Lake Como for a week?

Jan 12th, 2006, 11:39 AM
  #1  
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Lake Como for a week?

I'm planning a trip around Northern Italy for three weeks next September. The hotel I really want in Bellagio only offers one week stays in that month. For those who've been there, is a week too long, or will we find enough to see and do to fill the time. Some relaxation time is fine, but I can do that at home.
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Jan 12th, 2006, 11:44 AM
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Will you have a car?
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Jan 12th, 2006, 11:49 AM
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How early or late in the month would your week be? If the weather is nice, I think you could easily spend a week taking trips to different villas, gardens, and towns on the lake by boat. I would go to Lake Como for a week.

Do you like walking/hiking? There would be so many destinations around the lake where you could go for great short hikes.

I researched the area for our trip a year and a half ago, and we didn't really scratch the surface. Plus, relaxing was fun.
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Jan 12th, 2006, 11:58 AM
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We spent six nights on Lake Como last August (the Grand Hotel Tremezzo Palace) and found plenty to see and do. Yes, we had some lovely R&R time by the pool, but also toured the towns around the lake, wandered through Bellagio and Varenna, toured the Villa Carlotta, and took a day trip to the old city of Bergamo (highly recommended). Other options (assuming you have a car) would include trips to Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano, the city of Como, or perhaps even into Switzerland.

If you go, I highly recommend dinner at Locanda d'Isola Comacina, the old restaurant on the sole island of Lake Como. We had a wonderful experience there.
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Jan 12th, 2006, 12:06 PM
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Hi rexmor, I'm curious which hotel it is that has the one-week minimum stay? Thx.
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Jan 12th, 2006, 12:25 PM
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Thanks for the replies....I hadn't planned on a car while there. Do you know if I can rent one there?
The Hotel Metropole has the one week stay requirement during September.
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Jan 12th, 2006, 12:33 PM
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I wouldn't rent a car there. If you live in the USA your best bet it to rent one ahead of time from AutoEurope or some similar outfit. You'll need an International Driver's Permit todrive in Italy - you can get one from AAA.
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Jan 12th, 2006, 12:42 PM
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I'm going to cast a dissenting vote. I found four days on Lake Como too many, and one of those was spent in Milan. I go to Italy for the food and wine, art and architecture, not for the food and wine and natural beauty.
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Jan 12th, 2006, 06:25 PM
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If you need to pick up a rental car, then Europcar has an office in Como.

We were there last June for four full days. We never got around to the possible side trips that we had considered (primarily Bergamo, the Splugen Pass and Lake Lugano.)

The primary thing at Lake Como is the views. Yes, there are boat rides to take (please do take several) and small towns to explore but when George Lucas wanted a location that looked like another world, a world far more beautiful than this planet, he shot his movie at a villa on Lake Como. (My point is that Lake Como is one of the most beautiful places you might ever find. But people who need activity might not like it).
 
Jan 12th, 2006, 06:36 PM
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Not go to Italy for "natural beauty"? What a shame. Italy has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

But back to Rexmor. I wouldn't find a week in Bellagio too much, but I don't think I'd pick the Hotel Metropole and I'm surprised they have a one week minimum in September. If I were you, I'd look around a bit more and include Varenna in your search. May I ask what the Metropole wants for a week's stay?

You could rent a car, but it really isn't necessary. Most of the interesting places are waterside and easily accessible from the ferry. You can take a one-hour bus from Menaggio to Lugano if that appeals to you.
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Jan 12th, 2006, 06:39 PM
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We recently spent three nights at Lake Como and we had wished it was longer. A week would be lovely, trust me you would not have views like this at home to relax with!! Make sure you see Villa Balbianello it is just magic, Villa Carlotta was good too and the river Fiumelatte in Varenna (shortest one in Italy) will be running at this time, cos we were there in Sept, and it was raging. Some lovely slow walks would have been good but we didn't have the time. We stayed at the Hotel du Lac in Varenna which was sensational. We had a terrific room with a huge balcony over looking the lake - some great restaurants in Varenna as well. In particular Il Cavatappi and Vecchia Va
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Jan 12th, 2006, 06:43 PM
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sorry computer bombed out, should read Vecchia Varenna. It has recently changed hands and the food was great as was the service and view.

Definately do the week, you can always take a slow boat to Como for the day and just admire the scenery on the way. I don't think you really need a car, we had one but only used it to get there and to drive to the river, which you could walk to even if it is a fair way and then drove out!! Just don't eat at Albergo Plinio in Lenno if you go to visit Balbianello, the worst food EVER!!
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Jan 12th, 2006, 08:28 PM
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LOVED Bellagio and stayed at the fantastic Hotel Belvedere. We visited Varenna and fell hard for Hotel Du Lac do the amazing views of the lake. We only visited this hotel and had lunch there. SO many things to do in this area. A week minimum would scratch the surface nicely.

Enjoy,
STeve R
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Jan 12th, 2006, 08:54 PM
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Thanks for all your replies. The Hotel Metropole was highly recommended by a good friend who's stayed there. They are actually closed for the winter, but their automated booking site states that a week's minimum is required. They are asking around a thousand Euros per week.
I'd also looked at the Belvedere, but thought it might be inconvenient for walking to restaurants in the evening[??]
There seem to be a couple of recommendations about Varenna. How does it compare for a place to "waste" 5-6 days. Are the restaurants, shopping and strolling as good?
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Jan 13th, 2006, 02:49 AM
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The shopping certainly is not as good in Varenna as Bellagio. Simply take the ferry - takes 10mins - and go shopping in Bellagio. The restaurant at the Villa Cipressi was good also, so dinner wise you wont' have a problem in Varenna, or catch an early meal in Bellagio and take the ferry home to Varenna. We preferred V to B as it was not so crowded and "touristy", but if you like the hustle and bustle then maybe B might be better. We could have happily "wasted" 5 - 6 days easily. Everything is very accessible by ferry from Varenna. You will love it I'm sure.
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Jan 13th, 2006, 04:29 AM
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For me, one week would definitely be too long. I loved spending two days based in Varenna a few years ago, walking to scenic places of interest within town and taking little trips by boat to other towns. It was a perfect place to recover from jet lag before continuing with the rest of my trip. But I think I would've found more than three days too much unless I had some specific interest or purpose in remaining in that area. But that doesn't mean a week would be too much for you.
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Jan 13th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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We spent "A week in Bellagio" - the name of my report on Fodors- last summer and found enough to do. We travel a lot and take time to smell the roses but a week may be too long for some people.

You might be interested in my report and the replies.
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Jan 13th, 2006, 10:44 AM
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Judi, your report was very helpful. How far is the Belvedere from where the ferry arrives? Wondering whether we'll need a taxi when we get there with luggage.
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Jan 13th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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Thanks, rexmor. Someone who has stayed at the Belvedere might answer differently but we would have taken a taxi. It is a steep hill!

In deciding where to stay in Bellagio I chose the Florence for its location. If we were to return we would choose the Belvedere as it is a much nicer hotel IMO. The perfect hotel would be the Belvedere in the Florence's location!

Enjoy your trip!
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Jan 13th, 2006, 12:10 PM
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For shopping, you'd do best to take the train to Milan and shop there! The shops in Bellagio mostly feature overpriced tourist stuff. You can get much more interesting things in Milan for the same money, and throw in some sightseeing there if the lake begins to pall - it's only an hour's train ride from Varenna.

best regards,
Deirdré Straughan

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