Great Lakes of Italy.
Beauty is where the eye rests. Getting to know the great lakes of Italy is a must-see tour for every self-respecting traveler, it is simply overflowing with such beauty. The tour allows you to see the exquisite beauty and vast landscapes of the country of ancient Rome, enjoy elegant resorts and listen to birds singing in the lush gardens, look through the binoculars at the untouched majestic Alpine peaks, feel the grandeur of clear fresh blue waters of northern Italy – Lago Maggiore, Como, Iseo and Garda.
On the shores of each of them cozy hotels are waiting for you, ready to take a tired traveler in their arms at any moment. To get a better taste of the journey, we advise you to start the tour from Milan airport, rent a car and drive on the route below, along the country roads (or you can take the highways, but in low season) to fully understand what it is like in northern Italy.
As special places to visit, we recommend:
1. A visit to the little fishing island on Lake Maggiore for a drink: shakerato, a drink that will cool you down on a hot summer day. According to the original recipe, the basis of this coffee is a rich espresso, flavored with vanilla liqueur and seasoned with a few ice cubes.
Relax under the trees on a small island in the middle of Lake Maggiore (Isola dei Pescatori).
3. Go shopping at the local market Luino Market in the province of Varese on the right bank of Lake Maggiore. According to archive testimonies this market was already operating in XVI century and was loved by its patrons already then.
4. Stroll in the exotic gardens of the old “Belle Epoque”, a historical period in the last decades of the XIX century and at the beginning of the XX century (before 1914).
5. Witness one of the most beautiful sunsets on the terrace of Villa d’Este on Lake Como.
6. Dine on the terrace of the wonderful restaurant Albergo Verbano on Isola dei Pescatori (address: Via Ugo Ara, 2, Isola dei Pescatori, 28838 – Stresa (VB), phone +39 032 330 408).
The Great Lakes of Italy, itinerary
When arriving in Milan take care in advance to get your own car for the trip. In the city and directly at the airport there are quality services that offer car rentals equipped with GPS navigation. It will help to freely move along the given route. To explore Lake Maggiore at the initial stage, it is better to stay in one of the hotels in Milan. Choose one of the luxurious palazzo’s from the 19th century, beautifully located on the Olona riverfront.
Milan has an interesting building, the prototype of the Kremlin in Moscow, the Sforza Castle. Once upon a time, at the end of the XV century, it served as a model for Lombard architects who built the walls of the Kremlin. Lago Maggiore, which is in close proximity to Milan, is divided between two countries. Its northern part belongs to Switzerland and the southern part to Italy. Swiss waters of the lake are in canton Ticino, Italian waters are in Piedmont and Lombardy. Read more.
The road to Lake Como begins on the southern shore of Lake Maggiore and runs against the backdrop of picturesque mountains to the east, the third-largest freshwater body in Italy. Lake Como (another name is Lario) is one of the deepest in all of Europe. Its geographical position is favorable for our purposes of our trip – 40 km north of Milan, surrounded by limestone mountains with an altitude difference of 600-2400 meters.
We suggest staying at the Grand Hotel, it is part of a very limited list of great Italian palaces. Here you will find everything you need for a comfortable stay – a beautiful park with a pond, architectural details in Art Deco style, two restaurants, which even gourmets would enjoy, and a spa. You can swim either in Lake Como or in one of the two heated outdoor pools. Read more.
Lake Iseo (also called Sebino) is also in northern Italy, in the province of Bergamo (Lombardy), surrounded by the foothills of the Lombardy Southern Alps and the beautiful Po Plain. The road to the lake runs from Como via Brescia. In the heart of Iseo is the largest island on the lake in Europe, Monte Isola, a little further away are the mini-islands of San Paolo and Loreto. To see them, you need a boat.
When you are done with the panoramas of Lake Iseo, we suggest you go further to the hills of Lake Garda and stay in one of the country residences on its shores. Learn more.
Lake Garda is the largest fresh water body in Italy. It is located near the southern foothills of the Alps, in a tectonic basin of glacial age. Garda is so deep that it allows regular watercraft and river cargo ships. On the shores of Garda there are unique sites.
For culinary and pastry delights we suggest you to try the Master Gelataria ice-cream in Desenzano, to taste the dishes offered in the Torri del Benaco Café. Learn more.
At the end of your trip on the great lakes of Italy from Garda it is worth stopping over at the nearby Verona, a city that keeps the memory of Juliet and her love for Romeo alive. Book a 1 -2 night stay at the Hotel Le Palais Barbieri; it is housed in a 14th century palace, but very modern.
While wandering around Verona, visit a good-luck charming place and don’t forget to drop by the lively ancient area of Corso Porta Borsani, near the medieval gate of Verona, Porta Borsani, which served as part of the city’s defensive fortifications. It is full of wonderful craft stores and quaint restaurants and you can easily reach the amphitheater or interesting and useful shopping in Via Mazzini.
Great Lakes of Italy – advices for travelers
1. If the tour of the great lakes of Italy will take place in warm spring or summer days the best way to travel is by car, which makes traveling in northern Italy even more romantic and allows you to breathe the fresh mountain air and feel the wind blowing in your hair.
If you find yourself in the foothills of the Alps, it is a sin not to look at the Dolomites, unusual mountains, stunning scenery, attracting climbers from around the world. The Dolomite Alps of Italy are equipped with modern ski elevators that make it easy to climb the beautiful mountain valleys, alpine meadows and discover the incredible beauty of mountain lakes. Next, the high-mountain trails should be traveled on horseback, so travelers are introduced to Italy’s majestic ski valleys – Sella Ronda, Val di Fassa, Arabs and Alta Badia. Read more about the best ski resorts in Italy.
If you want to see everything, leave four days to spare – that is the duration of the horseback riding tour, which is particularly popular with tourists and offered by local agencies. This can be a trip to the great lakes of Italy.
A pity, but it’s time to say goodbye to the picturesque “mountain eyes” of Italy. We recommend returning to the airport in Venice, and from there – and fly home. But not for long – Italy can not stay without your attention.