Where to stay in Lake Como without a car: 5 Best areas and hotels

Wondering Where to stay in Lake Como without a car? In this post, I will help you to find the best areas to stay in Lake Como without a car and the best hotels to stay in each town.

Lake Como is a beautiful destination in Italy known for its stunning landscapes, picturesque towns, and serene lakeside atmosphere. 

While having a car can provide some convenience and flexibility, it is still possible to explore and appreciate the area using alternative modes of transportation.

Lake Como is served by a network of ferries and boats that connect the various towns along its shores. You can take ferries to visit popular towns such as Bellagio, Varenna, and Menaggio while enjoying great views of surrounding mountains and lakeside villas.

Lake Como is also well-connected by trains and buses. There are several train stations, including Como S. Giovanni, Como Nord Lago, Varenna-Esino, and Bellano-Tartavalle Terme. From these stations, you can take trains to major cities like Milan and other destinations in Italy.

If you don’t have a car, there are several towns around Lake Como that offer good accommodation options and are well-connected by public transportation. 

Where to stay in Lake Como without a car?

The best areas to stay in Lake Como without a car are Varenna, Como, Bellagio, Menaggio, and Cernobbio. Each of these areas offers its own unique charm and advantages, and all are well-connected by ferries, allowing you to explore the stunning Lake Como region without a car.

You can search for accommodations that are within walking distance of ferry docks or bus/train stations. This will make it more convenient for you to get around the lake and visit different towns.

Consider the attractions or activities you want to experience during your stay. If you’re interested in exploring the historic city of Como, staying in the city center might be a good choice.

If you want to visit multiple towns, staying in a central location like Bellagio or Varenna can provide easy access to various parts of the lake.

Overview of the best towns to stay in Lake Como without a car

Varennais a picturesque town on the eastern shore of Lake Como. It offers a romantic and tranquil atmosphere with its narrow streets, colorful houses, and stunning lake views. Easily access from Milan by train, and other popular towns such as Bellagio and Menaggio by ferries.
Comois the largest towns and the transportation hub on Lake Como, home to the region’s main train station, bus station, and ferry stops. It has a city atmosphere and widest range of amenities and vibrant nightlife.
Bellagiois a popular and elegant resort town at the intersection of the three branches on the lake. Often referred to as the Pearl of Lake Como, it is known for its beautiful villas, lush gardens, and scenic promenade. You can explore the town on foot and take ferries to other destinations on Lake Como.
Menaggiois a charming town that offers a relaxing and authentic experience, on the western shore of Lake Como. It is home to a lovely lakeside promenade, a historic center, and a picturesque harbor. Menaggio is an excellent base for exploring the central part of the lake and offers ferry connections to other towns.
CernobbioLocated just a short distance from Como, Cernobbio is a small town known for its elegant villas and picturesque setting. It provides a quiet and peaceful vibe while still close the city’s amenities. Cernobbio also hosts a luxurious hotel and historic landmark called Villa d’Este.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Lake Como for car-free travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

map best areas to stay in Lake Como without a car
map best areas to stay in Lake Como without a car

5 Best areas to stay in Lake Como without a car

1. Varenna

Varenna is one of the best areas to stay in Lake Como without a car due to its central location, well-connected to public transportations, and its proximity to other popular towns in Lake Como such as Bellagio, Menaggio, and Tremezzo.

Firstly, Varenna is a picturesque village located on the eastern shore of Lake Como. It offers stunning views of the lake, with its charming colorful houses, narrow cobblestone streets, and lush greenery. The village’s natural beauty makes it a sought-after destination for tourists.

Secondly, Varenna has its own train station, Varenna-Esino, which provides direct connections to Milan and other major cities. Additionally, Varenna serves as a departure point for ferries that connect various towns on the lake, allowing visitors to explore the region without a car.

Varenna itself boasts several attractions that make it an excellent place to stay. The Varenna Castle (Castello di Vezio) offers panoramic views of the lake, while Villa Monastero is a beautiful lakeside villa with stunning gardens. 

