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Would Like Input on Choosing a Lake in N. Italy for 2008

Would Like Input on Choosing a Lake in N. Italy for 2008

May 29th, 2007, 11:58 AM
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Would Like Input on Choosing a Lake in N. Italy for 2008

We just returned (May 13) from Stresa on Lago Maggiore, Italy, and enjoyed this town very much. Our trip started in Ischia, a stopover in Bologna and ended with six nights in Stresa.

We were already plotting our next trip to the Lake region while we were in Stresa. I feel like Goldilocks: Stresa wasn't too big, wasn't too small...just right.

From other travelers' experience, which would be a better fit based on how we felt about Stresa: Lago Como or Lago Garda?

We will be traveling that part of Italy the second week in May 2008. (I might add that the towns of Baveno & Pallanza did not appeal to us, if that helps any in your comments.)

i_am_kane is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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We enjoy the smaller towns like Malcesine on Lake Garda. This year we planning on a day trip to Venice if we feel energetic. We also enjoyed Ascona on Logo Maggiore very much.
olyman is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 12:35 PM
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Another Malcesine fan. You need a car to get there.
enzian is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 12:36 PM
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Hmmm ! My favorite part of Italy.
Here are 3 ideas for you to research. I would start or end at Lago Orta if you fly into Malpensa. It is my favorite among the 5 lakes. See www.orta.net
Of course, you must stay on Lago Como as well. With a car I would stay in Menaggio on the west shore and drive there via Lugano. The other location is the north end of Garda. Look at Rive del Garda or Malcesine as a base location---both are good.
You can do all 3 locations in 12 days. We are goin back for our 4th time to Orta in Sep after a week at a B&B in Piedmont. Good luck and plan well.
bobthenavigator is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 12:38 PM
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Thanks olyman for your input. Ascona is a lovely port town and I can understand how someone can enjoy it.

However, I should mention that we visited Ascona and it was too small, and too quiet for us. We would like to spend a week in one of the lake towns, but need a bit more action going on.

We stayed at the Hotel Astoria on Corso Umberto and the walk into Stresa Town Center was 5 min. My husband really enjoyed being able to stroll into town with or without me and hang around for 1/2 hr. to an hour. He was very comfortable with that town's "personality" so to speak.

The more information I can put on this board, hopefully, someone will put it all together and make suggestions that will appeal to us.

i_am_kane is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 12:51 PM
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Well, I haven't been to Stresa, but I think Lugano might have what you're looking for. It's charming, with small villages just a walk or boat ride away. But it's a big enough city that its shops and restaurants and old town ought to be able to occupy you for a while. And it's in Switzerland, not Italy, of course.
Cimbrone is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 03:31 PM
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i_am_kane is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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i_am_kane is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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What kind of things are you interested in doing there? At Malcesine, you can hike up Monte Baldo, or ride a gondola up to see the Dolomites in the distance; ride lake boats to other towns; go windsurfing; explore the ruined castle. There is a great little winebar in town but not much else in the way of nightlife.

Maybe others will say what their favorite lake town offers.
enzian is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 02:02 PM
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How strange, on my computer your post didn't show up until Wednesday (5/30) afternoon. I know this is your favorite part of Italy and it may become my husband's favorite as well.

Two weeks ago we rented a car in Stresa for the first time ever in Italy - a Fiat Panda, powder blue, 5-speed. Our goal was to visit Lago d'Orta and that was our only option. I felt like Cinderella. It should have been a red Ferrari!

It took about 40 min. from Stresa to Orta and it was an easy drive (as you probably know). My husband has now been initiated and will rent a car next year for at least part of our trip. He drives about 80,000 miles per year at home, so he likes a break on vacation.

Anyway, we must have missed something in Orta because neither one of us has a desire to spend any amount of time there...possibly though, the night before our departure out of Malpensa next May.

Our 2008 trip will start in Rome (AA direct from JFK) and it will be a bit of a longer trip, so we are thinking of staying in a small, but interesting town, in Tuscany prior to traveling to the lake region.

I will certainly research your suggestions about both Como and northern part of Garda.

