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lake como (italy) or lugano/lucerne (switzerland)?

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Jun 17th, 2013, 07:46 AM
  #1
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lake como (italy) or lugano/lucerne (switzerland)?

hi - i'm in the very early stages of planning a trip to italy + switzerland for late august/early sept. i'm late with the planning but i think i will be able to put a good trip together, especially with the help of my fellow fodorites.

we (boyfriend + i) have 10-12 days. i'm thinking of doing the big 3 (rome, florence, venice) and then either going to lake como district OR going to lugano and the lucerne. i have read good things about about all these places but which lake district is better: como OR lugano/lucerne?
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Jun 17th, 2013, 08:03 AM
  #2
 
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If you only have 10-12 days total, you don't have time for 4 stops. 3 max, so decide which is most important to you. Both Florence and Venice will be very crowded.

Lucerne is some distance from Lugano and Lake Como. Are you thinking about Locarno instead? It's on Lago Maggiore. What airport are you flying out of?
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Jun 17th, 2013, 08:19 AM
  #3
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i might be able to do 14 days. time is a bit flexible.
i was thinking of flying into zurich, then...
train to lucerne (2 nights)
train to lugano (2 nights)
train to venice (2 nights)
train to florence (4 nights)
train to rome (4 nights), fly out of rome.

i know august is not the ideal time but it's the only time i can be away from work.
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Jun 17th, 2013, 09:20 AM
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So here is how your trip lays out.

Day 1: fly into Zurich, take train to Lucerne
Day 2: Lucerne
Day 3: Take train to Lugano
Day 4: Lugano
Day 5: Take train to Venice
Day 6: Venice
Day 7: Take train to Florence
Day 8 - 10: Florence
Day 11: Take train to Rome
Day 12 - 14: Rome
Day 15: Fly home

For Lucerne, Lugano, and Venice that's only one day or, at best, 1.5 days, allowing time to checking out, getting to the train station, the train ride, then getting to your next hotel, and checking in. And then finding your way around a new city. Not enough time to see hardly anything at these destinations.

I think you're especially shortchanging Venice, would subtract a day from Florence and add it to Venice. Unless you're particular fans of Renaissance art and architecture.

Are you arriving in Zurich after a long, overnight flight? If so, you'll be jetlagged and sleepy for a day or so. So you won't remember much of Lucerne.

Florence is closer to Lugano than Venice. Maybe train to Florence, then Venice, then Rome. Better yet, fly into Milan, go to Lugano for several days, then move on to Florence and Venice.
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Jun 17th, 2013, 10:31 AM
  #5
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mimar, i really appreciate your advice! when you lay out the itinerary vertically, it is so much clearer and i see how i am not allotting enough days for each place. so how about this...
Day 1: fly into rome
Day 2: rome
Day 3: rome
Day 4: rome
Day 5: Take train to florence
Day 6: florence
Day 7: florence
Day 8: florence
Day 9: Take train to lugano
Day 10: lugano
Day 11: lugano
day 12: train to venice
day 13: venice
day 14: venice, train back to rome
day 15: fly home from rome
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Jun 17th, 2013, 10:56 AM
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I think you should add a day to Rome and subtract a day from Florence. There is a LOT more to see and do there than in Florence. Plus the food is way better, provided that you research where to find it.
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Jun 17th, 2013, 05:03 PM
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I agree there is more to see/do in Rome than Florence. However, some people prefer the sights in Florence over those in Rome and/or may want more time in Florence to make a day trip (or two) into the countryside. Each visitor should allocate days based on their own interests.

And I disagree about the food.
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Jun 18th, 2013, 07:28 AM
  #8
 
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Consider flying into beginning city and out of ending city as it will save time and a long train ride. Also consider reversing your trip. Not sure where you live but if No. America, flights from Venice leave very early in th A.M. In order to connect to N.A. flight destinations.
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Jun 18th, 2013, 07:50 AM
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What Huggy said. Fly into Venice, out of Rome. Open jaws flights (multi-city on airline websites) should cost about the same as round-trip.

And I'd still give more time to Venice, especially if you arrive there jet-lagged and sleepy. Venice is the perfect place to get over jet lag. Wandering around in a haze getting lost is the best form of sightseeing there. Venice is also less intense than Rome. No cars, trucks, vespas to watch out for, just the lapping of the water in the canals.
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Jun 19th, 2013, 11:07 AM
  #10
 
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this is all great advice. thanks everyone!
it's funny you suggest doing como/venice first and then end in rome. i would think that ending a trip in a more relaxed environment would be a nice finale. do you agree?
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Jun 19th, 2013, 11:11 AM
  #11
 
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Depends on you. If you hit the ground running (no jet-lag), have a long list of must-sees, and don't stop til you get tired, then start in Rome. If you haven't been to Italy before and don't want to start in the deep end, go to Venice first.
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Jun 19th, 2013, 11:28 AM
  #12
 
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I think ending in Venice would be nice. Not ALL the North American flights leave ridiculously early - USAir seems to have one to Philly that leaves at 11:35am. Just check the schedules to your destination and see what works. When I was trip planning a couple of years ago, I looked at in/outs to various combinations of Rome, Venice and Milan and picked the one that had the best price/schedule combination.

Either way, don't go back to Rome just to fly home. No need. And I agree - Venice needs another day, and my personal taste would be to take a Florence day and add it to Rome as well.
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Jun 19th, 2013, 11:48 AM
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Delta has a late-morning flight Venice-Atlanta and an early-afternoon flight Venice-JFK... But there are so many more options out of Rome.
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Jun 19th, 2013, 11:58 AM
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Rome has *more* options, sure, but many people here (not pointing at anyone in particular!) seem to think there are no flights to the US from Venice that leave at a reasonable hour. It's just not true, and I'd hate for someone to assume it is true when there's an option that works well for them. Which may or may not be the case here.

The Delta flight was one example I found in 2011 - it would have worked well for us in terms of schedule, but Milan won out for price.
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Jun 20th, 2013, 04:07 AM
  #15
 
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Some train journey times:
Zurich airport - Lucerne: 1 hr, trains every 30 min
Lucerne - Lugano: 2 1/2 hrs, trains every hr
Lugano - Venice: 4 hrs, 5 good train connections per day
Venice - Florence: 2 hrs, trains every hr
Florence - Rome: 1 1/2 hrs, trains evey 30 min

Book your hotels close to the railway stations and your door to door transfers will never take a whole day!
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Jun 20th, 2013, 04:14 AM
  #16
 
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....and travel in early morning or late afternoon/evening. In this manner you don't cut your days.
For example:
Lucerne dp 19.18 - Lugano ar 20.47 (train with dining car)
Lugano dp 7.37 - Venice ar 11.40
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Jun 20th, 2013, 08:06 AM
  #17
 
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thanks everyone! i don't know what i'd do without my fodorites you can expect more questions from me as i continue planning my trip. thanks again.
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