Como Car Rental Guide and
Driving Directions for Lake Como
This page will help you find the best deals on Como car rentals by comparing over 50 different of the leading car hire companies.
Other important links about getting around Lake Como:
Rental cars are a fantastic way to explore the Italian lakes at your own leisure, and allow you to explore less-touristed paths and towns making your vacation all the more exciting and romantic. It is also inexpensive to take your car onto a ferry boat which will let you hop from one side of the lake to another quickly and efficiently.
When choosing between the many Como car rental agencies, you will find many of the big brand names like Europcar and Avis but not as many check-out and drop-off locations like in nearby Milan. We created a separate page about Milan car rentals here.
On this page you will learn everything you need to know about renting a car in Como, including tips and warnings on how to find the best deals and the current driving situation around the lake.
And if car rentals are not your cup of tea…
Click here to learn more about public transportation
Now let’s begin with how to grab those hot deals on the web before everyone else does…
How to Get Best Deals on a Como Car Rental
A car rental in Como is a good idea as there are no other towns on the lake that will rent you a car aside from “Poncia” in Gravedona which is close to the northern tip of the lake.
In Italy, it is always a good idea to look through many rental car companies before settling down on one. Each agency has different policies concerning surcharges, taxes, insurance, and it is amazing to see the disparity in prices between agencies offering the same vehicle.
You can use the search engine above to help you sift through the various agencies and to learn about the most current rates and deals on Como car rentals.
We enjoy using this service anytime we need a car rental in Italy. You can easily book your preferred vehicle online and then simply bring your confirmation number to one of the pick-up locations listed and Voila! …you’re driving before you even know it! You don’t have to worry about finding a location, closing hours, lack of availability and all the other stomach churners.
Another great thing is that all the terms of the agreement – everything from exact cost to drop-off location – are clearly spelled out in advance so that there are never any unpleasant surprises upon arrival.
And finally, it not only delivers the lowest prices but also provides us with all the conveniences we are looking for, such as having an A/C for the hot summers.
CAUTION #1: We strongly advise renting a small car as most streets in Lake Como are very narrow. Streets get wider as you go to the north past Dongo where towns seem to be more spacious.
CAUTION #2: Many Como car rentals close down on weekends or are only open for a short period of time. By using an online service, you will be able to see the exact times and dates of the drop-off locations, making your car rental more secure.
How small is small? Click here to read about my experiences with renting a smart car
And…if you happen to prefer the convenience of renting a car right upon your arrival into Milan…
Since grabbing a taxi from the airport to Lake Como is very costly usually starting at around 200 EUR for a basic trip, some people prefer to pre-arrange their transportation from the airport using an online private transfer service such as ShuttleDirect.
This way a driver will meet you upon arrival at your designated Milan airport and take you to the exact address you want to go. You can specify the exact number of people you’ll be traveling with, so that they know whether to bring a small or large vehicle.
This is definitely the most convenient way to get around the lake, as even driving by yourself can be nerve-wracking when you don’t quite know an area. Airport transfers are available from all three of the Milan airports – Milan Malpena, Milan Linate and Bergamo’s Orio al Serio airport.
Getting To Lake Como
Although most Como car rental companies will provide you with a map of the entire region, you can take advantage of our free mapping service
Now, you can really come prepared for any trip in the area and even know the duration of your trip – provided you leave ample room for traffic jams during rush hours!
The town of Como – the most southern town of Lake Como – is connected by two highways from Milan. The A8 highway – also called the Autostrada dei Laghi or Highway of the Lakes runs across Northern Italy, while the A9 will then take you directly to Como. This popular route is about 50km long and takes about 40-60 minutes depending on the traffic situation.
From Bergamo, you would first have to take the A4 highway to Milan before reaching Como.
From Switzerland, you could take the road towards Porlezza from Lugano, and then the SS340 in Italy towards Menaggio.
The towns in Lake Como are connected by a scenic, lakeside road with sections of it still modeled after the ancient Roman route from over 2000 years ago – the Antica Strada Regina.
One of the fastest ways to commute around the lake is to use the car ferries which link the central towns of Menaggio, Cadenabbia, Bellagio and Varenna. They are very inexpensive and can help you get from the Western towns to the Eastern towns very efficiently.
With your Como car rental papers all signed and your car ready to go…
Here are a few fun routes where you can take your family for a ride…
- A common tourist path is to go from Lugano, Switzerland through Menaggio, Italy and then follow the northern towns just before crossing back into Switzerland and finally reaching the ski-resort of St. Moritz. There is also a Swiss bus which runs this course on certain days of the week.
