Varenna, Lake Como

The Hotels


Luxembourg CityFreudenstadtDornbirnCernobbioPortofinoMaranelloSirmioneMenaggioGrindelwaldVosgesHaybes

Luxembourg City

Luxembourg City 250mi, 1 night
Parc Hotel Alvisse
120 Route d'Echternach, 1453 Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Although not very inspiring to look at, this hotel is pretty stylish once you get through the door. I guess it probably has a lot of business traffic and hosts the odd conference but we chose it because of the location. About 250 miles from the French coast was about right for us distance-wise, parking wouldn't be a problem and another couple of hundred miles the following day would see us into the heart of the Black Forest in Germany. Also it offered us the chance to see a city we'd yet to visit and a very nice one at that. We walked but there's a bus route right outside the hotel. The pool/spa facilities are modern and elegant and even the bar & restaurants were popular and had some life about them. We would certainly stay again.

Freudenstadt, Germany

Freudenstadt in Germany's Black Forest 190mi, 1 night
Hotel Gasthof König Karl
Bahnhofstraße 83, 72250 Freudenstadt, Germany

We started looking at Freudenstadt as our stopover point so we could enjoy the Black Forest over two days and not be rushed. It was a good decision and we chose this location as it meant we wouldn't have to stray far from the popular route 500 which basically runs north to south through the entire forest. The owners of the hotel are welcoming, speak enough English and Google Earth showed the place to have some parking. Although we were offered the use of his garage (something he'd done before for others) it'd be rude to expect this. Along with parking to the front, we saw that there's more discreet parking to the rear. We'd stay again if in the area although many may prefer the tourist hotspot of Titisee - expect more traffic, especially at the weekend. Overall, there are lots of great roads and a huge choice of accommodation. A good call, a beautiful part of Germany.

Dornbirn, Austria

Dornbirn, Austria 180mi, 1 night
Pension Zum Löwen
Sebastianstraße 16, 6850 Dornbirn, Austria

Staying in Dornbirn allowed us to squeeze in a night in Austria and drive through some great Swiss scenery the following day. The Zum Löwen is pleasant and consists of an old building with a modern extension that wont leave you wanting for anything. It's a pleasant walk to the centre of town and the area feels safe so leaving the car here shouldn't be a worry (it wasn't for us). The rooms have balconies with very good views, modern decor and there's a lift in the newer part of the building. Breakfast was fine, the staff friendly and helpful and it was one of the lowest price places we stayed. They even have a vending machine with beer in it. Recommended.

Cernobbio, Italy

Cernobbio, Lake Como 190mi, 1 night
Hotel Terzo Crotto
Via Volta 21, 22012 Cernobbio, Italy

We were looking for a mid-range hotel on Lake Como with a good flat car park and easy access to the autostrada that would take us south to the coast. We found this to fulfil our needs, a pretty building that's a short walk to the shore of the lake and restaurants. It was easy to find for us, coming in southbound on the SS340 and the way out towards Milan was also easy. Cernobbio is only a short leap to Como and if you choose your hotel wisely, it's nice to leave the car parked up and carry out your exploring on foot or by boat. Oh, if you feel like splashing out on your accomodation Villa d'Este is just a few hundred metres away. We didn't so this was a perfect choice and although they have an attractive restaurant, I can't comment on the food as we wandered off for Pizza that evening!  If you fancy staying here, be sure to find out how to get into the car park (Google street view man helps, or ask me). It's very easy but if you don't know how, you may be left scratching your head.

Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy

Santa Margherita Ligure / Portofino 140mi, 2 nights
Hotel L'Approdo
Pagana, 160, 16035 Rapallo, Italy

This is one of the two hotels where we had clearance issues with the car when entering the drive from the road. In fairness, most cars will not have any issues and we'd reserved a decent space ahead of our visit (nice staff, good communication). We had one of the two ‘flat' spaces available and fully appreciate how difficult it can be trying to find good parking here. Old town charm and great scenery generally means tight parking and steep slopes! That aside, we were very impressed with this hotel. It's a bit of a walk down into town (we all need the exercise) but that was offset by the view from our room - a beautiful outlook over the coast. The staff were very good, language not a problem and we'd stay here again in a heartbeat. If we were in the Ferrari though, I'd need to ensure we had one of the better spaces reserved in advance.

Maranello, Italy

Maranello 135mi, 2 nights
Maranello Palace
Via Grizzaga 71, 41053 Maranello, Italy

I wont say too much about the Maranello Palace as there are plenty of pictures and information on their website. I'd say they have their fair share of corporate guests and the hotel has everything you'll need, the Ferrari factory, shops and restaurants are all walkable. There are lots of hotels locally and for us it was initially a toss-up between here and the Planet hotel that looks out directly at the old factory entrance. This is still very close to the factory, just around the back near the wind tunnel that's all. You wont go far wrong staying here.

