Hello! I am planning a trip to Italy for 6-7 days in May (followed by Switzerland for another 7-8 days) . I love the peace of countryside AND the calmness of the lakes! Hence I am torn between where to spend 2-3 days at - Tuscany's beautiful countrysides and wine tasting places or the quiet Lake Como area. I don't know how to drive and hence can't rent cars. If that is almost a deterrent- then I would rather prefer Lake Como. I want to have a relaxing time just by myself for 2-3 days at one place - Would Lake Como be the answer or will I absolutely be foolish to leave Tuscany from my itinerary ? Please help!
Have the mindset that you will return to Italy some day; that makes your choice less stressful.
I like diversity of experiences in my travel (but I also like what makes geographical sense, and I don't know the rest of your itinerary). Lake Como is going to be a mountain lake experience. Tuscany is... well.. Tuscany. If the Switzerland leg of the trip is mountains (with perhaps a lake near the mountains), I would pick Tuscany.
Lake Como is beautiful....and you could stay in Varenna or Bellagio and take the ferry around the lakes during the day to see the area and towns on the water. If you are willing to park yourself in a town in Tuscany like Montepulciano and gaze over the beautiful countryside that could be delightful as well. I tend to think that in Tuscany you would miss having a car more than you would in the Lake Como area. We used our car to drive and tour Tuscany but parked our car in Varenna for the 3 to 4 days we were there while we rode the boat each day to see that area. You cannot go wrong with either!
We enjoyed Lake Como Last year. We travelled via bus from Lake Lugano which is also beautiful.
We stayed in Varenna which is wonderful and enjoyed taking the ferry and visiting Bellagio.
The meals in Varenna were some of the best Pasta dishes we had in Italy. Something I never expected. Very sophisticated cooking.
If you decide to stay on Lake Como don't miss Villa Balbianello. Absolutely Breathtaking Beautiful views and Garden Landscape.
Lake Lugano is worth a several day visit if you are in that area.
Also look at Lago Maggiore. We’ve lived here for close to two years and never needed at car. Like Como, short distance from Milan by train. You can get yo Switzerland through Brig by train, or Licarno by ferry on the lake. So many things to see and to here. The Borromeo Islands, the Monastery, Ted Angera Fortress, cable car n Stresa, and Bucket Gondola in Laveno.
We love Tuscany also and if you like wine, great place to go wine tasting.
We spent two weeks in Bellagio on Lake Como one time and used the ferries to travel up and down the lake. We didn’t have a rental car. I can’t imagine not having a car in Tuscany to explore.