The waterfront promenade in Varenna offers a delightful stroll with picturesque views.  The lakeside cafes and bars also provide a delightful ambiance to enjoy a relaxing time.

Varenna has a more peaceful and relaxed atmosphere, more affordable accommodations compared to some of the larger towns on Lake Como such as Como or Bellagio. It is less crowded, and offers a quieter and more authentic experience, especially during the off-peak seasons. 

It is worth noting that Varenna  is situated on hilly terrain, which means that walking around the town may involve some uphill and downhill sections. While this adds to its charm, it might pose a challenge for individuals with mobility issues or those who prefer flatter landscapes.

Overall, Varenna is an ideal place for those traveling without a car seeking to unwind, relax, and enjoy the natural beauty of the lake. It is also a more budget-friendly area to stay on the lake compared to its neighbor Bellagio.

Best places to stay in Varenna without the car:

  • Mid-range: Hotel Olivedo, a beautiful lakefront hotel, located within easy walking distance from the pier and the Varenna-Esino Train Station. 
  • Budget: Orange House, conveniently located close to the port and train station. 
  • Budget: Varenna Guest House, great apartment, situated close to the railway station and the ferry stop to take boat tours around the lake. 

2. Como

Como Town is the main city on Lake Como and serves as a transportation hub. It is home to the lake’s major train station, bus station, and a ferry harbor, making it a convenient base for exploring other towns on the lake without a car.

Como hosts Como San Giovanni Station and Como Nord Lago station, with direct train connections from Milan. The trains also go to major towns on the lake.

Additionally, you can easily take a boat or ferry ride from its harbor to visit stunning towns on the lake such as Bellagio, Menaggio, or Varenna. It is a great way to explore the region from the water.

Como Town offers a wide range of nightlife, dining, and shopping amenities to visitors. You’ll find numerous hotels, restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions within walking distance. This makes it convenient for travelers who prefer to explore on foot or use public transportation.

Como Town is located on the southwestern tip of Lake Como, offering stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. Many accommodations in the area provide picturesque lake views, allowing visitors to enjoy the beauty of Lake Como right from their hotel rooms.

Como Town itself has several churches, squares, and museums worth exploring, such as the Como Cathedral, the Volta Temple, Piazza Cavour, the beautiful lakeside promenade, or take the funicular railway to Brunate for stunning views over the city.

Overall, Como Town is an excellent base in Lake Como without cars, those seeking a lively city vibe with the widest range of restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as convenient access to other towns on the lake by public transportation.

Best places to stay in Como Town without a car:

  • Luxury: Vista Palazzo – Small Luxury Hotels of the World, 5-star hotel, located within easy access to  the bus and train stations, as well as close to the shores of Lake Como, the Ferry Terminal, and Cable Car Como-Brunate.
  • Mid-range: Como City Home, great apartment located close to Como San Giovanni Train Station, with train links from Milan.
  • Budget: Albergo del Duca, 3-star hotel, located within walking distance from Piazza Cavour square,  and Como Nord Lago Train Station with connections to Milan.

3. Bellagio

Bellagio is a picturesque town located at the tip of the peninsula where Lake Como divides into two branches. It is known for its charming streets, beautiful villas, and stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

One of the main reasons why Bellagio is a great choice for visitors without a car is its central location and well-connected ferry services. You can take ferries to various towns and villages around the lake, such as Varenna, Menaggio, and Como, which offer their own unique attractions and activities.

In Bellagio itself, you’ll find a range of amenities, including restaurants, cafes, shops, and boutique hotels. The town has a lively atmosphere, especially during the summer months, when visitors come to enjoy the lake and explore the surrounding area.

Bellagio’s compact size and pedestrian-friendly streets make it convenient for exploring on foot. But it is built on a steep hillside, so be prepared for some uphill walks and staircases, which might be challenging for individuals with mobility issues.

