Two Day Lake Como Trip

Aug 22nd, 2007, 06:04 PM
  #1  
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Two Day Lake Como Trip

Hi,

I am going to be driving from Venice to Lake Como on my way to Switzerland. Any thoughts on a good 3-4 star hotel in Como?

Also, how is it to drive in the area? I've never been to Europe so I want to be prepared.

Any ideas on things to do, must sees, etc would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
karbop1 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 07:13 PM
  #2  
 
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Most of us prefer the towns in the mid-lake area to the town of Como. You might consider the towns of Varenna, Bellagio and Menaggio.

The train service in Europe is far better than than you could possibly have seen in the U.S. Trains go up the east side of the lake about every hour.

What to do: #1 use the scheduled boat service to explore some of the towns along the lake #2 tour at least one of the villas. Seriously - the thing to do is see nature's beauty (and riding a boat up and down the lake is a fine way to do that).

We have been to Lake Como three times and will go back again.

What are your interests?
What is your budget for accomodations (per night)?
Big_Red is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 12:28 AM
  #3  
 
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I think Big red gives some good advice although the rail service from Milan to Varenna and on toward Switzerland is probably more like every two hours but that's a minor point.

Driving in that area is fine but one of the best ways to reach that "mid-lake" area is via Varenna whether or not you are driving.

Why ARE you driving, BTW?
Dukey is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 05:49 AM
  #4  
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Hi All,

We're driving because it costs too much to drop the car off in another country. Our original plan was to take the train but we're driving through Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Italy and it was too hard to pick up cars, drop them off and catch trains. We're only going to be in Venice and Lake Como on the Italian side so thought we'd just keep the car.

We're trying to keep our trip inexpensive but for the right hotel am willing to spend a bit. Would prefer to keep the cost under $200 USD per night.

The boat ride sounds like a great way to go. Can you get off and on at various stops?

karbop1 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 06:27 AM
  #5  
 
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With a car stay in Menaggio on the west side---easy drive to Lugano when you leave. Look at Grand Hotel Menaggio.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 06:28 AM
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Hi karbop1, we just spent a night at Lake Como and, on the advice of several Fodorites, stayed at the Hotel Metropole (3-star) in Bellagio. We paid 140 Euro for a small, tidy 2nd-floor double with a nice bathroom, small balcony and a 180-degree view of the lake - simply fabulous! You can't get any closer to the water than the Metropole; it's directly on the lake (as opposed to other hotels in Bellagio that have the street out front). Like you, we were prepared to splurge a little on the right place, but found the Metropole to be exactly what we were looking for at an excellent price.

The Metropole's restaurant looked nice but had a rather mundane menu so we opted to eat at the Hotel Florence down the street, which was excellent and has a beautiful wisteria-covered terrace right on the lake.

We were only there overnight so didn't have a lot of time to explore, but the ferry system seems to be quite efficient - you can get off and on at the various stops around the lake and the boats come quite regularly. The people at the ticket booths are very helpful and can answer any questions you may have.

We had our car and had no trouble getting around northern Italy (although I don't have experience with Venice). The roads can get pretty narrow but we found things to be generally well-signed. If you won't have a navi, try to get your hands on a good atlas (we bought one that covers the Alps and northern Italy at a bookstore in Stuttgart). We drove in from the Dolomites region to Varenna, took the car ferry (12 Euro) over to Bellagio, and parked our car overnight in a surface lot about a 10-minute walk from town. (There is also a parking lot by the ferry dock but it was full and we didn't want to wait for a spot to open up.) We took the car ferry again when we left Bellagio. Both times we bought our ticket about 30 minutes before the ferry arrived.
hausfrau is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 06:29 AM
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We had a car, and I would recommend staying in Lenno. This is a great hotel http://www.albergolenno.com/inglese/ There is a ferry stop right at the hotel. You could drive down the road and have dinner at: http://www.comacina.it/isola/isle.htm It was a wonderful experience.

There is also a ferry stop at Cadenabbia with free parking. Their ferries leave more frequently and into the night if you wanted to have dinner in Bellagio.
Budman is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 04:43 PM
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What you want for the boats is a day pass. It costs a trivial amount more than one round trip ticket. They do work on 'zone' system so a day pass for the entire lake costs more than a day pass fior just the midlake area.
Big_Red is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 05:03 PM
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Karbop 1, when will you be there? Are you starting or ending your trip in Italy?

I'm going to be driving through the same countries next spring, starting in Italy then Switzerland, Austria & ending in Germany. I have found one way to save some cost on the rental car.
offseason is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 05:13 PM
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OK. I'll confuse you with more advice. I'd stay in Varenna on the eastern side, mid-Lake Como.

If you're returning the car in Lugano or travelling on to Lucerne or the Interlaken area, just take the 20-minute car ferry to the western side (Menaggio) and continue on to Lugano.

If you're going to Zurich, it's not necessary to start from Menaggio. You can stay on the Varenna side and go north. The last bit before Zurich will be along the shore of the Walensee and Zurichsee. The route from Menaggio might be slightly shorter. Your choice.

