Most definitely journeys to be made by train. Even if there is a bus service trains encounter no traffic hold-ups to slow the trip!
First of all Milan
: Train journey time is around an hour though there are a few faster Trenitalia departures. Como
has four railway stations. Three are served by Trenord
and one by Trenitalia
. It doesn't matter whether you take Trenord or Trenitalia trains (fares aren't much different, if they differ at all). It only matters which Milan station is most convenient for you to leave from and which Como station is most convenient to arrive at.
Trenitalia trains leave from Milano Centrale Railway Station
and Milan Porta Garibaldi
railway stations and all arrive at Como San Giovanni
station, a couple of minutes' walk from the historical centre and about 10 minutes from the lakeside.
Trenord trains leave from Milan Nord Cadorna
station, which is nearer the city centre than Milan Centrale.
The best Trenord station for a visit is Como Nord Lago
which, as its name suggests, is by the lakeside. Como Nord Borghi
is in Como's centre but is a longer walk to both the historical centre and the lakeside.
You can find train times and details for both (and fares for the Trenitalia
trains) in English on the official Italian railway website below. Choose 'Milano tutte le Stazioni' as your departure point but you must choose your Como arrival station by name:https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html
site in English gives times and details for both and fares for Trenord trains:http://www.trenord.it/en/home.aspx
Standard one-way fare is 4.80 euro for both Trenitalia & Trenord, though the few faster trains may be a bit more expensive.
You do not
need to book your tickets in advance. Just buy them on the day you go. Ticket machines have English language options and are very easy to use: some only accept cards but there are always machines which accept cash as well.
There's no need to pay extra for first-class. Second-class is perfectly safe and comfortable enough. :-)Remember to validate (date-stamp) your tickets before boarding, using the machines on/near the platforms
. There are on-the-spot fines for non-validation and inspectors do check. See photo for an example of a Trenitalia validation machine: