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Lakes, Dolomites and Daytrips--How to make the best use of our time?

Lakes, Dolomites and Daytrips--How to make the best use of our time?

Old Jan 31st, 2005, 09:18 PM
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ldh
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Lakes, Dolomites and Daytrips--How to make the best use of our time?

My husband and I (53) are going to spend the last 2 weeks of April in Italy, flying into Venice and out of Munich. We'll have 15 1/2 days not counting our flight times. We've been to Venice three times, each being the fly in, sightsee for the afternoon of arrival, one full day, then move on the next day sort of trip. This time we are staying 6 nights with one or two side trips. Doing the day trips from Venice to minimize the moving of hotels and because I'd rather come home to Venice at the end of the day. This way also seems to allow us a 'fudge" factor in case of less than ideal weather.

I've done so much reading and research I'm afraid I'll go blind before we get there. My problem is that every time I pull up a thread on a place we're interested in, I end up with an ever expanding wish list of places to see, so am coming to you all for advice on what we can reasonably and comfortably do with the time we have.

Munich was chosen as the departure city so that my husband and I could retrace a path my daughter and I took 3 years ago while she was doing research for her PHD in Medieval History. In completing a circle that began in the Netherlands, hitting France, Germany & Switzerland, we dipped into Northern Italy through the Brenner Pass and spent a few days in Bressanone. The mountain scenery and the train trip were one of my favorite parts so now want him to see it too.

So far plans are for Venice 6 nights, followed by Verona for 4 (?) allowing for day trips from there. The wish list consists of

Treviso (maybe combined with Bassano)
Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Trento, Bolzano,
Bressanone, Lake Garda and or Lake Como.

I'm trying to fit Vicenza in on a Wednesday as that is the day the Villa Barbaro is open, could do either from Venice or Verona.
We will be using the train as my husband finds it more relaxing, know this makes it more difficult to "do" the Dolomites but am hoping you might be able to suggest an area to give us the Dolomite scenery without driving.

Can a day trip to Lake Como do it justice?
I have 5 open nights and then a night in Munich before flight out. Had thought about doing some Germany stops but now think we should save that for a different trip as there is just sooooo much more to see in Italy still. Having been messed up on a previous trip by a rail strike, I have also tried to stay flexible in case it repeats, not at all unlikely considering both weekends we're there are holiday weekends.

We like the museums but try not to overload on them, love the churches and the architecture, enjoy just walking and exploring, and like to mix the cities with some small places also. We've been to Amalfi Coast, Naples, Rome, Florence, Sienna, San Gim., Ischia, and Milan. I'd like to throw some variety into the mix on this trip, but don't want to race from place to place.

I apologize for the lengh of this message, just wanted to give you enough background info to base your suggestions on. Thank you so much. Diane
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 03:55 AM
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Diane - Unfortunately you can't see the best of the DOLOMITES by train - so you would need to use buses ... or join an organised coach tour.

Without a car the best places to stay IMO are ORTISEI, CASTELROTTO or CORVARA. The first two are about an hour by bus from Bolzano. Corvara is an hour by bus from Brunico. You can't go wrong with any of those as a base

LAKE GARDA is an easy day-trip from Verona. The most scenic part of the lake is the northern half, particularly around RIVA, LIMONE and MALCESINE. You could take the bus from Verona up to Riva, and/or use ferries between several of the towns around the lake.

Were you thinking of LAKE COMO as a day-trip from Verona? That would be at least 2.5 hours each way by train via Milan - so you'd need to make a very early start to do it justice.

Besides Lake Garda, Trento and Vicenza are easy day-trips from Verona.

You could combine Treviso with Bassano, Asolo or Padua from Venice ...

Hope this helps ...

Steve
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 04:08 AM
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Have you considered the bolzano region of the dolomites,its on the train line and has the superb val gardena as the perfect dolomite experience just 30 mins away.
YOU MUST visit a lovely veneto hill town called Asolo [near Bassano] on one of your verona day trips or on your way to the dolomites.
Verona is a delight but 4 nights is good enough unless its the opera season and you get some tickets.
Just one night on lake como will not do,you will need at least 3 to take in the magic of the lakeside towns and villages,take the ferry rides that criscross the lake and just to unwind and soak up the atmosphere of such a romatic place.We had 5 woderful days in Varenna on the Eastern shore[on the train line] at the hotel Royal Victoria right on the lake but there are plenty of others ,Villa Capressi looked great.
On lake Garda the heavily tourited town of Sirmione is beautiful but in april it is much better,from here you can visit the western shore towns like gardone by ferry and view the magnificent mountains in the distance.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 05:27 AM
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ldh - I too would like to suggest Lago di Garda. In 2002 we stayed in Garda, and expolored the other towns from there. We also did a day trip to Verona, so you could easliy explore from there. Sirmione was overrated to me, very resort/touristy. We loved particularly loved Garda and Malcesine (our favorite). There is a cable car (funicular?) up Mont Baldo (sp? doing this from memory!) near Malcesine, that they say the views are amazing. Unfortunately it was closed when we were there.

