Venice to the lakes

Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 09:20 AM
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Venice to the lakes

Hi, I'm trying to plan a 7 -8 day trip that covers Venice and a few spots on Lakes Maggiore, Como and Garda. I think we will spend 3 nights in Venice (have been there before) and then drive to the lakes. I'm trying to narrow down where to go exactly. We'll then fly out of Milan.

Can anyone help w/a plan? What shouldn't we miss? We like "undiscovered" places - not alot of touristy areas. Any particular boat rides? Any particlar hikes? Any special hotels?

Thanks to all who respond.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 09:56 AM
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You'll do less driving to limit yourself to Garda only, but it's a Honda Accord - - Como is an Acura. Sonehwat similar to each other, one is nicer and more expensive.

If we tell you about a place, it means we've "discovered" it, doesn't it? and a whole lot more people too!

Sorry, just poking a little fun. Obviously some places have less tourist traffic than others. Some of my suggestions would be to include Bassano del Grappa, Trento - - either of the three "sides" of Lake Garda and/or maybe Bergamo.

I'm sure others can suggest even more "undiscovered" destinations than these. Even on Lake Como - - which is an extraordinary place.

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 10:20 AM
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Here is a plan. Lunch in Sirmione for 2 hours and keep truckin to Varenna for at least 2 nites. Then, drive to Stresa[ or Lago Orta] for your last 2 or 3 nites. Malpensa is about :45 from either. See www.stresa.net and www.orta.net for hotels--we like the Hotel Orta. Good luck !
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 10:26 AM
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Lake orta,smaller less crowded,less ritzy
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 11:54 AM
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I'd rather have the Acura than the Accord - I don't think I'm a snob but on a vacation - I do want the best!

I like the idea of going through Sirmione and then over to Lake Como. So maybe 2 nights on Lake Como and then 2 nights on Lake Maggiore or Orta.

When I wrote "undiscovered" I meant not a lot of tacky souvenir shops, tourist traps, etc. We enjoy seeing how the real locals live - going into their shops - that kind of thing.

Well, it looks like my itinerary is falling into place. Any more hotel reommendations? Any special towns?

Thanks everyone.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 01:25 PM
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This shows that the often used pigeonholes of travel description just don't work. Bellagio is the gem of the Italian Lakes, but it is the LEAST "undiscovered" place. It's on a par with Monte Carlo, or Palm Beach or Martha's Vineyard. It exists 50-90% for the tourists who come there, and they come from all over the world. The shops are not, in general, where the locals do their everyday shopping.

But at the same, it is NOT tacky, nor does it feel hokey or "just for the tourists. After all, in large measure, it's the natural attraction of how this twisted fork of a lake lies nesteled in these rocky crags. Nothing disney-esque about that. There's just a considerable blend of Rodeo Drive stirred in, along with just what you think "Italian picturesque" ought to mean.

Lake Como is a sea of Acuras. Bellagio is a Jaguar/Ferrari/Bentley right in the middle.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 05:46 PM
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Thanks for the info so far.

Keep in coming. Thanks.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 06:23 PM
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Mikki, go to this website: www.hotel-gardesana.com
This is a hotel (practically the only one) in the lovely little town of Torre di Benaco on the eastern shore of Lake Garda. It is a wonderful small hotel in a delightful town that seems to cry out for what you are looking for. It is also a great base to explore the lake and the other towns on it, preferably by ferry or hydrofoil which docks just outside the hotel. The restaurant in the hotel is exceptional, and there are several other small great lakefront restaurants, one built almost totally on a platform built just inches above the lake.

I found Sirmione pretty, but totally touristy, not a place I'd really enjoy staying, and sadly the south end of Lake Garda, where it is located is the least attractive part of the lake. The northern end disappears into beautiful mountains.

Bellagio may be touristy, but it is magical at the same time (especially after 4 or 5 in the afternoon when the thousands of day trippers leave). Use the daytime to leave there and explore the tiny charming towns and villas of central Lake Como.

The villas of Lake Maggiore are pretty and interesting, but frankly I'd spend the time on Garda and Como if you can only do two. Sadly, I've still missed out on visiting Orta, many people's favorite.

Incidentally, we stopped for a long stroll and lunch in the high city at Bergamo when we drove from Torre di Benaco to Bellagio. It really is worth a few hours at least and a nice break between the two lakes.
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