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Who´s not dreaming of the Italian lake holidays these days? – Check the top three lakes in Italy: Como, Garda, and Maggiore. If you can only pick one – which to choose?

An Italian Vacation

What is your idea of a perfect Italian vacation?! Known for its ancient sights and beautiful sceneries, Italy is one of the most visited countries in all of Europe. Rome, Tuscany, Cinque Terre… when there are so many delights along the way it is often hard to choose, right?!

No matter where your Italian journey begins – it´s incredibly difficult not to fall in love. No wonder there are lots of travel stories out there! With this explosion of information available through the internet, finding really useful travel tips for Italy is harder than ever.

Nevertheless, there is one thing we can all agree upon. No Italian itinerary would feel complete and authentic without a visit to one of the country´s most iconic lakes: Como, Garda or Maggiore.

But what if you can´t see them all? – Let´s try to find your perfect match for the epic Italian lake holidays. One of these might absolutely end up on your personal list of romantic travel experience around the world.

Italian Lake Holidays

1. Lake Como – Hollywood´s Favorite Lake

Italian Lake Holidays: Lake Como,
Photo by Bruce Meier

Let´s start with Como, Hollywood’s favorite one when it comes to the Italian lake holidays. Since 2002 when George Clooney bought a luxurious lakeside villa in Laglio village, other celebrities started to buy houses and spending summers on Como. Of course, it led to tourists wanting to see celebrities’ houses and figure out what they love about this lake. Nowadays, Como is no longer a tranquil paradise, it’s a touristic place bustling with life.

Also read: Toscana – 3 Days Under the Tuscan Sun

The views haven’t changed, but the vibes are different. If you’re into the hype, following the trends, and you don’t mind crowds of tourists in the search for celebrities’ houses, then most likely you’ll enjoy Como.

For a calmer experience, head there during late autumn/early spring. In this way, you can truly enjoy the beauty of the lake and understand why everyone is so obsessed with it.

2. Lake Garda – The Biggest in Italy

There´s no better choice for unforgettable Italian lake holidays than the biggest one of them all. If you take the gondola up to the mountaintop, you’ll see the most breathtaking views. You can walk to different points on the mountain top to see the lake from all angles. My favorite part was meeting alpacas. 

Once you go back to earth from this heaven, you can visit Malcesine – a very cute lakeside village. It has its Italian charm but you can tell that it’s all done for tourists. So if you want something authentic, then I’d advise heading to villages nearby.

Also read: Cinque Terre – My Beautiful Nightmare in Liguria

If you have enough time you can take a boat to the other side of the lake and visit Limone Sul Garda.

The best thing about Lake Garda is that it’s so big that you won’t run out of things to do. There are so many charming towns at Lake Garda, so just take a ride along the lake and stop whenever you see something that gets your attention.

3. Lake Maggiore – A Poets Inspiration

While Como has been loved by Hollywood, Maggiore has been loved by poets. Stendhal, Dickens, Dumas, and Hemingway were visiting the lake and the little town on its shores – Stresa – for inspiration and relaxation.

From Stresa you can travel to the three islands: Isola Bella, Isola Madre, and Isola Pescatori.

The aristocratic Borromeo family acquired the islands in the 14th century, and today they still own Isola Bella and Isola Madre.

Also read: Expat Story – Italy Through American Eyes

Isola Bella is the luxurious island with Italian baroque garden and gorgeous palace, where the world’s elite and aristocrats were staying during their visits to Lake Maggiore.

Another island, Isola Madre has all kinds of exotic plants brought from different parts of the world. This island isn’t as extravagant as Isola Bella, it’s considered to be the holiday home of the Borromeo family.

Isola Pescatori (Fishermen’s Island) is the only island that doesn’t belong to the Borromeo family. It’s also the only island that is permanently inhabited. This tiny island is absolutely charming with its narrow streets and various restaurants with fresh fish caught on the same day.  

Also read: One day in Savona – What to see and do?

Lake Maggiore is definitely a unique place, full of charm, history, and luxury. As Stendhal once said, “If you had a heart and a shirt, you would sell your shirt and visit Lago Maggiore.”

All in all, if you have a chance, I’d really advise visiting all of the lakes, as each one of them is beautiful in its own way. Nevertheless, my personal favorite is Maggiore, because it has it all: different islands you can visit, delicious restaurants with fresh seafood, gorgeous botanical gardens with exotic plants, and quieter settings (comparing to Como and Garda).

For more ideas to plan your epic Italian vacation check my Pinterest board – Italy Travel Tips and Destinations.

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Italian Lake Holidays: Lake Como, Lake Garda or Lake Maggiore?