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Italy/Switzerland in the fall

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Hello, I am hoping to get some help with a trip I am planning for the fall. We are thinking of the following:
Milan to Verona 1-night
Verona to Ortiese. 4-nights
Ortiese to Como. 3 or 4 nights
Como to Lucerne. 5-nights
Lucerne to Milan. 1-night

1. I do not want to drive to far on our first day. Is Ravena a good mid way point on our way to Ortiese?

2. Thinking about renting a car for the first part of the trip. Should we return the.car before Lake Como or after and where?

3. After Lake Como we have another 6 nights and are thinking about taking a local train from Tirano to Lucerne? We would like to go up the Bernina pass and maybe come back to Milan another way?

We are both wanting to do some long walks, hiking a bit, eating some great food and taking photos. Oh and I love gardens.

Grazie Mille- Janice

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    I suggest that when you land that you take the train to Verona (not Ravena) to spend the night, then rent your car in Verona the next morning. If you love gardens, Verona has a very beautiful Renaissance garden, the Giardino Giuisti.

    When in the "fall" are you going? After mid-September it can be rainy and overcast in the Dolomiti, and by mid-October, services at Lago di Como start to shut down.

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    1. MXP - Ortisei: Ravenna is 100 miles in the wrong direction.
    2. Public transport is excellent between MXP and Verona as well aus between Verona and Ortisei.
    3. If you have a car (rent it at Verona, as Sandra suggest, you can then reach Ortisei via Lake Garda and other scenic places), it would be easier to drive from Ortisei directly to Switzerland, either via Innsbruck or via Mustair monastery. After your (obviously undifined stay) in Switzerland, you could drive down to either Lake Maggiore (close to MXP), Lake Lugano or Lake Como.
    If you stay along Lake Garda along your drive from Verona to Ortisei, Lake Como may not bring you much more, however.

    Bernina: most alpine pass roads are open until mid-end Ocotber. Some of them are at least as spectacular as the Bernina train ride. But if the Bernina train ride is a must, you could easily do it as a day trip from Lake Como.

    May be you are interested in a copy of this older post too:

    SWITZERLAND BY CAR

    It's perfectly possible to visit tons of gems in Switzerland by car, without boarding any train (between June and October, when all mountain roads are open).

    But if you want to visit Switzerland by car, don’t choose just the places that can NOT be reached by car (like Muerren, Gimmelwald, Wengen, Schynige Platte, Schilthorn, First, Kleine Scheidegg, Maennlichen, Rigi, Pilatus, Bettmeralp, Zermatt, Braunwald, etc). Otherwise you will have to pay for both: car rental, fuel (about 8 USD per US gallon/3,85 litres) AND mountain railways.

    There are tons of beautiful places in the Swiss Alps which can be reached by car. Some suggestions:

    Drive from Martigny to Col de la Gueulaz on Lake Emosson (2000m/6600ft). You are then just in front of the Northern side of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain chain of Western Europe. The glaciers of Trient, Tour, Argentiere as well as the peaks of Aiguille d'Argentiere (3900m/13000fr), Aiguille Verte (4120m/13500ft), Grandes Jorasse (4210m/13800ft), Mont Blanc (4810m/15800ft) ar jus a few miles away.

    Drive from Martigny to Grand St Bernard Pass (2470m/8100ft) and hike in 1 hr to La Chenalette (2800m/9200ft). From there, you have a stupendous view to the Southern side of Mont Blanc (A Neuve Glacier, Dolent Glacier, Pre de Bar Glacier, Triolet Glacier as well as a lot of 3800 to 4800m / 13000 to 15800ft high peaks). In the South, but farther away, you see the glaciers and peaks of the Gran Paradiso chain.
    A easy, but very scenic 6hrs circular hike goes from Col du Gd St-Bernard via Col des Chevaux - Lake Petit Le - Col de Bastillon to the 3 blue mountain lakes of Fenetre and then over the Col de Fenetre de Ferret back to Col du Gd St-Bernard.

    Drive from Sion to Col du Sanetsch (2250m/7400ft) and hike in about 2 hrs to Refuge/Restaurant La Quille du Diable on Tsanfleuron Glacier (2900m/9500ft). You are there on the top of a perpendicular cliff and can look down to Lake Derborence, just 1500m/5000ft below your feet. Stupendous view to Mont Blanc chain, Grand Combin, Mont Collon and tons of other peaks.

    Drive from Sierre to Grimentz and then up to the end of the road on Lake Moiry (2250m/7400ft) and hike then in aobut 1 hr to Moiry hut (Swiss Alpine club) and Moiry Glacier.

    Drive from Brig to Ried-Moerel, go by gondola to Riederalp (5 CHF/one way), hike in 1/2 hr to Riederfurka (2070m/6800ft), visit the visitor's centre/museum of the Jungfrau-Aletsch Nature reserve, walk through the Aletsch Forest and have a look at the Aletsch Glacier (longest glacier of Europe) just below and in front of you.

    Drive to Breuil-Cervinia (Italian neighbourhood, 2000m/6500ft) and go by cableway to Plateau Rosa (28 EUR/35 USD roundtrip). Plateau Rosa (3500m/11500ft) is close to Matterhorn Paradise/Kleinmatterhorn (1 mile away, same panorama). The roundtrip ticket from Taesch Parking to Matterhorn Paradise costs 107 CHF/112 USD

    Drive to Grimsel Pass (2200m/7200ft) and hike in about 1 1/2 hr to Sidelhorn (2800m/9200ft). Panoramic views to Unteraar Glacier, Oberaar Glacier, 6 mountain lakes around Grimsel Pass, Finsteraarhorn (4300m/14100ft) and dozens of other peaks. You may also hike from Grimsel Pass to Lake Oberaar (1 hr) and along this lake to Oberaar Glacier (another hr).
    Drive then from Grimsel Pass to Furka Belvedere and visit the Ice cave in the Rhone Glacier.
    Another road in the same area goes to Nufenenpass/Griessee. The hike from the end of the road to Lake Griessee - Gries Pass - Gries Glacier takes about 1 1/2 hrs.

    Drive from Davos or St. Moritz to Stelvio Pass (2800m/9200ft). Hike to the glaciers (1 hr or so) or enjoy the view to them from Piz da las Trais Linguas (3 languages peak; 2850m/9400ft).

    etc. etc.

    But if you prefer to ride with Glacier Express, Bernina Express, Golden Pass Panoramic, etc. and if you want to visit Gornergrat and Jungfraujoch, you better look after rail passes.

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    Two bits of info about driving a car n Switzerland.

    Petrol/gas is quite a bit cheaper in Switzerland so fill up your tank when both arriving in and leaving Switzerland.

    You will need to buy a motorway sticker which costs CHF 40. If you enter Switzerland by motorway you can do this immediately upon crossing the border - the Swiss customs will probably notice you don not have the sticker and get you to stop for it anyway. If you cross by normal road stop at the first petrol/gas station.

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    Thanks for all your advice. Sandralist, we will be arriving on Sept. 6th and leaving on the 20th. I think taking the train to Verona will be good and I like the idea of driving up from Ortesie to Switzerland and then going to Lake Maggiore, I think that we will probably stay 3-4 nights in Lucerne. Know time for some research.

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