The views around the northern end of Garda were more dramatic, but we didn't spend any time wandering those towns, only driving the mountain passes for the views. There are also a good number of wineries around the south-eastern side of the lake, so I'm assuming there would be some bus tours.

Good luck - its a nice problem to have!

PS - we're struggling with planning as well, going back in Sept. and want to see another lake since we loved Garda so much, but there is so much else to see!
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 05:50 AM
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It's easy to get to Alpe de Suisse from Verona by train and bus. Take the train to Bolzano and then the bus to the cable car. The bus ride is longish (a little over an hour?) but it's a beautiful ride through the mountains. While in Bolzano remember to visit Otze, the ice-man, in his own museum. I'd recommend spending a night or two in the area, taking the time from Verona.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 08:50 AM
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Thank you to all who have answered so far.
I'm going to go back and have a rethink, and refigure the trip as to what we can do without trying to include Lake Como,saving that as incentive for a return trip. I'm now checking out all your suggestions, I really appreciate your time and valuable experience, and will probably need a critique of the new and hopefully improved plan. Thanks again, Diane
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Old Feb 21st, 2005, 07:58 AM
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This is the 2nd draft of our proposed plan, I've cut out Lake Como in the interest of time.
Sun. Apr.17....arrive Venice
5 nights Hot.Foscari Palace
1 night Ca' Dogress(change
due to availability)
Mon. .......Explore Venice
Tues........Murano, Burano, Torcello
St. Michele
Wed.........Day trip Vicenza, Padova
(is 1 day enough for both?)
Thurs.......More Venice
Fri.........Bassano del Grappa, Asolo
Treviso if time
Sat.........Treviso in a.m. if no time
Fri., move to Verona-Hotel
Guilietta & Romeo 4 nights
visit Giardino Giusti, spend
eve. in Piazza Bra
Sun.........Verona
Mon.........Day trip Trento, also see
Verona spots missed Sun.
Tues........Bus to Riva del Garda, ferry
to Limone,Malcesine,etc. as
time permits
Wed.........Train to Desenzano,1 night
Hotel Giardinetto, ferry to
Sirmione,other spots missed
Tues.
Thurs.......Train to Bressanone, spend
the day and 1 night at The
Goldenes Kreuz
Fri.........Spend day in Bolzano,bus to
Castelrotto, 3 nights at
Cavillino d' Oro
Sat.& Sun...Take bus tour/rent car to
see Dolomites
Mon.........Train to Munich, possible
stops to sightsee along the
way,spend night at Hotel
Kempinski at airport
Tues........Fly home
Wed.........Have pics developed,start
dreaming of next trip!
If you see a problem here I missed, please feel free to make suggestions.
I know the one night stays look goofy but were the result of preferred hotel
availibility and a little nostalgia for
a previos trip. Thanks for any help
you can give! Diane
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Old Feb 21st, 2005, 01:40 PM
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ttt
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Old Feb 22nd, 2005, 07:32 AM
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Diane - It looks fine to me.

The only hitch I see will be taking a tour bus to see the Dolomites - this is an option in high season, but I'm pretty sure it won't be in April.

So you will almost certainly need to rent a car if you want to tour properly and see the best.

You will need to rent from Bolzano (- Bressanone might be the other possibilty) - so you might want to rent on the Friday and drive up to Castelrotto.

One other thought: Trento is on the way to Bressanone (- as is Bolzano) - so you could actually visit one or other en route to Bressanone if you wanted ...

Let me know if I can be of more help ...

Steve
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Old Feb 23rd, 2005, 03:39 PM
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Thank you Steve. I think you are probably right about the bus tours.I suspect once we are there my husband will agree that renting a car for that part of the trip is the best option. Doing Trento enroute to Bressanone is certainly an option. The main reason I hadn't planned it that way is so we didn't need to mess with luggage, and because of the open hours of the places I want to see in Bressanone. How much time would you allow for Trento? Could we combine Trento and Bolzano or Bressanone and still do each justice? Thanks again for your help! Diane
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Old Feb 24th, 2005, 03:44 AM
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Diane - Trento centre is pretty compact and walkable (- Bolzano too) - so I think you can see the highlights reasonably well in half a day.
[If you want to see the castle as well as churches you might want to plan around lunchtime closing times ...]

http://www.apt.trento.it/

Combining Trento & Bolzano?
That's possible too - if you don't want a long lunch.
If you plan to see the Ice Man in Bolzano be aware the museum closes at 5p.m. most days ...

http://www.archaeologiemuseum.it/index_ice.html

http://www.bolzano-bozen.it/

Hope this helps ...

Steve

P.S. I'm pretty sure Bolzano station has left luggage office.
I can't remember if Trento has ...
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Old Feb 25th, 2005, 11:46 AM
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Thanks again Steve,your experience is greatly appreciated! Diane
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