Traveling to Como and Stresa

I will be in Lugano for a few days as my base in that area. Would like to visit Como, Maggiore and Milan. How do you suggest to do this. I know its only 20+ minutes from Lugano to Como, also have seen its an hour from Lugano to Milan but.. what is the easiest way to get to Stresa? I really want to see Isola Bella. Do you know if any of these can be combined on a day trip? I have only 3 nts in Lugano.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17783 posts

Hortensia, Although it may be feasible, Lugano will not be the best location for taking day trips to the places you mentioned. For example: > Lugano to Lago di Como - do you want to visit the town of Como or somewhere else on the lake? > Lugano to Milan - one hour on the train, so that will be a reasonable day trip. > Lugano to Stresa - one hour to Milan, waiting time and then another hour to Stresa, which will probably mean you'll need 2-3 hours for each direction. That's a bit long for a day trip, but it is possible. On arrival in Stresa, you'll have to walk from the station to the docks (about 15 minutes) and then wait for the next boat to Isola Bella. Depending on how long you spend touring the island (probably about 3 hours between the Villa and the gardens), that won't leave much time for much exploring in the city. Are you set on staying in Lugano? Milan would be a more logical home base for visiting the three locations you mentioned. With only three days, you won't have much time to explore the place you're staying in. Happy travels!

Posted by karren
oklahoma city, ok, usa
206 posts

I have taken the bus from Lugano to Stresa and have also taken a taxi from Lugano to Cannobio (which is also on Maggiorie). If you want to see Maggiore it would be easier to stay in Stresa but it is doable.

Posted by Hortensia
Miami, Florida, USA
12 posts

We are staying in Lugano, booked hotel already. We are interested in visitng Bellagio/Varenna. Do you know if its better to catch a bus and the schedules??

Posted by Shari
Highlands Ranch, Colorado, United States
14 posts

We just returned from that area. Just beware- the trains go on strike at random times. We took the ferry from Bellagio to Varenna, climbed the hill w/ luggage, and then found out the trains were on strike that day until 6 pm. We needed to be back in Milan by 2 pm so we needed to take a taxi to get back to Milan. So, keep in mind, the train system has random strikes in that region (other routes are not affected). You may want to check on the Trenitalia website for updates.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17783 posts

Hortensia, I haven't checked the Bus routes from Lugano to Varenna and Bellagio, but travelling by train will be about the same as to Stresa. You'll first take the train to Milano Centrale (about an hour) and then transfer to the train to Varenna-Esino (1H:03M), which depart every two hours as I recall (DON'T forget to validate!). You'll probably have a short wait at Milano Centrale. When you arrive in Varenna, walk down the hill to the boat dock, which is in front of Albergo Olivedo (big yellow building, you can't miss it). The ride to Bellagio is about 20 minutes. You can either tour Varenna first (which is very easy to do via walking) and then go to Bellagio, or reverse the order. In any case, it will probably be a long day! Another option would be to travel to Como and go by boat to Bellagio and Varenna, but I haven't checked the details on that method. If you use one of the Hydrofoils, travel will be reasonably quick. Cheers!

Posted by Hortensia
Miami, Florida, USA
12 posts

This is what I found. What do you guys think? Leave Lugano on bus to Como 9:48 arr at 10:15 its 27 minutes Como to Bellagio on fast ferry at 12:25 arr Bellagio at 13:07 (32 min) Option to visit Varenna ferries every 20 min or so. Return from Varenna or Bellagio on fast ferry to Como arr at 19:16 Depart Como back to Lugano on bus at 19:45 arr at 20:15
I cant find an easy way to get to Maggiore for Isola Bella, so Como will be the one. Please advice.