Great way to see a lot in just one day. Good variety of transportation modes and you weren't stuck sitting all day. It was about an hour bus ride to a point where we could use bathrooms and see the outside of a beautiful house and go inside a church. Then we took the bus to Como where we had very little time- just enough to get a bite to eat or use the ATM to get cash (which is behind the duomo in case you need it). I think if the group had been smaller, we would have had more time, but it is what it is. The 2 hour boat ride was excellent with views of the towns along the lake. It's actually a public ferry that makes stops at these towns. For about 15 Euro, you could eat onboard, and that allows more time for sightseeing at Belaggio. I was glad we did that. Food was good. We still had time to go on the upper deck for coffee afterwards, and could take plenty of photos. We enjoyed the tour guide as we ate. He still talked about what we were seeing using a box with an earpiece you can use when you like. We still had enough time to browse Belaggio. You should have euros as many places don't take credit cards. From Belaggio we took a taxiboat to a dock very nearby, where our bus met us and the ride was about 2 hours back to Milan. You will see George Clooney's house from the water and the street view. The weather wasn't incredibly clear the day we went, but if you're lucky with the weather, you can see snowcapped mountain peaks.
We weighed doing this on our own via train, but if you don't speak Italian, it's a much better idea to book a tour like this. It was a long bus ride (about 3 hours) but they do make a stop for toilets, drinks, etc. enroute. The bus doesn't have toilets, but the seats are pretty comfortable. The view is scenic once you leave the city. You will see old villages, mountain peaks, and lots of farmlands with grapes. We were tempted to sleep, but it was just too pretty. Better to sleep on the way back home again. The tour guide on the bus told us about what we were seeing enroute, and then we had a different tour guide for the walking tour in Venice. You are met at the public dock by some sort of water taxi. The water taxi trip to Venice was crazy and way overcrowded, standing room only, but on our way back we were on a smaller taxiboat with just our tour group. You will absolutely need cash if you want to do a gondola ride once you're in Venice. The tour operator arranged an affordable gondola ride if you wanted to do it. It was about a half hour and I think it was 15 or 20 euro each person. 6 people from your group share a gondola. You should do this if you have the opportunity! It was a real highlight. Venice was extremely crowded so do the week day tour if you can. Your tour guide will take you on some streets that are out of the mainstream so you can get some authentic photos of homes and shops without hordes of tourists. We opted out of the tour of the glass making so we could enjoy the shops and lunch at a pizzeria. Just let the tour guide know your plans, and you can go off on your own. You'll know your meeting point and time well in advance. Loved this trip. Wouldn't go to Milan without doing this!
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