Switerland and Northern Italy

Old Mar 17th, 2003, 04:38 AM
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Switerland and Northern Italy

Hello all and especially Ursula who seems to give wonderful advice (and who will hopefully continue to). My husband and I are going to fly in and out of Zurich the third week in April and were considering the following itinerary:
Zurich to Lucerne to Locarno to Lugano (over probably 3-4 days)
Lugano to Lake Como and environs
Milano
Back to Zurich

We're looking for hotel suggestions (three star) and suggestions for places to visit along that route (between Milano and Zurich too if time permits).

Also, is it possible at that time of year (third week in April) to drive everywhere? Excuse my ignorance of the geography--I'm not sure what mountains or closed mountain passes might get in our way.

And if you have suggestions for restaurants too($50-$100 per couple), I'd love to hear them!

Thanks,
CAK
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Old Mar 17th, 2003, 05:01 AM
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I live in Switzerland, and have to say that Zurich and the Lake Como area are not the greatest choices for April. It will still be quite cool in Switzerland at that time (high 40s low 50s F), especially in the higher mountain areas. You will most likely have rain with fog and could even have snow. Spring does not really arrive until May. Como would be a few degrees warmer, but still very cool in my view. Many of the hotels and restaurants in the Lake Como area are not open in April. Milan would be better as far as temperature, but their Spring is generally rainy.
My suggestion would be to go to Rome and places south of Rome in April. It will be more Spring-like.
If you do decided to do Switzerland and northern Italy, you should look into using the trains, especially taking one of the glacier trains like the Berninia express down to Lugano. You would see the glaciers plus raging rivers with the first snowmelt. Run a search here or check the Fodor's guides. By using the train, you will also save time in the drive, as the Gotthard tunnel into Italy tends to be very crowded, especially on Fridays and Mondays. Trying to avoid the tunnel by going over mountain passes in April may be problematic due to the weather.
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Old Mar 17th, 2003, 05:04 AM
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Ahhh Lucerne. So idyllic, especially when taking a lovely boat ride on the river. So peaceful.....
Try desalpes-luzern.ch for your hotel. It's right on the water next to the wooden bridge, quiet rooms, breakfast, with great restaurants lining the water.
For Lugano, there's Walter Hotel, directly on the lake, breakfast, at the bottom of the hill.
Both of these hotels are 3*.
Ibis has several hotels in Milano for very reasonable prices. We especially liked the Ibis Centro. Go to
http://www.ibis.com. Good location, not far from metro. Breakfast is not included but is well worth the 5 or so dollars it costs.
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Old Mar 17th, 2003, 05:31 AM
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Good morning, CAK2003
Have used the HOTEL LUGANO DANTE in
Lugano twice and have been very impressed with the staff and service.
it is a four star hotel with 53 rooms
located off a little square at the bottom of the funiculare which comes
down from the main Bahnhof. Ristorante
Sayanora (Italian) is across the street.
Richard of LaGrange Park, Il.
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Old Mar 17th, 2003, 06:27 AM
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Hello CAK,

Well, right now, we have the most beautiful weather and I hope this will remain alike for April. Not sure, though. ;o)
April is known for being very variable. It can be very nice, but it can also be rainy. So, depending on that, road conditions will change as well. No prediction is possible.

You've received good advice so far. One word of caution, the Easter weekend (April 17-21) is a holiday over here and the traffic jams southwards are famous ever year, especially on the Gotthard route, but also the San Bernardino. Same old story every year!

In Zurich, I recommend the Hotel Scheuble***. I think, it's one of the best bets for a 3-star.
www.scheuble.ch

Another one, in the middle of the old city would be the Hotel Altstadt***.
www.hotel-altstadt.ch

In Lucerne, there are several nice and popular hotels, however, you should book asap, if it's over Easter!
Lucerne is getting more and more busy, beginning around the month of April.
Make a search for Lucerne and you will come up with different posts recommending places.

In Lugano, the Dante**** is indeed very conveniently located, but it may exceed your budget.
www.hotel-luganodante.com

However, if you can go for a splurge for some days, go for the Hotel Lido Seegarten****. It's right on the lake and they have their own parking. A huge plus in Lugano. Incidentally, just about anywhere! ;o)
www.hotellido-seegarten.com

The Walter*** is also conveniently located, although there is the road between hotel and lake.
www.walteraulac.ch

By the way, depending on the area, prices in three star hotels can vary quite a bit.
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Old Mar 17th, 2003, 12:25 PM
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Thanks, everyone. The two resident Swiss experts seem to vary on their enthusiasm for a trip to Switzerland in late April. I'm not sure what to think. If someone were planning a trip to NYC (where I live) I'd probably say they should come but that the weather is quite unpredictable. Is the weather that predictable in Switzerland that one can be sure it will be rainy and cool?
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Old Mar 17th, 2003, 03:13 PM
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CAK, we were in Lucerne last May. On the day we arrived, it was very warm and sunny. The next day was cold and wet. Spring can be very variable weatherwise, even in May.
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 07:59 AM
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Ursula, you must be Swiss because only a Swiss would consider 50 F good weather! It has been sunny and about that temp for the past week here in Zurich. All the sidewalk cafes put out their tables. Everyone was sitting outside. In their coats and gloves. I kid you not….

Seriously, like April in NYC, April here is very changeable. We had snow on April 12 last year. It did not stick, but it was cold enough to snow. The higher elevations will be colder. Rain is a definite possibly. If you can change your trip, I would say late May or early June are really perfect here. Not too crowded and better weather.
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 01:17 PM
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Thank you. It might be possible for me to postpone the trip to the first week in May (but we'll be sure to avoid May 1 as per the advice of other posts). Would you still advise against going then? We don't mind if we have to wear a sweater and jacket--we're just really excited about seeing Switzerland for the first time. Unfortunately, we can't go the end of May or June.

Thank you for your help!
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