Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Hotel bookings needed in August in Italy?

Hotel bookings needed in August in Italy?

Old Jul 20th, 2006, 01:01 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 60
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hotel bookings needed in August in Italy?

Two of us are off to Nth Italy on the 9th of August. Getting the train from Milan to Venice (staying for 4 days with hotel pre-booked) and then hiring a car for 10 days to meander our way back to Milan via the Dolomites and Lakes. I know it will be peak tourist season for Italy, so can anyone tell me if I need to pre-book hotels (and therefore be tied in to a strict itinerary) or is it OK to just turn up at a place and hope to get accommodation?

chriss_hk is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 02:59 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sure it's OK BUT when you DON'T get the accommodation are you prepared to spend very valuable vacation time searching for a place to stay, taking what is left over, etc. (assuming there even IS a place vacant in that charming town) as opposed to being assured a place to rest.

Yeah, you are "tied" to an itinerary but you tied yourself to an itinerary when you booked the flights back and forth so what's wrong with doing it in a very popular spot?
Dukey is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 03:32 AM
  #3  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi C,

>I know it will be peak tourist season for Italy, so can anyone tell me if I need to pre-book hotels...?<

Shucks, if you want to spend your valuable vacation time wandering from town to town looking for decent hotels at reasonable prices, who are we (who do it on the internet before we travel) to tell you, "nay"?

ira is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 04:25 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 894
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A few years ago we decided to be spontanious and change our itinerary half way through our trip. We hadn't planned a visit to Lucca but heard such good things about it. Unfortunately, we didn't know about the festival that was just wrapping up and every room in town was full. We wandered around for several hours and finally had to give up and move on to another town.

There are room finding services at many of the train stations or tourism offices. The best accommodations are usually taken in advance so you will often get the bottom of the line hotels. If you are the least bit fussy, I would make arrangements in advance. In off season, it wouldn't be a real issue to wing it.
CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 04:32 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 186
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi C,

You're kidding right?
mikeyb is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 06:16 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,021
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Chris - The APT's ( - tourist offices) in the Dolomites villages are super-efficient and are the best place to start.

Or ... watch out for 'zimmer frei/ camere' signs.

Some may require a minimum 3 nights stay ...

Hope this helps ...

Steve
Steve_James is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 06:37 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 423
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with the general sentiment of the responses. In high tourist season, you will spend more time than you want looking for reasonable rates and decent locations. If you are at all picky about any of these criteria, book ahead and enjoy your time.
madameX is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 07:01 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 423
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I should also mention: travel analysts* this year have noted a sharp increase in summer travel to Europe, especially Italy. (Who knows? pent-up demand? People who know that the euro isn't going to come down much?) You may luck out with spur-of-the-moment, but I wouldn't count on it in August.

FYI: I spent June in Europe, including 2 weeks in Italy. At my hotels in Sorrento and Capri, I overheard the desk staff telling callers that there were no rooms available. My small hotel in Rome seemed full, too. I can't imagine that finding a hotel in the Lake and mountain districts will be much eaasier in August.

*I'm not in the industry, but follow the indistry for professional reasons.
madameX is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 07:10 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 60
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the various advice, especially Steve James Dolomites advice. I am very well travelled in Asia and Sth. America and never plan a set itinerary as I usually stay in small out-of-the-way places. But I haven't been to Europe for ages, so am really trying to get a feel for the best way to do it. I have read loads of forums here to get an idea of where to go so will take your advice and book some places. But I really do hate being tied in to staying everywhere pre-booked in case I "chance upon" a gorgeous place along the way and would like to stay there longer. A dilemma, I know.....
chriss_hk is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 07:22 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 937
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ira,Dukey,& Madame are offering sound advice.
I cant imagine not having lodging booked in advance. There is no way I would spend precious vacation time searching for a place to stay.

Please post a trip report upon your return. I would like to hear how you faired.

Have a fun and safe trip
JandaO is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 07:22 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,238
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Chriss-I actually don't think you're going to have that much of a problem-I'm leaving for Italy in a few weeks, and there are PLENTY of reservations at hotels to be had-at greatly discounted rates, I might add. Why? Because August is LOW season in Italy, not high (although I should say that in certain parts of the country, such as in the south, it will be high season).

If you are going to basically, small towns here and there in northern Italy you should have very little problem finding accomodation. As the other posters said, the train station and/or tourist office in town will be able to book accomodation for you, no problem.

And I am not one to book anything much in advance, (except apts.) still haven't booked for southern Italy and Milan yet (although I know where I'm going to stay, I still haven't booked, and they still have rooms available).

