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A town like Riva but closer to Como?

(23 Posts)
Behooven Fri 19-Feb-16 19:07:46

Just that really. I've been to Lake Garda a few times and fancy trying the other lakes (flying to Milan)
Appreciate any ideas for towns and hotels please?

Blue2014 Fri 19-Feb-16 19:08:38

Just my opinion but como is nowhere near as nice as Garda

Behooven Fri 19-Feb-16 19:10:29

Really? oh that's a shame, I quite fancied a different Lake this time

Blue2014 Fri 19-Feb-16 19:47:49

We went to bellagio, it was full of "American breakfast" cafes and very set up for the America tourist which I wasn't a fan of, I thought como would be amazing but I wouldn't go back lets ignore the fact that I've now been to lake Garda 7x!

LIZS Fri 19-Feb-16 19:59:47

Lake Como is more scenic, less commercial and quieter than Lake Garda. Menaggio is probably similar to Riva , Bellagio is very touristy, Como itself is chic. Have you considered Lugano, just over the Swiss border? It has squares and cobbles like Riva and access to cable cars up to viewing points. An hour or so drive from Milan and you can easily visit Lake Como.

Behooven Fri 19-Feb-16 20:12:44

Thanks for the replies. Lugano sounds perfect, Bellagio not so much!
Open to any location/lake, and we do like to travel around from a base.

Blue2014 Fri 19-Feb-16 20:14:10

Damnit I clearly picked the wrong town!!

allegretto Sun 21-Feb-16 18:06:55

I much prefer Lake Como to Garda. I wouldn't stay at Bellaggio but Menaggio is quite nice as a base.

LittleFishBigOcean Sun 21-Feb-16 18:09:46

Lake Idro is stunning. Much much quieter than Garda but only a short drive away. Hardly any English tourists but lovely food and amazing scenery.

Behooven Sun 21-Feb-16 19:58:00

More replies, thanks smile
I'm searching for hotels now, there's already a lot of accommodation fully booked!

LIZS Sun 21-Feb-16 20:48:25

We only booked Lake Como a few weeks ahead a couple of summers ago , hotel with Inghams.

ZenNudist Sun 21-Feb-16 21:06:11

We had a fab holiday on lake como last august staying in menaggio would recommend it. It's a good base for seeing lots of the lake . You can get ferry from there or to cadenabia griante car ferry.

Lugano is Swiss and very pricey. I actually found very nice villa there but thankful didn't stay there as it would have been arm and a leg time every time we went out to eat!

I fancy trying lake maggiore next. Garda doesn't appeal so much because I prefer quieter less touristy places. But I would try it after lake maggiore which my DPs rave about.

Just across the water from menaggio is Varena and that was lovely to visit.

We were there for 9 days and saw up and down the lake. Very much enjoyed day trip to Como and going on funicular to view above the city. Enjoyed walking tour of bellagio, had great lunches everywhere. Went to Locarno/ Lugano one day and Bellinzona in Switzerland another which was amazing. I can't quite recall all the towns we went to but we are a stunning lunch everyday and had 1yo and 4yo with us who enjoyed the boats and ice cream and pizza and playing by the pool.

Scenery stunning. Love it. Just be careful if you get cheapy Ryanair flight to Milan bergamont that you plan your journey properly because it took ages to drive round the lake as we followed villa owners directions and didn't want to use a car ferry late ish at night so drive round a y shape lake took ages!

ZenNudist Sun 21-Feb-16 21:11:56

Blue2014 bellagio really is an American tourist magnet, it's bizarre they all flock to near where george clooney villa is. It's a nice town but wouldn't want to stay there.

I didn't bother with all the villas and gardens I wish I could have but wasn't right for young children in the heat. We mainly did boat trip - lunch - wander - coffee / cake / ice cream - return boat trip - home to swim - tea /bath/bed for dc - light meal & wine for us!! wink bliss...

Sandgroper Mon 22-Feb-16 10:48:06


We went to Lake Maggiore, 2 summers ago in Aug for 2 weeks and stayed in a lovely town called "Stressa" with 2 boys who were 8 and 6 at the time. It's right on the lake , there is a great kids playground and a little shingle beach bit by the lake where you can go swimming. Very refreshing as it was really hot. Also a great promenade you can walk along the lake dotted with cafes, though beware of the mozzies at night. The town has lots of cafes and the most fantastic gelato shop, was opposite where we stayed so each night after dinner we had a different flavour.

They also had a weekly market with the most amazing produce.

It is a 5 min walk from the town down to the ferry port which can take you to loads of different places. Our boys loved the trips and getting on and off to explore different towns. We did go to Lugano but were shocked at how pricey lunch was after being in Italy, though it's a beautiful town. They had markets along the lake when we were there selling all sorts of different things.

We drove from the UK, yes I know we were mad but Aussies so an overnight drive from Calais didn't faze us. In hindsight it was bonkers but was an adventure. To be honest we only used the car twice, Stressa is very compact you don't need a car. I would definitely go back again but would fly into Milan.

The train station is a 10 min walk from the centre of town with trains to Milan, I think they either took 30 mins or an hour. Sorry can't remember. We did get a scenic train up through the Alps into Swizterland then we returned by ferry. It was a long day but fantastic scenery.

At the other end of town we got a cable car up the mountain which was good fun and had lunch at the top. We took a picnic lunch but there was a cafe up there but the food wasn't that great.

