Northern Italian Lakes

Protected by the Alpine belt, which lays around Italy like a shell in the north, the upper Italian lakes of Lago Maggiore, Lago d’Orta, Lago di Como, Lago d’Iseo and Lake Garda are idyllically nestled between the mountains. While a lot of German is spoken around Lake Garda and all foreign visitors are searching for the house of George Clooney on Lake Como, the other lakes are still originally Italian.

South of the lakes opens up the vast landscape of the Po Plain, the Padana with its fertile fields. It is the largest plain in Europe.

The most beautiful lakes in upper Italy

The small lake with the island of Orta San Giulio in the lake region is located to the west of Lake Maggiore in Piedmont and exudes tranquility amidst the green landscape. Orta San Giulio is a tranquil little village on a promontory that juts into the lake. On this promontory rises a hill up to 150m above the lake. It is the Sacro Monte di Orta. One of the most sacred mountains in this area. It was dedicated to the St. Francis of Assisi. A forest path leads past 20 richly decorated chapels up to the church of Saint Nicolao from around 1800.

Lake Maggiore is mostly located in Italian territory and to a small extent in Ticino, Switzerland. The special feature of Lake Maggiore are its three interesting Borromean islands: Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Madre.

The most famous and beautiful resorts of Lake Maggiore are Stresa, Arona and Verbania on the Italian as well as Locarno and Ascona on the Swiss side.

Lake Como is idyllically nestled in more than 1000m high mountains that surround the lake. Due to its protected climate, there are magnificent villas around the lake with spacious gardens and parks, stocked with attractive Mediterranean plants. The most elegant villas on the lake are only visible from the lake and are therefore particularly popular with celebrities from show business and the wealthy.

Lake Iseo, north of Brescia, has gained particular notoriety when veiling artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude installed the Floating Piers on the lake in 2017. For two weeks you could walk across the lake to the island of Monte Isola.

The most famous in the German-speaking region is Lake Garda, with its wide range of holiday opportunities for water sports enthusiasts, families and gourmets. With a mild climate and plenty of sun, Lake Garda is an ideal holiday paradise.

In addition to the well-known lakes already listed, there are other quieter lakes that are not yet overcrowded by tourism. These are as beautiful as the larger and well know lakes. Zou can find something right for every taste. In Lombardy these are the three small lakes east of Lake Maggiore:

  • Lago di Varese with a hiking and cycling trail around the lake
  • Lago di Comabbio with fields of water lilies
  • Lago di Monate, the smallest and cleanest. For camping enthusiasts, the quiet, almost sleepy campsite in the countryside is a real insider tip.
  • On the border with Switzerland lies the also beautiful Lake Lugano in Ticino. On Lake Lugano there are also tours with passenger ships, which is not possible on the other lakes.

Even further east between Lake Como and Lake Garda is Lake Idro. Lake Idro is embedded in the mountains and is one of the cleanest lakes in Italy. A paradise for the sporty and those seeking peace and quiet.

Our visitor guide

Whether alone or as a group outing, a boat trip over one of the pre-Alpine lakes is always a relaxing experience. The most beautiful destinations on the lakes:

  • On Lake Maggiore to the Borromean Islands
  • On Lake Como from Como to Bellagio
  • On Lake Garda to private Garda Island
  • On Lake Iseo to Monte Isola Island
  • On Lake Orta to San Giulio Island

Hiking around Lake Garda

On the east bank of Lake Garda rises the mountain range of Monte Baldo with a height of about 2000 m. On the approximately 30 km long ridge along the Adige River you will find beautiful hiking trails with great views over the lake. From Malcesine, a cable car runs up to Monte Baldo.

Hiking at Lake Como

Above Lake Como you will find beautiful hiking trails in all levels of difficulty and with beautiful views. From Como to Bellagio, 2 day tours across Monte Bolletone and Monte San Primo near the center of the lake. The east bank of Lake Como has challenging hiking areas on the Resegone mountain. The north shore borders Via Spluga, which leads via the Splügen Pass into the Swiss Engadine.

Hiking at Lake Maggiore

From Stresa, the cable car runs to Monte Mottarone with its extensive hiking trails connecting Lake Maggiore with Lake Orta.

Hiking at Lake Iseo

Especially on the east bank and north of Lake Iseo, the long-distance hiking trails lead via the Presolana Pass to Klausen.

Hikes across the Alps

There are several Alpine crossings for hikers and mountain bikers, which lead from Munich to Venice.

How about a golfing holiday combined with wellness and the beautiful ambience of the Upper Italian lakes and the enjoyment of Mediterranean cuisine. There is certainly time for a trip to one of the cultural cities of the Padana (river Po plain) or to Milan, Turin or Verona.

Golf in Italy – Arrangements Hotel and Green Fee

Lake Maggiore has golf courses for beginners and professionals. Castelconturbia’s course is one of the most beautiful golf courses in Italy.

On Lake Como, the 18-hole Golf Course Pinetina offers optimal conditions for a relaxing golf holiday.

We have put together an exemplary few golf trips with a cultural accompanying program for you. These can be customized and designed according to your wishes. We are happy to combine golf with some sightseeing, wine tasting, day trip to a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a gourmet dinner.

Map of northern Italian lakes

You can hover over the dots on the map to see the name of the city. A click will bring you to the page of that city.

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