A ride on a ferry is the definitive Lake Como experience. But the detailed ferry timetables can take some working out, especially when they’re in Italian.
The good news is that there are English versions of the timetables on the website of the service provider – the Gestione Navigazione Laghi. These can be printed either as they appear on the screen or in the denser PDF format, which is much closer to the ‘glossy’ printed version.
Those timetables are listed under three headings: motorships, fast services and ferries.
There are two timetables under the heading of motorships.
- One is for service Como and Piona (and reverse), which runs the length of the lake, following the western branch. This timetable also includes short rides between Como and half a dozen nearby communes at the southern end of the western branch – in fact they represent sixty to seventy percent of the total runs on the schedule. And as most of the other routes fall short of linking Como to Colico, the timetable heading doesn’t really reflect its contents.
- The second timetable gives details of services between Lenno on the western branch, and Varenna in the central lake area.
The Fast Services (Servizi Rapidi) timetable gives details of services between Como and Colico, using quicker vessels and stopping less frequently. You pay extra for this. To illustrate the difference it makes, Como to Colico takes about three hours normally and around half that time with the fast service.
The Ferries (Traghetti) timetables list vehicle and passenger ferries linking only Bellagio, Varenna, Menaggio and Cadenabbia, at the centre of Lake Como tourism.
We thought the timetables could be simplified, and rearranged the information to make it easier to read. The resulting visitors’ timetables are available in Winter 2008 Lake Como Ferry Timetables for Visitors and, for anyone who is interested, details of how and why we changed the published information can be seen in How and why we re-arranged the ferry timetables