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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Get Out Of Town With Excursions


Today let's talk about getting out of Stresa. 

If you're staying in Stresa for more than just a few days, or, if this isn't your first visit, it's time to start using Stresa as your base for some excursions to other places. It's remarkable how many places can be easily visited from Stresa on day trips. Well-known places such as Venice, Pisa, Cinque Terre, the Matterhorn. There are several well-known, well-respected tour companies in or near Stresa offering a wonderful selection of day trips such as these. The advantages are letting someone else do the driving, a bit of guided information, pre-purchased admissions, and sometimes included interesting meals. 

Here are three local companies that are reliable, have been in business many years, and have much experience with bus excursions to nearby interesting sites. Each offers a large variety of tours; often tours to a certain location are offered only one day a week; therefore, using different companies gives you more options to find the tours which work for you.
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Tomassucci Viaggi
This travel agency is located directly across from the Stresa boat dock, in between the hotels Italie Suisse and Milan Speranza, and has been run by the same family since 1976. They offer daily excursions, such as those to Zermatt and Orta, and travel services such as transfers from airports, group tour services and business conference services. Their website is helpful in other ways, with a section telling the history of some Stresa street names as you follow a walking tour, and a blog listing local events. 

Excursions:

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Borroni Eventi
Borroni is located next to, actually attached to, Bar Verbanella, on the Lungolago, right in the center of the major hotels and the lakefront walk. They've been in the travel business for three generations now, and have built up a good reputation. Many of their weekly excursions are posted outside their shop; others are listed on the website. The one that caught my eye was the Sunday wine-tasting tour to Ghemme: http://borroni/Escursioni/en/DEGUSTAZIONE%20VINI.pdf. Stop in the office in Stresa to see all their offerings. 




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Verbano Viaggi
Verbano Viaggi is located in Baveno, a few kilometers from Stresa. But for tours they pick up clients at many of the main hotels in Stresa, making them very convenient. The main reason that I include them here though, is for the vast variety of tours they offer that I haven't found in some of the other agencies. They offer many very specific one-day trips, such as to the truffle festival in Alba in the autumn, in addition to the weekly schedule, such as Tuesday three-lake excursions and Friday Milano excursions. Their site can be read in English, but if you can read the Italian there are more choices shown. I found the site to be very user-friendly with an easy contact page. The agency was founded and is still run by an Englishwoman, and provides local tourist information in their office, as well as tickets for the lake ferries and the Lago Maggiore Express. And, if you are planning, they also have a dedicated office for weddings and other events.   



I wish I could say I've tried all these tour companies and could give you a personal viewpoint on them... but I haven't. What I can tell you for now is that I've received only positive feedback from people who have taken tours with these companies, which is why I offer this information here to assist your planning. 


photos courtesy of verbano viaggi, tomassucci viaggi, and borroni eventi

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