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Ferry Schedule from Bellagio to Varenna on Sunday, May 11th

Ferry Schedule from Bellagio to Varenna on Sunday, May 11th

Jan 29th, 2014, 06:55 PM
  #1  
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Ferry Schedule from Bellagio to Varenna on Sunday, May 11th

We will be taking the ferry from Bellagio to Varenna and then taking the train on to Venice on Sunday, May 11th. The spring/summer schedule is not yet posted at http://www.navigazionelaghi.it/eng/c_orari.asp. I am very detail oriented and am working on a spreadsheet with all of our travel connections, and am impatient to wait until the new schedule comes out in April.

I would guess that the schedule is the same from year to year, so I am wondering if those who have taken this trip in years previous know the ferry schedule for Sundays in May. We would like to get away as early as possible.

I think we could also take the hydrofoil or slow ferry to Como and then on to Venice. Are there other recommended ways to travel from Bellagio to Venice?

Thanks for your expertise, as always!
drchris is offline  
Jan 29th, 2014, 07:41 PM
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Other options are bus/taxi to Como S. Giovanni station.
Bellagio-Varenna car ferry is most frequent, starts the earliest, and runs till latest hours. The crossing is about 15min followed by about 10-15min uphill walk to the station. Since the trains from Varenna-Esino or Como S. Giovanni to Milano Centrale runs only about once/hour, the train will probably limit your trip more than the car ferry.
greg is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 01:52 AM
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I assume you have checked the train schedules from Varenna-Esino to Milano at trenord.it/en Most of those trains are direct altho a few require changes.

It used to be that the station in Varenna-Esino was unmanned but it had ticket machines. Over the years we have heard that the machines were sometimes unreliable and people were advised (here) to either have a R/T ticket in hand or make sure they bought tickets from the nearby local travel agency.

I wouldn't worry about that too much; the walk uphill from the ferry dock might be more of an issue for some than others. Use the Trenord site to coordinate your departure times.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 01:56 AM
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BTW, if you decide to go to Como you are almost undoubtedly going to have to change trains in Milano anyway in order to get to Venice. Go from Varenna and only change once.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 06:19 AM
  #5  
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Thanks for. The feedback. I checked the train schedule on trenitalia but will look at the trenord site. Thanks!
drchris is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 06:48 AM
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"I am very detail oriented and am …impatient to wait.""

Some of us understand this affliction.

I've never compared yearly schedules. I don't have time to do that now. The first three Car Ferry Departures from Bellagio to Varenna are at 7:35, 8:00, and 8:50. The trip is approximately 12 minutes.

The first Como-to-Colica run departs Bellagio at 8:34 but doesn't arrive Varenna until 9:21. It goes to Mennagio and Bellano before it arrives in Varenna. The 9:45 Bellagio boat goes directly to Varenna and arrives at 9:57.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 06:54 AM
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I just looked at the Trenord site. Now I'm confused. (probably because we have little public transportation in the US so I only use it when we travel to Europe).
Is Trenord a separate rail line from Trenitalia, meaning does each operate its own trains from Varenna?

Or is the train from Varenna to Milan Centrale on the Trenord line and from there we would go on the Trenitalia line?

Or are these just different sites for booking tickets?

If so, can we book tickets on either site for the same trip?

Must we book separate tickets from Varenna-Esino to Milan Centale and then another ticket on to Venezia St Lucia?

Or will a single ticket carry us through the entire trip?

Must the ticket be validated each time when transferring to a different train?

This is why we bought a Swiss Pass in Switzerland, so we could just hop on and off almost anywhere! But I understand a pass is not so efficient in Italy due to the need to book reservations for some trips even if you have a pass.
drchris is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 07:38 AM
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Trenord is the company name for Lombardy regional trains. You need to take a Regional Train to get to Varenna from Milano Centrale. Trenitalia is the parent company.

Yes, you will switch trains at Milano Centrale. You will step off the Regional Train from Varenna and step onto a high-speed train (FRECCIA or EuroCity) to Venice (which will be on a different track).

I use Trenitalia to purchase tickets, but some people have problems with that site. The Trenord site offers another option.

You'll need separate tickets: one for Varenna-Esino to Milan Centale, and another for Milano Centrale to Venezia St. Lucia. Electronic tickets (purchased online) do not require validation. Many people simply present their cell phones to show the PNR code when on the train.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 07:56 AM
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NYCFoodSnob has given you the correct info. Those trains from Varenna are regionals and do not require any sort of seat reservation; the rolling stock is mostly 2nd Class and having done so in the past, getting a ticket for 1st in those trains is not worth the extra money. Sit on the right side facing forward for the best lake views which will end at Lecco.

Milano Centrale is a big station and when you get off the train look at the head of the platform and the large Arrivals/Departures electronic board suspended overhead. If your connection is within the next couple of hours it will appear and move up as departure time nears.

The most "strenuous" part of these segments will be that uphill walk from the ferry dock to the Varenna rail station.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 07:59 AM
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You may also be able to get train tickets by using the www.italiarail.com site.
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Jan 30th, 2014, 08:07 AM
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The confusion comes from Trenitalia and Trenord being two separate lines in the past. Now they are sort of integrated but not completely.

Trenitalia runs Como S. Giovanni to Milano, as well as Varenna-Esino to Milano Centrale.

Trenord runs Como Nord Lago to Milano Cadorna which is west of the Milano Centrale. You need to be at Milano Centrale to catch FrecciaBianca to Venice.

