A place that legitimately falls alongside a river and has one of the most popular lakes in the whole world, Como, Italy, is a city that remains in the memories of those who visit it even once. It is not overstating that the experience the lake provides is genuinely one of a kind, even for a country like Italy, which is known for its countless cultures and traditions.
The size of the lake is enormous when compared to other lakes in Europe and, to prove its vastness, you can actually find islands with small villages along the coast of the lake, which can be visited via boat rides. These attributes have added to the experience tourists have felt on their trip to Como, because seeing these small villages with their distinct aesthetics and architecture through their villas, hotel rooms or beaches is always unlike anything else.
Apart from the size, the city of Como is also known for its art festivals, where the local musicians come and jam in their traditional music. Como is celebrated by many artists, who find the place inspirational because of the striking imagery it provides. Various Italian and European painters who were struck by the beauty of the lake have spent their time trying to capture it in their canvases but have majorly failed. The simple reason being that Como is as beautiful as it gets. The weather of the city changes throughout the day, with the cold breeze of the lake juxtaposing the warm sun, which is why the look and feel of the city keeps on changing.
The city itself, similar to the lake, provides great experiences on the streets. Como consists of historical cathedrals, like the rest of Italy, which hold significant value for the religious population of the city. These cathedrals are led to the narrow streets where the possibility of you getting lost is quite high, but so are the chances of you stumbling upon something much more beautiful and extravagant.
Apart from that, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are market days in Como, where local artisans come together and sell handmade goods in their little stalls. These products, being rich in artistry, are also really cheap. And as is usual with every local flea market, the artisans sell their products themselves, with no third party involved. You can get memorabilia for your friends abroad or cheap souvenirs that remind you of the beautiful Como once your trip ends.
Also, one of the small things that make Como a must-visit is the kindness of the locals. The inhabitants of Como always come together to celebrate their religion, culture, or arts, and for this reason, there is a sense of oneness involved all the time. These people know each other truly and deeply and welcome any tourist who wants to explore their city.
Train transfers from Malpensa Airport are connected from both of the terminals at the airport, and travel all the way to the Milan central station, Milano Porta Garibaldi, and Milan Cadorna railway station. The trains stop at various other railway stations that can be beneficial for travelers who want to experience more than just the major stations.
The taxis in Como are usually avoided by the locals as they are very expensive compared to the other public transportation systems. The buses are always considered a great way to travel long distances, whereas on the other hand, no one really wants to spend a lot of money on short-distance traveling, which is why the locals opt for their bicycles or simply just walk. Walking is held in higher regard by the locals, because they believe that you get to enjoy the beauty of Como.
The ferries & boat trips are popular among tourists in Como for the simple reason that they can get to the little villages that are visible to them from so far away. Apart from that, the boats also wander along the lake so that you can enjoy the ride as much as possible. Boat rides are the best way to relax after a hectic journey or a busy week. By booking a boat for yourself, you can have an excellent experience by parking the boat in the middle of the sea and jumping out for a swim. These boats are owned by a company called Navigazione Laghi and are of two types; public and private. If you book a private boat, the experience or the decision to travel is in your hands. But if you’re on a shared ride, then a one-way ticket to travel from Lake Como to Bellagio, a small village along the shores, will be around 10 euros. And, if you desire to cruise along the lake, you can opt for the free circulation ticket, which costs 23 euros.
The buses in Como are run by a company called ASF lines, and connect the entire small city with their services. Besides being the cheapest transport option, the buses also travel to the small provinces of the city. Because of this, the small villages visible from the beaches and highways can also be visited easily. These buses can be seen in each part of the city, hoarded with tourists and locals, because the ticket fares are cheaper when compared to other transport options. If you start your trip from, let's say, the closest airport to the city, i.e., Malpensa Airport, and your destination is the lake, then the journey would take around an hour and a half, for a price of 12 to 15 euros. These prices, of course, change during the day and differ according to the bus stops. But you can rest assured, rely on buses for the easiest and cheapest travel in the city.
The closest airport in Como is the Malpensa International Airport, which is 85 kilometers away and takes roughly around an hour and a half to reach. This distance can seem huge to the travelers who are new to Como, but the airport has a variety of transfers that can make it easy. Malpensa Airport provides multiple airport transfers which can be used to travel in the city without any hassle. These transfers include buses, trains, shuttles, taxis. Out of these, some are considered to be the local favorite, like the buses, trains, or shuttles, and some are really expensive, like the taxi.
Airport taxis from Malpensa Airport are considered quite expensive compared to other transport. The ticket fares are unreasonably high, ranging between 75 to 100 euros. But what these prices offer is unattainable in the different modes of transportation: that is the comfort and ease of traveling. You can get a better, close interaction with the city as you glide through the highways. Taxi rides will allow you to look at all the cathedrals, streets, and villages.
These taxis are usually parked at gate 6 of the airport, the Arrivals gate of Terminal 1. Besides that, you can also find these taxis at Terminal 2, by gate 4.
The buses operating from the Malpensa Airport take a tour through multiple parts of and out of the city, with numerous bus stops. However, these bus stops mainly reside outside the city of Como, since Malpensa International Airport is one of the major airports in Italy and it attracts tourists whose destination can be cities like MIlan, Ollegio, or something else.
Apart from being the most accessible transport, these buses are also the cheapest as they are used by thousands of tourists and locals. The bus transfers provided by Malpensa Airport travel through places like the central station in Milan, San Siro Stadium and back to terminal 1. As you can see, the buses only travel through the major stops, which guarantees a huge number of passengers. But if you want to travel to Como, you can easily switch your bus with another.
Although train stations are far from the city's main attractions, they can still be the best transport option. Trains in Como, unlike buses, are owned by the Italian state. These stations are connected to the various villages in the city, so that, apart from just being able to view them from your shores, you can also visit them.
If you’re at the Malpensa Airport, then to travel to Como, you’ll have to change your train twice. First, you can catch the Regionale 394 from the Malpensa Airport Terminal 1 and get off at the Saronno station for just 8 euros. After that, you can see the Regionale 1111 train to get off at Como Camerlata train station for the cheapest ticket of 3 euros. The total cost of the journey would be just 10 to 11 euros.
The sightseeing transportation in Como really depends on the tourists and the locals and their preferences. Many people prefer using bus services to travel outside the city because it is faster and cheaper. But for tourists who are new to Como and want to explore the city and the villages within it, then buses won't be the right option. Como is a small city, and can be explored by simple means itself, like walking to the lake which is close to the main city center, or using a ferry from the lake shore to reach the villages, because any other transport can be expensive.
Best time to visit Como
You can enjoy the lake during summer as the heat pulsates from air to person. The sun's rays fall on the small city and its neighbors to make it look yellow. Even the architecture showcases a gothic appearance drowned in this yellow sheet of light and gives the impression that, perhaps, the ancient Romans have reappeared again. The beaches get more crowded, the streets get lit up with festivals, and the villas become party places.
Summer is when the streets of Como are highly crowded with tourists either trying out sea foods in the cafes or restaurants, moving around with a map in their hand looking for the nearest cathedral or perhaps riding out on a scooter in their summer clothes. It is considered the best season for a city like Como, where urbanized city centers, historic cathedrals, and lively beaches are all in close contact.
However, since summer is the most popular season to visit Italy, the flight tickets go through the roof. The amount of tourism the city gets is excessive, which is why many places charge way more than the original prices. So a pro tip would be to pre-plan your entire trip and do your research.