where to stay in Lake Como in mid-May?

Mar 4th, 2015, 05:46 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 40
where to stay in Lake Como in mid-May?

We are three friends going to Lake Como for first time. Will not have car, looking forward to traveling to the various towns for 4-5 days and likely spending a few days after in Milan before flying back to the US. Budget is $275-400/nt. Will book two separate rooms. Prefer upscale, with a/c, and somewhere close to transport and some restaurants. Which is best town to stay in and what hotel? Also considering day trip to Switzerland.
DrShpilkes is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 06:52 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,511
I would get a 2 BR apartment here for easier access to other parts of the lake.
http://www.residencelalimonera.com/
bobthenavigator is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 07:28 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
The apartment Bob linked to was full for our trip so I haven't stayed there, but we did stay in Bellagio in mid-May 2011 and it worked very well for us. Our original plan was to stay in Varenna, but our accommodation fell through due to health issues of the owners, and we ended up in Bellagio at Hotel Centrale instead. That was actually a good thing, I think; Varenna seemed extremely quiet at that time of year. Bellagio was also quiet but still populated, and easy transit to the other lake towns. The hotel was good, with great staff and breakfast, although you could find something more updated if that's important to you.

We took the train from Milan Centrale to Varenna, then the ferry to Bellagio. Easy (though we pack light).
jent103 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 09:46 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
We are still tossing around the same question. We are going mid May for 4 nights. We are trying to decide between these 2:

http://www.olivedo.it/ in Varenna with a lake view room

or

http://www.albergometropole.it/ in a room with limited[ side of building] view but they have beautiful terraces that we could use.

I read jent's comment above about Varenna being quiet at that time of year. While we don't want mobs of tourists, we don't want too quiet.

Room prices are close, Olivedo just 5 euros more a night.

What are your thoughts??
DebitNM is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 10:04 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 100
We are returning to Varenna for a third visit in late June. It has been our first stop to recover from jet lag each time. Olivedo is at the ferry dock. Not sure it is an ideal location. Cannot speak to the Bellagio hotel however.
jeep61 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 10:07 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
jeep - what about Varenna as a location vs Bellagio? We will have been in the lake district for a week before coming to Lake Como, so no jet lag.
DebitNM is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 10:07 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
BTW - DrShpilkes -- love the name!
DebitNM is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 11:07 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
Debit - others here certainly have more knowledge on the subject than my one trip's worth from four years ago, and we were only in Varenna for one day, plus transferring from the train to the ferry. But I think we were the only ones at the restaurant where we ate lunch, and the town seemed very sleepy during the day. We hiked up to Castello di Vezio and there were probably six or seven other people on the trail while we were; I don't remember meeting anyone else on the Fiumelatte trail. Bellagio at that time was also fairly quiet (definitely not mobbed), but was more populated and seemed to have more options for dinner, etc. Menaggio actually seemed like the busiest town while we were visiting (also during the day), but not as postcard-pretty as Bellagio and maybe a little less obviously touristy.

If I were in your shoes I'd probably stay in Bellagio. But maybe we just happened to hit it at an especially quiet time! We were there something like May 12-ish 2011; from what I gather it's a totally different story in July and August.
jent103 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 11:37 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 428
We began our trip to Italy on Lake Como, and it was the perfect place to overcome jet lag and relax before our intense days of visiting museums and cathedrals. We had a wonderful 3-day stay in Bellagio in May 2014 at Haus Bethusy.

http://www.hausbethusy.com/en/

We booked the apartment with two balconies - one looking out over the city and one with a view to the water. Bellagio is very compact and it's a pleasure to walk through the streets. Be prepared for lots of steps! Be sure to buy the mid-lake day pass for the boat that allows you to visit all of the villages along the middle of the lake. We were able to do all of them in a day, including a visit to Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo, and then rode the boat on its entire route at night, which was relaxing and delightful. We highly recommend a visit to to the beauriful gardens of Villa Melzi in Bellagio, which we bought were superior to the gardens at Villa Carlotta. We found Varenna to be pretty but small and thought there probably wouldn't be as much to do in the evening as in Bellagio.

If you take the train from Milan to Varenna (get off at Varenna-Esino) and then the boat to Bellagio, be sure to check for the last boat of the evening if you arrive late in the day. You can also take a train to Como and a bus to Bellagio but take care. We got on the wrong train (the signage from the Milan airport was poor and we were misdirected to the wrong train when we asked for help)) and ended up going to the wrong place but eventually found our way to Como and found the bus to Bellagio with some difficulty. The bus ride did offer lovely views of the lake. Finally, you can take the train to Como and catch a boat to Bellagio.

