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Situated on the banks of Lake Como in Italy's Lombardy region, Varenna is visually stunning, mixing a mountain backdrop with multicolored houses, and the cool blue waters of the lake rippling in the foreground. It's a place to unwind, enjoy the best of Italian food, head out on the lake, and explore a few historical sights. It's tucked away from major cities, but thanks to the Varenna-esino train station, reaching Varenna isn't hard. Most visitors use the station at some point, so knowing how to get there, and the fastest ways to do so is useful. That way, travelers can enjoy Varenna's sights, and not worry about missing their onward transportation.
The first thing to know about Varenna is that the city itself isn't large (it only has a population of a few hundred people). The second thing to know is that the station is slightly out of town. There's no local bus connection from the lakefront district to the Varenna-esino train station, which complicates travel. Instead, visitors will need to arrange taxis, or they can walk the half of a mile (0.8 kilometers) route from the city center. The route follows the lakeshore, a scenic and enjoyable way to reach the station. If travelers are coming from other locations on Lake Como such as Bellano or Fiumelatte, they can take trains to Varenna-esino. Ferries also cross the lake from Menaggio, Bellagio, and Cadenabbia. So, whether visitors are staying in central Varenna or coming from further afield, transfers to Varenna-esino are simple.
The Varenna-esino train station is half of a mile (0.8 kilometers) north of Varenna's scenic lakefront and is actually closer to the village of Perledo. Those coming from Varenna can expect taxis to take seven or eight minutes in most cases, and walking should take 15-20 minutes (if you aren't distracted by the views.) Bau Bau beach is a popular vacation spot and is less than a tenth of a mile (0.2 kilometers) north of the station, so walking makes sense if that is the starting point. Bellano is around three miles (four kilometers) north, while Fiumelatte is a similar distance to the south. In both cases, trains run into Varenna-esino and take 4 to 5 minutes. Ferries from Bellagio take 38 minutes, boats from Menaggio take 28-35 minutes, and services from Cadenabbia take 27 minutes. Fast hydrofoils and slow vehicle ferries are often available, so travelers should pick a service that suits their needs. The closest airport is Bergamo, which is 40 miles (63 kilometers) away. The best option from there is to arrange a taxi, which takes over an hour. By contrast, trains will take over two hours.
The facilities at Varenna-esino Perledo station are fairly basic. It's a small-town station, and staff won't be available 24/7 to help those with limited mobility. Having said that, the two platforms are both wheelchair accessible. The whole building is step-free, so navigating the ticket office and boarding trains isn't problematic. The station also has a popular cafe, which attracts positive reviews - so everyone can recharge their batteries and prepare for their journeys. When they travel to their train from Varenna city center, travelers with limited mobility will need to organize wheelchair-friendly taxis. This can be arranged via local providers, but booking in advance is advisable. If ferries are required, expect boarding ramps and plenty of facilities onboard. Boats dock about 110 ft (100 m) from the station entrance making transfers to rail services simple and convenient.
If you're wondering what to do near the train station and have a few hours to spare, wandering down to the shore of Lake Como is a good idea. Bau Bau beach is a ten-minute walk to the north and is an enjoyable place for a snack or to soak up the sunshine. The town itself isn't far away either and offers plenty to see. The gardens of Villa Monastero are a delight, while the old town harbors highlights like the Church of San Giorgio, as well as numerous places to pick up locally crafted leather goods (a regional specialty.) Just remember that the walk back to the station takes 15-20 minutes, or 25 minutes from Villa Monastero. It's so beautiful you may actually want to miss your connection!