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Towns/villages on Lake Maggiore

Old Apr 12th, 2005, 12:08 PM
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Towns/villages on Lake Maggiore

Could those of you who have been to Lake Maggiore rec. "must see" towns/villages on the lake. Unfortunately we don't have time to stop at all of them. From what I have read here, I believe Ascona & Lugarno are 2 that are worth visiting, but there's not much else re other towns (other than the islands. We will be staying in Stresa and will have a car. I don't particularly care if I visit another palace or spectacular garden, but instead would like a "cute" town/village to walk around in.

Thank you very much.
ehc is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2005, 03:42 PM
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For everything you need to know about Lake Maggiore (courtesy of PalQ) please see the following;

JJBhoy is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2005, 03:54 PM
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Instead of re-posting my comments on Stresa on this post, I'll give you a link to a previous thread:
cmt is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2005, 04:01 PM
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You mean Locarno. Lugano is another town on Lake Lugano. I agree that Ascona and Locarna are worth visiting. Also, not specifically on the lake but just north of it is Bellanzona which has 3 spectacular castles. One of my must sees for that area is the Centovalli. Take the Centovalli train from Locarno. It's a 2 hour trip to Domodossola, but you could just go to the Swiss/Italian border, and then go back again. If you're up to it, rent a bike at the Camedo train station and ride back to Locarno. Fun! Also, at Verdasio there are two gondolas. One goes up the mountain and the other across the gorge to Rasa. You could have a great lunch at a "grotto" in either of those places. Get a schedule for the Centovalli train so you don't end up stranded.

From both Stresa and Ascona you can take boats out to islands with gardens and villas; Isla Madre and the Bressagio Islands. I would take a boat from Stresa to Locarno/Ascona rather than drive. It's a beautiful trip.
Grasshopper is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2005, 04:03 PM
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I'm sorry... make that the Borromean Islands
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Old Apr 28th, 2005, 08:40 AM
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Does anyone else have any suggestions for towns/villages they have visited and really liked on Lake Maggiore?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Apr 28th, 2005, 10:07 AM
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If you are looking for a really "cute" village to stroll around in, nothing beats Orta San Giulio. I know it is on Lago d'Orta and not Maggiore, but this postcard-perfect town is just a short drive west from Stresa. Nice place to stop for lunch and take in the views of the island basilica in the middle of the lake. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

I agree that Ascona is worth visiting. It is a great place to spend the day at the beach, or walk through the town. If you are into shopping, we found Arona to be far better than Stresa and a lot less touristy. Also, a must do in the area is the cable car to Mount Mottarone.

Have a great trip!
BelTib is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 11:56 AM
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Cannero Riviera looked attractive from the boatdock. J.
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Old May 14th, 2005, 07:21 PM
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Grasshopper is a great resource on this part of the world--I found his earlier postings helpful on trip I had 2 weeks ago to the Lake Lugano/Como/Maggiore region. I've been fortunate to make some friends in this area and have been able to visit the region a few times--here are my fav's, for what it's worth:
--I like Lugano quite a bit. Lake Lugano is more intimate than either Maggiore or Como. If you're driving, check out nearby Morcote or Vico Morcote, located above Morcote. I stayed at a lovely hotel/restaurant in Vico Morcote, the Bellavista, which I'd recommend. Driving up above Vico Morcote, into the hills above Lake Lugano is great.
--Ascona, located adjacent to Locarno on Lake Maggiore, is very lovely. I find it more interesting than Locarno.
--The centovalli train from Locarno, with the rental bike back down, is a wonderful way to spend a day. Sit on the left side of the train as you depart Locarno. Dramatic Swiss valleys, quaint villages, the whole thing.
--I once also hired a taxi to take me up the Val Verzasca to Sognono, from which I rode my bike back to my hotel in Locarno. This was also very cool and, like the Centovalli ride, it was all downhill. The villages were a bit more scenic, especially the rustica ones--ancient, ancient stone-roofed houses.
--On my most recent trip I drove quite a bit. I made the drive from Lugano to Menaggio (curvy, narrow road along Lake Lugano), car ferry to Bellagio (really cool!), a few hours exploring lovely Bellagio, drive to Como along Lake Como (narrow, curvy--it was uncrowded on the day I was there, but would be a nightmare on busy weekends), several hours in Como (very, very nice....wonderful Duomo) and a drive back to Lugano...all in one day. I also drove up and down Lake Maggiore on other was lovely as's a much larger lake with different scenery than Lakes Lugano or Como.
--Bellinzona is worth the trip if you are interested in wandering about nicely restored castles.

Have a great trip!
chicagobluesman is offline  
Old May 15th, 2005, 05:05 AM
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So, chicagobluesman, you've driven all three lakes? What an excellent resource you are! Which one do you consider to be the most aesthetically pleasing? Goofy question? Maybe you could think of it as 'which lake has the greatest number of photo-ops', or 'which lake would most enchant an artist?' In your opinion, of course. Thanks. J. (who's been to Maggiore and Lugano, but never to Como.)
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Old May 15th, 2005, 07:04 AM
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Having traveled all 5 lakes multiple times over 20 years, I find the most serene and romantic is Lago Orta--only :45 from Stresa. But, the entire region is still my favorite destination in Italy---none will disappoint.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 08:27 AM
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Trying to stick to one lake in that part of Italy is not productive. Many have already mentioned the charms of lakes Orta, Maggiore, Lugano, and Como. I'd suggest you devise a roundabout itinerary that includes some of at least two or three of them. Personally, I like the more homey feeling around Lake Lugano, but all of them are worth a visit. I believe I agree with bobthenavigator in placing Orta at the top of the list for tranquility.

As for what villages along any of the lakes to see, many have already been named. Morcote is one of my favorites. Others I like are Locarno, Brissago, Menaggio, Varenna, and Lugano. Regardless of where you go in this area, you can't go wrong. Good luck.
Wayne is offline  
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