Fastest journey7hr 33m
It is easy to travel by train from Paris to Como, the lakeside resort in northern Italy. There is an overnight option, using the Thello night train from Paris to Milan, then continuing early the next morning on a local train from Milan to Como. But if you prefer travelling entirely by day, you can use the direct TGV service which links Paris and Milan three times each day. Leaving Paris, the train journeys through Burgundy and the Alps and then crosses Piedmont at a slower pace. It stops in Turin before continuing to Milan.
In Milan you alight at Porta Garibaldi station, changing there onto a local suburban train to reach Bergamo. There are faster trains from Milan to Como, but these fast services leave from Milan Centrale and require a change of stations in Milan. It's better to use the more convenient, albeit slower, direct train from Porta Garibaldi to Como.
Bookings for this journey normally open two months in advance, and that's when you'll find the cheapest tickets.
Paris to Milan
Fast TGV trains leave the Gare de Lyon in Paris three times each day for Milan, taking just over 7 hours for the journey. These direct services to Italy speed south from the French capital, cutting through Burgundy to reach their first stop in Lyon. Thereafter the pace slows as the landscape becomes more mountainous.
All trains on this route stop at Chambéry and Modane before entering Italy, where the train then makes two stops - at Bardonecchia and Oulx. Then it's on to Milan with a stop along the way at Turin.
Milan to Como
Fast, but infrequent, EuroCity and regional trains leave from Milan Centrale for Como. Slower, but very frequent, trains on suburban rail route S11 leave from Porta Garibaldi station in Milan. Both of these routes take you to San Giovanni station in Como, just a short walk west of the centre of town. Whichever option you choose, the train runs north from Milan through Monza and Seregno – a dismal sprawl of endless suburbs and industrial estates. Como comes as a great relief.
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Image credits: Como © Karol Kozlowski