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Our 5 Day Italien Lake Itinerary - What do you Think?

Our 5 Day Italien Lake Itinerary - What do you Think?

Mar 2nd, 2008, 05:56 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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Our 5 Day Italien Lake Itinerary - What do you Think?


We are visiting the lakes for 5 days and would love some feedback on our tentative itinerary.

Day 1:

-Fly to Milan from Paris (8:35am)scheduled to arrive at 10:05.
-Train to Varenna
-Settle into Hotel
-Walk around Varenna including Parish church of San Giorgio
-Villa Cipressi
-Villa Monastero if time

Day 2:

-Hike up to Castle Vezio and back.
-Take short walk to Pescallo

Day 3:

-Early train to Lugano
-Boat to Marcote (or train to Melide and walk along shore to Marcote).
-Gandria if time.

Day 4:

-Villa Balbianello
-Como itself and possibly a funicular ride up to Brunato
-Menaggio for dinner.


1. What time will we have to get back to Varenna? What time to ferries stop running?

2. Is Como (town/city) worth a stop - is it attractive, interesting to visit for a day? How much time should one alot to it?

3. Is Lugano itself worth a day-trip or should we try to hit Bellinzona in am, then Morcote in afternoon?

4. Any stops we should be endevoring to add in or switch in?

Any advice appreciated.


NaxosTravels is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2008, 05:57 PM
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Oh dear. We meant Italian!!
NaxosTravels is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2008, 07:26 PM
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I would do less. A great deal of the pleasure of being in Varenna & other areas around Lake Como is just enjoying being there without running around all the time. It's an especially nice change of pace coming from Paris.

I'm not sure how you would get a ferry schedule but would guess that you could get one from your hotel.

Shanti is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2008, 07:56 PM
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As Shanti said, do less and just take it as it comes.
We visited many of those areas last year but just took our time and moved on to the next place when we felt ready, it was a lovely relaxing way to go.
We stayed in Lugano and day tripped from there. It was a very good base and very easy to go everywhere from there.
Bellinzona wasn't on our list of must sees but what a lovely suprise. We spent a good few hours wandering around the castle and even the little town was nice to stroll through.
Morecote was one of our favourites. It is very beautiful there and the views wonderful. Make sure you climb up to the church and above.
We went to Como as an afterthought on a sunday afternoon and loved it. It seemed that everyone was out and strolling around the town. We walked along the lake then visited the church and did a little shopping, then had a glass of wine and cicheti at a buzzing little wine bar, lovely!
At Lucarno we took the gondala and chair lifts all the way to the top of the mountain. The views were wonderful and we had a lovely relaxing lunch up there.
Take time to relax and don't rush too much and you'll be amazed at how much you will actually see in a day. Enjoy
Mischka is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 01:11 AM
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What month will you be traveling?

You can easily visit Villa Cipressi and Villa Monastero the same morning or afternoon. They are right next to each other, and neither takes long to visit. Personally, I enjoyed the Villa Monastero more than Cipressi. Here is a link to my website with journal and photos of my time at the Lake. http://www.travelswithdiane.homestea...5lakecomo.html

It's a lovely spot. Enjoy!
luvtotravel is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 06:44 AM
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I do not understand the day trip to Lugano--do you mean via Milan? That is a long trip. I would not bother from Varenna,but if you must then ferry to Menaggio and bus from there. Also, you mention several Villa tours but not Villa Carlotta which may be the best.
bobthenavigator is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 07:01 AM
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I also would not bother with Lugano. Relax and enjoy the lake for about 3 days. I would recommend Bergamo as a day trip from Milan; loved their old town. Varenna is my favorite and I think Villa Cipressi is a great choice. Bring your camera; it is one of the most picturesque places I have seen. When in Milan, check out the museum Ambrosiana.
ncounty is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 09:54 AM
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Definitely bring your camera.
You have a pretty good list of the main sights.

You probably will end up with a less structured trip then what you have laid out.

I have not done this but there is a trail from Varenna to Bellano that is supposed to take about 90 minutes and not be too dificult.

