How to Get to Villa del Balbianello – Exclusive Guide

When I was planning my trip to Lake Como, I was surprised how there was very little information on how to get to Villa del Balbianello from Lake Como. Unfortunately it is not super straightforward and often can be confusing, therefore I decided to create this exclusive guide with Google Maps to visiting Villa del Balbianello to help you plan your visit!

How to get to Villa del Balbianello

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Short on time? These are my top tips & recommendations:

🚘 rent a car with AutoEurope

🚆 direct train line from Milan to Como or Varenna

Villa del Balbianello tickets

🏩 Grand Hotel Tremezzo – most luxurious hotel in Lake Como

🏩 View House – Lake Como – best apartment if you have a car

🫶 LA DOLCE VITA : Lake Como 1h Cruise + Villa Balbianello (Guided) – best private tour

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About Villa del Balbianello

Let me just say this: Villa del Balbianello is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL villa in Lake Como! Visiting Lake Como without seeing Villa del Balbianello is like coming to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower!

The villa was built at the end of the 18th century by Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini on the site of an old Franciscan Monastery. In the 19th century, after Cardinal’s death, Villa del Balbianello was inherited by his grandson Count Luigi Porro Lambertenghi.

Later, the villa was purchased by Marquis Giuseppe Arconati Visconti, who made some improvements to its gardens and the loggia. Unfortunately as the family declined, the villa was neglected.

In 1919, Villa del Balbianello was purchased by Butler Ames, an American soldier and businessman. He restored it and returned its original glory and beauty. In 1974 Ames’s heirs gave the villa to the famous entrepreneur and explorer Guido Monzino. He decorated the villa with artefacts and souvenirs he got from his travels and expeditions. Monzino died and donated Villa del Balbianello to FAI (Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano). On their official website you can purchase your tickets.

Today Villa del Balbianello is also used as a wedding venue and a filming location. The two very famous movies were filmed in Villa del Balbianello. You can spot Villa del Balbianello in some scenes from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones by George Lucas and Casino Royale, James Bond with Daniel Craig. 🤩 I don’t know about you, but I love visiting filming locations.

Where is Villa del Balbianello

Villa Balbianello is in the town of Lenno in Lake Como, in the north of the Lombardy region of Italy.

How to get to Villa del Balbianello

To reach Villa del Balbianello, there are 2 options to choose from. First one is to get there via car and the second is to take public transport.

If you’re driving, I recommend renting a car with AutoEurope for the best deals. I personally rented a car and it is the best and easiest way to explore Lake Como. This enabled us to visit different places in a day and take some alternative and less busy routes.

If you don’t want to rent a car and/or don’t have your own, then you can also use public transport which is also efficient if you’re based in the right locations, such as Bellagio, Varenna or Menaggio.

🚘 If you’re going to rent a car, the best is to fly to Milan Bergamo Airport because it’s closer to Lake Como, but flying to Milan Malpensa is fine too.

🚆 If you’re using public transport, then there’s a direct train line from Milan to Como or Varenna.

Lake Como ferry, Italy

By public transport from Bellagio

Bellagio is the most popular and most touristy town in Lake Como. Therefore, it is also very well connected with any other location in Lake Como.

To get to Villa del Balbianello, you will have to hop on a ferry that goes from Bellagio to Lenno as shown on the map below. Total journey will be around 1h15min and the ferry goes every 40 min.

Once you get to Lenno, you will need to walk about 20 min to reach the hiking trail that leads to Villa del Balbianello. You might also find a taxi to drop you there, but it is not that reliable, so it’s better to walk.

Once you are at the hiking trail, there are 2 options to actually enter the ground of the villa. First is to actually walk that trail. While official guides and sources say it’s going to take you 20-30 minutes to walk, it took me 10 minutes only!! Of course, it will really depend on your fitness condition and whether you want to stop every second to take a photo (yes, the trail itself is already beautiful). But if you are short on time and in good condition, you can reach it pretty quickly. Also, it is not that demanding like some people say.

