In addition to famous cities, outstanding architecture and incredible food, Italy also has some beautiful, romantic lakes.
Many first-time tourists stick to the cities of Rome, Florence and Venice, but if you’re looking to see another side of Italy, head to the banks of Italy’s very own Lake District.
There are a series of Italian lakes in the northern part of the country- some are quite large and are crowded with visitors during the summer months, but there are also smaller ones which are beautiful and a bit more peaceful. If you’re undecided which Lake to go for, here are 5 of Italy’s Best Lakes.
1. Lake Garda
This is the biggest Italian lake of all, and a major tourist destination. With a number of hotels and resorts, many visitors to Italy book Lake Garda Holidays during the summer months. Since Lake Garda is halfway between Venice and Milan, it is also easy to visit on a day trip from either of these two cities. There are several islands on the lake, the largest of which is Isola del Garda.
2. Lake Como
Glamorous Lake Como- popular with aristocrats, celebrities and wealthy people- is arguably the most beautiful lake in Italy. There are many attractive mansions, palaces and villas on the shores of the lake, and the likes of George Clooney and Richard Branson have homes here. The scene towards the end of the James Bond movie Casino Royale was shot at the Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como. Located in the Lombardy region, Lago di Como is one of the deepest lakes in Europe with a depth of 400m, and is shaped like an upside down ‘Y’. Noteworthy towns surrounding the lake include Como, Bellagio, Tremezzo, and Varenna.
3. Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore is the second largest Lake in Italy, stretching across a distance of 70km from Arona in Italy to Locarno in Switzerland. Here you’ll find the famous Borromean Islands, and among them, the island gardens of Isola Bella and Isola Madre. The climate here is generally mild, with a Mediterranean climate perfect for growing exotic and subtropical plants.
4. Lake Orta
Lying west of Lake Maggiore lies Lake Orta, which is one of the smaller Northern Lakes and is far less touristy than its neighbour. The main town is Orta San Guilo, a charming town with narrow streets, small shops, restaurants and great views of the Lake. Go walking around the lakeshore, enjoy lunch overlooking the water, then take a boat trip to picturesque San Guilo Island. If you have time, you can explore other towns on the lake such as Pella and Omegna.
5. Lake Trasimeno
Unlike the other lakes mentioned here, Lake Trasimeno is found in the heart of Italy near Perugia in Umbria. This shallow lake is an endorheic body of water, meaning it has no river running in or out of it. It receives water from rainfall, but has no outlet. Visit the medieval walled town of Castiglione and take a boat trip to two of Trasimeno’s three islands- Isola Maggiore and Isola Polvese. The Lake is incredible at sunset, offering a mirror image of the pink sky.