Part of the scenic Italian Lake District, Lake Maggiore is pure Mediterranean sophistication in the sun. Palm lined shores front quaint villages surrounded by olive groves and citrus trees. Split over two countries - Italy and Switzerland - Lake Maggiore offers visitors the chance to cross borders and enjoy completely different views of the lake.
A playground for Italy’s aristocracy and celebrities alike - many of Lake Maggiore’s islands are owned by wealthy Italian families. Beach-lovers will adore the lakeside shingle bays where sunbeds are waiting to welcome them. Summer temperatures hit the high twenties, warming the lake waters - ready to welcome water-sports fans. Once the sun sets, Lake Maggiore’s bars and clubs provide the entertainment, with the fun continuing late into the small hours.
Sun-kissed summer shores make Lake Maggiore an ideal destination for topping up your tan or island hopping. For a break from sunbathing on the lake’s beaches, Lake Maggiore has some stunning gardens and towns to explore. Most resorts are connected by a train station or are a short ferry ride away. Whether you’re enjoying a lakeside stroll or mountain biking through the lush terrain, Lake Maggiore is an Italian playground full of fun for all kinds of holidaymakers.
You don’t need an A-lister’s bank account to enjoy one of the best experiences in Stresa - the lakeside promenade. 1.5km of shoreside pavements take you from the lido in Carciano to the centre of Stresa. Stop along the way to enjoy the statues and monuments dotted around the public gardens, and grab an ice cream or drink to cool down in the summer sun. While you’re in town, you’ll want to head to the Sky Bar on the roof of Hotel La Palma’s. There are other bars in Stresa, but this one gives you the best views of the lake at night, in our opinion.
If you’re done with shingle and the kids are keen to build some serious sandcastles, head to Cannero Riviera. 400m of soft sand lines the shore, offering families a place to relax and unwind. Away from the beach, Cannero Riviera is one of the most picturesque towns on Lake Maggiore. It is flanked by olive groves and orchards growing zesty citrus fruits and an annual fruit festival is held here.
Lake Como is the holiday home of many of Hollywood’s stars. Madonna, George Clooney and Richard Branson have all been wooed by Lake Como’s idyllic scenery. And it’s easy to see why. The quintessential Italian lake experience is on offer everywhere, from the unspoilt villages to the lush green mountains that rise from the blue waters of the lake.
Exploring Lake Maggiore…
Monte Mottarone Cable Car
For a change of stunning scenery, we recommend taking the cable car up to the dizzying heights of Monte Mottarone. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with views of Lake Orta below and the Italian Alps in the distance. On the journey up you can stop to enjoy the views of Lake Maggiore and take in the sights of the alpine gardens. Giardino Alpinia is home to 2,000 types of alpine plants - very different from the lakeside vegetation.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to lakeside beaches on Lake Maggiore’s shores. The shoreline is the perfect place to lay back and soak up the Italian summer sun. Warm enough for a dip, the clear waters are also a fantastic place to dive. Great visibility means you can explore the lake and discover Lake Maggiore’s secrets. Back on land, a walk along the beach, gelato in hand, is the perfect way to relax after a hard day’s sunbathing.
Lake Maggiore is home to several islands - all offering something different for holidaymakers to enjoy. Isola Bella and Isola Madre have sumptuous gardens to explore where you can spot tropical plants and even some. Once the day visitors have gone, Isola Pescatori offers couples the chance to enjoy an intimate dinner. Family owned restaurants serve up delicious seafood on terraces overlooking the lake.
The Villa Taranto Gardens
Created by a former Scottish soldier, these beautiful gardens are the result of his expansive plant collection. A botanist, he gathered over 20,000 varieties of shrubs, trees, flowers and plants. With varieties from as far away as the Amazon rainforest, the gardens are a diverse collection of stunning plants. Visit in April for a chance to see over 80,000 tulips blooming with colour.
Lake Maggiore cuisine
Famous for a wide range of Italian products and ingredients, Lake Maggiore is a foodie’s haven. While you’re visiting be sure to try the local cheeses with some local honey - trust us, it’s a taste combination you need to experience. If that’s tempted your sweet tooth, there’s also a feast of local biscuits and cakes to try. We recommend the margheritine made in Stresa. Small and golden - they melt in the mouth with a hint of zesty lemon. A perfect snack for a summer’s day.
Lake Maggiore restaurants
From secluded restaurants on one of the lake’s islands to bustling cafes and restaurants in the more popular resorts, Lake Maggiore has some first-class restaurants. With the north shores of the lake crossing over into Switzerland you have the opportunity to cross the border and sample some Swiss food alongside traditional Italian dishes.
Lake Maggiore holidays are made for holidaymakers looking to experience the best of the Italian lakes. From beach lovers to families of holidaymakers - everyone is catered for. With day trips to Lake Como and Stresa as well as world-class restaurants, historic monuments, annual festivals, and of course unrivalled water sports, this is a picturesque and diverse place to visit.
Booking your holiday to Lake Maggiore with easyJet holidays is the best way to get to this gem in the midst of the Italian lake district. You can even save on your holiday when you book your flight and hotel together.
Have a read of our other Italy destination guides for further holiday inspiration.