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

Time constraints- which to leave out, Cinque Terre or Lake Como

Time constraints- which to leave out, Cinque Terre or Lake Como

Oct 16th, 2006, 07:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 473
Time constraints- which to leave out, Cinque Terre or Lake Como

During the last week of June 07, we're coming from Pienza area heading north and eventually ending up in Wengen. Due to time and money, I have to make a choice between CT and Lake Como. I've searched extensively and read many comments on both. Interested in scenery, hiking not a priority since we'll be doing some in Wengen. Help, thanks!
Beatle is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 08:17 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 41,597
I just returned from 3 weeks in Italy. We spent our first 2 days in Como (Lenno) and our next 2 days in Cinqueterre (Manarola). We loved both places so much, we changed our plans so that we could spend a few more days in each place on our way back to Milan. I know that's not much of an answer, but I guess my point is: they're both wonderful. You have a choice between Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch or Haagen Dazs Macadamia Nut Crunch -- different, but equally rich & splendid! You can't make a wrong turn!
LucieV is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 08:18 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549
Leave out Pienza?
Dukey is offline  
Oct 17th, 2006, 01:16 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,848
Having been to both places at different times of the year, I would pick Lake Como. Of course that is purely my opinion. It would depend if you prefer a "calmer" option or a more hectic option. I found Lake Como very relaxing, OK we were there in Sept and not June. I thought it was one of the most beautiful and serene places I have ever seen. I enjoyed CT but thought it was very busy, packed with people and far more hectic. You don't say how old you are, maybe you prefer the busy, busy lifestyle, or maybe you prefer taking it a bit more easy.

My opinion, and I am sticking to it.
schnauzer is online now  
Oct 17th, 2006, 04:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 473
Good point schnauzer- I'm 55 and night life not a priority, scenery is.
Beatle is offline  
Oct 17th, 2006, 04:57 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 225
I'd skip the Cinque Terre.

I know I'm in the minority here since I've read so many glowing reports about the area. We visited Monterosso, Vernazza, and Rio Maggiore and were very disappointed. Of the three, Vernazza was the only only of any interest to us.

If you do choose to visit this area and elect to walk the 'coast road' between some of the cities be aware that what they describe as moderate difficulty between Monterosso and Vernazza is more like strenuous. The views are spectacular, however.
Hal8999 is offline  
Oct 17th, 2006, 05:33 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,848
Lake Como it is for you then!! Mind you don't stay in Como itself but up in Varenna at the Hotel du Lac. Top spot, Bellagio is also good but busier. Make sure you try and visit the Villa Balbianello, just amazing. Great restaurants in both Varenna and Bellagio. I am late 40's hm hm and Dh is late 50's we stayed at Lake Como for our 20th wedding anniversary last year and thought it was the highlight. (OK so Paris was great as well!!)
You will love it. Schnauzer
schnauzer is online now  
Oct 17th, 2006, 10:19 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 497
I liked both Lake Cmo and the CT, but will return to Lake Como again and again, whereas I feel I have "done" the CT.The lake is less crowded than the CT and has beautiful scenery.
SuQue is offline  
Oct 17th, 2006, 10:36 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,652
IMO Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda are better tourist destinations than Lake Como - Bellagio, one of Europe's biggest tourist traps, to boot.

5 Terre is not for you from what you say if you chosing between it and dip in a lake.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Oct 17th, 2006, 10:44 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,862
I think that to call Bellagio a tourist trap is not quite fair. Yes it can be overrun in the summer. But that is because of its tremendous charm. To me a tourist trap is someplace like "The Merle Haggard Tractor Pull Museum and Theme Park." Not a place as lovely as Bellagio.
Cimbrone is offline  
Oct 17th, 2006, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,509
With a car, and going to CH afterward, I would stay in Menaggio on th west side. You have to do Lago Como once in your life.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Oct 17th, 2006, 05:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 203
boy - that's tough to decide, but if I had to lop off either the Lakes region or the CT, it'd have more to do with when the stop would be in the trip. We started with 2 nights on Lake Como and ended our 2+ weeks trip with 3 nights in Vernazza. Varenna on Lake Como was the perfect spot to decompress from work & travel (I couldn't help but think what Lake Tahoe COULD have been like), and Vernazza offered a welcome respite from the hustle & bustle of Venice/Florence. It helped to organize our circuit that we flew in/out of Malpensa.

