After spending an amazing week based in Lake Maggiore in Italy, I am sharing my five must do’s on the Italian lakes.
1. Swim in the lakes
Ok this may seem an obvious one but not everyone who goes to the lakes in Italy does. Although I will admit that the lakes were cold (even in the middle of the summer) It was definitely worth it and so much better than swimming in a pool.
2.Go to one of the markets in the many towns on the lakes
When you are staying on the Italian lakes there are many towns that will have markets and most days there will be one that is not too far away. It is definitely worth going to one, but there is no need to go to anymore. They all sell the same stuff, which is mainly shoes, clothes and souvenirs.
Breakfast the first morning! Amazing
To be fair I think this applies to the whole of Italy rather than just the lakes, but your life will revolve around the food and you should fully embrace it. Trust me, you will fill like you are missing out if you do not try all of the pizza, pasta and the ice cream on offer (This is the time to cheat on your diet).
4. Go to the Borromean Islands, but only visit Isola Bella
The three Borromean Island are perhaps one of the most famous attractions on Lake Maggiore. However, from my experience I think it is only worth visiting one which is Isola Bella as it has the palazzo, that is very impressive and has stunning gardens. Unfortunately I went on a very hot and sticky day and Isola Bella was the last island I went to. I was boiling at this point, which took away from the enjoyment of visiting the Isola Bella. I think if it is a cooler temperature it may be worth going to the two other islands (Isola Madre and Isola Superiore), but there was not as interesting in comparison to Isola Bella. If you only go to Isola Bella, allow 2-3 hours to visit it, but if you want to do all 3 islands, then allow the whole day to visit them.
5. Take a boat trip on the lakes
Although it may take you slightly longer to get to nearby towns travelling by boat, it is definitely worth doing. You will get some incredible views of the mountains and the lake by doing this. Also what I found was the lakes were smooth, making it very relaxing to travel by boat around the lakes.
Ok, I know I said this was a list of must do’s in the Italian lakes, but I do have one must don’t which is……
DO NOT CROSS THE BORDER IN TO SWITZERLAND
As I was staying only 20 minutes away from the Swiss border, I thought it would be fun to go to Switzerland for the day as I had never been before. However, I ended up staying for only and hour and a half due to it being so expensive. One litre of water was exactly the same price as 3 glasses of wine in Italy, Madness. I also found that the towns on the lake in Switzerland lack character in comparison to the Italians ones and were not as pretty.
Overall it was a great week in the Lakes and is by far one of the most beautiful places I have seen in Europe.