You cannot plan a trip to Italy without visiting the beautiful Italian lakes. Dickens, Stendhal, Caesar, Hemingway, and a number of other world-famous people sought rest on their shores. Napoleon and his wife Josephine discovered their beauty when they visited the most famous of the Borromean Islands – Isola Bella (“Beautiful Island”).
Lago di Garda
Lake Garda is the largest of all lakes in Italy. It is located in the northern part of the country and covers an area of 370 sq. km. Its coastline is divided between the provinces of Verona, Brescia, and Trento.
The lake is famous for its beautiful beaches covered with fine sand, which makes it a favorite destination for tourists. The lake is surrounded by small and pretty towns. The most popular is Sirmione, located on a small peninsula stretching 2.5 km. inland in the lake. Historically, this city has been of great strategic importance. Proof of this is the castle Scaligeri, built by one of the most powerful families who ruled Verona – Della Scala. Today it has been restored and is open to the public. The very end of the island was a place where rich Roman families built their holiday villas. Fortunately today we can visit one of these villas – “Grottoes of Catullus”. Other beautiful places are the cities of Limone Sul Garda, Lazise, and Desenzano.
Tip: Take a boat or ferry ride on the lake, you will not regret it. There are beaches on the southern shore of the lake and steep cliffs on the northern shore.
Tip: Visit the near by Gardaland Amusement Park. Its the first and biggest Amusement Resort in Italy.
Lago di Maggiore
Lake Maggiore is the second largest lake in Italy. It is 66 km long and 10 km wide. One of its main attractions is the dazling are the Borromean Islands. The Borromean Islands are a small group of beautiful islands named after a wealthy aristocratic family that bought them in the 16th century.
The three islands – Isola Madre, Isola Bella, and Isola Pescatori offer their visitors a different experience. Isola Bella is a real baroque oasis, created by Count Carlo Borromeo III for his wife Isabella. The garden, which has become an emblem of the island, has the shape of a pyramid, on top of which is placed the figure of a unicorn. Isola Madre is the largest of the three islands. Its beautiful gardens are in English style. There is a rich variety of rare plants and exotic flowers. It’s castle, although uninhabited, is beautifully furnished with masterpieces of Italian art. Isola Pescatori, also known as Fisherman’s Island, is not as impressive as the other two, but it definitely has its own charm, inspired by Hemingway himself.
Lago di Como
Lake Como is located in the northern part of the country, near the Swiss border. Although Como is not the largest lake in Italy it is undoubtedly one of the most attractive and visited.
Lake Como is the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. The green waters, the small narrow streets, and snow-capped mountain peaks that lurk from every corner turn the lake into a paradise of tranquility. From elegant hotels and residences to country houses and campsites, here you can find shelter and food for every pocket. Neat restaurants perched on the shores of the lake entice with traditional cuisine.
The lake is the perfect place for both family vacations and a romantic escape from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. The smell of freshly baked pastries or hot coffee with the charm of vanilla will make you spend a whole day wandering the old streets, touching the folk customs and lifestyle in these places.
The lake is famous for its villas. Each of them has its own story. The most visited are Villa Carlotta, Villa Balbianello, and Villa Monastero. Villa Balbianello is beautifully situated on a small peninsula and most of the time it is only accessible by boat. It has been used as a location to film scenes from many Hollywood productions such as Star Wars: Episode II – The Clones Attack, Ocean’s 2 Gang, and Casino Royale.
Tip: You can combine your visit with a trip to Milan, which is only an hour away.
Lake Orta is located less than 30 kilometers / 18 miles west of Lake Maggiore, but despite this short distance, this lake looks like a completely different and distant world compared to its larger “brother”.
Lake Orta is a place famous for its tranquility and simplicity. Here you will not find stormy parties along the lake, there are no big shiny hotels to hold international conferences. In the town of Horta San Giulio – one of the mandatory stops in northern Italy – there are not even cars. Lake Orta is still a little-known destination among tourists, and this also applies to the Italians themselves, who are not frequent visitors here. For those of you who love peaceful places, this is perfect and maybe they all pray that this tranquility will be preserved in the future and Horta will not become a mass tourist destination.
With a length of about 8 miles and a width of only two miles, Lake Orta is one of the smallest Italian lakes. It is the only one located entirely in the province of Piedmont. Like all Italian lakes, Horta has its second name – Lake Cusio. The lake is located in the province of Novara, and Monte Moterone is located between it and Lake Maggiore. As for the size of the lake, Balzac says that this lake was made according to the size of a man. If you stand up, you will be able to see where it starts and where it ends, and the proximity of the more sloping hills / there are no jagged mountains and rocks / gives a different look to the lake compared to the larger Italian lakes in northern Italy.
Tip: Do not forget to visit Piazza Motta from where you can view the most beatufull island: San Giulio
If you liked our selection of likes in Italy and you wish to learn more about Italy you may find 10 Beautiful Places to Visit in Italy interesting.