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4 Beautiful Italian lakes you need to visit

Varenna Old Town on the banks of Lake Como.

A key reason why many travellers decide to venture to Italy, the country is famous around the world for its sparkling lakes.

Browse some of Italy’s best-known below, starting with scenic Lake Como…

1. Lake Como

Varenna on Lake Como.

Glacial Lake Como, Italy’s most famous lake, is known around the world for its picturesque setting.

Steeped in history, the area is home to a wealth of attractions, natural and man-made, available to explore.

The lake is almost human-shaped, with two legs stretching southward.

Follow either of them and you will reach the pleasant towns of Como and Lecco.

Both are great locations for reviewing your day spent exploring one of Europe’s most iconic landscapes.

Villa del Balbianello
Villa del Balbianello.

In search of renaissance features? Villa del Balbianello, sitting on the edge of the lake, is famed for its terraced gardens.

An inspirational setting, many a writer and painter have paid a visit to the commune and Villa, leaving with a fresh zeal of creativity.

Bit of Trivia – Villa del Balbianello was once owned by the first Italian to reach the summit of Mount Everest!

Keen to chalk another castle off your holiday bucket list?

Castello di Vezio
Castello di Vezio.

Castello di Vezio, reportedly home to a number of ghosts is a strange and slightly spooky landmark found on the edge of a peninsula.

With a soaring medieval tower, surrounded by a huge wall, the castle is hidden from view by foliage during the summer months.

2. Lake Garda

Torbole, Lake Garda.

A grand Italian Jewel, Lake Garda is one of the most recognisable lakes on the planet.

Huge numbers flock to Lake Garda each and every year. The appeal? Stunning scenery, clear blue waters, sunshine, and much more.

Resort towns such as Limone, Riva del Garda and Sirmione are all rich in history and great places to relax and sample tasty local dishes.

Scaligero Castle
Scaligero Castle.

Former fortress Scaligero Castle dominates Sirmione, guarding the town for over 500 years!

Today, visitors can explore this preserved piece of Italian history.

Inside, a short tour of the museum sheds light on the area’s history, featuring some great interactive elements.

Climb the castle tower and you will be rewarded with fantastic 360-degree views of the lake and nearby towns.

Another key attraction here is Isola del Garda. Green-fingered gardeners take note – a trip here is sure to provide some inspiration.

On the island, the villa, complete with pristine gardens, is best explored on a sunny day.

Further activities in the area include cycling, sampling delicious local cuisine, exploring the walking trails of Monte Baldo and wandering around Peschiera’s historic Old Town.

Adding an excellent active element to your holiday, there are plenty of cycling opportunities around Garda.

A great way to get around, cycling helps burn off some calories and gives the chance to embrace the great outdoors and epic Italian scenery.

Monte Baldo
Monte Baldo.

Different trails are available in the area catering to different tastes and experience levels.

During free time, bikes can be hired locally in resorts.

Italy is celebrated around the world for its cuisine and the food on offer around Lake Garda doesn’t disappoint.

Famous regional dishes include Yota, Tortellini, and Frico (similar to cheese and chips).

Heading into the Italian Alps, the walking trails of Monte Baldo give readers the chance to admire the lake from different vantage points.


Best setting off from Malcesine, a cable car journey takes you high into the mountains.

At the journey’s end, readers can gaze out across the beautiful blue waters of Garda stretching off for miles.

Close to both Verona and the shores of Garda, Peschiera is best known for its walled town and series of waterways and connecting bridges.

Once a key part of the Venetian Empire, Peschiera is one of Italy’s many UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites.

View all holidays to Lake Garda

3. Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore.

Around the celebrated Alps, Lake Maggiore, also referred to as Lago Verbano, is one of the country’s biggest.

Similar to others, Lake Maggiore lies across different regional borders.

Huge sections of the lake can be found in two Italian provinces, Piedmont and Lombardy and also the Swiss region of Ticino.

Maggiore enjoys a sheltered position, with gardens in the area benefiting from the resulting generous climate.

Some of Italy’s most famous gardens can be admired here including Villa Taranto.

Villa Taranto
Villa Taranto.

Established by a Scotsman, those with a keen eye may spot British influences throughout.

Resting on the lake, the Italian Borromean Islands await discovery.

Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore
Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore.

Worth the visit to Maggiore by themselves, the beautiful Borromean Islands – Bella, Madre, dei Pescatori, San Giovanni and La Malghera – each have their own charm and character.

During visits, readers can enjoy pristine gardens on the islands, once a haunt of British royalty.

View all holidays to Lake Maggiore

4. Lake Orta

Lake Orta.
Lake Orta.

Lake Orta, found to the west of Lake Maggiore, is famed for its luxurious island, Isola San Giulio.

Yet to fully attract the crowds the same way Garda and Como have, Orta is small and scenic.

We recommend taking the short boat ride over to Isola San Giulio, an island not even 300 metres in length.

Isola San Giulio (St. Julius Island)
Isola San Giulio (St. Julius Island).

On arrival, you will be greeted by the sight of the historic Basilica di San Giulio Church.

Atmospheric, the church is a local icon and it is not hard to see why.

Appearances may deceive when you first catch sight of the church. Step inside and you will feel the full grand effect of the ornate architecture inside.

Alongside marvellous painted ceilings hundreds of years old, and a series of sculptures to admire, keep an eye out for the Church’s Organ, nestled high above.

Allow time to experience some of the best views found around this beautiful lake.

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