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Where in Italian/Swiss Lake district with children and stroller?


Dec 23rd, 2005, 04:40 AM
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Where in Italian/Swiss Lake district with children and stroller?


First, I would like to say that I have been reading this board for many years and we have had better experiences because of it. So, thank you for making this a great source of information to one of I am sure many lurkers.

Finally, I have come up with a question that endless searches and thread-reading has not answered. I am currently living in London and I am trying to plan a 4 night excursion in early April. I found some cheap tickets to MXP and we have never been to the lake district so we would like to do that.

I am travelling with my husband and 2 children who will be 4 and 2 at the time. We travel with an urban double stroller with rubber tires which has served us well. We were thinking about Verenna or Bellagio, however, huge hills and stairs can be cumbersome for my husband, who will be pushing the stroller generally. We were just in Villefranche sur Mer and we quickly started looking for paths to avoid the relatively minor steps in the old town. We were glad we stayed there, but we are not too interested in staying somewhere with lots of steps or steep inclines that we would be pushing a stroller up several times each day.

For this reason, I think Bellagio is out from what I have read. But what about Varenna - or can anyone recommend another lake town that might suit us?

Alternatively we may scrap the lake district alltogether and do something else if we can't find a spot we can get to from MXP.

Thanks for your advise.


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Dec 23rd, 2005, 06:11 AM
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Kristin - You might want to consider Mennaggio - I think it could be your best choice.

The town centre is pretty much on the level - and, apart from being an attractive little town I think it makes a great base for Lake Como.

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Dec 23rd, 2005, 06:28 AM
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I agree that Menaggio is your best choice on Como. However, what about Stresa on Lago Maggiore---easy to navigate and closer to MXP. See www.stresa.net
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 06:53 AM
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Hi, Did you mention if you will be driving or using the trains? If you'll consider the Swiss side, I'd recommend Locarno on Lago Maggiore, or if you've got a car, Ascona at the same end of the lake. J.
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 07:35 AM
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Thank you for your responses.

We likely will not have a car but shuttling to Milan and train changes with 2 small children and luggage is a hassle. I thought we would likely take a taxi or have the hotel schedule a driver for us to get to our destination - I think to Verenna it is about 130 euro each way. Mennaggio sounds nice although now I am concerned that perhaps Lake Como is not the right destination for us if we have 4 days and will have a difficult time navigating the most scenic towns on the lake.

Stresa does sound nice - I had not considered it before. I am looking into it and the closer to MXP the better for us.

We also would be happy to go to Switzerland. I would have to ask my husband, but I believe we were actually supposed to go to Ascona last year on a trip to Switzerland that we had to cancel. I am curious why you need a car for Ascona?
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 07:38 AM
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If you do go to Stressa you can take a day trip by boat to Ascona or Locarno. I think the comment about a car in Ascona is because while you can get to Locarno by train, you need to take a bus the rest of the way to Ascona.

I agree Lago Maggiore would be a great choice for you. It's really beautiful and there is plenty to see.
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 07:45 AM
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I have been to both Stresa and to Lake Como (Bellagio and Varenna and Como) and much prefer Lake Como but in your case I think Stresa would be better. Bellagio is mostly stepped streets so a definite no-no with a large stroller. Varenna does have a flat level promenade from the boat dock along the lake. But it's pretty short and to go anywhere else in the town is again, stepped streets or very steep paths. The city of Como was pretty flat, and the center was nice enough, but didn't have the same ambiance that the smaller towns had. On the other hand, Stresa was very flat, and a much larger town than Bellagio or Varenna, but not a city like Como (although Como is a small city). The little islands that you can get to by boat from Stresa would not be stroller friendly but they are so small that for the short time you would be visiting them I would think the children could walk or be carried. I remember when my kids were that age they liked to have some non-stroller time.
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 09:44 AM
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Hello again. That's right. Ascona is reached by bus from Locarno. Are you sure you wouldn't like to consider renting a car? That would cinch Ascona, and the number of places around the lake to visit will keep you busy. J.
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 09:57 AM
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Thanks for the information. I don't know about the car. My husband is a very confident driver and has a good sense of direction but he drives around London a lot and likes to get away from the car when he is relaxing. The car doesn't bother me, but I am not a confident driver in unfamiliar places so having me drive would not be an option. That is why we do things others would not consider like take an expensive taxi to a town when we could have rented a car for less.

I will continue to ponder my options and price transportation. Thanks for the ideas!
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 09:57 AM
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Hello kmflondon, although I have never been in Italy with a stroller the two places that came to mind was Stresa and/or the City of Como. I notice others here have the same thought. Best wishes to you and have a fun time in Italy. Know you will find Italians love little ones so you should all have a beautiful visit in Italy.
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Dec 24th, 2005, 01:46 PM
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I stayed at The Belvidere in Stresa this summer on the last leg of a tour and saw plenty of young parents with strollers, kids on the narrow "beach" and bus/boat transport was easy. We went into Switzerland twice, Lugano was a fun day trip for shopping. Lake Maggiore was beautiful except for the insects biting everyone after dusk.
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