Hi there. My wife and I will be travelling in Italy in June 2013 for our honeymoon. We'll be in Milan/Como area from the 27-30 and our flight returns on the 30th. I haven't booked the airline tickets yet so I don't know of when during that day it flys out. I'm hesitant as to when to do what because of the timetables of trains and the flight. I was hoping to stay in Milan the 27th-28th and then in Bellagio the 29th (ending our honeymoon trip in the lake area), but on the TrenItalia website, the train looks to be coming back to Milan too late on the 30th. Does anyone have any advice on how to do this (why did they stop the bus from Como to Malpensa Airport??) I really would like to have our last night be in Bellagio, but I'm afraid it may not work out. Thanks!
What time is your flight? We stayed in the Centro Lago last fall and had a similar situation - we had to get back to Milan for our train to Venice. (We did not, in the end, find the trenitalia site helpful at all - perhaps I was using it wrong, but the rail times when we arrived in Italy did not conform to the rail times listed on the site.) Even in the off-season there are about five different ways to get back to Milan from the Centro Lago, so this shouldn't be a problem. The ferry in Bellagio will take you to Varenna or Menaggio. From Varenna, the earliest train left at 7:30 am or thereabouts. We hopped on the ferry at 6:20 am and had time for an espresso and a pastry in a little cafe around the corner from the train station before we caught the train. (Just a note - the ticket machine at the Varenna train station is broken, and apparently has been since it was installed. You buy your ticket on the train, from the conductor.) The train ride from Varenna is about two hours to the Stazione Centrale. It's another hour from the Stazione to the airport, so, conservatively, I'd guess that the earliest that you could get to the airport from Bellagio using this route is about noon. There is also a bus, from Menaggio to Milan, which might be a shorter route - again, you'd have to take the ferry from Bellagio. I can't remember what the # of the bus is, but both Rick Steves and the Frommer's Northern Italy and the Lakes guides give the bus #.
Schedules for late June are not really out yet, so do not rely on what you see on renitalia for that time. There should be frequent trains, similar to what the schedule shows now. Also, there is the hourly TreNord service from Como Nord Lago (close to the ferry dock) to Malpensa: http://www.trenord.it/IT/servizi/motore-orario.aspx
It looks as if the most popular flight out of Milan to Florida is at 8:25 a.m. Unless you had a car service take you directly to the airport, you'd better stay down by the airport. A car service would be expensive, and the pickup would be very early. I try to fly out late a.m., but it doesn't seem to work out that way for Milan/Mal.
A few corrections and additions to Kate's entry: 1) the ferries go from Bellagio to Como (via Tremezzo) as well as to Menaggio and Varenna. You could go there (Como) and catch the train. The ferry ride is longer but the train ride is shorter. And you can use the Trenord service which changes at Cadorna instead of Centrale in Milan. 2) the train ride from Varenna to Milan Centrale takes 1 hour (and 3 minutes), not 2 3) the ticket machine at Varenna is indeed broken, but it is recommended to buy tickets from the travel agent near th etrain station. The conductor is supposed to fine you if you board without a ticket. Some may accept the explanation that the machine is broken, but I personally would not count on that. When we rode it everyone had tickets they bought ahead of time or from the travel agent. 4) trains depart Varenna even before the 7:37. On the april schedule there are trains at 5:36 and 6:23 direct to Milan. 5) Don't use Trenitalia for schedules to Varenna. Use fsitaliane.it: http://www.fsitaliane.it/ and be sure to spell it Varenna-Esino. All of this is probably moot as far as Jason is concerned, since they will probably need a morning flight to connect back to the US. Best to stay in Milan or near the airport rather than try to make a morning flight from Bellagio. If you want th elast night of your honeymoon on a lake, try Stresa (on Lago Maggiore) instead. It is much closer to Malpensa.
Jason, did you find an afternoon flight from Milan?
Thank you for the replies, I greatly appreciate it. Sasha, there is an 8:00 PM flight from Milan, so we may end up going that route since I really did want to spend our last evening in Bellagio. I knew of the ferry to Varenna or Como and then the train from there, I was just hoping there might be a shorter route. We'll just do that and leave Milan in the evening. I'm still debating whether to get the Italy rail pass or just buy point-to-point tickets. I know the faster trains (Rome-Naples, Florence-Venice, etc.) require reservations which have to be purchased anyway, so has anyone done one method or another (pass vs. point-to-point tickets) and found one to be the better choice? Thanks again!