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Driving around the Italian Lakes - Help Please?

Driving around the Italian Lakes - Help Please?

Old Feb 11th, 2005, 02:49 AM
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Driving around the Italian Lakes - Help Please?

I have seen various posts encouraging car driving around the Lake District. We are planning a trip to Italy this summer (end of May 2005) We are four of us and are budgeting for 4 (or max 5) nights in the Lake region before moving on to Venice for 3-4 more nights.

Is it worth taking a car for these 4-5 nights? And if yes, what all can we "comfortably" cover with a car in this region. I do not want too hectic a trip for my dad. I checked out some distances and driving time mentioned in mappy.com. Is it "sensible" to imagine I can cover Como, Orta and Maggiorre in these 4-5 days.

Lake experts, please help!!!

Thanks!
Vidya
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 07:27 AM
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Yes, you can cover the lakes you mentioned. No drive around any lake will take more than a few hours, even with slow tourist traffic. The trick will be to decide where to stop for a night. My choice would be to see Maggiore, Como, and Garda lakes. I'd stop overnight in Bellagio and the north end of Garda lake. Good luck.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 07:33 AM
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Wayne, my definition of a few is three to four. Are you saying you can drive all the way around Lake Como in that time? I don't think I could!! For that matter, why would you want to? How could you drive around them without wanting to stop at nearly every opportunity?

To be honest, Vidya, for 4 to 5 days I'd just pick one lake, probably Como and stick with that. There is plenty of entertainment and variety with that one lake, without pushing to do two others as well, especially with your concerns of not overdoing it for your dad.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 07:37 AM
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Yes, but I would pick 2 places to stay. It can be done from one, but that can be stressful. I would spend time at Orta first and day trip to Stresa[Maggiore] from there. Then, I would drive via Locarno and Lugano to stay on the west shore of Como in Menaggio--the drive itself is very scenic. Try to stop at Val Versasca north of Locarno that day. Also, look at the Hotel Stella d' Italia on the north shore of Lago Lugano as your 2nd base camp--charming place. You will love the Lakes. Stop in Sirmione as you drive to Venice. Garda is nice, but not as nice as the others. Have fun !
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 09:47 AM
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Thanks for the inputs. I think I will resist the temptation of seeing all the lakes in one trip.

Infact my plans are getting clearer by the day. We are planning to pick a car in Milan and spend 6 nights in this region and drop off the car in Venice. Given that can we also manage a view of the Alps from somewhere?

Bob - I read some of your advices on the Lake topics and since you seem to know so much, any suggestions? Great to know other IBMers (or ex-IBMers who are so passionate about travelling.

Thanks again all of you.
Vidya
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 09:56 AM
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I must add that we found the drive from Como to Bellagio a bit unnerving. The road was very narrow --I wouldn't want to drive it in a large car.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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www.orta.net-- We like the Hotel Orta

www.stresa.net-- Good view of Alps from atop Mt Mottarone--see Borremean Isles and gardens at Villa Taranto

Look at Grand Hotel Menaggio for your Como base.
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 10:41 AM
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Bob, the Grand Hotel Menaggio looks lovely. It is now in my file for a future trip.

I think I actually remember that hotel when we drove through Menaggio on our honeymoon many, many years ago. Beautiful!
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 01:53 PM
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You have good taste Carol. Some people try to drive up the interior to Bellagio--not an easy trip. I always suggest the west shore with a car--or the car ferry from Cadenabbia. But, the GHM is right at the boat dock to Bellagio--why not?
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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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Despite bobthenavigator's and others' warnings about that road up the "interior" to Bellagio, we decided to do it anyway. We returned down the Western shore. A prime example of good advice being given and foolishly ignored.
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Old Feb 15th, 2005, 08:32 AM
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Bob, we liked your idea of seeing Orta, Maggiore and Como in the six days we have and basing ourselves out of Orta / Stresa and Menaggio. However we were looking at decent hostels since we are on a budget trip.

We noticed there is a youth hostel on menaggio that was decently-rated here (and in hostelz.com site) and we were thinking of using that as the first base.

We also saw that there is another one in Verbania (no ratings for this one ... any idea?) and were wondering whether it is okie to use Verbania as the second base. What say? And is it feasible to plan a day trip to Zermatt and see the Matterhorn. Or are we being too ambitious?

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Old Feb 15th, 2005, 11:00 AM
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I know that hostel in Menaggio--good choice. I do not know about the one in Verbania, but it is connected to all of Maggiore by the ferry boats and is home to the fabulous Villa Taranto fardens. Sure, you are only :40 drive to Orta--that is doable. Oh boy, Zermatt !! If weather is good, and you get an early start, I would rive as far as Brig to take the local train into Zermatt. Long day--but !
The option is to take the Centovalli train from Domodossala to Locarno--read about that--very cool. Have fun !
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Old Feb 16th, 2005, 02:19 AM
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Thanks for the inputs. I am nearly done with my itinerary plan. Shall post it in a separate message and see the comments there. Thanks all of you once again for all the help.
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Old Feb 25th, 2005, 09:50 AM
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Bob the Nav. --- Would you please explain what you mean about "driving up the interior" not being an easy trip? Do you happen to know the route number we shouldn't take? Is it b/c the roads are so windy (long "i" in that word). Also, I imagine there are no views of the lake.

Thank you.
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Old Feb 25th, 2005, 10:37 AM
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Look at the map. From the city of Como there is a road up the central peninsula--it is not good. I suggest taking the road up the west side of the lake and taking the car ferry to Bellagio from Cadenabbia, or staying in Menaggio to avoid the car ferry and the parking challenge in Bellagio.
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Old Feb 25th, 2005, 10:39 AM
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Thank you, Bob, I see on the map exactly what you are talking about.
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