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Looking for true relaxation ... Lake Como or Amalfi Coast? Or France?

Looking for true relaxation ... Lake Como or Amalfi Coast? Or France?

May 9th, 2012, 10:08 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 21,759
SunDried: That is the area I would choose on a return visit. There are buses that run along the western shore, so access to Menaggio and Tremezzo, as well as to Lenno and Cernobio, is easy.

From Lugano to Menaggio:



Much of the Portofino promontory is designated parkland. So there are many walks and hikes that you can get to from SML, and others from Camogli. There is easy bus transport to and from those towns, and the others in the immediate area.


Click on each of these itineraries for detailed maps and information about each route:

Within SML itself, there is "Magic Flute Park," officially known as Carmagnola Park, which apparently has installations suitable for children:



I think your idea of splitting the time between Camogli and SML sounds great. Cenobbio should be good for children (check with them) as long as you know that you will have to walk steps to reach the sea level. I take it you are asking about that hotel because it has a pool, right? Camogli's seafront promenade, and the parallel main street, are just superb for strolling and people watching. The town is a real gem and combined with the fact that it has easy transport options to other places should put it up near the top of your list.

If your want to get more off the beaten track, you could take a look at the Castellabate area; Santa Maria Castellabate also has a good beach, calm swimming, and a town just make for strolling. You can reach the area by train from Naples (to Agropoli; 15 minutes away) and you could stay there for a few days without a car. There is a report on TripAdvisor about someone who visited the area with children; she liked it so much that she went back a second time. If you are interested I will see if I can find it; it's really a good report. The plus for this area is that it will be probably less pricey than Liguria, or Lake Como.
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
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sundriedpachino on May 9, 12 at 9:45am

"To you Como experts out there, I found cheaper options around that area of Cadanabbia, is it generally so? Although I know there is a ferry very close by that goes to Varenna and to Bellagio, how easy is it to get to the west side of the lake upon arrival? Any suggestions?

---We stayed in Cadenabbia right across Bellagio much cheaper, the ferries are right there across the Hotel and they have an easy/often time table.

We are arriving there from Lugano, and there seems to be a bus from Lugano to Menaggio but I can't seem to confirm that.

---The blue/buses line runs often between towns around the lake. I can't remember if they run each 15/30 mins, that's how we arrived from Como train station to Cadenabbia.

Although Cadenabbia seems small with not a lot of shops or things to do, Menaggio and Tremezzo are close by. How are the transportation links to these places?

---Again the blue bus will take you between towns. One day we missed the bus and decided to walk from Cadenabbia to Menaggio, what a mistake! It was hair raising for me because of the kids, we walked watching our backs all the time as the traffic doesn't slow down for pedestrians, no sidewalks. We were crazy to do it.
Some nights we went to Tremezzo for dinner, some little shops around the area.
pookymimi is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Cadenabbia is good. The car ferry runs at least once an hour to Bellagio which takes 10 - 15 minutes. From there it's an easy boat trip tp anywhere on the lake. The bus runs along the western side of the lake regularly and there is also a tourist novelty bus which can be useful.
The main road can be busy but there are good pavements and crossings at regular intervals. There aren't many shops but it's sp easy to get to the other towns that it isn't a problem.
the Hotel Britannia manages a public lido (pool) that also has gardens and a bar/cafe which is on the lakefront a few hundred yards from the ferry.
Wa145nzJeffery is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 08:19 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Thanks for the abundance of good information, everyone! I much appreciate it.
We are saving the Ligurian coast for the next trip, along with Torino, Piemonte, etc, and will probably try Santa Margherita Ligure as our base for part of the time. It sounds perfect.
Hpluss1 I hope your family (plus 1) has a really good time and you let us know what you decided and how it turned out.
sundriedpachino is offline  
May 10th, 2012, 06:46 AM
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Thanks you everyone for the advice! Will definitely let you know what we decide. Booking today or tomorrow. So excited!!!! Will have to do a trip report after all this great help Thank you @TravelswithGeorge - will read your website and look for your book! @ekscrunchy thank you for all the Liguria and Lake Como recommendations. What a beautiful country Italy is
hpluss1 is offline  
May 10th, 2012, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Yes, I know the ones I suggested are a bit pricey, but I was not sure of your budget. That is one of the reasons we never went there yet, a bit too expensive.

If you are still interested in Como, an apartment might be very affordable, some with the loveliest views of Lake Como. Try and have a look at www.italianlakesrental.com or Homeaway.co.uk, you might find a bargain.

Have a look at Villetta Mija, it has its own dock and sandy beach - and across George Clooney's house as I read in a review, it does look lovelyl

Maybe accommodation might be cheaper near Lake Garda. Quite a few years ago we took our kids to Gardalaland Funpark and stayed at the Gardaland hotel. It is not situated in a town, but it has a lovely huge lagoon pools with waterfall, beautiful garden and the food was very good, and staff dress up in fairytale costumes for breakfast and in the evenings for the kids.. It offers free shuttles to the fun park. There is also now a sea life park, animal park and movie park in the vicinity, but probably your child is still too young for all that. You might be interested in doing some day trips from there, up the Garda lake or surrounding mountains, or to cities like Verona. From the second week of September the parks (and resort hotel) would have emptied down, but before they would be crowd with tourists so I am not sure whether that is what you are after if you want total relaxation

On Lake Como check Hotel La Villa. You can maybe check for other accommodation on booking.com for a hotel with pool, you do not have to book from them but you can check availability, reviews etc and then book directly from hotel.
Anna_Galea is offline  
May 10th, 2012, 07:30 AM
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We hiked up to Hotel Belvedere when we were in Bellagio last September. It is set way out of town, but for simply relaxing, and having a pool and an extraordinary view, I think you couldn't go wrong for a couple of nights there. A number of restaurants even will provide you with transportation to and from your hotel!