If you plan to to take the train back from Varenna, buy a round-trip ticket in Milan or buy a return ticket from the I Viaggi del Tivano travel agency in Varenna, open Mon-Fri 9-6, may be open Sat 9-12 noon, closed Sunday. Buy in advance if leaving over the weekend as I think they were also closed the Saturday we were there. No Tickets are sold at the train station in Varenna, which was unmanned. (Rick Steves Italy guide has detailed information on travel in the Lake Como area.)

Enjoy your visit to this beautiful area of Italy!
drchris is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 12:11 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 428
I just pulled up my photos from Bellagio and Varenna and have photos of both hotels you are considering. I wish that I could share them with you as they are beautiful but I've been so busy I haven't gotten around to posting them online. The Metropole in Bellagio is definitely prettier and does have a lovely view terrace though it isn't apparent whether it is open to everyone or only those whose rooms open onto it. Some other rooms have small balconies. Docks for the mid-lake ferries are directly in front of and to the sides of the Metropole. Both hotels have a restaurant on the ground floor so you might ask to be on an upper floor.

If you book a room at the Metropole with a side view of the Lake, I think the side facing left looking at the hotel from the front (I think this is to the north) would have a somewhat prettier view. You might be able to see the snow-capped mountains at a distance as well as the lake. This hotel is close to the shops and restaurants, but nothing in Bellagio is very far. Do walk down to Punta Spartivento, where the two legs of Lake Como split.

All this said, we enjoyed having the roominess of an apartment!
drchris is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 03:23 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 821
In May of 2012 we stayed at the Hotel Florence in Bellagio and liked it a lot. It was not crowded at all and it was unbelievably beautiful. If you click on my name, you can scroll down to the trip report I posted. We highly recommend Bellagio.
john183 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 03:33 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 16,607
Listen, we have also stayed at Hotel Florence in Bellagio.

If you could get the adjoining rooms leading out to a large private balcony overlooking the lake, I think you would be very happy.
iris1745 is online now  
Mar 4th, 2015, 03:44 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,459
Bob,

Thank you for the link. It looks very nice and the price is reasonable.
cafegoddess is online now  
Mar 4th, 2015, 03:57 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
Bob - thanks for the link, now I have 3 to consider!!
DebitNM is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 04:21 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 16,607
Bob, indeed that looks terrific for a reasonable price.

This is the hotel we stayed at. www.hotelflorencebellagio.it

If you look at rooms, there are two rooms that show a table and chairs on a balcony. It was great for us and our friends.
iris1745 is online now  
Mar 4th, 2015, 04:37 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
iris, Hotel Florence is a bit higher than the others, so that is something to think about. The website only has 2014 rates. I emailed them to ask availability and rates.
DebitNM is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 04:49 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 16,607
Hi Debit;I forgot what we paid. We visited the 3rd week of April, so the rates were probably lower.

But I was not sure what $275-400 meant by the op.

Was that per room per night or for two rooms.

If it was for one room, the price fits.

In the evening they have a pleasant bar on the street level.
iris1745 is online now  
Mar 4th, 2015, 04:52 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 428
To refresh my memory, I pulled up my own photo of Hotel Florence in Bellagio. It has a less direct view of the Lake as there is a lakeside dining area between it and the lake. It is farther north along the lake next to the beautiful and very expensive Villa Serbelloni, which our apartment overlooked. It is also not directly among as many shops as Hotel Metropole but closer to Punta Spartivento. But again, Bellagio isn't very big so nothing is very far from anything else!

Have you checked availability for each of these hotels? I booked Bellagio over 6 months in advance and there was little availability, which was another reason we booked an apartment.
drchris is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 05:25 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 40
We have also been looking at the Royal Victoria in Varenna, and the Hotel Belvedere Bellagio in Bellagio. Has anyone stayed at these choices?...They sound good on Tripadvisor. We have a budget of about $275-$400/nt per room. Would prefer a short (10-15 min) walk to the docks, but not directly facing them. Thanks!
DrShpilkes is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 05:26 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 16,607
Yes, we had lunch at the lake side dining area.

However, the rooms start at one level up and overlook the dining area and they have a direct view of the lake.

Then there is perhaps 3 more floors and the rooms on the front have a direct view of the lake.

We were on one level up off the street and had a great view of the lake from our balcony.

I would agree, the Florence is not right in the center of everything, but what are we talking about, a few hundred yards. Not sure, but it's such a small town, it's great walking to any area.

From the Florence we walked a very short time on the flat and then up to lovely restaurants.

Probably a hundred years to the boat dock to traverse the lake.

Perhaps it could be a problem for some, as everyone sees things a bit differently, but for us we felt like we were in the center or everything.
iris1745 is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:27 PM.