Lake Como (or Garda)

Sep 6th, 2009, 02:26 PM
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Lake Como (or Garda)

After receiving wonderful advice for our time in Tuscany on our 25th Anniversary trip next summer, I'll tempt your generosity again. From Rome, Amalfi, and Tuscany, we now arrive at the Lake District for three days before we fly back from Milan. I'm looking for a beautiful town, but not overly touristy, (from July 8-11) with personality, hiking, swimming, kayaking, etc., and ferry access to other perhaps livelier towns for day trips. I've been told that driving the winding roads around the lakes is not relaxing, so if we have to drive there, I hope ferries can do the rest after we arrive. We are currently looking at Lezzeno, but it looks a bit too isolated. Thanks again for your time
irishmickey is offline  
Sep 6th, 2009, 03:08 PM
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I already see Maggiore and Orta as other lakes to visit. I open to this too if you have an idea.
irishmickey is offline  
Sep 6th, 2009, 03:25 PM
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That is high season--it will all be touristy, but still lovely. I love Lago Orta for a romatic ambiance, and it is only :50 to MXP. And, Lago Maggiore is close enough for a day trip--a nice combo.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Sep 6th, 2009, 04:25 PM
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Altho' we have been to Lake Garda and it is nice, I know the Lake Como area better. On Lake Garda the north end is definitely more mountainous than the southern end. Lake Como is uniformly beautiful.

Unless you have a rental car Lezzeno is not prime. On Lake Como, the top three tourist towns are: Bellagio, Varenna and Menaggio. In the mid-lake area, other towns to consider are Lenno and Tremezzo.

Without a rental car, making an early flight out of Malpensa can take some preparation (and possible a 100+euro taxi ride). Which is probably why Bob mentioned Lake Orta and Maggiore.

One caution, Lake Como is filled by melting snow from the alps. The water is colder than you are probably used to.
Big_Red is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 04:03 PM
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I am about to go to Malcesine on Lake Garda next week. This will be our third trip there. I think it is so beautiful. It is a bit touristy in July, and even in September, but it is a great place to stay. Malcesine has it all in my opinion. A nice little town with good food. You can hike on Monte Baldo, swim in the lake or hotel pool, great ferries to other towns, and there are also day trips you can book through the local tourist office. The only problem is it's about 2 hours from Milan I think? Perhaps someone can confirm that? Look it up!
mtnciao is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 12:20 AM
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There are buses that run on the lake roads, so you don't have to drive...but on the Como Bellagio side, they so stop about 8pm ish. Bellagio has a couple of places that do quite a lot of activities...while. have a look at this site......

PS Lake Como is the most beautiful place!
alihutch is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 11:55 AM
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We stayed in Lezzeno for 3 nights in mid-June (at the Hotel Aurora). Click on my name for my trip report ("40 days...") and scroll to the end (part 8) for a description of our time there. We loved it.

The hotel was simple and delightful, with a decent restaurant, right on the lake, very friendly, free kayaks anytime we wanted to take them out on the water (we kayaked across the lake to Villa Balbianello--fabulous!).

Lezzeno itself is strung out on either side of the lake road, so it's not a great place for wandering around--and thus not the nicest town to stay in. But there is easy access by bus to Bellagio, and from there by boat to Varenna and Mennaggio. The boat from Como to the very top of the lake also stops in the morning, and on its return in the afternoon, so you can take that to the charming towns across the lake and to various other points. And, for a fee, the hotel will take you anywhere by private boat, I imagine. We would return to Lezzeno and the Aurora in a heartbeat.
aprillilacs is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 01:48 PM
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It isn't unusual to find American tourists at Lake Como. It seems an upscale, old world feel to it. Lake Garda has many German and British tourists and has more of a tourist atmosphere to it in my opinion.
packed is offline  
Sep 17th, 2009, 05:12 AM
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We stayed in Bellagio. Hotel Centrale, lovely, family owned. Lots of res. and things to do, and ferries that go everywhere. We biked from Como into Lugano, Switz. a moderate ride, with Pietro from It was amazing day trip, highly reccommend this. Just walking in Bellagio is special. [email protected]
littlear is offline  
Sep 17th, 2009, 06:20 AM
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of the three mid-Lake Como towns the one with the fewest tourists will probably be Menaggio....since the large majority of people who post here are constantly swooning about Bellagio EXPECT that to have a lot of tourists(including, amazingly enough, ones from places OTHER than the USA) a lot of shopping opportunities, etc.

Lake Come is WORTH it and when you GET there you'll see why so many people have traveled there for so long.
Dukey is offline  
Sep 17th, 2009, 08:00 AM
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I spent four nights in Menaggio last year, in September. There were many tourists but it is true that we saw few Americans in Menaggio, or anyplace else on Lake Como, for that matter.

Personally, if I return, I would look at both Lenno and Tremezzo as places to base myself. Bellagio seemed far too tourist oriented--every other "boutique" sells items aimed at tourists-- and Varenna too small, and too hilly, for my own taste. Menaggio fell short only on the eating front--there are better restaurants elsewhere.
ekscrunchy is offline  
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