Are you planning to visit Lake Como but don’t have a car? No Problem! The best parts of Lake Como are perfectly suitable to be explored either on foot or by public transportation. In this article, I will show you the best ways to explore Lake Como without a car and where to stay to make the most of your time. I will talk about the great towns on Lake Como reachable by trains or ferries and what to do there.
Lake Como is a popular destination in Italy, known for its stunning landscapes and charming towns. If you don’t have a car, there are still plenty of options for accommodation. When booking accommodation, check for proximity to public transportation options such as ferry terminals and train stations. Additionally, consider the location’s accessibility to restaurants, shops, and attractions you plan to visit.
All the places and towns mentioned in my list include the top things to do in that area and the best accommodation close to public transportation and ferry terminals. I have done extensive research and hand-picked the best hotels (including the ones where I stayed) for you with top reviews. All you need to do is make sure to book in advance as the best ones tend to sell out quickly!
Map of Lake Como with Towns
Overview of the Best Towns to Stay in Lake Como Without a Car
Most of the towns on Lake Como are walkable, so you only need to find accommodation close to the old town and lakeshore. One of the most important considerations when choosing where to stay on Lake Como if you don’t have a car is proximity to the train/bus station, the harbor, and ferry connections to other towns. The best towns on Lake Como that meet these criteria are Como Town, Bellagio, Verenna, Menaggio, Tremezzo, and Cernobbio.
If you want to visit multiple towns during your stay in Lake Como, staying in a central location like Bellagio or Varenna will provide easy access to various parts of the lake.
Como Town: Como is the largest town on the lake and is well-connected by trains and boats. You can find a variety of hotels, guesthouses, and Airbnb options in Como. Staying in the town allows you to explore its historic center, take boat trips, and easily access public transportation.
Bellagio: Bellagio is a picturesque town located at the intersection of the lake’s three branches. It’s known for its beautiful gardens, historic villas, and charming streets. You can easily explore Bellagio on foot and use boats for transportation.
Verenna: Varenna is another lovely town on Lake Como, easily accessible by train and ferry. It has a relaxed atmosphere and offers beautiful lake views. You can explore the town, visit the gardens of Villa Monastero, and take boat trips to nearby attractions.
Menaggio: Menaggio is a family-friendly town with a central location on the lake. It has a ferry terminal, making it convenient for exploring other parts of Lake Como. The town has a range of accommodation options, and you can explore its lakeside promenade and historic center.
Tremezzo: Tremezzo is known for the stunning Villa Carlotta and its beautiful gardens. It’s well-connected by ferries and has a few nice hotels. Staying in Tremezzo allows you to explore the surrounding areas easily.
Getting Around Lake Como Without a Car
The most convenient option to get around Lake Como without a car is by ferries and boat tours. There are two types of boat tours on Lake Como: private and public. You can choose the best option for you based on your personal needs such as time and budget.
The public boat service is provided by Navigazione Laghi. The service operates all year round but is more frequent during the main season in summer. There are three main routes:
- Como – Colico Round Trip Route
This route connects Como to Bellagio, Menaggio, Tremezzo, or Argegno.
- Central Area of Lake Como Route
This route connects towns in central parts of the lake such as Bellagio, Varenna, Menaggio, and Cadenabbia.
- Lecco – Bellagio Round Trip Route
This route connects Lecco, on the southeastern tip of the lake, to Bellagio, on the promontory between the three branches of the lake. It only operates in the summer.
Best Areas to Stay in Lake Como Without a Car
Bellagio, often referred to as the “Pearl of Lake Como,” is renowned for its breathtaking views of Lake Como. The town is situated at the intersection of the lake’s three branches, providing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and water. From Bellagio, you can easily take scenic ferry rides to other towns like Varenna and Menaggio to experience the most things that Lake Como has to offer.
Bellagio’s historic center is a picturesque maze of cobblestone streets, charming squares, and colorful buildings. Explore the narrow alleys and discover boutique shops, cafes, and local crafts. Staying in Bellagio offers a romantic and scenic escape with its charming ambiance, historic sites, and access to the natural beauty of Lake Como.
Things to do in Bellagio
- Visit the beautiful gardens of Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni, located along the lakeshore. These beautiful gardens feature sculptures, exotic plants, and scenic lake views.