Como S. Giovanni station is at the west end of the city of Como while Como Nord Lago station is at the east end of the city.

The leg to Milano and the leg to Venice are two separate tickets no matter how you do it.

Trenord functions more like a commuter train and you buy tickets before you board. Unlike long distance trains, most people seem to be commuters and ticket windows are not bad because the trips are simple purchases. You validate ticket before boarding, just like any other trains. For your trip, Trenord would not be a good choice.

I would buy Milano-Venezia FrecciaBianca tickets online for a web discount and buy Varenna-Esino tickets when I am at any other manned Trenitalia station. The newer Trenitalia ticket machines come in two models, a wide one that takes cash/credit card and a narrow one that takes only credit cards but needs a "PIN" to complete transaction.
greg is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 08:11 AM
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Thanks so much for the specific info! This is so helpful!

if the uphill trek is very strenuous, will there be taxis at the dock to take us to the train station? I almost blew out my knees with too much climbing on one of our first days in Switzerland and don't wan to make that mistake again!
drchris is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 08:12 AM
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Or buy the ticket from Varenna to Milano at the Bar Beretta, which you will pass en route from the ferry to the train station. Since all the trains from Varenna to Milan are regionals or locals, you will need to validate the ticket at the ticket stamping machine on the platform. (Tickets with specific dates and seats don't need to be validated.)
Mimar is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 08:20 AM
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The trip uphill doesn't require a taxi and there probably won't be one at the dock..
Those ticket machines...you may very well be able to use a debit card (and that pin) in one, as I did in Rome this past year.

You aren't going to care who runs that train..just get a ticket a be done with it.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 10:07 AM
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There is absolutely no need to blow a knee while on vacation. The few taxis that work Varenna, typically hang at the train station, waiting for arrivals. It takes two minutes for the taxi to drive down to the docks to pick up people. If there is no taxi at the dock when you arrive, simply ask one of the dock personnel to call a taxi for you.

The uphill walk is not super steep. It is not awful for someone who is fit, but I would never allow my elderly guests to do it. There are hundreds of people who visit every year who call for a taxi to the train station. Varenna gets a lot of visitors who struggle with the steep landscape. The locals totally understand and are quite helpful. If Varenna is busy, you may have to wait for a taxi. There are maybe three cars that work the town on a good day. It's the waiting that could cause a blip in a tightly packed schedule.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 10:17 AM
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Still learning about the trains. Thanks for your patience. Did I read that the tickets for the regional trains can be used at times other than the one for which it was originally purchased? If you do, do you have to exchange it for a new ticket, or just hop on the train after you've validated it?

I've read so much about the problems with getting tickets in Varenna that I'm wondering if we could just buy a round trip ticket when we go from Milan Centrale to Varenna.
drchris is offline  
Jan 30th, 2014, 10:25 AM
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When you arrive at the ferry dock in Varenna from your trip back you can ask at the ticket kiosk if they will call you a taxi. If that doesn;t work you can try in the hotel directly across the street from the kiosk. And you might even ask at your hotel when you depart for the ferry over as they may be able to help.

Those regional tickets are good for a period of 2-months's time which is why you have to validate them in the machine.

Here is something you can do: go to the www.italiarail.com site

Select Varenna-Esino as the departure and Milano Centrale as the end point..a selection of departures will come up (use dummy dates if you need to) and you'll see how easy this is. You print out the ticket receipt at home or you get a special number which you can input to any ticket machine after arrival and the ticket will print out for you there.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2014, 07:30 AM
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When you buy a ticket for a regional/local train, it's just a generic ticket for the journey, no seat, date or time specified. (Though only good for the next 2 months.)

So, when you buy the ticket ahead of time, you don't need to worry about catching a particular train at a particular time. When you validate the ticket on the platform, that sets the date and the ticket is good for the next 6 hours.

I think you're overworrying this. It will all work out.
Mimar is offline  
Jan 31st, 2014, 10:04 AM
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Mimar - thanks for the feedback. I do tend to be "a bit" (my family would respond "ha,") obsessive but I feel more comfortable traveling when I know exactly how things work so there are no unpleasant surprises while I'm in a faraway place with limited time. I also prefer to take care of anything that can be done in advance so that I can just focus on the excitement of being in a new place and know that the details are taken care of. I know that many people are comfortable doing things "on the fly" and learning as they go, but I'm definitely not one of them! "Different strokes for different folks" as they say. I'm really not worried as I know that it will all work out regardless - just an information seeker. Part of the pleasure of travel for me is learning as much as possible about not only the place but the process. And everything I learn for one trip is something I can use on the next.
drchris is offline  
Feb 1st, 2014, 04:35 AM
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Just an explanation: there were once two separate rail networks - Trenitalia, the national railway company, and Ferrovie nord, a regional company based in Milan, running a few lines going north to the lake zone. This is why Como has two stations: Como S. Giovanni on the Trenitalia network and Como Lago on the FN network.

As regional trains have regional funding, all regions must auction at regular times regional railway services. A few years ago Trenitalia and Trenord (a new name for FN) decided to join forces and present a joint bid for regional services. The networks are being integrated, so now you can see Trenitalia trains running on Trenord tracks and vv.; or Trenitalia trains driven by Trenord engineers, or Trenord trains arriving as distant as Verona. You just do not worry who runs the service - someone will. But this is why you can see railway service to from Lecco and Sondrio both in the Trenitalia and Trenord websites.
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