Posted by: debrakolkka | April 6, 2010

Arriving at Lake Como

Lake Como - early spring

We arrived by train in Como at S. Giovani Stazione.  I can’t think when I have had a more unfriendly arrival anywhere.  We went to the only visible ticket office to buy a ticket on any form of transport to Bellagio.  The vile man at the sportello barked that it was for trains only.  When I asked how we might get to Bellagio he shrugged in the direction of the nearby bar.  When I tried to buy our return ticket on the train to Milan he just shouted at me.  I would like to add here that my Italian is quite good enough to handle the purchase of a train ticket.

We went to the bar to buy a bus ticket.  When I asked the old crow who sold me the ticket where we could catch the bus or when it might leave, she claimed to have no idea. We conducted our own search and eventually found the bus stop and timetable not 10 metres from the crow’s booth and in her direct line of sight.

The blue 30c bus to Bellagio finally arrived about 1 hour later.  One day Italy might work out how  to coordinate bus and train timetables – but probably not in my lifetime.  Anyway, for the princely sum of euro 2.75 we had a 1hour ride on the bus around  Lake Como to Bellagio.  It was the hair raising equivalent to the trip around the Amalfi Coast from Sorrento to Positano.

Lake Como is gorgeous and well worth the horrible arrival.

I would like to add here that most people who work at the ticket offices at the railway stations in Italy are extremely helpful and patient.   I travel on buses and trains all over Italy regularly and have had few problems.  Many speak English – more at the train stations than the bus offices.  Always remember to validate your tickets (except Eurostar) before you get on the trains at the yellow boxes and when you get on the bus. 

When we left Bellagio to take the train to Milan, the 6.15 bus arrived at the stop at 6.08 and departed at 6.09.  Luckily, we were on it.


  1. This is the first negative post I have read on here. Now I am worried as I have to get from Milan to Como to Cadenabbia next week and I have no Italian! The scenary is lovely though. You certainly take a good photo.

    • Hi Colin, that’s the inevitability of travel. Not all places are friendly, so, one has to be ‘prepared’ wherever one travels in a foreign country.
      My husband and I are deaf travellers. We often use pen and paper to communicate as most Europeans can read English. We arrived ten minutes late in Milan from Venice (the train was late) and headed for the “Help” office at Milan Station to ask someone to make a phone call for us, to book us into a youth hostel room for the night. The lady at the office was still working, though the door was shut. We knocked and asked for assistance with the phone only to have the door shut into our faces (it was ten minutes past their working hours). No amount of explanations on our part would get someone at the office to help us with a phone call. So, there we were, stuck at night in Milan and not sure where to go next. Very kind English tourists, a young couple, heard what happened and offered to make the phone call for us on their mobile. We felt so grateful for their kindness. Fortunately, the hostel we booked into had two beds left, which we took for the night.
      Hiccups will happen during travels and it’s amazing how we get out of these scrapes by kind people along the way. That’s the fun of travelling, I guess.

    • Ciao Colin,
      I have tried not to write negative things – to only write about things I like, but this experience stood out. It is quite easy to get a train from Milan to Como. There are 2 stations in Como, S. Giovani, where we arrived and 1 closer to the lake. At S.Giovani buy a bus ticket at the bar and the bus stop is directly in front of the bar. I’m sure there will be a bus to Cardenabbia leaving from there. If you come into the other station you will be close to the point from where the boats go across the lake to various towns and the bus goes past there as well. There is a fast boat and slower ferries. We went to Cardenabbia and walked to Villa Carlotta, which is fabulous. There will be a post about it soon. Email me if you think I can be of any more help with your travels. Debra

  2. Hi, I am planning my next vacation destination and found your blog very informative, thanks

  3. Ciao TravelFan, Pleased to help. Let us know if there is anything specific we can suggest.

  4. Fantastic blog dude! I will back here soon 🙂

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