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Looking for a base for a week around the Italian Lakes

Looking for a base for a week around the Italian Lakes

Oct 8th, 2007, 07:13 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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Looking for a base for a week around the Italian Lakes

I know there have been many posts on this forum about the Italian Lakes but I haven't found many that address my particular question. My wife & I are planning a week to see (some of) the Italian Lakes for the first time in early June 2008. We are thinking of Maggiore & Como but we are having trouble deciding where to stay. Ideally we would like an apartment to use as a base, but that would mean choosing one spot and then travelling to all the sites we would want to see. (I'm guessing travel around and beween the lakes will be quite slow). Alternatively we could take a hotel on each lake for 3-4 days - then we have to choose towns & hotels! We will have a car and would be looking around 3-4 star equivalent. I would be really pleased to hear suggestions from anyone who knows this area.
GregY2 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 07:21 PM
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The two-location plan sounds better to me.

With a car and because of your interest in visiting the other lakes, Menaggio on Lake Como would probably be more convenient. It is a mid lake for the most beautiful scenery, has frequent boat service to Bellagio and other parts of Lake Como, and easiest driving toward Lake Maggiore.
ellenem is offline  
Oct 9th, 2007, 03:42 AM
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For our one week to visit The Lakes we chose Lugano because of its central position. We stayed with a family in a ferienwohnung (apartment) halfway up Mt Bré. We had private use of their swimming pool and a wonderful view out over the town, the lake and San Salvatore.

We took day trips from there in all directions, visiting each of The Lakes, the mountains and valleys of Ticino and beautiful Soglio above the Val Bregaglia too.

Lugano is our favorite lake (because of its fjord-like appearance) and Orta San Giulio is our favorite town.
TuckH is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 02:52 AM
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Thanks ellenem & Tuckh - I'll take a good look at both your suggestions. I'd also be keen to hear other points of view from others who have visited this area.
GregY2 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 04:46 AM
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Momliz is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 05:32 AM
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We love the lakes and have enjoyed them often over the past 25 years.
Imwould choose Menaggio as your Como base---very convenient. Look at G.H. Menaggio. For the western lakes, we often stay at Lago Orta but must admit that Stresa is a good centro location for a first time trip. Here are photos of Orta and Maggiore.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 10:34 PM
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Thanks to you too Bob, Menaggio was one of the towns that we were considering. Some great photos by the way.
GregY2 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 11:45 AM
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Twice we have stayed in Tremezzo, near Menaggio, at Hotel Villa Marie, (not Maria) www.hotelvillamarie.com and from there toured the lakes areas. We got a lakeview room with balcony for 110 Euro a couple of weeks ago. The hotel is owned and well run by a young couple who are very helpful. Among other amenities, they offer free open or underground parking. The location is walking distance to the ferry to Bellagio and other towns across the way. We prefer Tremezzo to Menaggio because it is smaller, quieter and just as convenient for touring.
crckwc is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 06:55 PM
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Thanks crckwc, the Villa Marie looks attractive, the price certainly is very reasonable, and the free car parking is also attractive. Anothere question if you don't mind - was the ferry service from Tremezzo as frequent as from places like Menaggio?
GregY2 is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 02:14 PM
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GregY2 - I'm sorry I don't have the definitive answer to the ferry question. Whenever we went to the landing, we never had to wait more than 20 minutes, but that doesn't prove anything. You might try contacting Villa Marie and ask that question.

By the way, you should be aware that there is a highway between the hotel and the lake which didn't bother us at all. We were out all day and at night there isn't much traffic. Also from the room you don't see the highway -- just the lake. I mention this because on our last visit one couple griped about it and I wouldn't want you to be surprised.
crckwc is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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Click on "Ferry & Hydrofoil/Navigazione"
Then click on each item in the center Timetable.
Each ferry has a schedule, and you can get an idea how frequently ferries navigate the towns you want.

We stayed in Lenno, at the Albergo Lenno, a year ago. Never a problem getting a ferry when we wanted one...and the dock is conveniently right at the little hotel. Heaven on earth. I'd go back in half of a half heartbeat!
LucieV is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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We have been to Lake Como three times and overnighted on Lake Garda.

The most convenient boat service on Lake Como is at Bellagio. There are roughly 90 boats and ferries that stop at Bellagio in a typical day. However, you will have to plan ahead as to parking the car, parking is limited in Bellagio, especially at the more moderately priced hotels.

You really should study the schedules to understand the frequency of boat service at any town.

