As you probably know, Italy is famous for a lot of things. It is a country responsible for delicious pasta, wood-fired pizza, juicy Sicilian lemons, fine wine, art, culture, and truly spectacular weather. Oh, and not to mention some of the best football players to ever grace the beautiful game.
Today, though, I’m not talking to you about food, wine, or football. Instead, I’m talking to you about lakes.
There’s just something about water that we find ourselves drawn to, and I don’t know about you, but when I see a lake in the midst of summer, the water shimmering with the sun’s reflection, I just want to take off my socks and dip my feet in the water.
Many of you will probably be more adventurous than myself, and will enjoy water sports such as jet-skiing, parasailing, and kayaking, which can all also be done on the water in most places.
If you’re a fan of hot sunshine, gorgeous scenery, and truly spectacular lakes, check out my list of se7en of the most beautiful lakes in Italy.
One of the most famous lakes, not only in Italy but in the entire world, is Lake Garda.
Placed in the stunning North of Italy, Lake Garda is one of the most popular destinations in the entire country, and for very good reason.
Lake Garda was actually created by glacial action, believe it or not, and is the biggest lake in all of Italy.
Upon visiting Lake Garda, if you excuse the very likely blue skies and hot sunshine, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were visiting a Norwegian Fjord it’s that beautiful.
Garda is home to numerous islands and towns, which can be accessed via ferry. To make the destination even more special, you’ll find the shorelines dotted by olive groves, as well as orange and lemon trees.
The second lake I present to you today is the impressive Lake Orta.
Lake Orta is much smaller than many of the lakes you’ll read about today, and it is not as busy or as popular. Now, before you worry, the main reason for this is simply due to the fact that it has not yet been discovered by tourists.
Once the holidaymakers and tourists discover it, it’ll be one of the busiest lakes in the country.
Lake Orta is overlooked by majestic snow-capped Alps, lush green woodland, quaint little medieval villages, and even a small island in the centre, known as San Giulio.
The island can be reached by ferry and is home to cobbled streets, quaint rustic houses, and it even has its own restaurant where you can grab a bite to eat.
Lake Como is another very well known lake found in Italy.
Lake Como is slightly more unique when compared with many of the other lakes in Italy, in that it is set in more of an industrial setting, rather than a rural/coastal setting.
Lake Como is set in the industrial region of Lombardy, and if you want proof that it is worth visiting, it’s actually incredibly popular amongst native Italians who choose to head there on holiday for a ‘staycation’.
Because of its setting, Lake Como sees plenty of live activities and events such as music festivals, art and crafts fairs, open markets, and plenty more besides.
Might I be so bold as to recommend a guided tour around the lake, which you can do via boat, or bike along the shore if you want to get some cardio in and work up an appetite for that delicious bowl of pasta you plan on tucking into later.
Lake Ledro is considered by many to be a real hidden gem in Italy.
It is located in the region of Trentino, which is decidedly mountainous and green.
Because it is so high up, it can get chilly here out of season, but in spring and summer, it is absolutely gorgeous.
Lake Ledro itself is another small lake, so if you want somewhere quieter and more tranquil than tourist hotspots like Lake Como or Garda, Ledro is ideal.
It is especially popular amongst people who love the great outdoors, as it is the perfect setting for cycling or hiking, where you can exercise, breathe in that fresh mountain air, and enjoy some of the most spectacular vistas you could ever imagine.
Speaking of spectacular vistas, the panoramic vistas you can enjoy here at Lake Bolsena are also incredibly beautiful and are well worth seeing in the flesh.
Located in central Italy, Lake Bolsena is home to a number of small islands, including Bisentia, which you may have heard of?
Bisentia is the largest island on the lake, and is home to stunning churches and cathedrals, along with ancient ruins and beaches.
There’s even black volcanic sand along the shoreline, which is hardly surprising as the lake itself actually sits in a volcanic crater.
Bolsena is a great lake to fish on, swim in, or enjoy a spot of birdwatching and wildlife spotting.
The penultimate lake I have for you today is Lake Maggiore.
Maggiore sits on the base of the Italian Alps and is actually shared with Switzerland. It also happens to be the second-largest lake in Italy, and if you were paying attention earlier, you’ll know what the biggest lake is.
Because of its vast size, it is home to numerous islands and villas, though that’s not all. Maggiore also hosts a number of castles! Yes, castles, hoorah!
These really add to the ambience of the place and give it that little bit more of a magical feel.
And finally, last, but certainly not least, may I present to you, the lake of Iseo.
Lake Iseo is not as large as some of the other lakes on my list today, and it is actually the smaller sister lake of Garda. I was lucky enough to see both these wonderful lakes during my bike trip to Italy and I can’t praise them enough. You can find out more about what’s it like to cycle in Italy in this article.
If you enjoy cycling, Iseo is a must as it hosts some of the finest cycle routes in all of Europe, let alone Italy.
Not only that, but here you’ll also find plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants, so there’s plenty to keep your debit card busy as well.
The lakes I’ve seen so far in Italy tell me straying off the uber-touristy path always pays off. If you find yourself visiting the Boot anytime soon, do yourself a favour and visit one of these se7en gems. I promise you won’t regret it!
Until then, stay safe, stay curious and don’t stop wandering!