If you enjoy walking, Bellagio offers plenty of opportunities for scenic strolls. You can explore the town’s narrow streets, visit the gardens of Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni, or hike up to Punta Spartivento for panoramic views.  

Being one of the most popular destinations on Lake Como, accommodations in Bellagio can be more expensive compared to other towns around the lake.

Overall, Bellagio provides a convenient and enjoyable base for exploring Lake Como, even if you don’t have a car. It is best suited for families, couples, luxury visitors, and solo travelers looking for a romantic and picturesque destination.

Best places to stay in Bellagio without a car:

  • Luxury: Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, 5-star hotel, located at the end of the Bellagio promontory, offering stunning views of Lake Como and the Alps.
  • Mid-range: Villa La Rosa B&B, great bed and breakfast with rooftop pool and free private car parking.
  • Budget: Hotel Florence, located in the heart of Bellagio, within easy walk from the shores of Lake Como shores and ferry port, with connections to Menaggio and Varenna. 

4. Menaggio

Menaggio is conveniently located on the western shore of Lake Como, close to Lake Lugano in Switzerland. It offers a picturesque setting and a range of amenities that make it an excellent choice for travelers who prefer not to have a car.

Menaggio is well-connected by public transportation, including ferry services that allow you to explore other towns and villages around Lake Como. You can easily reach popular destinations such as Bellagio, Varenna, and Como by ferry.

Menaggio serves as a hub for exploring Lake Como. Its location allows for convenient access to various attractions, such as Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo, Villa Balbianello in Lenno, and the stunning hiking trails of the nearby mountains.

Menaggio offers a good range of amenities, including hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops, and a waterfront promenade. You’ll find everything you need for a comfortable stay within walking distance.

Menaggio boasts breathtaking views of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains. You can enjoy leisurely strolls along the lakefront, relax in lakeside parks, or simply take in the beauty of the area without needing a car.

While Menaggio is a convenient base for exploring Lake Como without a car, it’s worth noting that some attractions or hiking trails in more remote areas may require additional transportation arrangements. However, overall, Menaggio is considered one of the top choices for car-free travelers due to its accessibility and amenities.

Best places to stay in Menaggio without a car:


5. Cernobbio

Cernobbio is a charming village located on the western shore of the lake, not far from the city of Como. While having a car can provide more flexibility in exploring the region, it is still possible to enjoy your stay in Cernobbio without one.

Cernobbio is well connected by public transportation, making it convenient to visit other towns and attractions around Lake Como. The village has a ferry port where you can catch boats that travel to various destinations on the lake like Bellagio, Varenna, and Menaggio.

In addition to ferry services, there are also regular bus services connecting Cernobbio with Como and other neighboring towns. This provides an alternative mode of transportation for visiting nearby areas.

Cernobbio itself offers several attractions, including beautiful waterfront promenades, picturesque streets, and the famous Villa d’Este, a luxurious hotel and historic landmark. 

You can explore the village on foot, enjoying its charming atmosphere and dining at the local restaurants.

While a car can be convenient for exploring more remote areas or for venturing into the mountains surrounding Lake Como, Cernobbio itself has enough to offer in terms of amenities, restaurants, and proximity to other towns that make it a desirable place to stay even without a car.

Best places to stay in Cernobbio without a car:


In conclusion, Varenna, Como, Bellagio, Menaggio, and Cernobbio are the best places to stay in Lake Como without a car. They offer easy access to public transportations such as train, bus, ferry, and are easily explored on foot, so you don’t need a car when booking hotels in these areas.

Varenna is ideal for those seeking a tranquil escape with direct train link from MIlan, Como offers a blend of history and urban charm, Bellagio caters to luxury seekers, Menaggio is great for families and outdoor enthusiasts, while Cernobbio appeals to those looking for a luxurious retreat near the city. 

Each area offers its unique charm and caters to different preferences, ensuring a memorable stay by the picturesque Lake Como.

You can continues reading other articles about Lake Como and Italy:

I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

Leave a Comment