Here is the link to the Lake Como boat service
they will change to a summer schedule (probably make the change in early April). In any event the boat service stops just before dark.

You should plan some boat trips. Lenno near Balbianello is nice. We were there on a Tuesday and they had a market that morning. There is a lakefront walk about 6 KM long - Cadenabbia south.

Love Pescallo. It is better to walk the trail than to go by road. It looks like you have done a good amount of research.

Como can be a nice lunch stop or more depending on what you want it to be. Como specializes in silk. Another good boat trip is the mid morning boat Bellagio to Lecco. It goes to Lecco, the crew ties up the boat for thier lunch hour, then the same boat goes back to Bellagio. But the wait is everal hours if you miss the return.

One tip - you can buy day passes for the boats for just a little more than the cost of round trip. The day passes are priced by range so tell the ticket seller your geographic range.

We haven't been to Bergamo but have that in our May plans.
Big_Red is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 11:21 AM
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Thank you all - your feedback and suggestions are just excellent. We have trimmed this itinerary back (you should have seen the first draft-lol!)and do hope to relax a bit.

We do not plan on visiting Milan at all, we are just using it as a transport hub. We have a hotel booked in Varenna (though in hindsight Menaggio would have been more convenient).

For Lugano...we thought it would be easy enough to get there from Menaggio..? Morcote sounded like a nice day trip. We also considered Bellinzona for the morning and Morcote in the afternoon....has anyone tried this? Has anyone tried the walk from Melide (where Swissminiature is) to Morcote or is boat the easy way?

Thank you for all of your help.

NaxosTravels is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 03:32 PM
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I was able to find my boat schedule from Summer 2007. The last ferries Bellagio back to Varenna were 8:40pm and 10:20pm. The last ferry Menaggio to Varenna was 7:30pm.
Big_Red is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 06:07 PM
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Wow! Big Red - thank you for taking the time to look that up for us. Looks ok...I check out the Como boat website for May and it seems we will have to return to Varenna a little earlier than we thought, but it should be relaxing. We are very excited - if only we have another day or two in this beautiful area - butits off to busy Florence for us for another 5 days (followed by 5 in Venice). Part of me wishes we cut out on destination but it so easy to get carried away......next time right?


NaxosTravels is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 02:27 PM
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goodtwogo is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 02:33 PM
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We had planned to go to Lugano from Bellagio on our first trip there but changed our minds for several reasons. We couldn't bring ourselves to leave beautiful Lake Como and heard that more day trippers come from Lugano to Lake Como rather than the reverse. Slow down and enjoy the Varenna/Bellagio/Mennagio area. The city of Como has a nice historic district but with your short time on the lake I would stay in the central area of the lake the whole time. Have dinner in Bellagio.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 02:46 PM
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I found all these replies very interesting. We will be on Lake Como, for a week in September, would you advise going to Lugano? Or, is it not worth the bother? Would you suggest St. Moritz instead? We are staying in Pognano Lario, which is south of Bellagio, on the lake. Thanks, Margaret.
MaggieT is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 05:11 PM
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If you decide on St Moritz, then it would be possible to go the Bernina pass route. The bernina pass is one incredible train ride.
Big_Red is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 12:53 PM
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bettyloo is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 12:59 PM
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I didn't think Lugano was worth the bother but that's just personal preference. I loved Bergamo.
ncounty is offline  
May 16th, 2008, 01:13 PM
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We stayed in Varenna for three nights in June 2007 and fell in love with it. It was the best place to recover from jet lag and just live the slow Italian lifestyle. There's nothing you HAVE to see, which is the best part! We had 2 fabulous dinners there - one at our hotel, Albergo Milano and one at a small restaurant, Il Cavatappi - probably our favorite meal of the whole trip. That place only has 5 or 6 tables, so we reserved the day before - the table is yours for the night. We also went to mass at San Giorgio on Sunday with all the Italian grandmas and grandpas which I loved. Have so much fun - hope you like it as much as we did.
nkluedke is offline  

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