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Help Needed seeking suggestions for bases in north Italy (lakes and possibly Trentino or Lombardy

mismirr

New Member
I'm planning a two week trip to Northern Italy with my adult daughter (probably staying in two places, one week each). Does anyone have a suggestion for 1) which lake might be a good base, ie, pretty and relaxed but also centrally located and possibly in a village where we can walk to a restaurant, etc; and 2) a base a little farther into the mountains, with similar criteria? OR, should we have one week be by a lake that's near enough to the mountains that we just do drives from there in one week, and go somewhere different the second week? Thanks!
 

NoSpin

100+ Posts
Wow, there are so many choices. Como is a great location. There are nice towns along the lake and it is an easy trip to Lugano.

If it were me, I'd spend the second week in and around Milan
 

mismirr

New Member
I don't think we'd do Milan because we spent a week there a few years ago, but I guess you're also suggesting another week at a completely difference location.
 

Kportgrl

10+ Posts
Hi! My husband and I are spending 2 weeks in Italy in the Fall. Spending one week in Bellagio (many warned it was too crowded and touristy but from what I’ve read, it reminded us of Positano and we LOVED Positano.) Anyway we are flying into Milan and starting in Bellagio, then making our way down to Umbria for 5 days (with a two day stop in Parma). Then flying home from Rome. If we hadn’t done Umbria, we might have gone North into Switzerland which looks beautiful. We did go to Switzerland last year for part of our holiday and it was $$$$$. Every one said it would be and we loved it, but it really hits home when the credit card bills arrive and our wimpy Canadian $ is always in the toilet.
 

mismirr

New Member
I will check Bellagio! We spent a week in Umbria a few years ago (near Puglia) and really loved it. Thanks for the suggestion. BTW, I should have added that our trip will be about the last two weeks of May (still don't have plane tix), to the extent weather plays a part in northern Italy - might it be a little early for the mountains?
 

mismirr

New Member
Sorry, meant that we spent a week near Perugia! (btw at a lovely rental we found through slowtrav, which was in walking distance to the town, about a half mile)
 

Kportgrl

10+ Posts
I will check Bellagio! We spent a week in Umbria a few years ago (near Puglia) and really loved it. Thanks for the suggestion. BTW, I should have added that our trip will be about the last two weeks of May (still don't have plane tix), to the extent weather plays a part in northern Italy - might it be a little early for the mountains?
Yes good point. It was May last year when we were in Zurich and the nearby mountains and we were unprepared for the cool and rainy weather although we were told it was an anomaly.
 

NoSpin

100+ Posts
I don't think we'd do Milan because we spent a week there a few years ago, but I guess you're also suggesting another week at a completely difference location.
Certainly it depends on what you want from your vacation, but yes I am suggesting a change of venue. As much as we love the area, my wife and I would not spend 2 weeks there in one visit (we have been there 3 times).

How about Verona and Venice, or Turin? (Now I suggest Turin because the best automobile museum in the world is in Turin, but I'm guessing that is not on the top of the list for you and your daughter :D)
 

NoSpin

100+ Posts
Hi! My husband and I are spending 2 weeks in Italy in the Fall. Spending one week in Bellagio (many warned it was too crowded and touristy but from what I’ve read, it reminded us of Positano and we LOVED Positano.) ........ when the credit card bills arrive and our wimpy Canadian $ is always in the toilet.

We loved, loved Bellagio, and the next time we are in the area we are definitely staying there. I know you will love it.

And thanks for the "wimpy Canadian $" we are spending 2+ weeks around Ottawa, Montebello, Montreal and Mont Tremblant in late July. :D
 

Sara

10+ Posts
I'm Italian and I'm aware that Lake Como is super promoted in the English-speaking countries and everybody talks so much about it, overlooking other great lakes like Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda. The latter is very famous among the German-speaking countries and basically a German colony :D

Garda is also the largest lake in Italy and has some great spots to visit. From there, it's also possible to reach through cable car Mount Baldo and hike there, if you're looking for mountains. It's a great base in my opinion, as it's really close to Verona, which has also an international airport (Airport Valerio Catullo). The town of Peschiera del Garda is located on the South-Bank of the lake and it's just one stop away from Verona's main train station. From this town you can reach every town located on the lake through ferry. There are many interesting towns along the lake with cultural and natural attractions. I wrote a post about some of the towns on Lake Garda some time ago, you can read it here if you're interested (it would take too long to list everything here). The region of Trentino, famous for its mountains, borders with the North-Bank of Garda, so it would be quite easy to reach other mountains.