Have a great trip.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 07:52 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 60
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Again....thanks for the advice. I have just found a great trip report by "justretired" called "Italy trip report: Lakes district, Dolomites, Venice, and Milan" and am going to use a lot of the information there to plan my itinerary. If you haven't already read it, the report is excellent and Larry's photos are wonderful!
chriss_hk is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 08:09 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,801
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
August is only the LOW season in cities. If you go to vacation spots and beauty spots -- like the Dolomites and the Lakes, it is the HIGH season -- because not only Italians but northern Europeans are jamming into those places too.

chriss,

I agree that the only guarantee you have of getting a good sleep in a clean place in a beautiful town is by booking one now. However, if you end up rejecting that advice, here are some tips:

The Italian Touring Club puts out a book of agriturismos and farm stays in Italy. Try to get a copy of the book or any book like it over the internet before you go.

Also, if you search on the internet for "bed-and-breakfast Italy" you can sometimes come up with lists you can print out for the regions you are going to (Veneto, Alto Adige, etc.)

Finally, don't overlook "albergo ristorantes" or fail to ask about them. These are restuarants which have rooms upstairs. They are usually very, very clean and well-located.

Your problem is going to be that even if you have addresses of places, they will be very hard to find in Italy. Very often when you enter an Italian town you will see signs pointing the way to a bunch of different hotels. Go to the first one and ask for a room. If they don't have one, chances are they can suggest who does. Again, don't fail to ask about "albergo ristorantes" if they say they don't know any vacant hotels.

PS: On the Lakes, don't pick the famous towns (like Bellagio, Varenna, Stresa, etc). Try the towns that aren't in your guidebook.
nessundorma is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 08:35 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,238
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Chriss-I really wouldn't worry about the accomodation in the Lakes area. For example, I just went on www.venere.com (you should too, to check) put in the hypothetical dates of Aug. 28-31st of next month, for just the Como area of the Lakes (not Menaggio or Cernobbio) and I got NINE accomodations STILL available for booking-the 4 star Hotel Como is available for those dates starting at 90E a night.

Not only that, but I checked for the Albergo Centrale in Cernobbio, 50 meters from the lake, and it is still available starting at 75 Euros a night.

So you see, it can well be done the way you want to do it....
Girlspytravel is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 09:45 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 423
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Chriss --

While I'd still make reservations, you might want to do an internet check of some hypothetical places you'd like to stay. I assume you have a general idea of your route, so searching will give you some kind idea about availability and prices for the kind of place you'd like. As others have said, much depends on how picky you are about where you go, the type of amenities you need (do you need A/C? Twin beds?) and the price you are willing to pay, and how much time you want to invest in finding a place (as well as making sure the tourist office is open.) If you just want a spare room, I'm sure you'll find one (eventually,) but you'll probably have more difficulty in August in resort areas than at other times.

While I agree with girlsspytravel to some extent, late August is different from mid-August, especially in resort areas. By that later time, SOME Europeans are heading home, and many American tourists are getting back in time for school openings, etc. However, mid-August is still high season. (I was in Milan, Lago Maggiore, and the Cinque Terre at the very end of August and early September a few years ago. Things are still kind of busy then, except for Milan. Even there, the resort areas were busy, much in Milan is still closed, but more open than in many parts of Italy.)

But yes: I've had good luck on www.venere.com, and it may give you some generally good ideas about what to expect. I'd still check the place out on tripadvisor.com (Fodor's is good, but I've found Tripadvisor very useful.)

But who knows -- an online search might turn up the gem that you WANT to book, and you solve that problem.

Best wishes either way!

(Please pardon me -- I'm not sure why, but when I look at my "edit" version of the posting, the websites are duplicated, but not in my "writing" window. 'Not sure how to correct it, and I've tried a few times. I'll see what turns up when I actually post. Again, my apologies.)

madameX is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 10:05 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 848
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I spend the whole month of August each year up in the dolomites between trento and bolzano and from 5th to the 20th August everything is generally fully booked. You have to get lucky with the zimmer frei signs! Why not carry a tent in your car for emergencies? Also beware of traffic you can get stuck in jams for hours. We love driving around the region but prefer to motorbike to avoid the august traffic.
carrom is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 10:16 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,238
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well again, Carrom, if you go to venere.com, right now, which I suggest that Chris should do, in order to get an idea as to availability, putting in the dates of Aug. 10-15 for 2 persons, less than a month away, I see there are 12 accomodations available in that city alone, ranging from 85-140 Euros a night.

So the area can't be that booked.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 10:17 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,238
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
sorry, that city being Bolzano
Girlspytravel is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 10:55 AM
  #19  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi GST,

Booking a hotel 2-5 weeks in advance is not the same as showing up and asking for a room that night.

It's the same with restaurants. You can get a reservation today for tomorrow night, but you probably won't get a table if you show up tomorrow night w/o a res.

ira is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 11:06 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,238
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You and I must have had very different experiences Ira, because I certainly have, and do, and have been doing off and on, for some 25 years.

And I think if there are THAT many accomodations in the Lakes area of Italy just a few weeks away, then the chances are very good that there will be space available when Chris arrives.
Girlspytravel is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -