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Lake Como in October- when does season change

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Jul 30th, 2014, 05:51 PM
  #1
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Lake Como in October- when does season change

I've read on some other posts that during the month of October the ferry schedule changes. I saw a link to the schedule from a post 2 yrs old and it looks like it's Oct 5 (?). But I can't see the schedule after that to know what the new one would be, and how much it really is reduced. We may try to go for two nights Oct 19, at the end of our trip before flying out of Milan. I'm envisioning staying in Varenna and then taking ferry trips to the other towns to look around.

But please say if you think that's too late to go. If the ferry service or even the train to get there is severely limited, I'd probably try to come up with an alternative. We could also do a day trip from Milan- don't know if going for one day makes anything easier than for 2 nights if things are cut way back. (In that case maybe train to Como, ferry to Bellagio, then to Varenna for the train ride back.) Thoughts?
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Jul 30th, 2014, 09:40 PM
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Yes, the timetables will change starting Monday, October 6th.

We have visited Lake Como several times in the latter part of October. There's no way to predict the weather, but we've had very pleasant conditions for all but one day out of nearly 20 at that time. We've stayed in Bellagio, Varenna and Cernobbio (and Lugano too). I wouldn't hesitate to go, but you should be aware of a few things.

If you stay in Varenna or Bellagio, you will very likely need to eat dinner in whatever town you're sleeping in. Between dinner service hours and ferry service hours, it's usually not possible to dine and dash (so to speak).

Not all restaurants and hotels will be open that late in October but that also means there will be fewer tourists, esp. mid-week. The towns are not 'dead' as people live and work there year-round. In Varenna, we noticed that a few restaurants took turns being open; one on Mon-Wed-Fri and another Tue-Thu-Sat, or whatever.

Villas Balbianello and Carlotta will be open.

The ferry schedules are reduced but not so infrequent that you can't have a nice day of exploring. You will just need to examine the new timetables after they're posted (keep checking, perhaps in August) and plan accordingly. Sunset will be at about 6:30p. AFAIK, there is no change to the Milan-Varenna train schedule as this line is used by more locals than tourists.

I wouldn't do a day trip from Milan. Too much to see, too little time.
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Jul 30th, 2014, 10:45 PM
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I've been to Lake Como the third week in October and there were plenty of ferries around the lake and to Como City. I stayed in Bellagio. Jean is correct in that the ferries stop running before dinner is finished so if you stay in Varenna you will need to eat dinner there.
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Jul 31st, 2014, 11:06 AM
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thank you for the detailed answers. When the time comes closer, we can see if the weather would make it nice to go or not. Was just reading about Mantua, now I want to go there for those two nights!
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Jul 31st, 2014, 06:02 PM
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Better food in Mantova and more to see. Depending on your interests, perhaps too much to see in 2 nights/1+ day... A very nice city. Some people call it a mini-Florence.

Is this a first or last destination of a longer trip?
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Aug 1st, 2014, 08:16 AM
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last destination before flying out of Milan. Starting in Padua and Venice, then to Verona with visit(s) to Vicenza (Palladio- yeah!!). But then I read about Mantova... which sounds fantastic.

Funny, I was sure the response would be- oh, you can't possibly miss going to Lake Como- but it sounds like Mantova is definitely worth consideration!
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Aug 1st, 2014, 10:26 AM
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"... oh, you can't possibly miss going to Lake Como..."

It's all relative. You can't see everything, and you're going to miss a lot of great places. But considering the time of year and that you only have 2 nights, Mantova might be the better choice.

Unless your flight out of Milan is late in the day, I hope you're spending the last night there.
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Aug 1st, 2014, 06:42 PM
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yes, we're big proponents of being at the airport hotel the night before. Too much excitement (not in a good way) otherwise.

"miss a lot of great places"
care to expand on that? I'm still sort of tweaking things...
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 08:12 AM
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What I meant is, you're traveling halfway across northern Italy from Venice to Milan and, with slight detours off a direct path, there are literally dozens of "great places." You haven't said how much time you have overall or even if this is part of a larger itinerary, but, regardless, you can't see everything. You haven't described your interests, so no one can know if you'd enjoy place x more than place y.

IOW, don't stress over what you're "missing." Enjoy the places you are going to. In my own experience, my regrets are usually not about the places I went to but more often that I didn't have enough time.
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