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Is there an area in Switzerland similar to Lake Como?

I'm getting hopeful for an August-September, 2021, Switzerland trip. My husband and I have been vaccinated, but we recognize there are still so many Covid variables outstanding. We feel with the Swiss' efficiency and organization, there MIGHT be a higher chance of fall travel in that area. Some very decent Business Class fares from the West Coast are now very tempting. [We were very fortunate that we received full refunds from our April, 2020 trip, so trust British Airways.] We have been previously to Switzerland and Italy, but want to go back [RS and solo trips in the past.] Also, we are not getting any younger....

I'm tempted to add a jaunt to Lake Como [Varenna] as part of the Swiss trip [then catch the Bernina Express]. I just didn't get enough of the area two years ago. However, if there's an area in Switzerland comparable, maybe we wouldn't need to venture into Italy. I had intended to fly into Milan and out of Zurich, but right now that's considerably more costly, so it might have to be Zurich RT.

The very early plan is to visit Luzern, Murren/Weggen [still haven't seen the Jungfrau due to weather], Bern, riding the Bernina Express along the way. Also considering going to Strasbourg/Colmar for biking and wine tasting. ] The trip will be about 13 nights, plus flying days.]

I know I could post this in the Switzerland section, but that section of this Forum hasn't seen much activity lately.

So- is Lake Como incomparable ? I respect the opinions here, and you all have provided such helpful advice in the past.

Safe future travels to all as we dare to dream.....

Posted by
831 posts

Cj, I have been to Lugano, as part of a RS Tour. For whatever reason, I didn't fall in love with that city.
Thx for taking the time to post, and best wished for future travels!

Posted by
599 posts

It's on the tour I hope to take in Sep but isn't a part I'm particularly looking forward to. It seems a bit "faded glory". What didn't you like and what did Lake Como have that you did?

Posted by
6212 posts

For whatever reason, I didn't fall in love with that city.

I actually enjoyed Lugano but I can understand why some might not be totally enamored with it. Have you looked at staying at one of the other towns/villages on the lake besides the city of Lugano?

Is there a reason you don't want to 'venture' into Italy and visit Lake Como (or Lake Maggiore, which I loved)?

Posted by
29 posts

What about the part of Lake Maggiore that extends into Switzerland? I stayed in Canobbio, on the Italian side, and thought it was lovely. I really didn't spend time on the Swiss side because it was so much more expensive than the Italian side, so I can't recommend any towns there.

Posted by
6105 posts

We drove over to Lake Lugano from Lake Como for lunch. I thought it was lovely but not as pretty as Lake Como, Lake Garda or Lake Maggiore. The town of Lugano was nice.
Have you been to Lucerne, also situated on a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains?
Alsace is the prefect destination for biking and wineries. Strasbourg is a beautiful small city. The only place we didn’t care for in Alsace was Colmar and we’re glad we stayed in a wine village.

Posted by
831 posts

When we stayed in Varenna on Lake Como, I liked the peaceful evenings on the balcony, overlooking the lake, with a glass of wine. During the days, we took the ferries to Bellagio, Mennagio, and Villa Balbianello . The shops seem more locally-owned, and the natural beauty of the area spectacular, with the Alps outlining the lake.

Downtown Lake Lugano reminded me more of downtown La Jolla, [a local area], with high-end expensive shops. There were members of our RS tour that did enjoy hiking thru the olive groves along the lake, so I don't want to criticize an area that folks do love.

If the airline rates change, the ideal plan for us is to fly into Milan, stay in Varenna, train to Tirano, where we can then take the Bernina Express to Chur. After that, there's so much more of glorious Switzerland to explore.

If the airlines rates remain at the current levels, we will go in/out of Zurich, and perhaps still go to Lake Como.

I was nowhere near ready to plan a Europe trip, until my husband showed me these low Business Class rates. Oh, can I take the heartache of planning another trip, only to possibly cancel?? Admittedly, a first-world problem, and I am grateful for our good health throughout this pandemic.

Thanks to you all for taking an interest in this query and helping out!

Posted by
831 posts

Suki, Luzern is definitely on the itinerary [ and Mt. Rigi.] I love that town.

Posted by
58 posts

On a prior trip we visited Lucerne and then drove to Lake Como for a few days before returning to Switzerland. It is very doable and the drives are pretty.

Posted by
38 posts

I‘d suggest Morcote or Ascona. For views you could take a cable car from Locarno to Cimetta-Cardada.

Posted by
31195 posts


There are a few areas of Switzerland you could have a look at......

  • Locarno - it's a larger city than Varenna but as I recall there are some hotels along the lake that may offer lake front balconies. While there you could visit the Madonna del Sasso Franciscan Monastery and then take the Cable Car up the mountain to Cardada. The views from there are spectacular! If you time your arrival at the top for lunchtime, stop at the hotel right beside the cable car station and have a fine lunch, while enjoying the views.
  • Lausane / Montreux area - again the cities in that area are larger but it's a nice area.
  • Vevey - also a very scenic area and not quite as large
  • Stresa area - if you don't mind considering another place in Italy, have a look at Stresa, which is at the other end of the lake from Locarno. There are some nice smaller towns adjacent to Stresa or you could stay right in Stresa. The hotels fronting the lake are probably a bit posh but if you don't mind the cost that shouldn't be a problem.

Just about everywhere you go in Switzerland will have great scenery but as always, with travel in Switzerland be sure to pack lots of money!

Posted by
107 posts

I haven't been yet, but I fell in love with Montreux and the Grand Swiss Hotel after watching this video from How to Switzerland. (If you're not comfortable clicking on the link, you can go to You Tube and search for the How to Switzerland channel. They have lots of other videos on Switzerland that I have found very helpful in my planning).

Seems like there are a lot of good options for days trips too from the area--Gruyeres, Vevey, Lausanne, to name a few.

Posted by
831 posts

Carrie, I loved that video- definitely putting Montreux on the itinerary. I was there briefly as part of our RS tour, but we stayed in Lausanne then. Thanks so much!

Posted by
831 posts

Ken, I will follow up on your suggestions, so thanks for taking the time to be so thorough. Yes, Switzerland is expensive, but the Swiss efficiency and organization, along with the natural beauty, is definitely worth it.
Good wishes for future safe and healthy travels.

Posted by
1573 posts

I've been to Lugano, Locarno, Ascona and Stresa. For me, none of them compare to Lake Como (we have stayed in both Varenna and Como town).

Posted by
831 posts

I've started a new thread with a draft itinerary- pls feel feel to add your wisdom. Thx so much again!