Sorry can't help you with hotels, there were lots along the lake. We stayed in a quirky apartment right in the centre of town.

If you want any more info just ask.

Blue2014 Mon 22-Feb-16 20:06:31

Zen - I had no idea! My research had told me it was the most "glamorous" part of the lake!

ZenNudist Mon 22-Feb-16 20:26:23

Blue - I still think it's a lovely place to go. There's a great view of the central lake, they had a fun fair when we were there which was the most child friendly bit of the holiday barring food. There was a shady park, not much play equipment but kids ran wild and the lake view was great. We had a lovely lunch there (bit of a theme, don't think we put a foot wrong in the eating stakes!)

Now dreaming of my 2017 trip to stressa on lake maggiore thanks to sandgroper!

Sandgroper Wed 24-Feb-16 18:19:31

Zen - I really wanted to go and see George Cloooneys place and stalk him (sad I know) but DH refused saying they won't let tourists get too close to his place.... Had heard it was full of Americans and seemed like a good place to avoid!

I found out about Stressa through someone else on MN (such a brilliant way to find out about holiday places, it has never let me down yet) who had given it a good review and the more research I did, seemed like a great place to go. I would love to go back again, my boys still talk about it...

loopsngeorge Wed 24-Feb-16 20:50:29

Oh no! I went to Bellagio as a child in 1988 and loved it - have always dreamed of going back there. Definitely no Clooney effect back then!

Izlet Wed 24-Feb-16 21:01:23

Stresa is super touristy a a bit tacky to be honest (for my taste anyway - every shop is a souvenir shop). Also pricey for the area. You'd be better off with Arona lower down the lake or anywhere in between. Verbania further north is also nice and there are lots of lovely places along Maggiore if you do have a car.

On Como/Lecco the nicest parts are either Menaggio if you want a town or else at the top of the lake there's Colico or Gera with nice cottages, beaches and sailing/windsurfing/kitesurfing.

Both have easily accessible mountains for trekking and mountain biking if that rocks your boat.

Sandgroper Wed 24-Feb-16 22:09:27

Izlet Stressa does have a lot of tourists but what town on the lakes in the middle of August doesn't??? Yes it does have souvenir shops, but it has a lot of cafes, restaurants and other shops too.... It's hardly Benidorm....

We stayed in an apartment (owned by a lovely Italian couple) down one of the side streets and it was very residential where we were. We didn't find it expensive compared to the UK.

And I don't do tacky!!!!!!

We visited quite a few other towns along the lake and there were tourists everywhere.

I can't comment on the other places you recommended but maybe the OP needs to do some research.

Izlet Wed 24-Feb-16 23:45:33

Yes true, it's not Benidorm by any token but it has taken a gone a bit downhill lately. I have family in the area that bemoan its more genteel period when everyone stayed in the grand hotels smile. The whole area is pretty and there are a lot of gems, many of them still relatively unspoilt despite the hordes of tourists. Stresa capitalised a little too much on coach tours in the 80s, which, according to my aunt, is when the rot set in. I'm probably biased though wink.

OP, why not try Lake Orta? Within easy reach of Maggiore, less developed and lots of picturesque villages and lakeside campsites. You mentioned Riva del Garda, are you after watersports or a relaxing family holiday?

Sandgroper Thu 25-Feb-16 10:33:23

Izlet - ah ok understand the connection. I can imagine it the way you and your rellies describe it. I guess if you live there it could be a nightmare in high season, but on the other hand must be good for their local economy! I remember seeing any coach loads of tourist but mind you I wasn't really looking for them.

DH reminded me of the markets and "our chicken incident". The fresh produce was amazing, the watermelon, tomatoes, figs, cheese, olives, god it's making my mouth water. The kids were a bit sick of pizza and pasta and wanted us to buy a whole hot chicken for lunch, they were corn fed and barbecued and ready to go. But they were 9 euros... I was a bit 😳 Saying we could get one at Waitrose for about £5, not sure why it was so £££ but we got it anyway (was delicious) - things you do whilst on holiday! We also found a fab little local bread shop tucked away off a carpark, boys love going to choose something each day, the staff were lovely with them.

For a family with small kids it was ideal for the type of holiday we were looking for - as much or as little as we wanted to. I agree with the little gems, I forgot we walked to a beautiful gardens along the lake (it was about 15 mins from memory) there was a beautiful villa and they had lots of lovely little places for the boys to explore, had a few nice playground areas, a little train ride and a tiny cafe where we had a light lunch. I think either our National Trust or Wisley membership got us a discount. It was good for an afternoon.

Up the other end of town along the lake (just before we got to the cable car to go up the mountain) there was a deralict villa for sale right on the lake. It could have been an amazing "boutique hotel", though I suspect a money pit. Couldn't persuade DH we could sell up in the UK and move there....

I agree local knowledge is like "gold dust". It would be good to go back again any maybe explore some of the quieter areas you recommended.

starfish8 Thu 10-Mar-16 22:54:02

Tremezzo so on west side of lake. It was the most beautiful and peaceful holiday we ever had. Hotel Villa Maria I think we stayed in. They have hotel rooms and apartment rooms I think.

Garda and Como are chalk and cheese I believe. Garda much more commercial, but with more facilities and sports etc. Ok Bellagio is full of Americans but we went end of June a few years ago and the whole was really peaceful compared to holidays on Amalfi Coast and Spain/Majorca etc

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