- Just above Menaggio, you could drive up to the nearby town of Breglia -following the signs toward Plesio – from which you can see beautiful panoramic views of the lake and or begin any of the numerous hiking trails.
- Following the lakeside road from Como to Domaso is a great way to see the entire western and northern legs of this enchanting Italy lake. The C10 bus also takes this route. Read more about public transportation
An agent from a renowned Como car rental company once told me, “Never in your life will you have to travel through so many tunnels!”
Because the mountains are so steep and seem to plunge right down into the Lake, I often wondered how they were even able to build a road here in the first place. But the answer came to me right away with my first driving experience, where I had witnessed the incredible number of tunnels scattered throughout my entire journey.
The eastern towns like Varenna, Bellano and Colico have the greatest number of tunnels inter-connecting them which makes that route the least scenic of all.
However, the bright side of having tunnels is that they help you get to your destinations faster by allowing faster speed limits and having been built with two clearly-marked lanes for each direction of traffic. (It’s hard to see lanes marked anywhere else because most road are so narrow!)
Sometimes the main street in towns like Lenno and Ossucio become so narrow that two buses from opposite directions cannot possibly pass each other, causing mile-long traffic delays on both sides.
It’s funny though…that the beautiful views you will get from the road – of each charming town and its reflection in the deep blue waters – will always somehow make up for any stress you might conjure while driving in Italy.
While driving in the tunnels allow for greater speed limits – usually 70-90 km/h, the speed limits on the main roads are almost always 50 km/h.
Please try not to drive like the locals who rarely obey speed limits. Most tourists who work hard to keep the speed limit but are usually surprised to see how many scooters and cars try to pass them as if they don’t care about life or death!
It is also a good custom to honk your horn when approaching dangerous curves so that any oncoming vehicle from the opposite direction knows that you are near.
Has this page on Como Car rentals been helpful?…
If so, you may also be interested in Milan Car rental companies and other helpful tips on renting cars
Among the greatest bits of advice we can give you is to always to reserve your rental-car through the your home-country before visiting Lake Como. Como car rental companies love to charge premium costs when you walk into their shop. Car rentals and the cost of gasoline in Italy are generally more expensive than their counterparts in the USA, so read this article for some tips on how to save the most money before making your booking.
Find quality websites which broker Italian car rentals, or make use of comparison sites to find the best deal. Most large corporations with international policies will allow you to select the language you want use in their website making it rather simple to book a car. You will usually save 30% just using this method! The second bit of advice – understand any insurance policies that may already come with your particular credit card in order to get complete insurance protection to cover the entire duration of your rental.
Some websites might enable you to get to efficient bundles or other effective promotions offered by various big-name car rental companies. An instant search may also enable you to get an opportunity to compare car rental prices and also any extras that may come with the package.
It is essential to understand your entire rental policy, so be sure to always read the fineprint, especially if you are booking online. Should add another driver to your journey? Can you drop off at the same location that you picked it up? Should you rent in Como or directly from your airport in Milan? These are important questions you must ask yourself before going about getting a Lake Como car rental.
Be sure you understand the exact location from which you are allow to pick up your car and where you must drop it off. This will save hours of time and money if done right!
A Lake Como Car Rental Helpful Warning
Beware of “limited traffic zones” found in the historic centres of most Italian cities and townships, which can be closed during specific hours to traffic besides permit holders. Rental vehicles don’t have these licenses. These special areas are tracked by hidden cameras and entrance by non-permit holders leads to a hefty charge on your charge card by the traffic authorities along with the car-rental company.
While many people will say otherwise, it is a good suggestion to get International Driver’s License if you’re going to lease an automobile in Italy. This is just in case you have some problem with the Italian authorities. This license is translated into Italian which means you do not have to try and convey by gestures that your license is not a fake.
Finalizing the Deal of a Lake Como Car Rental
When you pick up your automobile, you are going have to sign a rental contract together with the provider of the automobile. Your rent and utilization of the rental car is going to be regulated by all of the details of the rental contract and any documentation or info provided for you by the provider at the time you pick up your car. The rental contract is between you as well as the provider and don’t think that everything you read online will be exactly the same. There are sometime small discrepancies which may have to be ironed out. The key is to ask questions. This way, you will never be disappointed when getting a Lake Como car rental.
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