- Stroll along the lakeside promenade, lined with cafes and restaurants. Enjoy the view, have a gelato, or sip on a drink while taking in the serene atmosphere.
- Visit the Church of San Giacomo, a Romanesque-style church with an impressive interior.
How to Get to Bellagio by Train?
From Milan, take the train to Varenna (1 hour). From Varenna, take the ferry to Bellagio. The ferry takes 15 minutes and costs €4.60 per person one way.
Best Places to Stay in Bellagio Without a Car
Grand Hotel Villa Serbellomi – Located 10 minutes away from Villa Melzi Gardens, this luxury hotel with a rich history provides private boat rentals and hosts a Michelin-star restaurant.
Hotel Du Lac & SPA – this family-run hotel is situated in the heart of Bellagio, overlooking the main square right in front of the harbor and the middle of many shops and restaurants. It features a panoramic restaurant and a terrace overlooking Lake Como.
Il Borgo – a modern apartment located just a few steps from the harbor for boats across Lake Como. The nearest train station is a short boat ride away in Varenna. Villas of Villa Melzi and Villa Servelloni are a short walk away.
Varenna boasts a charming lakeside setting with colorful houses, narrow streets, and stunning views of Lake Como. It provides a more relaxed and less touristy atmosphere compared to some other towns on the lake.
Varenna’s is easily accessible by public transportation. It has a train station (Varenna Esino) that connects Verenna to Milan, making it accessible for travelers without a car. The ferry terminal provides easy access to other towns on Lake Como, such as Bellagio and Menaggio, making it a convenient base for exploring the region.
Staying in Varenna provides a more intimate and authentic experience, with its historic sites, beautiful gardens, and proximity to other charming towns on Lake Como.
Things to Do in Verenna
- Explore Villa Monastero, a historic villa with beautiful gardens overlooking the lake. The villa often hosts cultural events, and its gardens are a peaceful place to wander.
- Visit the gardens of Villa Cipressi, another historic villa with terraced gardens offering panoramic views of the lake.
- Hike up to Castello di Vezio, a medieval castle with ancient ruins and panoramic views of Varenna and Lake Como.
- Visit the historic church of San Giorgio, known for its Romanesque architecture and its position overlooking the lake.
- Visit Fiumelatte, a nearby hamlet known for having the shortest river in Italy. Take a short walk to see the river’s source.
Best Places to Stay in Verenna Without a Car
Hotel Royal Victoria – The Royal Victoria is located right on the lake shore in the heart of Varenna. It includes a private dock, a swimming pool, and 2 restaurants, one of which overlooks Bellagio.
Hotel Olivedo – this historic 19th-century lakefront hotel is a 2-minute walk from the pier in Varenna and features a terrace with panoramic views of Lake Como. The Olivedo Hotel is 5 minutes’ walk from Varenna-Esino Train Station.
Varenna Guest House – this bed and breakfast is only a 5-minute walk from the train station and provides bicycle rental to explore beautiful Lake Como by bike. The ferry pier and all the restaurants are also very close making it a perfect base for budget travelers to explore Lake Como without a car.
Menaggio is strategically located at the center of Lake Como, making it a convenient base for exploring other towns on the lake. It has good ferry connections to Varenna and Bellagio, allowing for easy day trips without a car.
Things to Do in Menaggio
- Explore Piazza Garibaldi, the main square in Menaggio, surrounded by cafes and shops. It’s a lively area perfect for people-watching and enjoying the local atmosphere.
- Take a ferry to nearby Tremezzo to visit Villa Carlotta, an exquisite villa with beautiful gardens and art collections.
- Relax at the Menaggio Lido, a lakeside beach area with a pool, sun loungers, and a bar. It’s a great place to unwind and enjoy the lake.
- If you enjoy golf, visit the Golf Club Menaggio & Cadenabbia, which offers a picturesque course with stunning lake views.
- Explore the hiking trails around Menaggio, such as the Greenway del Lago di Como, offering scenic views of the lake and the surrounding hills.
- Visit the Church of San Stefano, a Romanesque-style church with a historic charm, located in the heart of Menaggio.
Best Places to Stay in Menaggio Without a Car
Grand Hotel Victoria – this luxury 5-star hotel has an amazing location, overlooking Lake Como and just 100 meters from the pedestrian center of Menaggio. From here you can admire the view across the lake to Bellagio and Varenna. panoramic terrace serving national and international food.