📢 IMPORTANT: Villa del Balbianello tickets are timed and therefore you need to be on time. You don’t want to miss your time slot, so plan to arrive there accordingly and ahead.

Second option is to take a taxi boat close to the hiking trail. Just bear in mind that the taxi boat is pretty small and can fit only around 10 persons. It goes every 20 minutes and the ride will take about 15-20 min too. Because it doesn’t go that often and it can fit only so few people, if you’re in a rush, it might be better to walk.

By public transport from Varenna

From Varenna, the best is to take the same ferry that stops at Bellagio after Varenna Domaso Como.

While Google Maps might show you a ferry route to Menaggio and then to take a bus from there, the best is to catch the direct ferry. However, this line that goes from Varenna and Bellagio to Lenno runs every 40 minutes, so plan your time ahead.

After that, follow the same logic as explained in the By public transport from Bellagio.

Villa del Balbianello

By public transport from Menaggio

From Menaggio it’s very easy to reach Villa del Balbianello. Just hop on the bus C10 for 17 minutes. After that follow the tips as explained here.

By public transport from Tremezzo

Probably the easiest route is from Tremezzo because it’s the closest town to Villa del Balbianello, apart from Lenno which is the town of the villa.

Just hop on the C10 bus for 6 min and then follow these tips as explained above.

Villa Balbianello

By car from Bellagio

You will need to take a ferry to Griante and then drive to the free parking lot close to the Villa del Balbianello. It should take you around 36 min to reach the parking. From there, follow these tips.

Parking lot (it is rather small, so ideally you’d want to come as early as possible):

By car from Varenna

You will need to take a ferry to Griante and then drive to the free parking lot close to the Villa del Balbianello. It should take you around 41 min to reach the parking. From there, follow these tips.

By car from Menaggio

It’s very easy to reach Villa del Balbianello from Menaggio as it’s only a 17 min car drive. Once you are at the parking lot, follow these steps.

Villa del Balbianello, Lake Como

By car from Tremezzo

It’s very easy to reach Villa del Balbianello from Tremezzo as it’s only an 8 min car drive. Once you are at the parking lot, follow these steps.

By car from Lecco

Lecco is not a popular Lake Como town like Bellagio, Varenna, Menaggio, Tremezzo and Lenno. Probably because there is no direct ferry line that connects it with other towns, but instead you need to take a bus which is not always the most convenient option.

But, if you are renting a car, Lecco might be a perfect place for you. I actually stayed in Lecco because apartments and hotels in Bellagio and Varenna get easily booked in advance. Unfortunately I didn’t do it on time, so my options were not only limited, but also costly and not really justifiable. Because we rented a car, we had the freedom of choosing where we want to stay and Lecco seemed like a perfect choice. It’s mainly residential and therefore prices of apartments are much lower, but with incredible views of Lake Como and the Alps. And it’s pretty easy to get to any other place from Lecco if you have a car.

Lecco, Lake Como

I mean, look at these views 😍

So, how to get to Villa del Balbianello from Lecco? While Google Maps will suggest you to go to Bellagio and then take a ferry from there, I have an alternative and better option for you. Just go towards Como and you will pass by many local villages and towns and not once would you need to take a ferry, you’ll be driving the whole time all the way to Villa del Balbianello. See map below.

This drive will take about 1h30min, but you are in more control of your time and the roads are less busy. Then on the way back, you can take that ferry to Bellagio in case you’d like to spend some time in town if you haven’t done it already, or just to see how this route looks!

Okay, so once you reach the free parking lot, follow these tips.

By foot from Lenno

And finally you can also walk for 30 min to Villa del Balbianello if you’re staying in Lenno. 🙂

Just follow these tips.

Watch my TikTok on How to get to Villa del Balbianello

I also made a 10-minute long TikTok video on how to get to Villa del Balbianello. It’s a bit more concise than this blog, but offers great visuals and video clips if you need more clarity. 😉

@megi_vorera

📍SAVE MY EXCLUSIVE GUIDE FOR VISITING VILLA DEL BALBIANELLO link for the official webiste (buy your tickets here): https://fai.midaticket.it/Event/4/Dates #villadelbalbianello #italytravel #traveltips #travelvlog #travelguide #traveltiktok

♬ original sound – Magdalena Jelec

Villa del Balbianello Tickets FAQs

I’m going to get straight into this: YOU HAVE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS WELL IN ADVANCE!

