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

Itinerary Suggestion for South of France and Lake Como

Itinerary Suggestion for South of France and Lake Como

Old May 6th, 2024, 11:26 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 51
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Itinerary Suggestion for South of France and Lake Como

Hi,
I am doing a road trip. On 10th July we will stay the night in Moritz. And on 19th July we have to be in Zermatt. So I have 8 nights for this part of the trip. My main reason was to visit Lavender fields as we never travel to Europe in busy season of July- August. This time is an exception. I was thinking

11th July - See Moritz and drive to Milan
12th July - See Duomo in Milan and drive to Valensole
13th July - Drive to Lavender fields, see Vendon Gorge and end in Marseilles
14th - Drive through Toulon, Saint tropez, Antibes and end in Cannes
15th - Cannes - beach day
16th July - See Monaco and drive to Lake Como
17th - Como
18th - Como
19th - Drive to Zermatt via Lugano and Locarno

I was thinking will it be possible to do day trip to Lavender fields from Marseilles? So I can avoid too many one night stops.
I can skip Milan but then drive is getting too long.
I was trying to do Valensole before 15th July as heard after 15th July chances might be less.
I don't want to stay in Nice, as thats the only place we have been too.

So what do you suggest, how to do I utilize these 8 days without too much back track.

I will driving as these 8 days are part of a longer roadtrip. We are 4 of us.

Thanks

Last edited by Moderator1; May 7th, 2024 at 05:52 AM. Reason: corrected day one from 1 July to 11 July
Traveler_India is offline  
Old May 7th, 2024, 05:50 AM
  #2  
Forum Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 6,357
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Your topic was caught up in moderation overnight US time. Sorry for the delay releasing it.
Moderator1 is offline  
Old May 7th, 2024, 07:44 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 18,171
Received 22 Likes on 4 Posts
Instead of staying in St-Moritz, stay nearby in lovely and picturesque Pontresina. We were so glad we stayed there instead of St-Moritz. We had been warned not to stay in St-Moritz by several people.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Old May 7th, 2024, 08:03 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 23,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
from Google: Zermatt is a car-free zone so if you are travelling by bus or driving; you will have to park your vehicles at Tasch, 7 kilometres from Zermatt. From there, you can take a train to Zermatt, which is three and a half hours from Geneva and four and a half hours from Zurich by road.

Given that your final destination can be reached by public transportation from Geneva, I would rent a car only for the French portion of the trip. Fly from Zurich to Marseille, visit the lavender fields, and return the car on the French side of the Geneva airport.

Michael is offline  
Old May 7th, 2024, 09:11 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 51
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hey thanks for your reply. As said this portion is just a part of the longer trip. From Zermatt, we drive to Montreux and further. Yes, I know Zermatt is car free town and car won't be any use for those days. Traveling multiple destination by train and carrying luggage is a problem for us. So car is best suited for us. My Swiss part of the trip is fixed. I am stuck on how to best utilize time in South of France and Como.
Traveler_India is offline  
Old May 7th, 2024, 09:35 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,577
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lake Como is between St. Moritz and Milan. The road between these 2 towns goes all along the lake.
The usual itinerary from Milan to Vensole goes through Monaco dn Cannes.

So, a somewhat "normal" itinerary would be:
St. Moritz - Chiavenna - Colico (Lake Como) - Varenna (Lake Como) - Lecco (Lake Como) - Milan - Genoa Voltri - Monaco - Nice - Antibes - Cannes - St. Tropez - Toulon - Marseille - Valensole/Verdon - Sisteron - Grenoble - Albertville - Megeve - Chamonix - Martigny - Visp - Taesch (Zermatt parking)
neckervd is offline  
Old May 7th, 2024, 06:33 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 51
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@neckervd - Thanks so much. You are amazing. So I guess this will work then:
11th July - St Moritz to Como
12th July - Como
13th July - Como - Day trip to Lugano and Locarno
14th July - Drive to Cannes via Milan, Nice, Monaco
15th July - Cannes - Beach Day
16th July - Drive to Marseilles via St. Tropez - Toulon
17th July - Marseilles
18th July - Valensole
19th July - Zermatt

Traveler_India is offline  
Old May 7th, 2024, 08:38 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 25,067
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
Do you have lodging reservations at Lake Como and in Cannes???

Where would you be staying at Lake Como? The town of Como? The round trip drive to Lugano/Locarno would take at least 3 hours, not counting any stops or high-season traffic delays. If you're staying in Bellagio or Varenna, the round trip could be closer to 4 hours. If you're staying in Varenna, and miss the day's last back ferry across the lake the one-way drive from Locarno to Varenna would take about 5 hours.

Before you contemplate driving into Milan, you need to understand the city's several ZTLs and figure out how you're going to reach parking without driving into one of the zones during restricted hours. Since July 14th is a Sunday, it might be less difficult than another day of the week, but this isn't something you can just figure out as you go. You need to have a plan. It would be easier to make a half day visit to Milan from either Como or Varenna by train.

