Getting around Lake Como – Ferries

The Lake Como ferry service is primarily a public transport system for the tourism industry. It doesn’t really do ‘pleasure cruises’ but because of the beauty of the scenery that the boats travel through, a ride on a ferry is also the definitive Lake Como holiday leisure experience.

As public transport the Lake Como ferry service runs dozens of boats of various types to over thirty towns and villages around the 170 kilometres of lake perimeter. For visitors based on the popular western side of the Lake, for example, a ferry ride is the only convenient way of getting to Bellagio or Varenna, two of the most popular mid-lake visitor attractions.

Because the Lake has an irregular perimeter, varies in width and divides halfway down into two branches (one with a dog leg) a boat ride through some sections is characterised by a succession of new views being opened up, as if the boat were part of nature’s own slideshow.

Gallery – click on images to enlarge

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The Lake Como ferry service has a complex timetable, with information on a number of different, though often overlapping routes. And the staff at ferry points don’t necessarily speak English. This prompted us to rework the information in the timetable. It’s still a bit bulky but that’s inevitable given the nature of the service. Click here to see our simplified but complete ‘Ferry Departure Times’.

Fares charged by the Lake Como ferry service are based on stages, with a supplement for the fast service, which uses quicker boats and stops less often than the standard service. To find the fare for a journey between two points around the Lake you can consult the charts on the ferry service website.

Incidentally, there is no saving in buying return tickets other than having to queue once only, because they are simply twice the price of singles.