Bob, Italy keeps calling you back.
i_am_kane is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 02:19 PM
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We LOVED Lake Como. It felt like Heaven on earth. We stayed in room 21 at Albergo Oliveto in Varenna and had the most amazing views over the lake. The ferry is directly in front of the hotel so it is very easy to take day trips all around the lake. The only downside is that dinner is required with the room--the food was very good, but it would have been fun to have the option to go elsewhere. Our favorite spot was Villa Balbienello--you take a private water taxi there from Lenno (or is it Lecco). Bellagio is a great place to browse.
Search this forum for Lake Como and you'll find lots on comments.
sbsjsf is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:23 AM
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We absolutely loved Lago di Como - visited last September for 3 days and can not wait to get back. Incredible natural beauty, friendly people, just all around restful experience. We stayed in Varenna and liked the village very much. I'd be happy returning to it or perhaps trying out Bellagio or Menaggio - both were appealing towns, although different from each other. There's a bus service from Menaggio to Lugano - we took a day trip and enjoyed it.

Now I am planning a trip to Stresa this fall for another Italian Lakes experience.
kasperdoggie is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 11:01 AM
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Hmmm ! I thought I had said something wrong. Lugano may be too big for you---about 75000 and upscale.
The mid-lake area of Como is hard to beat regardless of where you stay---Menaggio, Bellagio, or Varenna. You trek to all 3 by boat in a triangle.
Riva del Garda can be touristy--primarily German tourists. But, it is very beautiful and about the same size as Stresa. That area is also famous for wind surfing---hundreds of them. The ferry boat runs all day up and down the lake and you hop off at will. Not a bad deal. Verona is an easy day trip. Hard to go wrong !
bobthenavigator is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 11:33 AM
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Obviously, we have never been to Lugano and when I read opinions about Locarno/Lugano, it seems to be 50/50 on who prefers one over the other.

I can say that we did not enjoy Locarno as much as other cities in Italy (it seemed to lack an identity). Lunch at Al Pozz was the highlight.

Lugano with such a large population probably wouldn't be a good choice for us; however, upscale is good.

I will thorough research all of your suggestions, and...you never say anything wrong.

kasperdoggie, I sure hope you enjoy Stresa as much as we did...there's lots to do. I must say we did enjoy the pool area at the Hotel Astoria for our downtime (something to consider).
i_am_kane is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 12:01 PM
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If "upscale is good" and you can distinguish between that and "overpriced" then I would also recommend the mid-lake area of Lake Como.

Have you thought of staying in Bellagio?

The longer you stay here the longer you will get the 50 liked it and 50 didn't I suspect.

I thought Lake Como in May was one of the best times we have ever spent on any vacation; not too crowded, weather was great, everything was relaxed and the area is beautiful.
Dukey is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 01:36 PM
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We are staying in Sulzano on Lago Iseo in September at Hotel Rivalago and will let you know how we liked this lake. We have previously staying on Como and wanted to see another lake.
dedec is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 01:43 PM
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In recent years, I've stayed at Lakes Maggiore, Como and Garda. To be honest, Como was my least favourite; so as you've already been to Lake Maggiore (we too stayed in Stresa), I'd have to recommend the southern end of Lake Garda for your next trip. Lake Como IS scenic - we stayed in Bellagio, and enjoyed the boat trips between the various towns; but the towns themselves are nothing special (very small and not much when you get there). Driving around southern Lake Garda, we found more to see and do in each place we stopped (did'nt like the northern end of the lake so much). But it is less scenic. Depends on whether you want "nice views" (L. Como) or "interesting places to poke about" (L. Garda), I guess...
wrrllw is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Hi Cindy
I just posted a reply but it isn't showing up.
We are planning a short lake trip before a greek cruise for next summer. I've been wishing I had one of your wonderful spreadsheets!
I'll look for your trip report.
daffy_traveller is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 07:20 PM
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Ciao Leslie,

I just got home from Florida and saw your e-mail. I will contact you on Tuesday, 6/19.

i_am_kane is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 10:20 AM
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My husband and I jsut returned from a 16 day trip to Lake maggiore, Lake como, Lake Garda and Venice. Beare the restuarant Grapso's in Garda on Lake Garda--they took us for suckers, and we let them. We ordered the 'seafood special" without asking the price--for two with their cheap wine (the only wine they carry) it was over $100--way too much. And it wasn't good--I don't like tenacles in everything. Beware Graspo's!
MaryannBaldwin is offline  

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