Villa del Balbianello is the most famous villa in Lake Como and therefore everyone who’s visiting Lake Como wants to see it!

There are 2 kinds of tickets you can get: villa + garden or garden-only ticket.

If you want to buy a villa + garden ticket, you have to do it AT LEAST one month before! For the gardens-only AT LEAST 2 weeks in advance! Unfortunately I was late to the game and was only able to purchase garden tickets and I was visiting in May! I can imagine during the summer months, you have to be even quicker.

While the gardens themselves are really beautiful and romantic, I am sad to have missed to see the interior of the villa too. Next time…

If you’re visiting the villa too, it is only possible with their guide, so there’s no avoiding it! On the contrary, you can freely explore the gardens and there’s even a store where you can get drinks and snacks. There’s no restaurant there.

BUY YOUR TICKETS

Villa del Balbianello

When to visit Villa del Balbianello + Opening times

Villa del Balbianello is NOT open all year round and NOT on every day.

The villa is open from mid-March to the end of November from 10 am to 6 pm (last entrance is at 5 pm!).

It is NOT open on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Because your tickets are timed and get sold out easily, the best months for visiting are from March to June and from September to November because of the fewer crowds. I can imagine it’s also gorgeous in the summer time, but you just have to be quick with getting your tickets.

Villa del Balbianello best tours

One of the best experiences in Lake Como is to take a guided tour on the boat, so you can enjoy the lake, admire its villas and towns from the water, learn more about them and then visit them together with your tour guide.

Villa del Balbianello Tours

Where to stay near Villa del Balbianello

While unfortunately you can’t stay at Villa del Balbianello (that would’ve been epic, wouldn’t it!? 😍), you can stay in its close proximity.

My top recommendation for each Lake Como town:

This is the most EPIC hotel you can stay in Lake Como! 🤩 It is very close to Villa del Balbianello and while it’s really expensive to stay there, if you’re into luxury travel, look no further!

Another luxury hotel, but on the more affordable side. It’s the most popular hotel in Bellagio that’s owned and run by the generations of 4 women since 1880.

Varenna was my favourite town in Lake Como. ❤️ While I haven’t personally stayed there, next time I would love to and this hotel is the best choice in Varenna.

This hotel in Menaggio is pretty affordable with amazing views of Lake Como and not that far away from Villa del Balbianello.

This is where I stayed and I cannot recommend it more, but only if you have a car! Otherwise, it would be tricky and not that convenient to reach other locations in Lake Como. Otherwise, it was clean, cute and with gorgeous views of Lake Como. 🫶

And finally this is the closest hotel and town to Villa del Balbianello because you can literally walk for 30 min. Plus, the hotel is both stunning and affordable! I’d say it’s win-win!

Is Villa del Balbianello worth visiting

I think it’s needless to explain this further, but yes, Villa del Balbianello is very much worth visiting! While it’s going to cost you the most and won’t be the easiest to get to (especially if you’re on the opposite side of the lake), it is also the most beautiful villa in Lake Como.

You can read more about the pros & cons of Lake Como in general in my 2024 Travel Bucket List blog.

Villa del Balbianello, Lake Como

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Megi Vorera

Hello! I’m Magdalena, a Travel Blogger based in London. Originally from Croatia, I moved to London in 2018 to pursue my dreams. From teaching History and Croatian Language & Literature, to working as a Recruiter in Tech, I am now a full-time Travel Blogger & Freelance Content Writer. Being a History Buff, I love exploring historical places and their cultural heritage, so if you’re into Culture Travel, you have come to the right place. I have been to 23 countries across 4 continents and I love sharing my travel stories with you to hopefully educate you, help you plan your travel and inspire you for your next destination.