Hotel Garni – located 30 meters from Lake Como, this hotel in Menaggio provides easy access to public transport, restaurants, and shops. It offers an ideal starting point for all kinds of excursions around Lake Como.
Apartment Nicole – this property is perfectly located right at Piazza Garibaldi with many choices of restaurants and 6 6-minute walk from the ferry terminal. The apartment consists of 1 bedroom, a living room, a fully equipped kitchen with an oven and a coffee machine.
Staying in Tremezzo on the western shores of Lake Como offers a charming and scenic escape with its historic villas, lakeside promenade, and proximity to some of Lake Como’s most famous attractions. It is home to Villa Carlotta, a magnificent villa with beautiful terraced gardens overlooking Lake Como offering stunning views.
Tremezzo is a great base to explore Lake Como without a car and has good ferry connections, allowing for easy day trips to neighboring towns such as Bellagio and Menaggio.
Things to Do in Tremezzo
- Take a boat trip to Lenno to visit Villa del Balbianello, an iconic villa with terraced gardens, known for its picturesque setting and appearances in films such as James Bond’s “Casino Royale.”
- Enjoy a stroll along the lakeside promenade in Tremezzo, offering breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
- Relax at Tremezzo’s public beach, a peaceful spot to enjoy the sun and swim in the clear waters of Lake Como.
- Go hiking along the shore of the lake. Tremezzo is part of the Greenway del Lago di Como, a scenic walking trail that connects the towns of Colonno, Sala Comacina, Lenno, and Mezzegra.
- Visit Parco Civico Olivelli, a small botanical and architectural gem that provides access to the lake and is ideal for relaxing in the shade of its towering trees or sitting at tables in its small café.
Best Places to Stay in Tremezzo Without a Car
Grand Hotel Tremezzo – this luxurious 5-star hotel offers stunning views of Lake Como and Bellagio, and it is only a 3-minute walk from Villa Carlotta and its botanic garden. Hotel Tremezzo features 3 swimming pools and an SPA and Wellness center.
La Darsena Boutique Hotel – located directly on the shores of Lake Como, La Darsena Boutique Hotel is 150 meters from the center of Tremezzo, overlooking Bellagio and Mount Grigna. It offers private docking and mooring for boats and is 100 meters from a ferry stop. Villa Carlotta Gardens are within walking distance of the property.
B&B Selve di Rogaro – located on the quiet hills of Tremezzo, B&B Selve di Rogaro is a 10-minute walk from Lake Como shores. It offers a garden with sun loungers and hammocks. Both Como and Menaggio can be reached by bus stopping 300 meters from the B&B. The harbor with ferries to nearby towns is also nearby.
Como Town is situated right on the shores of Lake Como, providing stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The picturesque waterfront and promenade offer a tranquil setting for relaxing walks. The town has a well-preserved historic center with narrow cobblestone streets, charming squares, and historic buildings.
Como is a transportation hub with a train station and a ferry terminal. This makes it easy to explore other towns around Lake Como, as well as nearby cities like Milan. From Como, you can take boat trips across Lake Como, allowing you to visit other scenic towns such as Bellagio, Varenna, and Tremezzo.
Things to do in Como Town
- Take the funicular to Brunate Hillside Village for panoramic views of Lake Como and the surrounding region.
- Explore the Cathedral of Como (Cattedrale di Como) and the Broletto, a medieval town hall.
- Walk along the lakefront promenade which is almost 6 kilometers long and one of the most beautiful on Lake Como
- Check out Porta Torre fortress and Volta Temple
- Villa Olmo, one of the most beautiful villas on Lake Como
Best Places to Stay in Como Town Without a Car
Vista Palazzo – a 5-star luxury hotel only 100 meters from the Ferry Terminal and steps away from the shores of Lake Como is ideal for a car-free stay.
Hilton Hotel – Hilton is located a 10-minute walk from the shores of Lake Como and a 15-minute walk to Como town center. Villa Olmo is only 500 meters away. The hotel has a rooftop infinity pool and restaurant.
Como City Home – this budget-friendly accommodation in the center of Como, is less than 1 km from Volta Temple and a 10-minute walk from Como San Giovanni Train Station. Villa Olmos is less than 2 km away making it ideal for people travelling without a car.
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