Lakeside promenade in Riva del Garda, Lago di Garda (Italy) Deutsch: Seepromenade in Riva del Garda, Gardasee (Italien) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) By Hamish Nolen
There is something remarkable about the Italian Lakes district of Northern Italy. So very close to the Italian and Swiss Alps, it is a lush and temperate paradise filled with plants and trees usually found only near the Mediterranean. Filled with the finest food and wine, the region's landscapes are truly breathtaking, and the experience of meeting and mingling with the locals is very special.
If you want to see the lakes in all their beauty, then it is best to travel there between April and October. The weather is perfect, although it can get crowded through July and August, so be prepared to pay top dollar during this time. If you arrive at the lakes out of season, you will find that the ferry services are reduced, with some not running at all. Many restaurants close over the cooler months too.
This part of Italy is so full of beauty and history that it's unlikely you'll be able to fit in everything there is to see in just a single visit. To help you out, I've created a small list of the must-see places and the activities you should try.
Bellagio, on Lake Como, is considered the most beautiful town in Italy. Its position in the centre of the lake delivers stunning views, and the town is filled with the sight of colorful buildings and luscious trees.
Lake Garda is the largest of the lakes and very clean. This makes it perfect for boating and watersports. If you are after that sort of excitement, then the place to head to is Riva del Garda. Found at the northern end of Lake Garda, this resort town offers paragliding, windsurfing, canyoning and many other sports. It is also a town rich in medieval history, with quaint lane ways and beautifully preserved medieval buildings.
If you are looking for some peace and quiet, with spectacular walks, Lake Lugano, bordering on the steep Swiss mountains, is picturesque and filled with delightfully small towns. There are many bike and walking tracks for people of all abilities. If you want to excite your taste buds after all that walking, you can drop into a Swiss chocolate factory at Caslano.
If you enjoy castles, then you must go to Bellinzona. Originally a Roman fortress, this town sits right in the middle of a number of alpine passes, and has three medieval castles which are listed as world heritage sites.
Lake Maggiore has many wonderful places to visit, but I suggest Isole Borremee. The name refers to three stunning islands, each with their own unique personality. A baroque palazzo is built on Isola Bella, Isola Madre is filled with beautiful gardens alongside a villa, and Isola Superiore is a quaint old fishing village with tiny lane ways.
As you can see, this is just a taste of what holidays to the Italian Lakes can offer you. Once you've been there for the first time, you'll be able to create your own list of must-see places for the next time you arrive.
Hamish Nolen has a wide variety of interests and writes articles for his own pleasure on many topics. His favorite pastimes are traveling, spending time with his family, and cycling.
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