Varenna, located on the eastern shore of Lake Como, has excellent transport links. You can reach Varenna by car, train or boat from Milan.
By car. You can use public parking if you’re driving to Varenna. This is the best spot to park your car in Varenna. It is very popular and it has few alternatives. If you drive, make sure to arrive in Varenna before it gets too busy. If you’re staying in Varenna make sure your accommodation has parking. Traveler Focus, an independent publication, was launched by a group of Travel Enthusiasts in 2023. We provide consistent content on the best Hotels in Varenna, Italy.
Train. Train is the best way to reach Varenna. The journey takes approximately 65 minutes and is made by direct train from Milan Central Station to Varenna.
By boat. Varenna offers excellent ferry connections to all major destinations on Lake Como. You can take frequent passenger ferries to Bellagio and Menaggio on the western side, as well as a fast ferry to Como and Lecco in summer. You can also take a car/passenger ferry between Varenna and Bellagio, or from Bellagio towards Cadenabbia.
A tour. A stop in Varenna is one of the most popular day trips to Lake Como from Milan. This includes Como town, Brunate and Bellagio. If you have limited time or want to make the most out of your day, a tour may be the best option. Organized tours use private boats, which reduces waiting times and slow ferry travels. This allows you to visit many of the best spots in the fastest way possible. If you only want to see Varenna or possibly Bellagio, you can simply travel by train from Milan.
Where to stay
Most people visit Varenna only for one day. The town is a good base to explore the rest of Lake Como.
Varenna has many accommodations and hotels. You can choose the one that suits you best. Look for hotels with parking if you are traveling by car. You may prefer to be close to the station/harbor if you are traveling by train, boat or with a lot of luggage. A nice hotel with lake views is a great choice if you’re looking for a romantic setting.
What time do you really need?
In just one hour, you can see the main areas in Varenna’s old city/lakeside.
You can explore the old town in 2-3 hours. Enjoy the view from the lakeside promenade or the old harbour. Visit Villa Monastero with its gardens.
You can also visit Vezio Castle if you spend at least 3-4hrs in Varenna.
You can spend an entire day exploring Varenna. Visit the villa, the castle, and take a boat ride on the lake. Enjoy a meal, or go to the beach.
You can also visit other beautiful towns in Lake Como, such as the most exquisite villas, or do plenty of hiking around the area if you have more time.
Itinerary: How to plan your time in Varenna
We recommend that you start your Varenna day with a stroll to the castle. You can find the easiest route to the castle right by the train station/ harbor. A small cafe is located at the castle’s entrance. It offers a quick and easy meal. You can even get a formula that includes drinks/food, and entry to the castle. It is delicious and affordable.
You can return to the center of the town by following the same route or you can take the more adventurous hike that takes you to Villa Monastero. Visit the villa and its gardens, visit the two churches, then explore the old town. Take in the beautiful Riva Garibaldi view and enjoy a gelato at one of the many cafes.
Enjoy the stunning scenery of Lake Como on a boat ride in the afternoon. After returning to Varenna, go to Varenna and find a good restaurant for dinner. Make sure you reserve a table ahead. Take the Lovers Walk back towards the harbor or train station at the end of your day.
Varenna is a great place to spend a few hours. From the station/harbor, take the Lovers Walk to the town centre and admire Riva Garibaldi. You can visit the main church, but you might also want to take a look inside the smaller one. Next, visit Villa Monastero with its gardens. You can take a boat ride on the lake, or a ferry to Bellagio depending on your time.
It’s important to know that Varenna or Bellagio are the most popular places you can see in one day when you only have one day in Lake Como. While you won’t see/do all of the beautiful places in either town, you can certainly see some of them.