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Should itinerary include a drive around Lake Maggiore and Como?

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Mar 6th, 2013, 11:17 AM
  #1
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Should itinerary include a drive around Lake Maggiore and Como?

In May we will be spending 4 nights each at Lake Maggiore and Lake Come, based in Stresa and Bellagio. While working out the sights to be visited, I'm wondering if we should include one day at each lake devoted to driving around the lake. We could plan to use a car ferry ,if available, to shorten the drive but still take our car to some points beyond the lake itself.

Are there sections of each of these lakes that you would recommend seeing with a car? I'm using viamichelin to try to figure out the drive times for this. Would you recommend doing this as part of our itinerary? Thank you for any comments.
Deborah
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Mar 6th, 2013, 11:50 AM
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I would not have a car for Lake Como as the scenic part that I've seen (Como City to Bellagio) has a narrow, winding road on the east side and the driver will miss all the scenery because he will need to keep his wits about him and eyes on the road. The drive up the west side of the lake is not that scenic but an easier drive.

I didn't feel the need for a car in Bellagio or the surrounding area.

The scenery from the ferries and hydrofoil (between Bellagio and Como City) was wonderful - large windows for viewing on both sides of the boat.

From the ferries I loved watching one town recede and then going to the other side of the boat to see the next town approach. Wonderful views! I'd get off, explore a town, and then get on another ferry to a different town. You can buy a day pass that allows you to hop on and off all the mid lake ferries.

I took the train from Milan to Varenna and then the ferry to Bellagio. When I left Bellagio, I took the hydrofoil to Como City and picked up a rental car and then drove to Stresa (stayed in Baveno). I enjoyed this drive.

From Stresa I did a day trip to Lake Orta (about 45 minutes) which I highly recommend. I thought the car was good to have for Lake Maggiore.

I would definitely recommend seeing Lakes Como, Maggiore, and Orta.
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Mar 6th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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Thanks Adrienne, I know we can do this trip without a car, we are also staying a week in Levanto with a car but we like visiting out of the way places which having a car allows. I'll add Lake Orta to my list of sights. Thanks, Deborah
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Mar 6th, 2013, 12:39 PM
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With a car I always suggest staying on the west shore on Lago Como. The drive to Bellagio is not easy and parking is hard to find. Also, the west shore gives you good day trip options into CH---Lugano and Soglio/St. Moritz.

The rest of Como is best seen by ferry. At Stresa, be sure to day trip to Lago Orta and the gardens at Villa Taranto. You can drive to Locarno and the north end of Maggiore as you transition between the lakes---a pretty drive. Alos, read about Val Versasca, a special place near Locarno.
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Mar 6th, 2013, 01:05 PM
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The east side of the lake, from Lecco northward isn't that difficult a drive and IMO it isn't worth your time vs seeing the scenery from the lake itself.
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Mar 6th, 2013, 01:33 PM
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Thanks for the comments.

Bobthenavigator, I read an older trip report of yours on slowtravel. We are also staying at Residence L'Ulivo in Bellagio. We do have parking at this hotel so I guess we will just keep our car parked

Dukey, thank you for giving your opinion of the drive north of Lecco. It was the drive I was considering. Deborah
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Mar 7th, 2013, 07:06 AM
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Great--you can park OK. Where do you go from there. If to Stresa then see Lugano as you transition. Take the car ferry to Menaggio. Have fun !
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