Both areas are lovely in their own right, but I saw people struggling as much with the pedestrian alleys of Bellagio and the trails above Vernazza as I did on the trails between towns in the CT. Whichever you choose, enjoy your trip!
ronin is offline  
Oct 18th, 2006, 11:48 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,652
<that to call Bellagio a tourist trap is not quite fair. Yes it can be overrun in the summer>

Cimbrone, i agree with you i should have qualified when i visited it was September, mid-Sept but the whole lower town was literally elbow to elbow, (almost at a Portofinoesque level of crowding!) negating for me any romance the place obviously offers when the tourist mobs are gone. Actually it was a fascinating time for me, sitting on the jetty watching boat after boat ejaculate their loads of tourists - i like mob scenes like that. I'm sure at night and in the off-season it lives up to its reputation. Even then, by climbing the hill the number of tourists quickly evaporated.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Oct 19th, 2006, 07:48 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 397
I agree that Bellagio is overhyped and overrun, but there are plenty of lovely towns elsewhere on the lake. Varenna has similar steep alleyways. Many places have equally stunning (or better) views. And the shops in Bellagio are touristy and mostly overpriced.

best regards,
Deirdré Straughan

DeirdreStraughan is offline  
Oct 19th, 2006, 09:48 AM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 41,597
In defense of Bellaggio: our first time there was in late September (this year) on a weekday. Jampackedtothegills! I couldn't wait to get back on the ferry to laconic Lenno. Two weeks later (now mid-October), also on a weekday, we returned to Bellaggio, and I'm so glad I did: I was now able to see why the place once merited its raves.
LucieV is offline  
Oct 19th, 2006, 10:09 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 128
I stayed in Bellagio for 3 days this past June (3rd week) with my two kids, and we absolutely loved it. We then headed to Portofino for lunch on way to our Tuscan place. I love both of these areas, but considering how incredibly hot and sticky it was, I would opt for the lake region, which was a bit cooler, and FAR less crowded. We also enjoyed village-hopping to Lenno (Villa Balbionella) and Varenna (and yes, Hotel du Lac looks incredible and peaceful), but thoroughly enjoyed staying right in the center of Bellagio, along the water. If you're interested in other lakes, we have also enjoyed Stresa on Lake Maggiore...lovely setting and much less visited.
guanciale is offline  
Oct 20th, 2006, 05:03 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 473
Thanks for the helpful replies. Having never been to any of these places, I would really like to hear comments re PalenqueBob's opinion that Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda may be a better choice(especially in early July) than Lake Como. Thanks..
Beatle is offline  
Oct 20th, 2006, 05:30 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,848
I don't you can go wrong with any of the Lakes. They all have a different character and charm. Lake Garda has a lot of sailing and sporting events, so that could be interesting if something was happening when you were there. We enjoyed Stressa - got a good feel about the place. Wasn't that impressed with the Borrowmean Islands, however. We did these after Como so I think we were villered out by then. If you hadn't been to anywhere then it probably would have been great. Lake Maggiore is more open than Como, not so intimate, but still beautiful. Have you said how long you will be staying? Missed that bit if you did. Make it the place that fits into your schedule the best, ie travel distances and ease of driving etc. Pick anyone and you can't lose. My pick still would be Lake Como, staying in Varenna.
schnauzer is online now  
Oct 20th, 2006, 06:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 473
Thanks Schnauzer, unfortunately we'll only be there 1 night, 2 days. From there we'll be going to Wengen, so based on that, I guess we're also looking for a convenient location to head out for Wengen.
Beatle is offline  

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 -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:08 AM.