One of the great things about vacationing on Lake Como is the vast network of public ferries operated by the state-run Navigazione Lago di Como. They give visitors access to all three branches of the lake, a host of must-see sights on the shore and the thrill of cruising these waters in a manner that is economical and easy. Travelers eager to take their cars to destinations east and west of the lake can spare themselves the twists and turns of the lake road with the convenient car ferry service. Download the route planner and full map from the Navigazione Lago di Como website, or install the convenient app from Google Play or the App store for user-friendly information on schedules and fares as well as a bit of background on the must-see sights. When the summer timetables come out in May, check back here for another post with all the details.

We hope you enjoy our comprehensive guide to traveling by ferry on Lake Como for all of the details you need and feel free to get in touch with the Palazzo staff if you need additional assistance!

, Lake Como Ferry Prices and Tickets 2019

The Fleet

Public transport on Lake Como began in the early 19th century, with private companies running steamers across the lake for both passengers as well as cargo. Around the turn of the 20th century, propellers replaced the wheel, diesel replaced steam and tourism became the focus of the service. The ferry companies never fully recovered from the devastations of World War II, so the Italian government swept in to save the day in 1952. The newly state-run enterprise added traghetti, or car ferries, to the fleet in 1958 and launched the first aliscafo, or hydrofoil, in 1964. Today, there are about 33 boats in the service of Navigazione Lago di Como: modern aliscafi and catamarans, large and small traghetti, tourist cruisers called batelli that in some cases have restaurants, panoramic windows and outdoor decks, as well as the 1927 steamer Concordia, which operates lunchtime and sunset cruises with an old-timey flair.

The batello is your best bet if you’ve got plenty of time to sit back and enjoy the view. Equipped with bar and restaurant service in some cases, they crisscross the lake from Como in the south all the way to Colico in the north (always check the schedules to make sure there is a ferry to bring you back home!). The rapid-service aliscafo takes less than one hour to get from Como to Bellagio, but make sure you study the schedule carefully, as it doesn’t stop at every station. The traghetto only services Cadenabbia, Varenna, Menaggio and Bellagio, but it’s a great way to avoid circumnavigating the lake when you’re heading to points east and west.

, Lake Como Ferry Prices and Tickets 2019

The Fares

Navigazione Lago di Como has a handy fare sheet showing the different zones and explaining the terms and conditions for one-way, daily and multi-day tickets for the entire lake or certain sections. It isn’t always easy to understand, so we’ve broken it down for you in the following overview.

Fares are divided into 9 zones in total, starting with U for “urban”, which applies for short trips like San Giovanni to Bellagio or Tremezzo to Villa Carlotta. Full one-way fare for these trips is €1.80, regardless of age. For longer trips, find your zone by choosing your departure and destination stations and then locating the point at which the horizontal and vertical lines meet. Say you’re going from Bellagio to Lenno to visit Villa del Balbianello. Start with Bellagio on the left and find Lenno on the right, which makes your zone 3. The price for a one-way ticket there is €4.60 for adults (12 and over), €3.70 for seniors (65 and over with ID) and €2.30 for kids (from 4 to 11). If you want to travel from Bellagio to Domaso for a bit of wine tasting, that would put you in zone 5 and cost €8.30 for adults, €6.60 for seniors and €4.20 for kids. NB: children under 4 always travel free!

These prices apply only for direct links between the two stops; if you want to disembark along the way, you’ll have to buy separate tickets for each leg of the journey – or check below for the Free-Circulation tickets. To price a round trip route, just double the one-way fare. A surcharge applies for the rapid-service aliscafo boats, ranging from €1.40 to €4.90 each way, depending on your zone. Each ferry station has a ticket office, but you can also purchase tickets on the boat for an extra charge of €1 (if the ticket office is closed for some reason, no extra charge applies). Tickets purchased on the boat must be paid in cash, while the ticket offices also accept debit and credit cards.

Bicycles are not admitted on the aliscafo, but may be allowed on board if the Captain determines it would not compromise the service. Bikes are subject to a charge, depending on the type of boat and the flow of people, between €1.30 for zone U and €6.30 for zone 8. Small dogs (under 20 inches to the withers) and guide dogs travel free, while larger dogs cost between €1.50 to €3.50, with no extra charge for rapid-service boats. The boat crew reserves the right to ask dog owners to muzzle dogs where they feel it is necessary – so make sure you have a muzzle with you just in case. Passengers on the fast and slow boats are permitted to carry one piece of luggage or one package, provided it does not exceed 23 inches in length on any side. For items over the size limit or a second piece of luggage, charges range from €1.30 to €5.00, depending on your zone. Strollers and wheelchairs are free of charge.

, Lake Como Ferry Prices and Tickets 2019

A great choice for some adventurous travelers is the Free-Circulation ticket, which is available for zones 1-8 and as a one-day or six-day pass. A zone 6 ticket would cover everywhere from Bellagio to Como, with the price for one-day/six-day passes costing €23.30/€69.90 for adults, €18.60 for seniors (no senior citizen discount for the six-day pass) and €11.70/€35.00 for kids. Please note that these tickets are valid for one person only and non-transferable. The Free-Circulation ticket entitles passengers to unlimited trips and unlimited (intermediate) stops in the area selected and can even be used for rapid-service boats for the price of the surcharge.

The traghetto works on a different fare basis, but the fares are the same to and from all four stations they service: Cadenabbia, Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna. Reservations cannot be made in advance, just arrive at the station and line up in the lanes leading up to the ramp as indicated. The fare for cars up to a length of 11.5 feet is €8.60 including a driver. All other passengers in the car are charged at zone 3 rates as outlined above. If the driver and passengers already have different tickets (e.g. a Free-Circulation ticket), the charge for a car alone is €4.00. Bicycles are €5.60 including a passenger or €1.00 alone, while mopeds and motorbikes up to 250 cc are €6.40 with a passenger or €1.80 alone. Wait times can be burdensome in the high season, so make sure you include a buffer in your travel times. Some stations – like Bellagio – have a gelato stand within easy reach to ‘sweeten’ any delays.

, Lake Como Ferry Prices and Tickets 2019

Charter services

Visitors can book private cruises on boats in the Navigazione Lago di Como fleet for parties, weddings or other celebrations. Prices range from €1,980 for the MS Cormorano (a smallish ship with 47 seats inside and 41 on deck but no bar or restaurant service) to €6,500 for the Concordia (vintage steamer with 250 seats inside and 100 on deck with full bar and meal service). This price includes 8 hours of service, including 4 hours of sailing, but does not include catering services or VAT. An extra hourly charge applies for boats sailing more than the agreed four hours or for night-time cruises, while discounts apply for mid-week bookings. IC Bellagio would be delighted to assist you in planning your special occasion. We have stellar contacts with local suppliers from caterers and florists to bands and guides. Get in touch with us to find out more!

, Lake Como Ferry Prices and Tickets 2019