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It’s not just Lake Como: 6 beautiful Italian lakes to add to your bucket list

Add these lakes to your itinerary

Lake Garda
Leonhard_Niederwimmer / Pixabay

Italy, with its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and world-famous cuisine, has long been a favorite destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable experience. Amidst its picturesque scenery lie some of Europe’s most captivating natural wonders– the Italian lakes. Whether you are relaxing by the water or embarking on a scenic hike, the lakes in Italy provide a gorgeous backdrop. These are just a few beautiful Italian lakes to add to your bucket list.

1. Lake Garda

Lake Garda
Ralf1403 / Pixabay
  • Location: Northern Italy
  • Where to stay: Popular towns to stay in include Sirmione, Bardolino, and Malcesine.
  • How to get there: Lake Garda is easily accessible by both car and public transportation. Major airports such as Verona Villafranca Airport and Milan Bergamo Airport are within driving distance, and train services connect nearby cities like Verona and Brescia to the lake’s shores.

Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, captivates visitors with its crystal-clear waters, dramatic mountain scenery, and cozy lakeside towns. When visiting this popular lake, you can indulge in a wide range of activities, like sailing, windsurfing, hiking, and cycling along the scenic lakeside trails. If you enjoy history, you can check out the ancient castles, Roman ruins, and medieval villages that are scattered throughout the region. 

2. Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore Italy
Obelixlatino / Pixabay
  • Location: Northern Italy, extending into Switzerland’s Ticino canton
  • Where to stay: Along the shores of Lake Maggiore, you’ll find everything from luxurious lakeside resorts to family-run B&Bs. Popular towns to stay in include Stresa, Verbania, and Cannobio.
  • How to get there: The lake is accessible by car, with major highways connecting it to nearby cities such as Milan and Turin. Travelers can also opt for train services to stations like Stresa and Verbania, or fly into Milan Malpensa Airport, which is located just a short drive away from the lake.

An Italian lake tour would not be complete without visiting Lake Maggiore. One of the highlights of a visit to this stunning lake is exploring the Borromean Islands. These islands offer beautiful views, botanical gardens, and charming villages, and are accessible by one of the many boat tours offered in the area. Along the shores of this lake, you’ll find some of the best Italian food in the entire country at places like La Rampolina, Ristorante Elvezia, and Al Rustico.

3. Lake Orta

Lake Orta Italy
fabiovaleggia / Pixabay
  • Location: The foothills of the Alps in the Piedmont region of northern Italy
  • Where to stay: Visitors can find accommodations in Orta San Giulio.
  • How to get there: Lake Orta is accessible by car from nearby cities like Milan and Turin. Alternatively, travelers can take a train to the nearby town of Orta-Miasino and then transfer to a local bus or taxi to reach the lake.

Lake Orta, which is often referred to as Italy’s hidden gem, boasts a calm atmosphere, emerald-green waters, and stunning private beaches. A visit to the charming town of Orta San Giulio offers the opportunity to stroll along the area’s cobblestone streets, admire medieval architecture, and enjoy local cuisine at one of the many eateries. Boat tours of the lake provide breathtaking views of the Sacro Monte di Orta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its beautiful chapels and panoramic vistas. On shore, you can browse the dozens of local galleries and studios showcasing the works of local artists.

4. Lake Iseo

Lake Iseo Italy
Roberto Binetti / Shutterstock
  • Location: The Lombardy region of northern Italy
  • Where to stay: Visitors can find accommodation options in charming lakeside towns such as Iseo, Sarnico, and Lovere.
  • How to get there: The lake includes well-maintained roads to and from major cities like Milan and Verona. The nearest train stations are in the cities of Brescia and Bergamo.

Lake Iseo, often overlooked in favor of its more famous neighbors, offers an authentic Italian lakeside experience. This lake is surrounded by lush green hills, quaint villages, and vineyards, creating a picturesque backdrop for leisurely strolls and scenic bike rides along the lake’s shore. Lake Iseo is far less populated by tourists, offering visitors a serene travel experience. One of the highlights of a visit to Lake Iseo is a boat tour to Monte Isola, which is the largest lake island in Italy. On this island, visitors can explore small fishing villages, medieval churches, and beautiful views. 

5. Lake Trasimeno

Lake Trasimeno Italy
Stefano Tammaro / Shutterstock
  • Location: The Umbria region of central Italy
  • Where to stay: You’ll find accommodation options in the lakeside towns of Castiglione del Lago, Passignano sul Trasimeno, and Tuoro sul Trasimeno.
  • How to get there: This lake is easily accessible by car from cities like Rome and Florence, with well-marked highways to the lake. 

Lake Trasimeno is Italy’s fourth-largest lake and features historic landmarks, nature trails, and scenic picnic spots. Boat tours to the lake’s islands, Isola Maggiore and Isola Polvese, offer visitors opportunities for both exploration and relaxation, and the cozy Isola Polvese Resort can be booked for as little as $152 per night. Water lovers can enjoy swimming, kayaking, and windsurfing, while fishing enthusiasts can try their luck at catching local freshwater fish.

6. Lake Como

Lake Como Italy
JoelleLC / Pixabay
  • Location: The Lombardy region of northern Italy
  • Where to stay: Visitors will find a wide variety of accommodation options, with everything from five-star hotels to boutique guesthouses. 
  • How to get there: Lake Como can be accessed by car from cities like Milan and Bergamo. Travelers can also take a train to cities like Como or Lecco before transferring to a local bus or ferry.

You can’t talk about the Italian lakes without mentioning the stunning Lake Como. Lake Como, often hailed as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, hosts thousands of visitors every year. No matter what you are looking for, Lake Como has something for you. Foodies can enjoy sampling local specialties such as freshwater fish from the lake, artisanal cheeses, and wine from nearby vineyards. Water sports are popular during the warm summer months, and cultural attractions like the historic town of Bellagio and the beautiful Villa del Balbianello offer insights into the area’s rich history.

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