But if you keep to your plan, the drive from (presumably) the town of Como to Cannes via Milan, Nice and Monaco would take at least 6 hours not counting time in Milan, Nice or Monaco and not accounting for heavy holiday traffic (on Bastille Day!).

Valensole to Zermatt is a 7+ hour drive.
Jean is online now  
Old May 7th, 2024, 10:12 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 51
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It such difficult to plan in peak season of July. Some thing or the other keeps coming. Now you say Bastille Day. From 24th there is Olympic football matches. Then there is tour de France around 20th and 21st July. Then there is lavender fields date which no one knows if it all be harvested or there will be there till 18th July. I just can't avoid all the key dates. I haven't yet booked accommodation for this part as still not sure about itinerary.
I don't care if I see Milan or not. Not my priority. My priority is lavender fields. So I have 3 options - none of them are perfect but suggest best out of the 3 please.

Option 1 - Lavender might be gone by 18th
11th July - St Moritz to Como
12th July - Como
13th July - Como - Day trip to Lugano and Locarno
14th July - Drive to Cannes via Nice, Monaco
15th July - Cannes - Beach Day
16th July - Drive to Marseilles via St. Tropez - Toulon
17th July - Marseilles
18th July - Valensole
19th July - Zermatt

Option 2 - Too many one night stays
11th July - St Moritz to Milan ( Can stay at airport or somewhere else to break the journey)
12th July - Drive to Valensole - high chance of seeing lavender than other itinerary
13th July - Valensole - Lavender fields - can stay in Valensole or Marsailles
14th July - Drive French Rivera to Cannes
15th July - Cannes - Beach Day
16th July - Drive to Como
17th July - Como
18th July - Como
19th July - Zermatt via Lugano and Locarno

Option 3 - long drive on 11th
11th July - St Moritz to Cannes
12th July - Cannes - Beach Day
13th July - Cannes - Day trip to Nice and Monaco
14th July - Drive French Rivera to Marseilles
15th July - Marseilles - Day trip to Valensole
16th July - Drive to Como
17th July - Como
18th July - Como
19th July - Zermatt via Lugano and Locarno

I have gone over at least 20 permutation and combination and nothing is going to be perfect in the dates and time period. But please suggest best possible option. I was just skeptical about doing Valensole on 18th as it might be late for Lavender.
Traveler_India is offline  
Old May 8th, 2024, 06:24 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 51
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I replied with all details but I guess it didn't get posted. No, not yet booked in Como. I am watching prices for Sheraton Como if they come down.
I don't care about Milan. Not my priority. I may visit Italy in the future, but won't come to France or Switzerland again.
Thanks for the info about Bastille day. I had no idea. Tried to avoid many dates like Olympic matches in Marseilles, Tour De France. Some or other event keep happening and its impossible to avoid.
I read about Bastille and fireworks and parade and would be interested to see. I read Nice fireworks happen on 13th and fireworks happen in Cannes and Marseilles on 14th. Also, there is a parade in Marseilles on 14th. So is it better to be in Marseilles or Cannes on 14th? Which one would be recommended?

I am finally thinking to do this
11th - Drive to Cannes from Moritz - Long drive, if problem can stay some where to break the journey
12th - Cannes
13th - Cannes - Day trip to Nice and Monaco
14th - Drive to Marseilles via French Rivera - stopping along various town and village
15th - Marseilles - Day trip to Valensole
16th - Drive to Como
17th - Como
18th - Como
19th - Drive to Zermatt via Lugano and Locarno

Also, thought just do 5 nights in Cannes and do day trips from there.

Thanks
Traveler_India is offline  
Old May 8th, 2024, 08:33 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 25,067
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
Work on confirming lodging everywhere. You're late in seeking reservations, and you may not be able to follow this latest itinerary, esp. in Cannes and Lake Como.
Jean is online now  
Old May 8th, 2024, 08:36 AM
  #12  
Forum Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 6,357
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A note of explanation for participants on this thread:

Originally Posted by Traveler_India
I replied with all details but I guess it didn't get posted.
Your last two posts were caught by the moderation filter. When you get the notice that a post needs review it means the automated spam filter has intercepted your post. It is best to just wait for it to be released and not post it again for two reasons. One, because when the original is released you end up with two similar posts. And two, there is a chance the second post will also be intercepted. So far three of your posts one post by neckervd, and a couple of other posts have been caught up in the filter. Unfortunately this moderation filter is a fully automated process and we are unable to turn it off. A very small % of posts are affected, typically 10 or fewer a day over all forums. Unfortunately on this thread more than half of the posts have been caught up. So apparently there is some hidden 'bug' in this thread that causes the filter to be over zealous. This is as frustrating to the moderation team as it to all of you. Please be patient and when you do get a notice that your post is under review rest assured that we will release it as soon as a moderator logs on and sees it.

