What To Do At Lago Maggiore?

Lago means lake and Maggiore means major or superior. Lago Maggiore is a beautiful holiday destination for nature lovers. It is a great destination for a weekend or better a few days in midweek when it isn’t crowded. Before we talk about what to do at Lago Maggiore, we shall give you some background information.

With a length of 66 km and a width of up to 10 km, Lake Maggiore is the second-largest Italian lake after Lake Garda. Lake Maggiore is fed by the Ticino, which leaves the lake in the south and is connected to Milan via canals (in Italian Navigli). Thanks to this waterway, the marble required for the construction of the Milan Cathedral from the Candoglia area at the beginning of the Ossola Valley was shipped directly to the Milan Cathedral.
The most important places on Lake Maggiore are Locarno and Ascona on Swiss territory and the beautiful lakeside towns of Verbania, Stresa, Baveno, and Arona on the Piedmontese side in Italian territory.
The northern part of Lake Maggiore (20% of its surface) lies between the foothills of the Alps in the Swiss canton of Ticino, while the larger part of the lake (80%) forms the border between the Italian regions of Lombardy in the east and Piedmont in the west. From the mountains around the lake, you have a wonderful view over the lake with the Borromean Islands to far over the Po Valley, which adjoins Lake Maggiore in the south.

What To Do at Lago Maggiore?

Stresa has always been a popular holiday destination with its imposing hotels on the lakeshore, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view over the Borromean Gulf with its islands. Definitely recommended: A boat trip to the Borromean Islands Isola Bella, with its 17th century palace and the large garden, Isola dei Pescatori (fishing island) and the largest, Isola Madre, also these with wonderful gardens. Music festivals often take place in the summer months.

The unique landscape captivated poets and painters from an early age. Names like Ernest Hemingway and Charles Dickens made the place famous worldwide.

Baveno is characterized by the Lago Maggiore with a mild sea climate, in which palm trees thrive. From the boat dock you can take the motorboat to Isola die Pescatori in a few minutes and on to Isola Bella. Another route leads to Isola Madre and Verbania.

Noteworthy in Baveno are the octagonal baptistery and the Saints Gervaso and Protaso convent, a 12th-century building. It was restored in the 17th century in a way that only the facade, including a fresco and the Romanesque bell tower remained intact in their original beauty.

Verbania is the provincial capital of the Piedmont part of Lake Maggiore. The two districts of Pallanza and Intra as well as Suna and Fondotoce were combined to form Verbania. Verbania is known for its blossoms of azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias, which thrive particularly well here. The numerous gardens and villas in Verbania are an attraction for visitors. The gardens of the Villas Taranto and Villa San Remigio can be visited as part of events.

Arona has a typical medieval character, although its origins date back to around 1500 BC. Evidence of Gallic and Roman rule can be admired in the Arona Museum.

Due to its exposed location and the port on Lake Maggiore, it developed into a rich trading city. The archbishops of Milan, the Torriani, Visconti and Carlo Borromeo families, ruled on the castle, the Rocca di Arona, to whom a 35 m high statue was dedicated after his canonization.

The three small islands Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori (Isola Superiore) and Isola Madre in the Borromean Gulf are a gem of nature and beauty. In the Middle Ages they were a fortification and a religious center. In the Baroque era, the islands got their typical appearance from the Borromeo family, whose name they bear.
A round trip by boat to the islands with their blooming gardens, attractive palaces and the poetic fishermen’s houses of Isola di Pescatori is one of the attractions of Lake Maggiore.

The area around Stresa with the Mottarone (1491 m) is a wonderful destination for all seasons. After a short ride on the cable car, you are in the middle of the Alps. In a few minutes you move from the Mediterranean lake landscape to the subalpine area.

To the west of Lake Maggiore, the area rises steeply via Stresa. A cable car takes visitors to Monte Mottarone. In summer you can enjoy wonderful mountain hikes with wonderful views, while in winter the lifts on the downhill slopes are put into operation.

Piedmont Map

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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