Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

some questions about lake como ferries/activities

some questions about lake como ferries/activities

Jan 22nd, 2009, 11:59 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 157
some questions about lake como ferries/activities

My husband and I will be staying in Bellagio in May and are planning day trips to Varenna and Mennagio. I am looking at the website for the ferries and am a bit confused...

The schedule lists "weekdays" and "holidays," with Sunday listed as a holiday. What about Saturdays? Is Saturday a weekday in Italy? Our flight leaves from MXP on Saturday so we have to have some way out of Bellagio.

The fare chart lists a regular fare, and has a supplement for "fast service." What is fast service? Is it a lot faster than regular service?

We have been looking for some outdoor activities and it seems like Menaggio offers a lot of different activities, like horse-back riding, hiking, etc. Has anyone done any of these in that area that can recommend some?

Thanks in advance!
Deb
debrad149 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 12:23 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,178
Neither of these trips require "fast service" since they are all just across the lake from one another. In fact, you could probably visit both in one day--they're not that big.

I believe it's not so much "weekdays" as "workdays" which does include Saturday.

What time is your flight and what means of transport did you hope to use from Bellagio?
ellenem is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 12:25 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422
Satuday is weekday in Italy. It is part of the "Feriale" schedule. Sundays are part of the "Festivo" schedule, but that will also include holidays, like Christmas.

Menaggio and Varenna are only about 10 minutes from Bellagio, so don't worry too much about catching a boat, and I wouldn't pay extra for "fast service".

However, if you need to catch an international flight, be aware that getting to Malpensa from Bellagio reliably usually means hiring private transportation, unless your flight leaves after noon.
zeppole is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 12:26 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 157
I think our flight leaves from MXP around 11 AM. I'm not too sure what the best way is to get there from Bellagio. I assume taxi or train out of Varenna. Any idea how much either of these would cost, and which would be fastest?
debrad149 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 12:50 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6,191
If you have time, add on the "Villa Carlotta" right across the lake at Tremezzo. Charming house and gardens.

Also the "Villa Balbinella"(wow, I know I butchered that spelling).

Hiking around the island in the lake was also good.

Ciao!
TPAYT is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 12:52 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,178
I would NOT do train. It would require some tricky connections.

By car Menaggio is better for reaching MXP. Doing a quick search, I found quotes of about €200.
ellenem is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 01:10 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422
debrad,

an 11am flight means you must be at teh airport no later than 8am.

I think you can do better than Ellen's 200euro quote, but check with your hotel.

The typical thing is for people to spend a night in Milan where there is regular fast transport (by bus or train) to Malpensa.

Some people opt for hotel on Lago Maggiore (Stresa, Baveno) to take the regular bus service to Malpensa in the morning. Make sure your hotel makes a bus reservation for you.

Lastly, there are airport hotels.


zeppole is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 01:24 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 628
"What is fast service?"

There are three types of boats that service Lake Como:

1. Motorships, better known as Car Ferries, are very large boats that transport cars from one side to another. You can board this boat if you don't have a car. They have seats upstairs but most people stand, depending on distance. http://picasaweb.google.com/bonnerou...13475077746066

2. Fast Service, otherwise known as Servizi Rapidi or Hydrofoils, are basically large speed boats that go up and down the lake with fewer specific stops, offering "faster" or "express" service to passengers wishing to travel further distances in a hurry. The seats tend to be enclosed. The Fast Service boats stop at the famous towns in the center of the lake.

So, for instance, you can board a Fast Service Boat at Varenna that's going south to Como and get off at Bellagio because it stops there on the way down the lake but you'll pay more for boarding this boat simply because of the boat's classification. The travel time is the same as other boats going to Bellagio. Every boarding decision depends on what boat arrives at any given dock when you are standing at the dock waiting to board a boat. Most people plan there lake travel around specific boat categories. http://flickr.com/photos/andybailey/2821891442/

3. Passenger Ferries or Traghetti are boats that carry passengers only. They come in various styles. These boats tend to make all stops and are the most popular because they feature outdoor seating. http://www.flickr.com/photos/alberto_sechi/753769749/
NYCTS is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 01:53 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 157
Thank you for that explanation of the "fast service."

I think it makes the most sense for us to stay near the airport the night before our flight if we have to get there so early. Zeppole, you really think we should get there 3 hours early?

debrad149 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 02:21 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422
Italy is full of surprises when it comes to transportation. I always bank in extra time headed to the airport, and on at least one occasion going to Malpensa I was very glad I did it because I ran into a boy scout parade that cost me 45 minutes.

Flights leaving Malpensa for the US go through an extra measure of security, so the airlines recommend that you be at the airport 3 hours before your departure. Anything less than 2 hours, and you do run a serious risk of missing your flight.


zeppole is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 02:26 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 628
"I think our flight leaves from MXP around 11 AM."

Leaving Lake Como early in the morning is the least fun. I made that mistake my first visit and never again (unless I have no other choice).

There are plenty of car-for-hire services that your hotel can arrange for an early trek from Bellagio. It doesn't make much sense to go to Varenna since the cost won't be less (if you go by car).

It takes about 90 minutes from the middle of the lake to get to MXP with light traffic. Most car services will prefer to allow 2 hours for the drive. Arriving MXP 2 hours before an international flight is sufficient. The Italians are in no rush to board their planes. They often don't start boarding until 15 minutes before scheduled departure. La dolce vita, you know.

