Italy is my favourite travel destination. I could happily holiday there every year and still be as much in love with it as I already am. From the food (all the carbs) to the drink (Prosecco is SO cheap in Italy!) to the climate, for me, it has it all. The jewels of this beautiful country are the Lakes dotted around a number of regions.
Lake Maggiore is the most westerly of all the great Lakes in Italy, and laps the shores of both Italy and Switzerland. When we visited we stayed in Baveno, a small town located on the south side of the Alps, in Italy’s Piedmonte region and it is truly stunning.
The town itself is tiny but is has everything you would expect and need for an Italian getaway. There’s Gelato shops, a lido with sunbeds to rent and live music, the fantastic local restaurants and cocktail bars a plenty on the edge of the lake.
The best way to see Lake Maggiore and all it has to offer is to hop on a boat to visit the small islands and towns nearby. Baveno has a jetty with boats visiting numerous times an hour to take visitors all over the Lake. Isola Bella is an small island in the middle of Lake Maggiore and is just 320 metres long. There is a beautiful palace, Italiante gardens and a fishing village to explore.
Stresa is another wonderful place to visit. Perfect for an afternoon of getting lost in it’s many side streets and tiny shops, then grabbing a meal in it’s pretty piazza. Just along the coast from Baveno, it’s only a short taxi ride away for an evening meal. We visited Taverna del Pappagallo twice last year as their Tiramisu was just the best thing.
A highlight for me on our trip to Lake Maggiore last summer was visiting Laveno, a village across the Lake from Baveno. Here you can ride 1,100 metres up the Sasso del Ferro mountain…. in a bucket! Two people can fit in a bucket car (with a see through bottom) that comes up to your waist for the 16 minute ascent. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a mini panic half way up, but the views once arrived safely at the top are incredible and well worth the €6 euros each.
Baveno is also within easy reach of a day trip to Milan. An hour on the train and you are within the hustle and bustle of the city. The Duomo catherdral is a must see, as well as a stroll through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping centre to see the super fancy shops! A word of warning, it’s pricey. A hot chocolate in the Gucci shop can set you back €8, but it is really posh so a bit of a treat.
Travelling to Lake Maggiore is easy from the UK. With a number of airlines flying to Milan Malpensa airport, airfares are fairly reasonable. In the height of summer we paid around £100 per person for return flights with EasyJet. It’s then just a trip in a taxi or train ride to get down to the Lake where the relaxation can start.
Lake Maggiore showcases all Italy has to offer, as do the other Lakes. We visited Bardolino on Lake Garda as part of our honeymoon. This trip will soon form part 2 of my love for Italian holidays.