How to read Lake Como ferry timetable

The official ‘Lago di Como’ ferry leaflet (available from ferry points around Lake Como) opens out to reveal one timetable on one side (Como – Colico and reverse) and four on the other (counting ‘there’ and ‘back’ schedules as one). To get the best from what follows, you need to have that leaflet open in front of you.

The four timetables on one side of the leaflet are headed:

  • Bellagio – Lecco (and Lecco – Bellagio)
  • Servizio Navetta in Centro Lago
  • Servizio Autotraghetto / Fahre / Ferry – Boat
  • Servizio Rapido between Como and Colico (in both directions).

The Bellagio – Lecco timetables cover the less popular eastern branch, a completely different geographical area from all of the other ferries, which operate above the point where Lake Como divides or in the western branch.

The Servizio Rapido is a fast service, covering the same part of the Lake as the standard Como – Colico timetable but stopping only in the major locations. It’s more expensive than the ‘standard’ service, because it uses more powerful boats. If this is your chosen mode of transport, all other timetables are irrelevant: but if you want to switch to Rapido at some point in your journey, you can do so by paying a supplement. Then this timetable obviously adds necessary additional information.

The Servizio Autotraghetto includes car and passenger only ferries and is dedicated to the four mid-lake towns of Varenna, Menaggio, Bellagio and Cadenabbia – it doesn’t go anywhere else. It therefore covers a part of the Lake that is also served by the standard and Rapido services between Como and Colico.

All three of these timetables relate to services that are additional to, and not reflected in, the Como – Colico timetables on the other side of the leaflet. But the Servizio Navetto in Centro Lago is different, because it’s only an extract of services between Lenno and Bellano, taken from the Como – Colico timetable. What’s more, it doesn’t pick up some boats that travel between Lenno and Bellano but originate beyond those points.

For most visitors, therefore, there are only two timetables that will normally need to be consulted: the standard Como – Colico schedule and the Servizio Autotraghetto.

The Como-Colico timetable actually contains details of only a handful of journeys between those two end points (because there are only a handful). Most of the information is about ferries between Como and a few small villages at the southern end of the western branch, which look like commuter services. So there is less to study than first meets the eye.

A blue background to the route number, with ‘crossed hammers’, means the service runs on weekdays (Saturday included). A yellow background, with a red cross, means that it runs only on Sundays and holidays. When there is no colour, and no other information to the contrary, it means it runs seven day a week. The intermittent horizontal blue shading on the timetable is only to make it easier for the eye to track the right line across the page and has no symbolic significance. Other symbols and Notes are reasonably straightforward.

The Servizio Autotraghetto (car ferry) timetable is prepared differently from the others. It’s organised on a ‘from-to’ basis, with separate timetables for weekdays and holidays (including Sundays), both of which make it easy to refer to. But there is one drawback. The ferries often go to the timetable destination via one of the other three locations, which means you could find yourself heading back to where you just came from before continuing on your way. Some services are also for passengers only. Both are denoted by symbols that are unique to this timetable, and are explained below it. As with the other timetables, the intermittent blue and yellow horizontal shading is just to help the eye across the ‘page’ and has no symbolic significance.

Unlike the other timetables, the Servizio Autotraghetto is better presented in the English version on the Lake Como ferry service website. We would recommend printing it off and using it together with the leaflet version of the Como–Colico timetable for best information on the ferry times.