Traveling to Italy might not be as expensive as you think…..

We’ve just returned from a trip to Lake Como where we spent an incredible 4 nights with one of the most amazing views I’ve ever seen.  Go to Delta Airlines and check out their sale on tickets to Italy. You can get to Milan for less than 300.00 from some of Delta’s US hubs (or check out The Points Guy for more information).

Rain, planes, and boats…our trip was “on” the second we arrived!  We met in Paris (even though our destination was Italy) because, as I always tell friends and family traveling here, your destination may be in Milan but watch for cheap flights into any city in Europe then book a small, cheap flight from there to your choice destination. 

We had to kill a few hours in the Paris Airport but boarded an Easy Jet flight from there to Milan (127.00 pp).  When booking our rent-a-car I made sure to check on the arrival terminal so we could grab a car and go. We arrived in terminal 2 and to my surprise (but not a surprise to my husband and son) the rent a car was in terminal 1! What can I say, I’m dyslexic! MAKE SURE YOU BOOK A RENT-A-CAR THAT IS LOCATED IN THE TERMINAL YOU ARRIVE IN! It’s not super easy to get from one terminal to the other, you have to take a bus ride about 6-7 min to the opposite terminal, then lug all your luggage to the correct counter (we followed signs to rental cars but that was to the garage and learned the counter for payment was across the terminal).

Anyway, we were way late leaving the airport so I messaged the Airbnb manager to see if we should just get a hotel for the night near the airport and check into Lake Como the following day….Her response, “you don’t want to miss waking up to this view”.  She wasn’t wrong!

It took us about 1hr 10min and a whole lot of stress to get there!  I would recommend getting a small car because the roads are narrow (Bill upgraded us to a larger car and forgot to make sure it was an automatic…did I mention he didn’t pay the extra fee to add me as a driver so it was all on him to get us there!).  I would also recommend NOT driving those roads at night if at all possible, they are curvy and most are more like a lane and a half than two lanes.

We booked Tina’s House in the town of Faggeto, Sara (the caretaker) met us upon arrival.  She got us settled into the apartment then walked us down to the beach bar/restaurant to see if they were still serving food.  The kitchen wasn’t open but the wine and beer were flowing and the waitress was nice enough to bring us bowls of peanuts, olives and pretzels….that’ll do!

The next morning I opened the front door and tried to take in the enourmous mountains across the lake, the gardens, the buildings and of course the beautiful lake.  I honeslty can’t describe it in any other way but magical.  

Breakfast at the local hotel down the road of croissants and coffee, cheese and meat (great salami) $25.00 (2 breakfast buffets and 1 croissant to go)

Missed the ferry so we hired a boat to take us to the other side of the lake so we could hike a trail Kagen picked out for us (Moltriasio Trail). $100.00

Lunch at a great restaurant the boat captain recommended (we like local places so this was up the hill from the tourist areas). $50.00 3 meals 1 beer 1wine 1 coke.

We hiked for about 2 hours, the beginning of the hike was straight up cobblestone roads where I took a lot of breaks! Once to the top we entered the trailhead and enjoyed the views, the breeze and the history.  Kagen had picked an “easy” hike that went through an area where they cut rocks from the mountain and would haul them down the hill, there’s an info board located at the first lookout point. There were several forts made of rock and rock walls built into the landscape…just beautiful.  You have views of the lake almost the entire way. Our descent was on the road they used to haul the rocks down, it was hard to imagine how the cart full of heavy rocks didn’t get away from them on such a decline!

We caught the ferry back ($14.00 3ppl) and enjoyed a cold beer on the ride.

Dinner that night was at the local beach bar restaurant $35

We all slept hard that night and the boys woke ready to go again.  We did an 800 ft elevation the day before but today they were looking to go almost 1400 ft!  The hike itself left right around the corner from our Airbnb. Four hours later and a few skinned knees we all met at the beach near the Airbnb (you can read the story Bill posted about their hike).

We decided to use one of our “splurge” nights (where we go to a nice restaurant in the area) in Faggeto at the Hotel by the beach. It didn’t disappoint, lake fish appetizer, 3 meals, bottle of wine, 1 beer and two desserts only set us back $120.00…not bad!

Day 3 we took a ferry into Bellagio for some lunch and shopping.  The ride itself took about 1 hour 45 min with all the stops. You ping from one side of the lake to the other but it was a beautiful site to see!  Bellagio was way more crowded than the town we were staying in but there was much more to do so if you’re looking for a large selection of shopping, places to eat and nightlife, I would recommend you stay in Bellagio. The shops are pretty pricey and unfortunately we hit a tourist place for lunch (55.00 for ½ carafe of wine, appetizer and 3 meals that weren’t memorable).  

Our waiter forgot about us after he delivered the appetizer so we missed the ferry back, “no problem” he said “take the bus”….scary stuff!  The roads are super narrow with hairpin curves and steep drops. I would totally recommend doing both, I’m glad we got to see the view from the water and from the mountain side.  

We checked out of the Airbnb early Sat. Morning to avoid the traffic that might be coming to the beach that day.  Bill’s a great driver but none of us wanted to meet one of those busses rounding the curve on a road just wide enough to pass a small car (side mirrors folded in on all cars, lol).  We drove to Lake Maggiore for a two night stay.  

Lake Maggiore was pretty but it just didn’t wow me as much as it did Bill.  The hotel we stayed in was family owned and nice enough (165.00 a night) but I wouldn’t tell them we sent you as I’m sure there is a “most wanted” poster with our faces on it!  There seems to have been some confusion on how to check out before staff arrived, Woody thought they said “go out the back door” so around 5am we opened the door and set off ALL THE ALARMS!  We looked for management but couldn’t find anyone and with our flight leaving soon we didn’t stick around. As we drove away I saw the sign post with a picture of the security camera on it, if I didn’t feel so bad about waking everyone up it might actually be funny picturing us running out of the building…me fussing at Woody, Woody trying to figure out how to shut off the alarm and Kagen yelling at us to “run!”, lol!  

https://www.hotelristorantebelvedere.it/en/

We took the Motarone Cable Car, big fun and well worth the crowds! 

(https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187847-d1751014-Reviews-Mottarone_Cable_Car-Stresa_Lake_Maggiore_Piedmont.html)

We also rented some paddle boards and canoe, I recommend this but try to do it when there is less boat traffic (ie. Not on a sunny Sat. Afternoon), I came off my board about 100 times (boats were passing really close and the turbulent wakes were tossing me off my board…must have looked funny) and was nearly run over by a few boats! 

TAKE SOME ADVICE FROM A DUMB BLONDE, DON’T ASSUME INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL IS TOO EXPENSIVE, WATCH FOR AIRLINE DEALS AND THEN BOOK AN AIRBNB WHERE YOU CAN COOK SOME OF YOUR OWN MEALS TO SAVE MONEY.  RENT A CANOE NOT A POWER BOAT, YOU STILL GET TO SEE THE COAST LINE WITHOUT SPENDING A “BOAT LOAD” OF MONEY…BONUS, YOU GET YOUR WORKOUT IN FOR THE DAY!

Sent from my iPad





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