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Friday, July 9, 2010

Tips For Traveling To Stresa Without A Car

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Do you need a car in Stresa?
So many people have been writing and asking this question, so I thought it would be helpful to answer it here and then post it in the FAQ section of Stresa Sights. There are pros and cons to having a car in Stresa. Here, I’ll address some points to keep in mind if you are traveling here without a car.

  1. Base yourself near to the center of town and central to all public transportation, so that you do not need to go far with luggage when you arrive or leave, and to be in a convenient starting point for your daily sightseeing. Many people arrive here from Malpensa with the Alibus, which leaves them in front of the church near the lakefront or, at the other stop, near the Carciano imbarcadero. People arriving at the train station will have a few streets to walk downhill to town when arriving, uphill when leaving. You can stay in anything from a simple BandB to a five-star hotel, but you’ll simplify your stay dramatically if you choose a base near to the heart of everything. If you don’t want to be in the hustle and bustle of Piazza Cadorna then look to the side streets nearer to the train station or along the lake, but make it convenient for yourself to walk everywhere.
  1. Next, prepare a list of places you’d like to see. Some may be more difficult to reach with public transportation than others. There are tours that run to many of the major attractions, but tours to the major sites are not available every day. For example, Tomasucci’s half-day tour coach to Lago d’Orta is available only on Thursdays. Tours to Lake Como are on a different day. And so on. Orta is quite difficult to do on public transportation. The same applies to several other locations. Going it on your own also won’t include the interesting commentary you’ll receive on an organized tour, the special touches and the personal attention, as well as the special ticketing. These organized tours will greatly enhance your experiences in these locations. Therefore, please try to arrange your schedule around the availability of tours for the difficult-to-get-to locations. These are the two tour companies I recommend, as both are located in Stresa and run by local owners for many years. All of these tours leave from and return to Stresa. Take a look at the links below for more information.
  1. Once you have slotted in any organized tours that need to be on a certain day look at your remaining free time. What do you want to see that can easily be reached with public transportation? Many sites can, such as Villa Taranto, Mt. Mottarone, il Giardino Botanico Alpinia, and Il Parco and Villa Pallavicino Parco and Zoo. Acquaint yourself a little bit with how the ferry schedule works and the places it goes by playing around on the website.
  1. Important to know, though, is that the ferries do stop at a relatively early hour. Plan your ferry excursions for the mornings and afternoons, not the evenings. Keeping this in mind, if there is a special restaurant you want to try in another town perhaps lunch is a better meal to plan to be there.
  1. Of course you can always take a taxi to a location that is a bit off a public transportation route. Taxis can always be found at the Stresa train station and at the imbarcaderos. If you are taking a taxi to a restaurant for dinner it may be wise to arrange in advance for your return trip, or to inquire as to whether the restaurant can call one for you when you are ready to leave. If you have need to reach one special location or want to take a day trip out of Stresa on your own, car rentals and car hires with a driver can be easily arranged; there is an AVIS car rental office in Stresa.
These are important considerations if one is coming to Stresa without a car. Many frustrations and inconveniences can be completely avoided with a bit of advance planning. Organized tours to certain locations will save you time, maybe even money, and add to your experience. Enjoy Stresa itself in the evenings, when the public transportation winds down, without any travel time back to your hotel. And choose your accommodations near to the public transportation you will need coming and going from Stresa.


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