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Sunday, August 5, 2012

You Can See Venice In A Day From Stresa


Stresa to gondola ... in three hours.

I've just been on vacation. No, not in Stresa ... from Stresa. Yes, even though Stresa is gorgeous, and relaxing, and a wonderful destination that I have spent these years promoting to all of you, every now and then one must go and see other parts of our big beautiful world. I went on a cruise that departed from Venice. And I want to share my vacation with you to give you an idea of what you can do, or incorporate into, your holiday in Stresa. (see... it is still about Stresa anyway!)     (  Continued ....  )
I took a cruise that sailed from the Port of Venice, reached locations in Croatia and Greece, and then returned to Venice. It was amazing and wonderful and I got to stand at the Acropolis and see Dubrovnik and drink lots of cool cruise cocktails by the pool. But, staying on topic, the part I want to emphasize here and speak about is how easy it was to reach Venice from Stresa, and therefore to combine Stresa and other locations into a trip.

Two trains were needed to reach Venice, and it was possible to buy the tickets for both right at the Stresa train station or online. In this way, with the assistance of the ticket agent, you can feel assured you have enough time for the connection, and the right information. The train from Stresa to Milano Centrale took about 45 minutes. We left a couple of hours in between the trains, planning to wait at Centrale, but when we arrived we decided to take an earlier train to Venice, if possible, and we succeeded in doing that. (Full disclosure: we paid an additional charge to upgrade to a first class ticket in order to take this earlier train. The regular seats were sold out.) The train to Venice is part of the Trenitalia line, the Freccia Bianca to be precise, and reaches Venezia Santa Lucia station from Milano in just over 2 hours. Tickets range in price from 29 to 36 euro (as of this writing). The first class seats cost more. Trains run every 30 minutes or so from Centrale, beginning at 6:30 am.

We were in Venice before noon. Yes, you can wake up in Stresa and have lunch along a canal in Venice.

One of the best parts about arriving in Venice at Santa Lucia Station is that you really don't need to go anywhere else from here. Walk out the front entrance of the station, and you're there. You're immediately seeing what you came to see. You are right in the heart of the places that you would want to see if you have only a limited time here. To illustrate, I took all these photographs just outside the train station:








Now to reach the port, if you want to take a cruise as we did, you need to walk only a short distance over the new Calatrava bridge, then take the public transport People Mover to the port. After disembarking the People Mover, walk along the designated path to the ships. We did not have our luggage with us; it had been picked up at the station by the cruise line, making the walk even easier. On the return however, we walked back to the station with our luggage, which was slightly difficult only over the one bridge. I saw taxis at the port; I believe they were, for the most part, headed to the airport.

How exciting to cross the canal over the sleek new Calatrava bridge connecting Station Santa Lucia to Piazza Roma.

One last thing... cruise ships, when leaving Venice, leave via the wide Canale della Giudecca. I think every person on that ship was pressed against the railings during this departure, as we went past the juncture of the Grand Canal, then past San Marco, and finally out into the Adriatic Sea. What a view of Venice... It was a highlight that I was totally unprepared for.


So the point is, you really can see Venice, even for a day, from Stresa. And I promise you, it's easy to do. If this would be your only opportunity to see it, it is a very doable day trip.

Okay, let's recap:

Buy tickets at the train station in Stresa for Venezia, Station Santa Lucia. You will stop and change trains in Milano Centrale.

The train for Venice is the Freccia Bianca. There are trains every day, approximately every 30 minutes, beginning at 6:30 AM. If you miss your train, or have the chance to take an earlier, it is possible to switch. Ask at the ticket office.

Once you arrive in Venice have your maps ready. You can take a water taxi from directly in front of the station. Or you can walk to many of the main sites. And yes, you can get a gondola from there too.

On your return, relax, rest, nap in the comfortable train. You'll change in Centrale again for Stresa. If you're sure of your times, or want the convenience, you could have bought these return tickets in Stresa as well.

Be back in Stresa late, but not too late for a nightcap. Stop at Buscion and enjoy one, and look over your photos while you reminisce about your day in Venezia.

Stresa, with its proximity to Malpensa Airport, is a great way to start or end your trip in northern Italy. Or stay here the entire time, and use it as a base to make some day trips such as this one. This post has been intended to let you know that this is possible. Although on this trip I did not return to Stresa in one day this time, I have done that in the past. It was surprisingly easy and I did not feel that the time there was too short. I would do it again happily, or to show others were it their only chance.



all photographs property of stresa sights


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