I find leaving Lake Como depressing simply because the beauty of the place is so ravishing. Each visit is such a treat, the best way to leave is with all the glamour and style one can afford. I rent a car service, pay the 250 €, and rest stress-free with legs up during the lengthy ride to the airport. At that hour of the morning, in such a beautiful place, any hassle or inconvenience with transport is not worth any savings in dollars, in my not so humble opinion.
NYCTS is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 03:43 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 22,473
This was 3 or 4 years ago on Easter Monday.

We took the first train from Varenna to Milan then the shuttle bus- to airport and it worked fine.

My notes say that we got up at 5. Don't know when the train came, but we were in Milano Centrale by 7:30. Shuttles ran every 20 mins. and we just missed one (didn't know to just turn left and go outside so wasted some time figuring out where shuttles were) so left around 8. We were at airport just before 9 for a 10:40 a.m. flight.

We were in Bellagio but spent our last night in Varenna because it was Easter and the ferry holiday sched. wouldn't get us to the Varenna train in time. There is a bus from Bellagio to the town of Como but for some reason we thought train would be less complicated.

Yes, we were tense but it was fine. A Boy Scouts parade WOULD have done us in! If you wish to plan for such contingencies, stay in Milan the night before (OPs will have to say where).

BTW, you might get an advance reservation for viewing "Last Supper" and make a full day in Milan if you haven't been there before. Awesome Duomo; La Scala museum; shopping. You could do worse!



TDudette is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 04:55 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 21,998
We were quoted 160 Euro for a taxi service from Menaggio to Malpensa. We ended up keeping our rental car and driving to the airport; the drive is easy and we had no problem getting to the airport in time for our 11:50am departure. So if you will not have a rental car, you might consider taking the ferry to Menaggio and then a taxi. I never allow more than 2 hours to make a flight.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 07:49 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 628
Just to be clearer, my 250 € was for a luxury car with tinted windows and included the gratuity. Taxi cabs cost much less and you can ask the concierge to secure an airport-rate quote before you agree to the taxi ride. This past September, I dropped my rental car in Como and Europcar called a taxi for me. The cost to MXP was 85 €, not including tip.
NYCTS is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 08:23 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,149
I wouldn't rely on an Italian train journey of any distance the day of my flight. Strikes happen. As do traffic jams. I'm with Zeppole; allow lots of time. Consider tha alternative.
Mimar is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2009, 10:25 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 21,998
I was quite confident that the taxi would be comfortable enough without inquiring as to the make and the type of windows. In any case, riding to the airport in a luxury sedan with tinted windows is not my style! Not for a 90 euro supplement!

But when we see one of those cruise by, we will know who might be riding in style behind the smoky glass!

ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2009, 02:52 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 628
"I was quite confident that the taxi would be comfortable enough without inquiring as to the make and the type of windows"

I sometimes inquire if I'm traveling with a celebrity, which I often do. But when I'm alone, I rarely care.

One year, I had the concierge at Grand Hotel Tremezzo Palace call for a taxi to take me and that lovely blonde Hollywood actress to a fabulous restaurant on the hill above. Who knew the cab would be a black Mercedes Classe E with black-tinted windows? The drive lasted only two minutes. (But what fun!)

This year will mark my fifth time to Lake Como. I'm in love with the place and I can't think of a more enjoyable way to celebrate my August birthday. The first visit I splurged, because I accepted an invitation to a really special party. When I do splurge, it's for good reason, therefore, I have no regrets. So, the first time I departed Villa d'Este I was chauffeured in grand style to MXP.

If you think you may only get to Lake Como once in your lifetime, for me, that's a good enough reason to treat all aspects of your visit with TLC, especially the coming and going.

Last September, I had my own car. I prefer to secure the car in Como and not deal with the drive to MXP. Europcar is 12 minutes from the Villa. I'm bag free and rested when I pick up my car. (Love that!)

Taking a taxi from Como's Europcar at 3 PM in the afternoon to MXP is a no-brainer. I had a great driver and we shared a delicious chat on the way. We got to MXP 30 minutes early and the Air France counter would not issue a ticket. The counter agent said tickets will not be issued until 90 minutes before departure, even for First Class. I mulled around for an hour before I could check my luggage, go through security, and relax at the gate. I don't like being late but arriving too early can be no fun either. Great people watching, though.

As for "activities," I can't be much help there. My 24/7 activity involves a camera in my hand.

I hear Menaggio has a golf-course up in the hills. I don't go near horses. Hiking possibilities are endless above almost every lakefront town. Search the internet. You'll find terrific blogs of hikers who have tackled the mountains around Lake Como and some of them offer great pictures of their adventures. There are hiking maps, too.
NYCTS is offline  
Jan 24th, 2009, 08:20 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 21,998
NYCTS:

Since I love to discuss anything to do with food, and I recently visited Lake Como, I would like to know the name of the fabulous restaurant that you ate in near Tremezzo. Hopefully I will get back there someday soon!


Many thanks..
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 24th, 2009, 08:43 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6,191
I'm not sure, but I think NYCTS may be talking about this restaurant.

One of my best restaurant experiences ever was at "Al Veluu" in the hills overlooking the lake about 5 min. from the "Grand Tremezzo Hotel".

The view from the terrace outside at night was stunning, the food and service outstanding.

We had dinner there twice, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
TPAYT is offline  
Jan 24th, 2009, 08:55 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 21,998
Yes, I was wondering if it was Ai Veluu that she was speaking about...thanks for responding!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
DrG
Europe
29
May 23rd, 2019 02:56 PM
kc3305
Europe
13
Mar 7th, 2016 11:46 AM
PaoloCast
Europe
2
Apr 25th, 2012 11:37 AM
Budman
Europe
13
Mar 4th, 2007 12:00 PM
ritzyt
Europe
6
Jan 28th, 2005 06:22 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:10 AM.