If you decide on Tremezzo, it is possible to walk to some of the nearby towns to catch a boat if that boat does not call at Tremezzo. Study the map.

Enjoy your trip.
Big_Red is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:05 AM
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On Maggiore my favorite place to stay is Locarno. It's technically Switzerland but is very Italian and you'll have access to many great places to visit; Bellinzona, the Centovalli, as well as boat rides all over the lake.
Grassshopper is offline  
Jun 25th, 2008, 11:38 PM
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We have just returned from our trip to France & Italy so I thought I would give some brief feedback.

In the end we spent 11 nights in Italy; 3 at Aosta, 4 at Stresa, 3 at Bellagio, and 1 at an airport hotel at Malpensa.

In Aosta we stayed at the Hostellerie du Cheval Blanc, about 500 metres outside the old town centre. The hotel, which was relatively modern, was quite comfortable and well equipped with very friendly staff. It has a restaurant but I don’t recommend dining there – a very limited menu and rather ordinary service. Aosta was a good base with easy access to the mountain walks & drives and the various sites that we had on our wish-list.

We had 4 nights at Stresa, on Lake Maggiore, and stayed at the Hotel La Palma. This was quite expensive by our standards at 225€ per night but was worth it for the location and lake views. Very comfortable and good size rooms and parking underneath. Wi Fi offered at 10€ per hour – we found that fairly easy to decline. We really enjoyed Stresa, the town and of course the islands, and also took a day trip to Macugnaga for a great walk close to Monte Rosa.

We originally booked 4 nights at the Hotel Silvio at Bellagio but cancelled the last day while we were there. We had a some concerns about how long it would take to get back to Malpensa to catch our plane home as there was a bit of roadwork along the narrow Bellagio-Como road, but we had also found that 3 nights at Bellagio was enough for us. It is a lovely town, as were the other lakeside villages we visited, but none of them is very big and we are not very skilled at just sitting around. The Hotel Silvio was comfortable; our room was of modest size and fairly basic but had a really generous terrace with a spectacular uninterrupted view across the lake. Free WiFi was included but reception was a bit patchy from the room. Reviews had suggested that the hotel was a bit out of town and that was certainly correct. It is about 600 metres out and up quite a steep hill, along a busy road with no footpath. We took our car down early and took one of the few free parks on the edge of town so didn’t have to walk but you wouldn’t be able to do that in the height of the season.

After checking out of the Hotel we drove to Lecco and on to Bergamo where we spent most of the day. Bergamo is a lovely town and we would be keen to go back another day and see it properly. We then drove on to the Hotel Cardano, about 5 km from Malpensa airport. Hotel was comfortable and well equipped with friendly staff. No in-house restaurant but they ran a shuttle to a local restaurant - we drove our selves and had a nice meal. Free Wi-Fi included.

Out of 28 days across France & Italy we had 5 rain-free days.
GregY2 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2008, 03:48 PM
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Various hotels have been suggested - I'll have a hire car when I'll be in the Lakes 20 July - 23 July - which hotels are best for car parking? (Menaggio / Bellagio or Varenna)
kwcm is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2008, 04:11 PM
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How far apart are all these lake towns?

No train/bus service between them?
scrb is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 12:37 AM
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Parking is very limited in Bellagio and I would imagine also Varenna (we did not drive there). I think parking would not be too bad in Menaggio.
Having answered that question, these are not really best visited by car as they are on opposite sides of Lake Como. Although there are car ferries between them you would be much better off picking one as a base and using the frequent passenger ferries to visit them. The Hotel Silvio at Bellagio had offstreet parking but, as I said above, it is not really convenient for walking in to town. I suspect most hotels would offer soem carparking - not always on the same premises - but I really can't nominate any. Consider Tremezzo as well as a base.
GregY2 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 04:44 AM
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scrb, absolutely! As a devotee of rail/bus travel, Switzerland is my dream country. Of course, one needs to love riding, but you could definitely stay in Lugano and daytrip to both Maggiore and Como (Locarno and Menaggio). J.
jmw444 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 09:32 AM
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The way to get around is by the scheduled boats. Just so that you get an idea, the town with the most frequent boat service is Bellagio with 80 to 90 boats per day (there is always something coming or going at Bellagio).

You will have to check with each hotel to see about car parking. I beleive that the Hotel Villa Marie has some spaces. I have seen the parking deck at The Grand Hotel Tremmezzo, but the hotel is $$$+.

Big_Red is offline  

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