We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Italian Lakes: Do I need a car?

Dublin, Ireland
9 posts
Save Topic
Italian Lakes: Do I need a car?

Hi everyone,

My family and I have just booked a trip for 2 weeks in September to the lakes. The itinerary is to stay in Stresa for 4 nights, then 5 nights in Bellagio followed by 4 nights in Verona. The plan is to drive from Stresa to Bellagio, drive Bellagio to Verona and definitely use a car when in Verona to travel to see Lake Garda, wine regions etc. So my question is do we need a car while in Stresa or Bellagio? We have an 18 month old daughter so excessive travel by train isn't really possible with all the baggage !!


Milan, Italy
Level Contributor
16 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Italian Lakes: Do I need a car?

If this is your first visit to the area you may not need a car as there are many trips available using the lake boat services.

From Stresa you can visit the Borromean islands, Isola Bella, Pescatore and Madre.

There is the "Lago Maggiore Express" which is a day trip including lunch, the boat goes to Locarno in Switzerland, then the train across "le centovalli" to Domodossola. From Domodossola the train to Arona then train or boat back to Stresa.

There is more information on the following website.


I have never visited Bellagio so I have no information but there is a boat service available.

When you hire a car look out for speed and traffic light cameras. There have been a lot installed in northern Italy recently.

Worcester, MA
Destination Expert
for Dordogne
Level Contributor
1,329 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Italian Lakes: Do I need a car?

You would not want or need a car in Bellagio - the ferries go everywhere on the lake and the schedule is good

Cambridge, United...
Level Contributor
576 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Italian Lakes: Do I need a car?

as the people have been saying, there are great ferry services on the lakes o you dont need a car to get around the lakes

however getting from one place to another is awkward - esp with the kiddy

personally i think when on holiday the most precious thing is TIME - dont want to waste it waiting for a bus etc

so unless you are on a tight budget Id hire a car for the whole trip and just accept that some days you wont use it

by the way, lake iseo is also very pretty - well worth the couple of hours it takes to drive round - plenty of spots to stop for a meal or just an ice cream - oh, we seem to have done both! - still it was our last day.....

Wakefield, United...
Destination Expert
for Lake Garda, Lake Garda, Nago
Level Contributor
5,757 posts
80 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Italian Lakes: Do I need a car?

Hi, we have visited the lakes both with and without a car and now would certainly always hire one. As previous replies have stated, there are many boats criss-crossing all the lakes but in a lot of cases these do take much longer. We have just returned from Stresa and I think 4 nights would be the ideal time to spend here. Everything is quite close together and the ferries between Stresa, Baveno, Pallanza and the Islands are only short journeys. If you do go to these places by car and park on the edge of the towns the car parking is free and no more than 20mins walk to the centres. A very worthwhile trip from Stresa is to San Giulio on Lake Orta a very pretty old Italian lakeside town. Again on Lake Garda you can take ferries almost anywhere, but these are usually longer trips. With a car you can get to all the smaller towns around the lake and in the area. We have only spent one day on Lake Como at Menaggio, so can't really comment on this, we did however have great problems finding somewhere to park. B

5. Re: Italian Lakes: Do I need a car?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 01 October 2009, 05:26