It would be also interesting to visit the outstanding glacial lakes in South Tyrol, literally surrounded by mountains and incredible views, but I guess May would be a little bit too early for that? Not that's not possible to make something like that, but Como and Garda surely have milder temperatures in that period.
 

ncp

10+ Posts
We’ve stayed in Baveno on Lago Maggiore several times. It’s a small town just beyond Stresa. Can do day trips from there and it’s such a quick hop from Malpensa. Or how about Orta? Can you tell I prefer the smaller towns?
 

Sharon J

100+ Posts
We love Varenna on Lake Como. We always stay at the small Albergo Milano. Room #2 is a double with a large lake view terrace. Morning breakfast is on the very large hotel terrace. Great location and one of the best restaurants in Varenna is across from the hotel. Access is easy to everything in town. Do know that there are lots of steps to certain areas of this little town, but most areas have easy access. Email is hotelmilano@varenna.net
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
I like the 1 week in each concept and I'd definitely recommend making the two clearly different, yet east for travel connections.

We liked Lake Molveno, for such easy access to the mountains, decent access to the wonderful city of Trento, some very decent wines (local vino santo, Foradori's excellent range) and a special mention to the charming (but utterly hatstand) butcher in Molveno. The scenery is mountains (tick) lake (tick) large and reasonably picturesque village (tick) with no 'filler'. We've combined it before with Trento itself, but also with Bologna and Verona. The mainline train route makes connections good to Trento, with buses to connect to Molveno (though we did have a car one time).

Easy to have Molveno as the 'mountains with facilities / lake' option and then head upwards for another week. Alternatively have Molveno as the mountain explorer week and have somewhere flatter for the other week (Rovereto / Lake Garda or Trento)
 

JMichael

100+ Posts
I'll throw in my vote with Sharon for Varenna and Albergo Milano. Wonderful and relaxed. From our balcony overlooking Lake Como we could see both the snow capped Alps and Belagio (which is only a short ferry ride away). I'd also make a move by train for the second week to either Venice or Florence. The local train from Varenna arrives at Milano Centrale station. From there it's 2 hours to Florence or 2.5 hours to Venice. Both offer a big change of scenery and experience, yet you won't blow an entire day traveling.
 

David

10+ Posts
Hi everyone. Thanks for this thread. We're going to be in Garda for 3 days at the end of July and are figuring out where we might base ourselves for an additional week - the idea of going up towards Trento is attractive. Thanks! As I plan, I'll post again, just in case it will help others out.

And a shout out to Pauline!!!
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
Hi David
Trento is indeed a lovely city, but I'm wondering whether in July it makes more sense as a day trip than a base. It does have good transport connections, giving you access to Bolzano, Lago Toblino and other locations, plus eases the transfer from Garda. However in July I usually aim to be outside the cities, even the more northerly ones, as it still gets hot there.

I mentioned Molveno above, and it's great if you like stacks of scenery, walking as energetic as you want it, cable cars up into the mountains and a cooling lake. There are regular buses from Trento, but if you have a car, then it opens even more up. Whilst there are some hotels, mostly nearer the lake, there are lots of chalet apartments to rent and this suits us much more.
 

David

10+ Posts
Thanks so much, Ian, for your quick reply. Our style is actually more like yours - we have preferred to rent places out in the countryside with beautiful views and rent a car. Would you have a recommendation of where to look for chalet apartments in Molveno?
 

David

10+ Posts
Hello again, everyone. I just booked a house on Airbnb that looks good. It's in Caldaro, about 20 minutes away from Bolzano, 45 minutes from Trento, and in the middle of the "Alto Adige Weinstrasse." Totally works for us. The place doesn't have any reviews yet, which gave me a bit of pause. But the host is a "Superhost" on Airbnb, I've communicated with him, and there are no red flags. If anyone has any advice for things to do in the area, I'd love to hear it. Otherwise, thanks again. (BTW, I'm a veteran of Slow Travel - an ex-moderator and big fan and friend of Pauline's!)
 
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