Been to 2 Ital lakes - next choice?

Old Jul 31st, 2009, 08:10 AM
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Been to 2 Ital lakes - next choice?

Looking for ideas. In 2002 I toured Lake Garda, town of Garda as the base - loved it. 2005 was Como, staying in Bellagio. This september I have 2-4 days on either Swiss or Italian lakes between Geneva and Venice.

I've looked at Lugano and it is suggested the town has an old section, but is mostly 'swank and overdeveloped'.

This trip is with Smom & grandma, so I'm hesitant to go to 'romantic' Orta. I'm also hesitant to stay in Switzerland as it appears to be more expensive in general. Can't say I've researched Maggiore much.

Anyone have a new lake love? Or a town that's lovely enough to spend 2-4 nights on with daytrips around the lake?

Grandma's first and probably only trip to Europe - so we want a slow pace, great restaurants, neat town center/side streets/shops. Quaint, not city is what I'm trying to convey. We don't need 'activities' planned, we'll just wander.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 08:50 AM
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I know it's not between Geneva and Venice, but what about Lake Trasimeno in Umbria? I Some friends of ours were there and stayed at I Capricci di Merion and said it was unbelievable. Great day trips to all over Umbria
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 08:51 AM
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Check out Maggiore. It may be right for you...although I have to admit that trips with older folks often go best when you, as guide, are on territory that you already know well, especially if Grandma has never been to Europe at all.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 09:07 AM
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LJ, I had thought of that and found Bellagio a pain to travel to/from, so would do a rental and try Garda again... but grandma is 70 and in shape like someone 50, so I don't have concerns there.

Amanda - We're already doing a swing from Frankfurt to Venice due to visiting friends, so I definitely want a lake en route. I had researched Trasimeno for our 2005 trip, but you just can't ever fit all you want in!
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 09:09 AM
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Amanda, would you consider Lake Constance (Bodensee) in southern Germany across from Switzerland? Also borders on Austria. There is a great deal to do in the region and is not that far from the castles. I agree that Switzerland is (gorgeous)but very pricey with a family.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 09:48 AM
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Look into lake Iseo. Between Garda and Como, it is much smaller than both but still a reasonable size at about 18km long. There is a large island in the middle of the lake (Monte isola) with several hotels.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 10:31 AM
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Ditto ldt
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 11:02 AM
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We enjoyed our stay on beautiful Lake Maggiore several years ago. Last year we decided to go to Lake Orta instead but did go over to Lake Maggiore for lunch. There were four of us traveing together and we all expressed a wish that we'd stayed on Maggiore. You can take your SMom and Grandma on the boat trip to the Borromean islands, an easy excursion, villas, gardens, history.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 02:14 PM
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We had a great stay at the hotel pironi in cannobio on the northwest shore of maggiore back in '05. Wonderful little hotel in 15th c. building.....great hiking, food, and easy ferry to other areas of lake....
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 04:28 PM
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Here is the small hotel on the north shore of Lago Lugano that Grammy will love. Search for Stella d' Italia in San Mamete. It is halfway betweeen Lugano and the west shore of Como. We are going back in late Sep.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 07:33 PM
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We stayed in Lugano one day before an early plane out. There are many beautiful and expensive shops there. The restaurants were also much more expensive than on the Italian side. Lugano was more like a town and didn't have the feel of the smaller towns on Lake Como. It also felt larger than the towns on Lake Garda and had a different chemistry. It wouldn't be where I would want to be based, but we were looking for more of a quiet resort type of town. We did see some quaint and interesting looking towns on Lake Lugano and perhaps the one that bobthenavigator is suggesting might be right for you.
Our favorite is Lake Como, we have actually stayed in Belagio and Varenna. We really liked Varenna because it was quiet, but also enjoyed the restaurants and shops in Belagio. The views on the lake can't be beat, but we've never been to Maggiore, so that looks interesting as well.
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 07:07 AM
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Have you considered Mantua? It's a wonderful, atmospheric old town, filled with narrow streets and medieval buildings, lively piazzas, beautiful shops, good restaurants, interesting markets.

The town is surrounded on three sides by small lakes/lagoons smothered in lotus flowers in summer. And the food! Wonderful! A funny sort of place where they eat donkey ragout and pumpkin ravioli and drink fizzy wine, as well as all the other northern Italian specialties. Oh, and the art! Astonishing, amazing Renaissance art! Whole rooms covered from floor to ceiling and across ceiling and down to floor again, with frescoes.

Here are some images, if you're interested: http://jmstudio.fotopic.net/c1670865.html If you get bored, Mantua's a good base for visits to Verona, Vicenza, Sirmione. Easy to travel throughout the area by train or bus, if you don't want to hire a car.
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 07:12 AM
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Get a flat in Ascona, on Lake Maggiore. It really is beautiful, serene and addictive. Because walking is easy, you might consider getting a flat on the delta somewhere.
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 07:52 AM
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As Schuler and LJ, I suggest Lago Maggiore. The view is beautiful, Isola Bela has a nice castle and garden. We stayed at Stresa. It is a 5 min. boat ride to Isola Bela. Stresa has a very nice promenade, also small streets with nice shops. If your flight is then from Malpensa, there is a special bus from Stresa to airport (50 minutes).
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 11:44 AM
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You guys are wonderful - this is just what I needed! BTN's suggestion is highly desireable, although it looks 'hard' to reach since we haven't decided on trains/rental car.

Stresa is one I researched before Bellagio, and will revisit, and Mantua was previously on a 'wow' list (and looks to be winning w/ a 2 minute search!) - so now I've got my work cut out for me. Everyone's suggestions look great- much appreciated.

FYI, in Garda we stayed at Hotel Excelsior and would recommend it any day (no AC tho!), beautiful views, great pool & excellent food on the board plan. In Bellagio we stayed at the Metropole and while it is 'tired', had a wonderful stay and would return again.

Packed - thanks for the thoughts on Lugano - I think I can rule that out in my searching.
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