Sirmione, Italy

Sirmione, Lake Garda 90mi, 2 nights
Hotel Mirabello
Via XXV Aprile 100, 25019 Sirmione, Italy

After a wander around the Internet looking for somewhere suitable, I'm really glad we found the Mirabello. We stayed for two nights, allowing us to explore the lovely but busy Sirmione on our ‘day off'. The hotel is nice and although perhaps a little tired now with fairly simple rooms, I imagine it was very stylish in its day. Plenty of parking is available and there are food and drink options in both directions. Being situated on the southern shores of Lake Garda, it meant we wouldn't have to spend much driving time trying to reach it, making the location a good stopover point between Modena and Como. There's plenty to see and do here and we couldn't have hoped for more suitable accommodation. An ideal base for trips to Verona, Mantua, Brescia and Bergamo.

Menaggio, Italy

Menaggio, Lake Como 125mi, 2 nights
Hotel Royal
Largo Vittorio Veneto 1, 22017 Menaggio, Italy

Situated at the top of a hill so expect an energetic walk down into town! This is a family run hotel with a location to die for and there's nothing negative to say about the Hotel royal except to take care when entering the drive if your car is low. We managed to scrape the underside of our front bumper (very slightly) on the way in but that was soon forgotten once we were sat in the garden, taking in the panoramic view across the lake to Bellagio with a drink (or two) in hand. We struggled to find accommodation in Menaggio with decent parking and other than the slightly tricky drive entrance, this didn't disappoint. You can easily spend a couple of days here and once down in the town, you can catch the passenger ferries to take you all over Lake Como. Pack some comfortable shoes for the trek down, and to burn off the pizza and Peroni on the way back up. Beautiful and recommended.

Grindelwald, Switzerland

Grindelwald, Switzerland 160mi, 3 nights
Hotel Alpenblick
Obere Gletscherstrasse 16, 3818 Grindelwald, Switzerland

We wanted to drive some mountain passes and trying to find a town in Switzerland with mountain drives before and after seemed like a good idea. Grindelwald's a real four season resort with virtually unbeatable scenery. It's not cheap but finding a hotel in the shadow of the Eiger was never going to be. We decided to keep the costs reasonable as we looking to stay for three nights and the Alpenblick, although not cheap, was cost-effective accommodation. Well situated and within a few minutes walk into the centre of town, it has pretty much everything we needed although we opted for a room with a shared bathroom. We ate one night which was fine and the staff are youthful and friendly. It's like a big ski lodge set up for winter with a large veranda at the rear that looks out (and up) at the mountain peaks and glaciers, simply stunning. Parking is ok but we decided to park opposite and take up one and a half spaces to be safe from door-dents. Grindelwald seems a pretty respectable town and we were happy to park the car up for three nights as we explored by the local cogwheel mountain railways. Grindelwald is expensive but the local area is awesome and I'm so glad we chose it as our stopover point. Select a hotel to suit your requirements and you wont be disappointed.

Xonrupt-Longemer, France

Xonrupt-Longemer, Vosges region, France 225mi, 1 night
Hotel Restaurant Balveurche
Route Du Col De La Schlucht, 88400 Xonrupt-Longemer, France

Of the places we stayed on our trip, the Balveurche is the only one we didn't feel we were able to ‘enjoy' quite in the same way as the others. I think this was mainly down to the weather being rubbish and we didn't have time to go exploring once there. It's out on its own and a little way from civilisation but the price, location and views (I'm guessing) are very good. This is a very pretty part of France with lots to do outdoors – hiking, biking and skiing in the winter. I imagine the potential here is very good indeed and on a sunny day I'm sure the location, sitting at over 1000m in altitude would be stunning. It's the only hotel we stayed where English didn't appear to be widely spoken but as an overnighter that's rarely an issue. We'll certainly return to this beautiful region of France. Would we stay again, hmm… maybe.

Haybes, France

Haybes, Ardennes region, France 280mi, 1 night
Le Clos Belle Rose
9 Place De La Charité, 08170 Haybes, France

We stayed here primarily because we wanted a bit of pretty countryside and be within a decent drive of the coast (around 160 miles) and the ferry terminal. It's a large renovated and historic house in a small town, has secure parking and a lot of charm. I'm not sure how much there is to do in Haybes due to the nature of our stay – a single night stopover on our way home and we didn't want to stray too far from decent roads. You collect the key from the restaurant next door from a friendly and informative chap and then you're pretty much on your own. There was another couple staying but we didn't see them and it felt as if we had this grand old house to ourselves. I'm not sure if we'll be back in Haybes but I'm glad we picked this place to stay. While we were here. Worth consideration.

160mi to Dunkerque