LAKE COMO HELP NEEDED

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Feb 20th, 2011, 06:11 AM
  #1
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LAKE COMO HELP NEEDED

I am planning to to go to the Lakes the last week in September. We will fly from Paris to Milan 9/24. We were thinking of renting a car and staying in 1 place for a week to use as a base to explore. Since we don't know this area at all, I'm not sure whether to rent a car or not, and if we didn't, would public transportation be convenient?
Bellagio is a definite contender - after reading positive comments on the forum - but I wonder if it would be best to stay there for the whole time or opt for 2 different locations.

annw, is there a website you recommend for looking at apartments in Bellagio?

Any suggestions for an itinerary would be welcome. .. I've planned many independent trips but am having a difficult time figuring out an itinerary for this one.

Thanks,
Les
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Feb 20th, 2011, 06:24 AM
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Hello Les, You do not really need a car at Como but it can be helpful if you plan day trips to St. Moritz, Lugano etc. However, given a car, I would stay on the west shore at Menaggio, Tremazzo, or Lenno. All are :15 by ferry to Bellagio. Or, without a car, you can use the extensive ferry system on the lake, and your savings will buy you more than a driver to and from MXP.
Here are some shots from the lakes that time of year 2 years ago---celebrtaing our 50th.

http://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/tripw...c-00f0-c599?lb
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Feb 20th, 2011, 06:40 AM
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First, Bob, congrats on your 50th! So what would you plan for a week, staying on the west shore? Must sees/towns? What's the best way to find a driver and is that what do you advise, as opposed to public transportation? thanks for your help.
Les
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Feb 20th, 2011, 06:53 AM
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Let me be clear, I would not use a driver for day trips--just to and from MXP. Heer is a very good driver:
http://www.davideguerrera.com/eng/

As for what to do, that is why guide books are published. Fodors has a good one. You will spend at least 3 days visiting the villages and gardens in the mid-lake region. Lugano is worth your time--an hour west. by local bus or car. I would also ferry to the city of Como one day. We spent a week in 2009 in Bellgio without a car---do the west shore with a car. Click my name above to find my trip report.
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Feb 20th, 2011, 07:42 AM
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thanks again Bob. so to be clarify: hire driver to west shore town pick. Hire car there. If we also spend a few days in Bellagio, no car needed.

Regarding your recs for Menaggio, Tremazzo, or Lenno...is that your order of preference?

I will check out your trip report as well as guidebook
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Feb 20th, 2011, 07:43 AM
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If you study the map of the area, you will understand what Bob is saying.

If you have to have a car, the west shore is better because there are more places to visit on the west shore.

The trade-off between the public transportation vs. car rental is not a necessarily between moving at your schedule vs. the transport schedule, but rather the view from the lake vs. from the shore; having to drive back to Como every time you visit the other shore vs. take a boat to cut across the mid-lake.

If you stay in Bellagio, the town with the most stunning view of the lake, a car can be more of a burden than a benefit. You go there by a winding road on land or use a car ferry. You have to reverse the process if you insist on visiting other lake locations by car.
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Feb 20th, 2011, 08:36 AM
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thanks, greg
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Feb 20th, 2011, 08:36 AM
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We did have a car during a 5-day stay in the area and I was very glad that we did, as it allowed us more freedom than we would have had if we had depended on ferries and buses.
But you certainly do not "need" a car.

We were in the area the last week in September, so ferries are not running as often as they do in summer. We stayed in a hotel in Menaggio. It is supremely easy to get around by car from there, or from any of the three towns you mention above. Any one of these would make an excellent base, with Menaggio being the largest town and Lenno, to my eyes, being the most visually appealing of the three.

If you want to plow through another report, here is my own, with the Lake Como portion at the end, beginning about October 26th in the report. (We drove there after spending about a week on the Ligurian coast).

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-much-else.cfm


http://www.bellacomo.com/lake-como-apartments.html



http://www.lakecomo.info/main/php/al..._domiciles.php
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Feb 20th, 2011, 09:18 AM
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We have spent up to two weeks in Bellagio without a car. We bought a ferry pass and traveled up and down the lake from one end to the other.Yu could rent a car in Bellagio for the day to drive over to Lugano.
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Feb 20th, 2011, 03:32 PM
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thanks to all. I'll be doing my research after your helpful information and perhaps, more questions then,
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Feb 21st, 2011, 12:09 AM
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We've been to Lake Como many times, were married there and own an apartment there now. We drive all the time, hiring a car at Bergamo. The roads around the Lake are quite narrow, but we are used to UK country lanes so not too much of a problem. The worst road is the one to Lugano if you take the scenic route through Porlezza. The autostrada is OK, but you'll need a motorway "disc". The moral to this is, get a small car if you drive.

Where to stay? The center of the Lake is the most attractive from our perspective (Menaggio, Varenna, Bellagio) known as the Golden triangle. These three places also run the car ferries (passengers allowed)and are therefore convenient, but relatively expensive (EU30 return). The train stations are on the East shore. Varenna and Bellano both have stations and are in the Lake Centre and run trains to Milan etc.

Our favourites are Varenna and then Belaggio. Menaggio has cars running along the front whereas Varenna is a chocolate box location. The only downside is the ferries only run from West shore to East shore latest about 10.00.pm.

The sun rises earlier on the West coast, but stays longer on Varenna side as the sun sets.

Where to stay. I see some links have been given. The biggest is Lake Como Homes, with properties all around the centre of the Lake. Not sure if links are allowed but www.lakecomohomes.com.

Hope you enjoy the trip!!!
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 05:33 PM
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Many thanks to all!
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