Last Saturday, we went to Lake Como. Here are some notes, if you are coming just for a day trip, as we did:

  1. The town to visit is Bellagio. On the map, the lake famously looks like a stick-figure man with legs striding apart. Bellagio is located right where … it makes it a subject of crude jokes.
  2. There is no train from Milan to Bellagio. The way to go is through the town of Como, which is located at the end of the left foot, and not through Varenna (although we didn’t try the latter route).
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  4. There are two train stations in Como. A more convenient one (closest to the ferry harbour) is Nord Lago. Unfortunately, you cannot get to it directly from Milano Centrale (you need to start from Cadorna FN). The trains from Centrale come to the other station in Como (St. Giovanni). It took us 20 min to walk to the habour from there.
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  6. From Como to Bellagio, there are four options: bus, taxi, “fast boat” and “slow boat”. The ride on a slow boat is fantastic and is actually the highlight of the day trip. We took the fast boat on the way to Bellagio and the slow boat on the way back. The latter is much better – you are not locked inside the cabin, and the views are spectacular. It is really slow though (the one-way trip takes more than two hours). We were lucky that our five-year-old daughter was a seasoned traveler, but at that age you can get excited by only so many views of posh lakeside villas in a day.
  7. A single day trip might be too short for a truly relaxed experience. We were not rushed per se, but we were aware of the boat and train schedules, which was a bit distracting for me personally.

For photography, a telephoto lens is a must-have. The slow ferry does stop at nearly every town and brings you close to the beautiful buildings, but a long lens is indispensable for compressing perspective of the multiple layers of mountain rangesMy 70-200 weighs as much as the rest of my gear, but I used it 90% of the time (not counting the GoPro, which I camped to the railing on the ferry and just let it run during the entire ride).