Family Encyclopedia >> Sports

The Great Italian Lakes:Travel Itinerary and Must-See Sites

Italy is a wonderful country where there are many places to visit, each more magnificent than the next. Whether you are passionate about history, culture, the arts or beautiful landscapes, you will always find an extraordinary site to visit. From South to North, each region conceals many treasures. The large lakes with breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and charming little villages in bloom in the spring are among them. Here are some recommendations for your vacation if you decide to meet them.

Lake Garda

Lake Garda is the largest in Italy with an area of ​​370 km². It offers steep landscapes in the middle of large mountains while adorning itself with Mediterranean vegetation composed of multiple flowers, but also cypresses, palm trees and lemon trees. For your visit, we recommend the town of Riva Del Garda overlooked by Monte Rochette. You can admire many historical monuments there, such as:

  • The Atonal Tower
  • La Rocca, ancient fortress and its drawbridge overlooking the lake
  • Piazza II November
  • Pretoria Plaza

You can also indulge in the joys of water sports such as sailing and kitesurfing, cycling or taking the many hiking trails. Go see the Varone waterfalls at Tenno just 3 km from town where you will also see a botanical garden. Do not miss to visit the Castello Scaligero located at the foot of Monte Baldo in Malcesine. You can see the Palazzo dei Capitani and its hanging garden which housed the lords of Veneto. Then take the cable car which will take you to an altitude of 1,760 m in 10 minutes at the top of Monte Baldo to enjoy the exceptional panoramic view of Lake Garda. Then visit the villages of:

  • Bardolino, its port, its Romanesque church, and taste a local red wine
  • Lazise, ​​its ramparts, its Venetian houses, and its small streets as well as Piazza Vittorio Emanuele
  • Peschiera del Garda with colorful houses reminiscent of Venice, its fortress and its Madonna del Frassino sanctuary
  • Sirmione, its castle and the caves of Catullus
  • Desenzano del Garda, its old port, its Venetian-style houses, its cathedral and its Roman villa
  • Salo with the charming old town, its port and its Palazzo della Magnifica Patria
  • Limone sul Garda and its lemon cultivation and the Church of San Pietro

Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore is certainly the most romantic of the great Italian lakes. It is home to Stresa and the Borromean Islands which should not be missed under any circumstances. If you are just passing through, at least visit Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Bella as well as Isola Madre. Visit the Santa Caterina del Sasso sanctuary built on the rock and falling steeply into the lake. The garden of Villa Taranto is ranked among the most beautiful gardens in the world and that of Villa Pallavicino is home to many small animals. To the south you can see Arona and the Rocca di Angera with its historic rooms and precious frescoes. The castle houses the doll and toy museum. In Cannero Riviera you will find a large number of citrus trees alongside elegant gardens of magnificent villas.

Lake Como

Lake Como is the third largest lake in northern Italy after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. With its 410 meters high, it is also the deepest of all. The best seasons to visit are spring and autumn. You can go there by car through the Fréjus tunnel, it is at 4:30 a.m. By plane, you land in Milan where the nearest airport is located. Once there, you can move on foot or by boat to pleasantly connect the very pretty villages on its banks. By taking out a €15 day pass card, you can go unlimited to:

  • Bellagio
  • Tremezzo
  • Menaggio
  • Cadenabbia
  • Lenno
  • Varenna

There is also a ferry across the lake. The main activity around this lake is therefore the visit of the pretty villages bordering it, the magnificent villas and their sumptuous gardens and beautiful hikes. Do not miss to walk the Greenway del lago di Como which is a small path allowing you to cross villages, villas like villa Balbiano and offers you sublime panoramas on the water. In Tremezzo, do not miss Villa Carlotta and its extraordinary gardens, its botanical garden on 7 hectares and the museum inside the villa. Villa Balbiano is located in Lenno. It has served as the setting for many films including scenes from Star Wars and James Bond. It is located on the banks of the lake and overlooks it. You can indulge in the joys of photography as the place is exceptional. Finish the visit by the village of Varenna with its small port, its colorful and flowery houses, the Piazza St Giorgio where you can eat or have a drink on the terrace of a café. Do not miss to visit the Castello di Vezio overlooking the city and the lake. On site, you can see the famous "plaster ghosts". Bellagio is also a village to see with its colorful houses and narrow streets. On site, you can also admire Villa Serbelloni and Villa Melzi with their incredible gardens. Other wonderful towns and villages worth a visit like:

  • Nesso and its waterfall
  • Molina Fageto Lario
  • Como its funicular and its historic center

Lake Iseo

The three great lakes often take the place of Iseo which is less known and yet which does not lack charm and is worth a detour. You can go around and find wonders there. Thus, wild nature lovers will be delighted to discover Torbiere del Sebino which is a refuge for thousands of migratory birds. For hiking, we advise you to take the Via Valeriana linking Brescia to Val Camonica. Lake Iseo also has three pretty little islands that can be explored by boat. The first of the islands is Isola di Loreto. It is private, but you can admire the neo-Gothic castle which overlooks it. Isola di San Paolo is also private and houses a convent. The largest is the Isola de Monte Isola, which you can approach to admire magnificent buildings with Renaissance facades. In Pescheria, you can stay in a medieval castle transformed into a hotel residence while having a breathtaking view of the lake. You can also taste the specialty of the lake:freshwater sardines. Many people appreciate this surprising taste and others hate it, but the fish does not leave anyone indifferent. While visiting Iseo, be sure to explore the Franciacorta wine region and do some tastings.

Lake Orta

Lake Orta, even less known, is however worth a visit. You can discover Orta Sant Giulio which is a charming village on the edge of the lake. Discover Piazza Motta and its frescoes, the Chiesa Santa Maria Assunta and the view it offers over the water. Go see the garden of Villa Bossi overlooking the island of San Giulio. Admire the famous wrought iron gates throughout your walk, they are spectacular. Take the boat to go to San Giulio Island. Discover the Basilica of San Giulio, the Sacro Monte di Orta and its 20 chapels from the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. Legro is a painted village. Many artists tell of films shot on the lake in a series of frescoes painted on the walls of houses. Visit Villa Crespi which is a superb villa in oriental style. It houses a luxury hotel, so it is recommended to book your visit well in advance.

The great Italian lakes are a natural wealth of northern Italy that you have to see at least once in your life. It is best to go there between the end of April and the beginning of June to take advantage of the many flowers that adorn the fabulous gardens at the edge of the water to admire in peace these panoramas full of sweetness and romanticism of the Dolce Vita .