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lake como trip! need day trip assistance to italy/swiss cities

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Jan 9th, 2014, 12:36 PM
  #1
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lake como trip! need day trip assistance to italy/swiss cities

we are staying in an apt in como, italy end aug/early sept. we are there for the formula 1 race coming from texas. we plan to stay in como a few days and go into milan a day or two. we wanted to do day trips into venice, florence and switzerland! any suggestions on which city would be best for the day in switzerland? we were looking at bellinzona?

as far as venice and florence, what are the best ways to get as much done in a day?

also, is train the best way to travel back and forth and which trains are best?

trying to not spend a fortune, but just the best way to get done and see what we can!

thanks for any help you can give!

is it best to book trains and museums in advance?
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Jan 9th, 2014, 12:41 PM
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Are you talking about day trips from Como to Venice and Florence - if so it's possible but you'll spend much of the day on a train and yes for cities trains are by far the best - not only blow along at about 180 mph on many routes but cars are rather useless in cities like Florence and, obviously, Venice.

www.trenitalia.com is the Italian Railways site - booking early can result in significant discounts but as those tickets are limited in numbers they must be booked weeks early to guarantee and then cannot be changed nor refunded so be sure of your dates and times.

Great sites for lots of good info on Italian trains - www.seat61.com - good info on discounted tickets; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgteteuropetravel.com - there are no railpasses that would be viable for you as you are not traveling enough.

Consider going to say Venice at the end of your stay and stay there for a few days and then fly out of there back home - or the same for Florence.
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Jan 9th, 2014, 12:44 PM
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Day trips into Florence or Venice are not feasible--too far.

Without a car, your best day trip to CH is by train from Como to Lugano---that same train goes on to Bellinzona. See schedules on www.trenitalia.com

The race is in Monza which is a suburb of Milano---you will need to check train connections from Como via Milano Centrale.
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Jan 9th, 2014, 01:21 PM
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Bellinzona is not a large town but not exceptionally interesting. Lugano is better (and still not a large town). A daytrip to Luzern would be quite long but landscapes are beautiful and Luzern is much larger than both. The main problem is that Swiss trains are very expensive.

Local trains going from Como S. Giovanni call at Monza station before getting to Milan. The main problem is that the F1 race brings a lot of visitors, so expect the trains and the town to be very crowded if not overrun.
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Jan 10th, 2014, 12:33 PM
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Bellinzona has a tiny but scenic medieval city center and 3 medieval castles.

At Lugano, visit the church of Sta Maria degli Angeli and the cathedral, the small city center, the parks along the Lake and the 2 house mountains Monte Bre and Monte San Salvatore (cable cars to both) as well as the scenic Lake Lugano villages like Gandria, Morcote, etc.

At Capolago, between Como and Lugano starts the famous cog wheel railway to the viewpoint (all lakes, French, Swiss, Italian and Austrian Alps) Monte Generoso.

You may be interested in Swissminiatur, between Capolago and Lugano.

Regular boat traffic on all 3 lakes (linked by bus and railway lines).

Como - Monza: 40 min by train, trains every 30 to 60 min

Day trips to Venice or Florence don't make much sense because neither Venice nor Florence can be visited in 1 day only. Spend at least 1 night there.
Best trains:
Como dp 8.13 - Venice ar 11.40, Venice dp 19.50 - Como ar 23.58,
Como dp 7.13 - Florence ar 9.55, Florence dp 21.00 - Como ar 23.58
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Jan 10th, 2014, 02:15 PM
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thank you so much for all the help! i think we will def eliminate venice, but may do florence and stay one night!

whats the best way to reach capolago?

any ideas if the swiss chocolate factory a bit north of lugano is worth the trek?
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Jan 10th, 2014, 02:18 PM
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To avoid spending a fortune, it's better to stay in one place. Moving around adds up, especially with all the day trips you've mentioned.
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Jan 10th, 2014, 03:42 PM
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Lugano to me was a nice nice city but after walking thru the town center I said well what else is there to do?

Answer - take a boat ride on lovely lovely Lake Lugano - don't matter where just a nice relaxed float on one of Switzerland's iconic lake steamers.
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Jan 11th, 2014, 02:31 AM
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Lake Lugano has nice and comfortabe diesel engine boats, but unfortunately no steamboats.

Capolago:
I just found the following press release:

Because of the reconstruction works on the summit restaurant, in 2014 the Monte Generoso Railway will not operate.
http://www.ticino.ch/en/commons/deta...roso/1064.html
Sorry!
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Jan 11th, 2014, 09:39 AM
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Lake Lugano has nice and comfortabe diesel engine boats, but unfortunately no steamboats.>

yes I know there are relatively few paddlewheel steamers on Swiss lakes these days but the word is used generically it seems - steamers - even some paddlewheel boats are I think run by diesel and the paddlewheel just for show?
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Jan 14th, 2014, 02:06 AM
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I suggest you re-consider Venice and an overnight stay there. What a pity to be in Northern Italy and not see it! When looking for trains, search for the "Le Frecce" trains. Those are the high speed trains. About 3-4 hours to Venice San Lucia from Como San Giovanni. Latest train back to Como leaves around 7:30p and gets you back to Como around midnight. Venice is unlike any place in the world... While in Venice consider visiting the islands of Murano, famous for hand-blown glass, and the colorful island of Burano.
On the other hand, Florence is full of history, art, museums and churches. Another city that a first-time traveler to Italy shouldn't miss. So, it really depends on what interests you.
For a day trip to Switzerland, Lugano is the closest to Como and an easy day trip. I also suggest taking a boat up Lake Como to Bellagio and Varenna... beautiful little villages along Lake Como. You'll even get a glimpse of George Clooney's villa in Laglio! Above all enjoy!
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Jan 14th, 2014, 03:54 AM
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SWISS LAKE STEAMBOATS

"even some paddlewheel boats are I think run by diesel and the paddlewheel just for show?"

Not really: in most cases, the only change in more than 150 years is the heating of the boiler water: formerly with coal, now with diesel oil.

LAKES WITH STEAM BOATS
steamboat fleets:
Lake Geneva
Lake Lucerne

Only 1 steamboat (normal service according to timetable):
Lake Zurich
Lakes Neuchatel-Morat-Biel/Bienne
Lake Thun
Lake Brienz

Only 1 steamboat (only for special trips):
Lake Maggiore
lake Como
Lake Constance
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Jan 14th, 2014, 09:12 AM
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SWISS LAKE STEAMBOATS

"even some paddlewheel boats are I think run by diesel and the paddlewheel just for show?"

Not really: in most cases, the only change in more than 150 years is the heating of the boiler water: formerly with coal, now with diesel oil.

LAKES WITH STEAM BOATS
steamboat fleets:
Lake Geneva
Lake Lucerne

Only 1 steamboat (normal service according to timetable):
Lake Zurich
Lakes Neuchatel-Morat-Biel/Bienne
Lake Thun
Lake Brienz

Only 1 steamboat (only for special trips):
Lake Maggiore
lake Como
Lake Constance
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