Apologies for the inconvenience
Moderator1 is offline  
Old May 8th, 2024, 09:44 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,577
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Fastest itinerary St- Moritz - Valensole:
St. Moritz - Chiavenna - Colico (Lake Como) - Varenna (Lake Como) - Lecco (Lake Como - Sesto San Giovanni - Rho Fiera - Stura Sud - Oulx - Claviere - Briancon - Sisteron - Valensole.
At least 10 hrs driving time (without stops).. If it's too much, you can sleep somewhere in the Alps, after having left the motorway: Claviere, Mongenevre or Briancon.
Day trips from V to the other places you want to see in Provence-Cote d'Azur might get too long.
Therefore stays around Cannes and around Marseille might make sense.
From Marseille, it might be shorter in time (but longer in miles) to reach Zermatt via Geneva.
neckervd is offline  
Old May 8th, 2024, 09:45 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,577
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
neckervd
Thank you for posting! Your post will not be visible until a moderator has approved it for posting.
neckervd is offline  
Old May 8th, 2024, 01:53 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 395
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is a really tough problem, as these are very long drives with some passes and peak summer traffic to contend with. The lavender season is also very time dependent. I'd also suggest if you stay in Marseille, once you leave, leave to you destination by car. It is a bit tougher to enter/exit repeatedly due to its size. Note also Cannes has a good fireworks display on the 14th of July, Bastille Day, the National Holiday. Crowds will be at their peak, however. It is very slow slogging from Cannes to Marseille along the coastal route, with some beautiful stretches but also some slow choke points.

If you drive to Lake Como and want to see Lugano consider staying in Menaggio. It is closer to the cut through to Lugano. It is in a tight passenger ferry loop to Bellagio and Varenna, the two most popular villages. If you take a different routing, Como is fine but it is further on the boat (you can drive, but the boat trip is part of the magic of goinig on the lake). If you instead stop on the way down from St. Moritz, then you can stop directly in Varenna as you pass it by.

I'd suggest:
St, Moritz to Varenna/Bellagio
Lake Como to Cannes. You can stop if you don't want to do it one shot, but it is doable. The traffic around Milano can be tough, even on the ring road. You can take a break for lunch on the Italian Riviera, but you will have to dip down from the autoroute up high down to the coast itself.
Cannes to Marseille or Cassis. Note my cautions on the coastal route. Alternatively, drive directly to the gorge du verdon (Moutiers Ste. Marie). Timing is key here, as it is getting later in July and the lavendar is peaking. The later harvest and peak is up near Sault, higher up the plateau.
Marseille to the Valensole
Valensole (say, Menosque) to Zermatt is very long and up over the mountains and through Grenoble is doable but that drive is on a mountain road. I've not done this particular route.
I was an expat in Switerland and now own on the Cote d'Azur. We have offices in the Milan region so I've been through a lot of these places and routes..
gooster is offline  
Old May 8th, 2024, 04:02 PM
  #16  
Forum Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 6,357
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
gooster's post above was also caught up in the filter so it appears problems with this thread continue. We will keep a look out and release posts as soon as we can.
Moderator1 is offline  
Old May 8th, 2024, 04:49 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 51
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks so much for all the great advise. Can you please advise, for Bastille day fireworks, is it better in Cannes or Marseilles? So I will plan on 14th to be there. I have seen boat tours and would love to do it.
Traveler_India is offline  
Old May 9th, 2024, 05:19 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 39
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I understand your desire to have a car, but the driving seems nightmarish to me, especially in Italy, I would never drive there and the traffic in the Cote díAzur will be at a stand still. Have you considered flying to Marseilles instead? Donít stay in the city but catch a taxi to Aix-en-Provence and take day tours or rent a car from there. You can take a full day or half day tour to the Lavender fields and maybe another tour to Cassis and the Luberon villages. The tourist office has a lot of information about tours. Another option is to catch the train from Milan to Nice. Base in Nice and rent a car for one day to visit the lavender fields, Moustiers Ste Marie and the Verfon Gorge (spend the night?) or take a tour. The public transportation from Nice is affordable and a better mode of transportation than driving. You can visit Menton, Monaco, Villefranche, Eze (bus), etc.

Another option is to drop France and spend more time in northern Italy. I love Bologna, Ravenna (for the incredible mosaics and history), Venice (even with the crowds), and Florence.

Lyon and Annecy are close to Zermatt area. You could consider an itinerary there for your France option. Zermatt is car-free so you need to consider how you are going to return your car and get to Zermatt by train.

Again, one week is not a lot of time to visit three countries.
Green83 is offline  
Old May 9th, 2024, 08:03 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 25,067
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
I continue to think without exploring lodging availability in all of these very popular summer destinations the itinerary is just speculative.
Jean is online now  
Old May 9th, 2024, 08:16 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,577
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
According booking.com, 74 per cent of all accommodations around Valensle are fully booked betwen July 11th and July 15th, but more than 100 are still available.
neckervd is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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