Please sign in to post.

Italian lakes-Stresa 4 nights or 1 night in Locarno or zermatt

Hi. Going to Stresa in early Sept for 4 nights before heading to Venice. Planning on taking maggiore express train/ferry to Locarno. Should we do long day trip or spend the night in Locarno? We’re traveling fairly light and could also likely leave a suitcase at Steesa hotel if we spent the night there on the way back. Obviously staying put for 4 nights is logistically easier. Just wondering if we need more time in Locarno.
Also, I can stay for free on points at Marriott giardo lago in the outskirts of locarno. Good idea/hotel or not worth it because outside of city?

Or should we ditch that plan and day trip and/or overnight in zermatt? Thanks. Elaine

Posted by
16123 posts

I can't comment on the hotel question, and I've mainly just passed through Locarno, taking day-trips while based in Lugano. However, I want to mention the very interesting Centovalli train line running from Locarno to Domodossala, Italy. It's definitely worth taking that train in one direction. There's a rail link from Domodossala to Stresa.

Although my inclination is to say you can afford to take one night away from Stresa, that's based on trips to Stresa that were mostly about going to the Borromean Isles. The truth is that both Locarno and Stresa felt sort of grand-old-lake-resort to me, useful as much for visiting nearby places as for themselves, but that was 20+ years ago. Let's see what others have to say.

Posted by
3528 posts

4 nights is a long visit for Stresa imo. It is a very quiet and relaxed location. If u do not want that much lounging u could take daytrips out. Zermatt is wonderful however weather is unpredictable as it is in a narrow valley. Plan accordingly. Took me years in summer to get fair weather for Zermatt.

Posted by
3248 posts

Hi Elaine, if you’re going to be in Stresa during the first week of September, you might want to keep an eye on the Stresa Music Festival, if it interests you.

Last time I stayed in Stresa, I stayed three nights - two nights in town and the last night on Isola Bella for a very relaxing & special location. I’d go ahead and change locations for your fourth night.

Posted by
317 posts

thank you. we miss the music festival by 2 nights. cannot change the dates. I understand about the weather. Our last plans to hike in the Austrian Alps were ditched due to 2 days of rain. $ days in Stresa would be divided by day trips, hiking, biking, many 1 day of lounging. Would Sirmione or Bellagio be a better choice for us? We'd like beautiful scenery a nice promenade to walk/bike and easy options for day trips DIY. No car. We're also mulled the idea of flying into Geneva and training down to Milan via Montreux and other towns. We have 6 days to get to Venice.

Posted by
11937 posts

I wouldn’t change hotels, especially if you are using public transportation.
The time it takes to the move logistics (pack-check out-go to Locarno-find Hotel-check in-unpack-get acquainted with surroundings), you can have a nice and relaxing day trip.

Rather, I would take the train from Stresa to Domodossola, then the Centovalli scenic train from Domo to Locarno.
To return to Stresa, you can do the exact reverse, or, depending on the time of the year, you can take a boat from Locarno down to Stresa.
There are also buses from Locarno to Stresa.

I don’t find 4 nights excessive for Stresa. 4 nights are only 3 full days.
One day you can visit the islands, another day you can visit Lake Orta and Orta San Giulio, and the 3rd day you can do the train trip to Locarno I described above.

Posted by
317 posts

thanks to all. I think we'll keep it 4 nights in Stresa. I read on RS that someone didn't like the train to Locarno b/c it was mostly forests, but the photos I googled look like lots of nice views. We're coming off an active week prior to another active 10 days, so a day to rest/recoup might be in order. We're definitely taking the train to Locarno and ferry back.