Lake Garda vs Lake Como

Feb 20th, 2007, 07:23 AM
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Lake Garda vs Lake Como

Three mature couples will be making our first visit to Italy in Oct. After three weeks we will be departing from Milan. This is our quandry. We had planned to spend 2 days in the Lake Como area. However, I spotted an article about Lake Garda and the town of Sirmione. It sounds like a perfect area and located conveniently on the train route from Venice. For those of you who have visited the lakes area, would you recommend that we skip Lake Garda in favor of Lake Como? We can't do both. Are they
equally desirable? How is the weather there in late Oct.? Thanks!
rpowell is offline  
Feb 20th, 2007, 07:43 AM
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Sirmione is on a pennisula that juts into thelower part of Lake Garda. It is very much a tourist town, with lots of traffic leading to it. The terrain in the area is pretty flat and the lake is very wide at this point. From Sirmione you can visit the more dramatically scenic parts of Lake Garda to the north. Yes, it may be more convenient to the Venice-Milan train line.

Wherever you are on Lake Como, you will be surrounded by mountains and the scenery for which it is justly known. If traveling there by train, you will have to pass through Milan to get there.

I'd prefer Lake Como, even with the extra travel issues
ellenem is offline  
Feb 20th, 2007, 07:46 AM
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I have been to both and, at that time of year. Since it is a first trip, I don't think you'd be disappointed with either...but, there is a difference. Como, to me, was much more dramatic and upscale..Garda was flatter and more touristy. Given a choice, I'd choose Como.
Traviata is online now  
Feb 20th, 2007, 08:00 AM
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The north end of Garda, where it is narrower and surrounded by mountains, is the beautiful part. Here are a few photos of Malcesine:

You could take a lake boat to get there from Sirmione (which is a lovely little town but very touristy).
enzian is offline  
Feb 20th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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We have been to Lake Como twice and Lake Garda once. For our next trip we are including a half week at Lake Como again. So Lake Como is where my vote is.

To be honest, we really did like Riva del Garda. The only towns we got to on Lake Garda are Riva and Torbole.

You might find Lake Como logistically better for departing thru Malpensa.

Either lake will offer a memorable stay.

If you tell us what type of experience you want for your lake stay, then maybe we can give you better comments.

Big_Red is offline  
Feb 20th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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I too love the North end of Lake Garda.
lucielou is offline  
Feb 20th, 2007, 12:20 PM
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Thanks for your replies. I am new at this and am amazed at how quickly the responses came! I know I would love the mountains around Lake Como, but think we may opt for the more convenient Lake Garda since it comes at the end of a long vacation. (However, I can be persuaded!) A few more questions: The north end of L. Garda sounds beautiful. How long of a boat ride is it? Would Sirmoine be as toursity in Oct., and
how cold does the weather get near the end of Oct.? Thanks for your replies and photo link.
rpowell is offline  
Feb 20th, 2007, 12:44 PM
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I found the on-line schedule for the lake boats. Even the "fast" boat takes 2 hours to get up to Malcesine (from Pescheria), so that may not be a very good option. And this schedule is for March; you would need to confirm that October is similar.
enzian is offline  
Feb 20th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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This is a tough question. We've been to both Lake Como (Bellagio) and to Garda (Riva and Sirmione) We did them both in the same trip (May) and had beautiful weather so I can't comment on Oct.
I think as far as beauty, Lake Como has it beat and it's very convenient to Milan. We were driving so I'm not sure of the train.
I think either Lake will offer you a wonderful "end of the trip" experience so flip a coin.
carmar is offline  
Feb 21st, 2007, 12:47 AM
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Hi RP - IMO the north end of Lake Garda is as beautiful as anywhere on Lake Como.

Don't miss Limone and Riva. Malcesine is attractive too ...

You could plan a trip around the lake by bus and/or ferry from Sirmione.

Steve_James is offline  
Feb 21st, 2007, 03:09 AM
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You may like to have a look to the official website of the Garda Lake.

Is is also in English and have a lot of usefull info to organize your visit
zorba_01 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2007, 09:02 AM
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Thanks again for all the great information. The comments about the beauty of the northern part of Lake Garda helped me to decide to stay with our original plans in Sirmione. Lake Como will stay on tap for another time. The web sites mentioned were very helpful. Thanks!
rpowell is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 03:42 PM
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You may have heard this already but I believe that the train service is only to Desenzano and then you will use other means (boat typically) to get anywhere else on Lake Garda.

Some freinds stayed mid-lake at a place named Villa Punto San Vegila (or something similar). It is off by itself and about $200 per night but definitely outstanding. You might research it.
Big_Red is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 06:19 PM
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FYI, most hotels and many restaurants in Bellagio and Varenna are closed for the season after the second weekend in October. This is not to say you can't find accommodations, just that your choices will be limited.

I prefer Lake Como because of the villas and gardens open for visitors and the numberless small villages along the shore. Garda is less developed and for that reason can be more beautiful for some people. Choosing is a matter of personal preference. Neither lake is noted for exceptional food or evening entertainment.
Jean is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 07:07 PM
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My family just visited both lakes this summer. We did not go to the northern part of Lake Garda, so I cannot speak to that, but for us, there was no comparison: Lake Como was stunning and sophisticated and Lake Garda was very crowded, very touristy. Sirmione was the only place in our Italian trip that I felt like unwanted Americans--and we are an athletic, trim and somewhat stylish family (I think). I would overwhelmingly cast my vote for Lake Como. The view from our window at the Hotel Belevedere in Bellagio would take your breath away.
brewlew is offline  
May 13th, 2007, 08:05 AM
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Since you are going in Oct, I hope I still have time to voice my opinion. Granted, we only went to sirmione (Lake Como will be part of our next trip, although we also want to include Sirmione again, as we enjoyed it so much). I decided on Sirmione as I wanted one day on one of the lakes en route from Venice to CT and Lake Garda was the closest. We also passed by Verona on the way. For us, Sirmione was a find. We did not expect it to be as beautiful. We were there in the end of May and were not bothered by other tourists - I think we became immune to it in Venice. We actually did not see Americans, it seems mostly northern europeans vacation there as well as some Italians. It is a very aesthetic and charming small town and a great plus for us was the mineral springs spa there (the only one, it seems, so you can't miss it). It is built right on the lake with indoor and outdoor interconnected pools. Although a bit pricey, we still remember it as a highlight in our trip. We spent there several good hours (was open until 10 pm), soaking in the warm spring water looking at the lake at sunset and lounging on one of the chairs with coffee (no alcohol, unfortunately). Based on our experience, it is a beautiful place to enjoy and relax for two days. So it seems you cannot go wrong with whichever destination you choose. Enjoy!
RB1 is offline  
May 20th, 2007, 07:44 AM
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Thanks for your input. We have decided to stay with our original plans for Sirmione. It sounds like a beautiful spot. October can't come soon enough.
rpowell is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 07:54 AM
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What hotel are you staying in?
EmsNJ is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 06:32 AM
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I am facing a similar choice for this coming May. How did you like Lake Garda and Sirmione?
cnicols is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2008, 04:56 PM
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topping for cnicols.
i_am_kane is offline  

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