Marvellous Lake Maggiore holidays 2019 / 2020
Kick back and relax on Lake Maggiore holidays and enjoy taking in the botanical delights by yacht. Located on the south side of the Alps, Lake Maggiore is one of the largest Italian lakes, stretching a huge 68 km. Boasting a green landscape with stunning mountain views, there are a myriad of scenic delights on offer.
Turn up the action a notch and trek through the lusciously green Alpe Veglia Park, take time out and pamper yourself in the thermal baths of Permia or seek out the architectural wonders that await inland. From the Brissago Islands that are famed for their divine gardens to the island of Isola Bella, which hosts the annual Stresa Music Festival, there’s a plethora of things to experience. Always offering up a mild climate, you can enjoy this magnificent scenery on holidays to Lake Maggiore all year round!
Please note: City tax of €1 per person per day is payable locally.
Things to do in Lake Maggiore
Just to the west of well-known neighbour Lake Como, this alpine delight is full of tranquil wonders and aquatic adventures to keep everyone occupied. Sharing its shores with Piedmont and Lombardy, the villages and towns around the lake make great escapes from the nearby cities to the south. From cycling around the lake to exploring the rich heritage of the area, the number of activities and natural beauty keep all those who visit relaxed and amazed.
Wine and Dine
Like other areas in Italy, you will not starve on holiday here. Dig into rich polenta on a terrace overlooking the lake, or salivate over a delectable mixed fresh fish dish in a cosy dining room. Vines woven along the pergolas make for the ultimate romantic dinner, while mouth-watering pizzas and refined pastas can please even the pickiest of tots. Ristorante Milano is one of the most picturesque restaurants around, and eating here is one of the best things to do in Lake Maggiore. From Milan to Sicily, you can find delicious dishes made in all Italian styles.
Action and Adventure
Peaceful and stunning as the lake may be, you can still work up a sweat and keep the heart pumping while visiting this scenic area. Take to the water with a bit of sailing and windsurfing, as you can learn to do both here. Back on land, you can hike the gorgeous mountains surrounding the lake, or try your hand at skiing or snowboarding in the Italian Alps or in Switzerland, just to the north. Hop on a bike and cycle around the diverse landscape up mountains and around the towns.
Perfect for laid-back couples who want to enjoy the ideal Italian scenery, the atmosphere here is one of the top Lake Maggiore attractions. Discover the picturesque villages with walks arm in arm, like the Island of Ascona, or go on a date to the Mediterranean-style zoo in Stresa to see some beautifully exotic animals. Ride the cable car up to the top of Monte Mottarone for an incredible panoramic view of the lake and its islands, as well as the border with Switzerland. Baveno is another wonderfully romantic place, especially with all of its incredible views to take in from its luxury hotels. Spend your sunny days on the beaches of Isola Bella, while strolling around the Villa Taranto grounds is perfect in spring and fall, a low-key romantic alternative to Venice and Rome.
Bella Italia is home to a plethora of cultural attractions, and Lake Maggiore is no different. Explore the complex and luxurious Palazzo Borromeo in the summer months, home to terraced gardens, astonishing artwork and a myriad of rooms only found in such opulent mansions. Palazzo Madre is another elegant mansion that cannot be missed.
There are also beautiful religious sites around the area, like the Santa Caterina del Sasso monastery, active from the 13th to the 20th centuries and boasts a spectacular view. Sacro Monte di San Carlo is the site of a splendid dedication to San Carlo Borromeo, born near Stresa, and you can view his likeness in statue form, all 35 metres of it. One of the top things to do in Lake Maggiore is to drive or walk along the coast and discover the traditional villages and modern resorts that make up this sublime destination.
Recharge and Relax
Tranquillity knows no bounds in Lake Maggiore; if the scenery does not calm you, there may be something wrong with you. Sit back and relax in the thermal baths of Permia and feel the stress of everyday non-holiday life melt away. Verbania is close to the lovely botanical gardens that are as stunning as they are peaceful, while the overall ebb and flow of the area’s vibe permeates the air and instantly puts you at ease. Lake Maggiore attractions span the entirety of its surroundings, but sunbathing on the beach is known and loved paradise. Of course, a glass of wine paired perfectly with a delectable Italian meal is always the way to start and end a holiday.
Best of Both Worlds
Lake Maggiore holidays have endless possibilities due to the many islands that you can visit, but fear not as you can zip around the area thanks to the Lake Maggiore Express, a combination of train and boat. Hop on the railway to see some unparalleled views over the many valleys that are found within Centovalli, or jump aboard the ferry to see the mountains from an altogether different angle. If you’re after a more hands on experience, there are numerous walks along the Gambarogno Riviera on the opposite side of the lake from Locarno and Ascona.
If you feel like trying something different then basing yourself on the island of Baveno is the perfect place to take in the wonderful views. Treat yourself to something special and book yourself into one of the luxurious hotels sprawled along the water’s edge, or stay in Stresa or Verbania to be in touching distance of the fine botanical gardens these areas both showcase.
For those who are looking for a slice of tranquillity, the island of Ascona is a true hidden gem to discover on a holidays to Lake Maggiore. With chic boutiques and art galleries all situated within a sunny bay it’s a haven for fashionistas and history buffs alike. Stay in one of the cosy boutique hotels to enjoy being in the midst of it all.
Always an Adventure
With such a luscious and diverse landscape on its doorstep, there’s a plethora of activities and excursions to enjoy. Action lovers will find cycling in Lake Maggiore a real adrenaline rush. Choose one of the mountain trails for best views of the island or cycle along the water’s edge for a chance to be in the centre of all the action. There is also a fantastic range of hiking and trekking trails to choose from that double up as fantastic ski slopes in the winter.
At Lake Maggiore you have the freedom to go to wherever your heart takes you, such as the fantastic market in Luino held every Wednesday where you can pick up trinkets and locally produced goods. Take a wander through the town and marvel at the architecture, seek out the best city views and enjoy wining and dining in one of the top Italian restaurants. For views that are absolutely out of this world make a trip to of Baveno where exquisite marble quarries can be seen.
Laid-back travellers will feel most at home on Lake Maggiore holidays, as the pace of life is slower than larger cities and towns, allowing time to relax and unwind from the stresses of everyday life. Go to the Lido di Suna and sunbathe to your heart’s content.
Out and about in Lake Maggiore
Perfect for romantic getaways Isola dei Pescatori is the ideal place to get away to and enjoy some one-on-one time. Walk along the beautiful cobbled streets to get an understanding of the history of the island and then rest up at one of the delightful restaurants that are located along the path.
The town of Stresa showcases the historical and architectural spender that holidays to Lake Maggiore can offer. One of the top Lake Maggiore attractions is the church of Sant’Ambrogio that has been restored in neoclassical style by Giuseppe Zanoia in 1790 and is well worth a visit.
For a traditional experience of Lake Maggiore, no trip is complete without seeing the Sacro Monte di Ghiffa at Stresa, a Roman Catholic devotional complex that is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Animal lovers can also visit the nearby zoological park that is home to zebras, llamas, wallabies and many more, not forgetting that you can see some of the most beautiful deer at this Mediterranean park.
For more inspiration on things to do in Lake Maggiore, check out our guide.