Wednesday, 18 July 2012 1:22 PM
Going on holiday to the Italian lake district is a glamorous getaway option, allowing you to base yourself in one of the most luxurious resorts in Europe. However, it is perhaps unfair that Lake Garda and Como get all the attention.
Indeed, the region is actually home to several great lakes and Lake Maggiore is one of the largest and most beautiful. Only Lake Garda is bigger and there is some stunning scenery to be found within the vicinity of this beautiful body of water, which is nestled within the foothills of the Alps.
Read on to learn more about some of the top sites to visit during your stay.
Isola dei Pescatori
The English translation of the name of this small isle is Island of the Fishermen and it is one of the three Borromean Islands. It is also the only one that is inhabited today, thanks to its fishing community.
It is tiny in size, meaning that the small village takes up almost the entire rock. You can travel here by boat from Stresa - and it's worth going when you're feeling peckish. The island is home to an abundance of restaurants, where you can tuck into delicious seafood in a luxurious setting.
Alternatively, simply enjoy taking a stroll around the village and the rest of the isle, which should take no more than an hour. Round off your day with a gentle paddle in the water as you admire the views of neighbouring Isola Madre and Isola Bella.
You can visit these islands too during your trip. Bella was once little more than a large rock but its former owners, the aristocratic Borromeo family, transformed it in the 17th century by building an ornate palace and gardens. Madre, meanwhile, is the largest of the three isles and is famous for its stunning gardens.
This small town on the western coast of the lake is also well worth visiting for a day trip. It has some beautiful 19th century architecture, much of which is capped with the terracotta-colour roofs the region is famous for.
Come here to simply stroll around the pretty buildings and sit on the banks of the lake to admire the views. You can also charter a boat and spend a few hours sailing around the lake itself. Another great idea is to travel from Baveno over the mountain to the town of Orta, where you can walk down to the lake of the same name. This is one of the lesser-known Italian lakes but is perhaps the most beautiful as it is so tranquil. In the heart of it sits the magical-looking Isola San Giulio, where there is some breathtaking architecture.
This is the place to come if you are looking for a lively hub with plenty of buzz. The city faces Stresa on the other side of the lake and the Isolino di San Giovanni lies just off its coast. This was later acquired by the Borromeos, when it was decked out with a palace and gardens.
Among the most famous sights to see in this area is the Giardini Botanici Villa Taranto, which is a magical botanical garden. It was created in the first half of the 20th century and the entire landscape of the area was changed in order to make the garden, which is home to thousands of plant species.