I can recommend the Hotel du Lac in Varenna. Beautiful views, on-site parking, easy driving access from the road.

Go to www.navigazionelaghi.it for the ferry schedules.
Jean is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 02:15 PM
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I wholeheartedly second Albergo Lenno. (Hey, Budman, you never did tell me about your experience there...I hope you loved it even half as much as I did!)
LucieV is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 03:28 PM
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If you're inclined to stay in Bellagio, I'd avoid driving up the peninsula like we did. The road is often only wide enough for one car, but it's two-way. So you may be in a game of chicken with a truck or bus (not for the faint of heart).

Better to take a car ferry there from a town on a more major route (Lecco?).

zooey91 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 04:45 PM
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We have stayed at the Hotel Miralago in Cernobbio and found it to be quite nice. Has a view of the lake and a short walk to the Villa d'Este where you can go for lunch or for drinks after you go out for dinner.
dperag is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 05:00 AM
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Karbop1

Bellagio is the jewel of the Como area...great stop for 2-3 days..lots to see and do..a 30 minute boat ride takes you to Varenna. Also, a 20 minute ferry will take you and your car across the lake for an easy drive to Lugano, Switzerland. Dont worry about the driving, the roads are kind of narrow around the lake, but you will get used to it....enjoy!
Mikek
mike1728 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 05:55 AM
  #15  
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this is a great trip report.

http://www.travelswithdiane.homestea...5LakeComo.html
 
Aug 26th, 2007, 06:35 AM
  #16  
 
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Hi karbop1, We have returned from our driving trip thro Italy France and Switzerland. Picked car up in Nice, dropped off in Paris. Renault Megane, wagon for 4 people. Good fuel consumption, easy to park.

We drove from Cinque Terre up to Cadenabbia and then ferried over to Bellagio for 2 nights. The mid-lake towns are convenient for the drive to Switzerland. Day of departure we took 9.30am ferry back to Cadenabbia and drove via Menaggio ,Lugano and onto Grindelwald. The drive along lake Lugano was slow as it was single lane, narrow and we were stuck behind a camper. Allow plenty of time to get thro Gotthard tunnel. It was a Saturday morning and I am not sure if this was an aberration but it took 4 1/2 hours to get from the highway outside Lugano to the end of the of the tunnel. Traffic was literally at crawl speed due purely to volume and the fact that the tunnel has only a single lane for each direction of traffic. The backup started as soon as we left Lugano and got onto the highway.

IF you opt for Bellagio only some hotels have parking. We stayed at the Du Lac as it had A/C and parking 9 euros per night. Hotel was overpriced for accomodation and service so I cannot recommend but view was awesome. There are other hotels , check Tripadvisor. Bellagio was a great spot , ferry to other villages easy. If you opt for Bellagio get village access code from hotel so you can drive your car in. Once parked you will not need your car for the 2 days you are there. There is public parking avaialable if your hotel does not have any.

Menaggio would also be a good choice, no need to transport your car across and worry about parking. Grand Hotel Mennagio looked great and would likely be our stop next time around, just to get a different perspective and to see the view of Bellagio and Varenna, rather than the view from Bellagio next time around. Well situated hotel , good view and no parking issues. Also better fery access than Bellagio, but it was not a big deal for us as we had looked over ferry schedules on line before our trip and planned accordingly.

We did take a ferry to Varenna and it is a quaint village, however its not convenient with a car unless you are willing to leave your car across the lake in Cadenabbia or Mennagio for the 2 days you are in Varenna. We were not comfortable doing this. I suppose its safe but we were not willing to chance it. Varenna is quieter, more laidback. Bellagio , Mennagio seemed to have more restaurants, shops. Bellagio busy in the day, but once the tourists have left, magical.We do not regret our choice for this trip at all.

Things to do; Villa Carlotta, few hours in Varenna, stroll around Bellagio, enjoy just being there. For 1- 2 days do not overplan. One of the nicest times of our trip was sitting with our kids at a cafe in Varenna at a lakeside table for 2 hours and just talking.have fun I wish we were just leaving rather than getting into the back school mode.
DOCK is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 07:25 AM
  #17  
 
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One more clarification.
The car ferries service only the mid-lake area. The boat service goes all over the lake.
The only towns with car ferry service are: Bellagio, Varenna, Menaggio and Cadenabbia.
Big_Red is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 01:20 PM
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Hi Everyone,

Once again thanks for all the great advice. I actually made reservations this morning for Hotel Silvio in Bellagio. Looked great on tripadvisor.com. Will enjoy regardless. Appreciate the heads-up on the road to Lugano. We will be heading there on 10/2 on our way to Zermatt so hopefully we won't get stuck in too much traffic.

You guys have been great about giving me the heads-up on places to go, how to get there, etc.

I can't thank you enough. I'm really looking forward to the trip.

Karbop1
karbop1 is offline  
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