I also think Varenna would be a good choice for the rest of your stay. It is a short ferry ride from Bellagio, and if you stayed more "in town" in Varenna you would have the best of both types of accommodation when combined with the serenity of the Belvedere looking over Bellagio.
uhoh_busted is offline  
May 10th, 2012, 08:08 AM
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On one visit to Bellagio,We spent two weeks without a car, bought a weekly ferry pass, and it was so relaxing. We were busy every day and explored the lake from one end to the other.
You might want to look at the apartment complex L'Ulivo which gives you access to Hotel Serbelloni's pool nearby. On another visit to Bellagio, we stayed at the Belvedere with it's amazing views, a short walk to the top of the town.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
May 10th, 2012, 09:48 AM
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I vote for Lake Como also. We stayed in Bellagio so I can't help much with other places. We also took ferry everywhere. We arrived at and left by train from Varenna. Our hotel was Pergola but it wasn't right in Bellagio--I'd suggest you get closer. Other Fodorites can suggest places.
TDudette is offline  
May 31st, 2012, 03:08 AM
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What is your budget?

Albergo Lenno, which has a pool, would probably be around 20)E a night in July. Our visit last week was 180E a night.
flygirl is offline  
Jun 1st, 2012, 11:03 AM
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Oh wow, Albergo Lenno looks perfect. Is the town of Lenno nice? Can we walk around there , is there anything to see or shopping or restaurants? Thanks
hpluss1 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 05:46 AM
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Thanks everyone. We ended up doing Santa Margherita Ligure for 10 days, with a weekend to Lake Garda in the middle (we took the train 1 1/2 hour to Alessandria and our friend picked us up there and we all drove to Lake Garda. We brought car seat on the train). Anyway the week was wonderful!! I love Santa Margherita, Portofino, and Camogli very much. Could have also spent a few days in Camogli, it's really so pretty and the water there is so blue!! I'll write a trip report with some photos soon. Let me know if you want specific details from the trip but it was definitely a great home base for a week vacation. There were 2 other 8/9 month olds in our hotel, one from Sweden and one from South Tyrol, and a 14 month old, and lots of children, so our baby got to socialize a lot at the hotel, too, which was great. So far I wrote this: http://brooklynbabysocial.com/2012/0...w-i-love-thee/ . As usual, already thinking about next trip to Italy, thinking it will be Lake Como
hpluss1 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 06:23 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
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I loved lake Garda as well
we were in riva del garda...did have a car but could have done without
lovely lakeside resort...condo style with all amenities
Provence is also lovely...really depends what you are in the mood for...both are really relaxing!
If you are really interested in doing more than one place...relaxing and not having to go far between places I recommend basque country (France and Spain)...just came back from a lovely charming town called St Jean de Luz on the french side of the border...about hlaf hour from St Sebastian Spain (also gorgeous...beautiful beach and great old town) and about 20 minutes from Biarritz!
erb is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 07:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Thanks for the report. Of course everyone has their own preference, but I was secretly hoping you would choose SML based on ekscrunchy's great review. Glad you enjoyed it, it's on my wish list for next trip.
sundriedpachino is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 07:54 AM
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Thanks Erb, I'd love to try St. Jean de Luz - really sounds like the perfect location! Love staying in a small town. Where did you stay?

@Sundried, oh good I'm glad you liked my choice! We loved it.

Wrote more about Santa Margherita and where we went around there here, but it's just a summary... preparing more posts right now, have a lot to say and recommend since we love it there. @sundried, you should go!! let me know! http://brooklynbabysocial.com/2012/0...ta-margherita/
hpluss1 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Hi hpluss
stayed at a hotel called Grand Hotel Loreamar Thalasso Spa
Right on the beach! Beautifully decorated in French country style
Price was very reasonable by European standards
Highly recommend going into both Biarritz and San Sebastian either as day trips or to stay!!
erb is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 12:05 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
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hpluss, we are doing a grand tour from Zurich through the Lakes, to Verona, Venice, Umbria, Puglia, Amalfi Coast and Rome, phew! this Sept-Oct. so SML is on the planning list for 2 years from now.
I will definitely bookmark your reports, though. Two years goes by quickly.
sundriedpachino is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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hpluss1 - Thanks so much for your trip report and photos - baby is soooo cute!!

I am glad you managed to fit in Lake Garda. The scenary is lovely there, and more affordable than on Lake Como or Lake Maggiore.

I have never visited Santa Maria Ligure, but I sure hope to in the near future. I will look forward to rest of your trip report for sure. Is that area crowdy with tourists?

I am so pleased for you that you enjoyed your holiday. Enjoy rest of Summer!!
Anna_Galea is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 02:03 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Just found this post and also secretly pleased you chose SML, I was going to suggest that (until I found out you had come and gone!!)
Next time try Lake Como - Varenna - another truly gorgeous spot.
ps thanks for reporting back, it is so good to know where poster finally end up, so many people just leave us hanging.
schnauzer is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 08:19 AM
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Thank you @Shnauzer, so glad you like our choice! We loved it. Would love to try somewhere new next time, of course Lake Como would be amazing!!! @Anna Galea Santa Margherita was not crowded, and some locals said it's much less crowded than usual, and that hotels and restaurants are suffering, due to the economic downturn. However, on the weekend it was very crowded with weekend visitors from Milan and Genova. I'd try to visit on weekend.

Here's my little report on Portofino. It's a small place so my report is short, but there's a lot to love! http://brooklynbabysocial.com/2012/0...-my-portofino/
hpluss1 is offline  

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