow' ferry to Bellagio (check the ferry schedules closely when they are published). There's also a hydrofoil fast ferry which cuts the time to Bellagio however not near as scenic or pleasant in our opinion, we used the hydrofoil when we left as we had an earlier train from Como to Venice.

check out: https://www.comoanditslake.com/timetablenavigation.htm. Understand this is the winter schedule, in Covid, so it doesn't look like many options. We were there in early September and as I recall many options were available. Again check it closer to your trip. Honestly I don't remember the cost of the ferry, check out the Sbb.ch website for prices of the train to Como (we were using a swiss train pass so we bought a ticket day of travel from Chiasso to Como. Our trip took the greater part of a day, we couldn't get into our accommodation in Bellagio until after 3, and had 5 glorious days there so we weren't in a big hurry to get there that first day. Enjoy your trip, Lucerne and Bellagio are 2 of our favorite places.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks everyone! That last reply sounds like the one we’ll try to do.
We first want to check out the option of flying from Zurich to Milan, but that may be more trouble than it’s worth? Any comments?

Posted by
24849 posts

I'm sure I replied to somebody in the last couple of days about Luzern to the Zurich airport to Milan to Como.

Did you post a different question which was removed for some reason?

In any event, flying will take longer, be much more hassle, much less scenic and cost more.

Unless you especially love flying or hate tunnels or trains I can't see why you'd do it. Do you have one of those phobias?

Posted by
3 posts

No, it was just a thought that I wanted to check out IN CASE it might have been faster!!
But thanks to all who replied!

Posted by
24849 posts

just to help them how it is faster by train: 2:30 frequent train from Luzern including a short change of train at Arth-Goldau, and get off at Como S Giovanni, short walk to the lake and a boat, depending on where on the lake, and how fast a boat you want. Job done. Total time 2:30.

Or stay on another 40 minutes to Monza and do as shown above by another.

Or you could fly. 50 minutes train Luzern to Zurich airport. 2 hour check in. One hour(ish) flight. An hour into Milan, or take the time to rent a car, and then an hour(ish) to Varenna thena boat. Minimum 5 and a half or 6 for that quick flight.

With the 3 hours on Lake Como you saved on the train you could have a walk, a boat ride all around the centre and one arm of the lake, or most of that and a drink and/or a pizza overlooking the lake.

Seems like a slam dunk to me...

Posted by
26 posts

We made a similar type of trip in 2015. (flew into Zurich from U.S. & took a non-stop train directly to the Lake Como station -- saw Lake Luzern from our train)

I just wanted to warn you about the ferry to Bellagio. We arrived in the Como station after many hours of travel, only to find out the ferry schedule had changed shortly before our arrival in mid to late Sept. with fewer times available. We were unaware about the exact date of their 'seasonal' schedule change because it did not give it online. So if you are worried about time, make sure you know the exact schedule for that month as there may also be a spring schedule change? (Although a spring change might add more times to their schedule?) The quick walk from the Como train station to the ferry is a snap.

FYI: So the 'quick' ferry we had anticipated taking to our hotel after the long journey was not running. If I remember correctly, the 'slow' ferry from Como to Bellagio/Varenna was maybe an hour & a half? At first we were bummed our trip was extended even longer, but we actually had a sunny day and really enjoyed the slower ferry ride. The lake is so beautiful and if you sit up on the top deck you get to see all the very quick stops on your way to Bellagio or Varenna. It is a good way to familiarize yourself with the Lake and turned out to be our only time spent in that area since we ended up staying mostly in Bellagio & Varenna the rest of the time. (left Varenna by train) Enjoy! Ciao.