Italy's Lake Regions: Four Lakes To Visit in Lombardy and Piedmont
With tens of millions of travelers per year, Italy isn't what I'd call undiscovered Europe. You might even be wondering: "Does there even exist an Italy removed from the tourist crowds?"
Yes. Italy’s Lake Regions. In the duo-regions – Lombardy and Piedmont, you find Italy’s most beautiful and serene lakes. For the most part, it is postcard Italy minus the annoying long lines. Whether you want to travel in a sunny season or prefer the fall, the Lakes Region marries natural beauty with authentic Italian life.
Lakes are sprinkled throughout the Italian peninsula—from blue-green pools in the Alps to the lovely lochs near Milan. Lakes like Garda are synonymous with luxury. Others, like the enchanting Lake Orta, offer a retreat from the city crowds. Whether as a weeklong holiday or a quick escape, lakes add a soothing note to any Italian itinerary. Below, I'm sharing four Italian Lakes with you:
Lake Como marries Italian hospitality and unparalleled natural beauty. It's also conveniently located --just a 90-minute car ride from Milan. Como is Italy's third-largest lake. Picturesque lakefront towns teem along Lake Como --from the splendor of Bellagio to the quiet charms of Varenna. Visitors here can slumber like royalty in a grand hotel or bask on a cruise around the blue-green lake.
Located in the Lombardy region, Lake Como is also a food lover's paradise. On Lake Como, you can eat risotto by a waterfront ristorante or enjoy a private tasting with a family of cheesemakers! Many food artisans here preach a "zero kilometer" philosophy --using ONLY ingredients cultivated within the surrounding 1 kilometer!
Located near the lush wine country of the Piedmont region, Lake Orta is less crowded than its nearby sibling Lake Maggiore.
Overlooking the picturesque Lake Orta, the town of Orto San Giulio embodies authenticity minus the crowds. Brimming with boutique shops and lively lakefront cafes, locals here still take slow Sunday strolls on winding stone streets. The village itself is a maze of cobbled squares and historic homes --each with a wrought-iron balcony flush with spring flowers. Clueless tourists flock to bigger cities, but "travelers in the know" go to Lake Orta. Its rustic charm and authentic hospitality will make you swoon. If you happen to be in Orta San Giulo during the spring, don't miss "Orta in Fiore"--a vibrant flower show and colorful market in the piazza.
From the town, you can boat to San Giulio island -- home to an active nunnery and 12th-century basilica, adorned in frescoes. Ideal for travelers looking for a calm, get-away-from-it-all escape
Italy’s largest lake, Lago di Garda is the country’s most famous body of freshwater. It is circled by charming villages, luxe resorts, and historic mansions. Known worldwide for the glitterati who grace its shores, Lake Garda is soaked in history.
Lake Garda is also known as the “playground” lake offering everything from wind-surfing to mountain-trekking. Garda is a favorite place to visit for families because of its relaxed vibe, shallow beaches, abundant family-friendly resorts, and campgrounds
Visitors can boat to the Island del Garda or take in the sweeping views from the glacier-carved Rock of Manerba. Ideal for travelers seeking natural beauty paired with luxury accommodations.
Boasting the second largest lake in Italy AND the largest lake in Switzerland, Lake Maggiore is just south of the Alps. The lake shares its shoreline with both Italian regions: Lombardy and Piedmont. In Italy's Piedmont region, the quaint, picturesque islands have lured tourists for hundreds of years.
Isola Bella's regal beauty is located 400 meters from the town of Stresa. Meaning the "Beautiful Island" in Italian, Isola Bella is the main island in the Borromean Archipelago. Easily reached by a scenic boat ride, Isola Bella boasts a Renaissance Palace and terraced Baroque gardens --overlooking the glistening blue of the lake. Visitors to the palace's gardens might encounter a white peacock or even the prince who still resides here!
Isola dei Pescatori unlike its regal sister Isola Bella, was historically inhabited by humble fishermen. To this day, it is the only one of the Borromean Islands inhabited all year round. Travelers here can drink in views of the green mountains that hug Lake Maggiore. The island's village is distinguished by narrow lanes and homes with open-air balconies --where locals still dry fish. Isola dei Pescatori also hosts one of the area's finest restaurants, serving up elegant reinventions of classic fisherman fare. These two islands can be toured on the same day.
Want to know more about booking a day trip to these two islands and more? Contact me to start making your dream trip to Italy a reality.
If you or someone you know is thinking of spending time in the Lake Regions, please tweet, pin, and/or share on Facebook.