Lake Maggiore

Elegant lakeside resorts, shimmering waters and towering mountains make Lake Maggiore one of northern Italy’s most appealing regions.

Holiday in Lake Maggiore for pure romance, its shoreline dotted with timeless resorts and ringed by the foothills of the Alps. The golden age of travel is evoked in its 19th-century lakeside towns, where wide waterfront promenades are filled with sophisticated cafe terraces. Gelato in hand, stroll past the palatial hotels that command impressive views of the lake. After wandering on your getaway through the cobbled squares and lanes of lakeside villages, pull up a sun lounger at one of Lake Maggiore’s many beaches.

Stretching for 40 miles, Lake Maggiore is Italy’s longest lake and has been a favourite with holiday makers since the days of the Grand Tour. Soak up the old-world charm of Stresa, the main resort and a handy place to catch the ferries that shuttle up, down and across the lake.

Explore the sprawling botanical gardens of Villa Taranto in nearby Verbania, which were created by a Scotsman. Cross Lake Maggiore to Laveno, where you can take an old-fashioned bucket cable car to Monte Sasso del Ferro and marvel at the panoramic views.

During your holiday, a visit to the Borromean islands is a must. Take a ferry from Stresa to these jewel-like islands, two of which have lavish villas set in equally elaborate gardens. On Lake Maggiore’s eastern shores, you can’t miss the impressive sight of Rocca di Angera, an imposing Medieval fortress that looms over the village of Angera. Climb its tower for fantastic lake views.

If you like to have more adventure on your holiday, hike Lake Maggiore’s national park trails or make use of the cycle paths around the lake. For windsurfing and kitesurfing, head to Cannobio near the Swiss border.

An efficient train network connects Lake Maggiore’s main towns with Milan, the nearest major city. For an unforgettable journey, hop on the Lake Maggiore Express, where you can take the ferry up into Switzerland and return on a narrow-gauge railway through spectacular countryside.

Combine a leisurely holiday on Lake Maggiore with a visit to its smaller, more intimate neighbour Lake Orta or Medieval village Orta San Giulio, which is one of the prettiest in the region.

Guide to Exploring Lake Maggiore

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