Italy is one of the most glorious European countries known for its exquisite beauty, unique culture, and rich history. People fly from all corners of the world to walk through the charming cobblestone streets of Rome and take pictures of the mind-blowing Pisa Tower. These are all great travelling experiences, yet we compel you to add more than a few destinations to your itinerary, including the Italian lakes.
Little do people know about these hidden gems that are the Italian lakes. They offer some spellbinding views and are far more rooted in the history of Italy than you may know. Interestingly, Italy houses more than 1500 lakes in almost every corner of the country, yet they remain pretty pristine compared to the top touristic landmarks.
We’re sure no person would have the time or the energy to visit every Italian lake; thus, we’ve compiled the most enchanting ones to explore for you. So, snap all the shoots for your social media at the most popular spots, take a bite or two of some authentic pasta dish or Italian pizza, and then head off to these splendid Italian lakes for a remarkable experience.
1. Lake Como (Lago di Como) – Lombardy Region
Lake Como is one of the most prominent Italian lakes, given the reputation it has earned itself since Roman times. This splendid lake lies in the Lombardy region in Northern Italy, featuring a beautiful backdrop of large mountains spanning along the shimmering waters. Lake Como is deemed a glacial lake, the third largest Italian lake with great depth that allows for swimming.
During the Roman times, affluent and wealthy figures used to take homes around this beautiful lake. It became somehow synonymous with the aristocracy. Lake Como welcomes visitors to stay in the surrounding hotels and enjoy its crystal-clear waters. You can go on exciting boat trips, dip into the waters, or hike nearby with a picturesque view.
Given its strategic location, Lake Como became among the most famous Italian lakes. It lies near several small villages that are open for visitors to explore and shop at their little markets. Nearby landmarks include Villa Balbianello and Villa Carlotta, where you can dwell on their beauty and enjoy their beautiful gardens.
2. Lake Garda (Lago di Garda) – Veneto Region
Among all the Italian lakes, Lake Garda is known to be the largest in Italy, stretching 143 square miles. However, it’s not the deepest lake. Lake Garda lies in the Veneto region in Northern Italy, attracting more visitors each year thanks to the surrounding landmarks, including the town of Sirmione and Gardaland, the biggest theme park in Italy.
The Sirmione town lies nearby, and it’s one of the unmissable destinations in Italy, offering a vast fortress that dates back to the 12th century. You can enjoy the picturesque scenes the fort overlooks while unravelling heavy layers of Italian history. We still haven’t mentioned the bustling nightlife you can enjoy around this unique Italian lake.
You can always enjoy many activities during your stay at any of the Italian lakes. While people don’t usually swim in Lake Garda, windsurfing and sailing are among the most famous activities. There are also a lot of water sports offered with professional guides to ensure your safety as well as your children’s.
3. Lake Trasimeno (Lago di Trasimeno) – Umbria Region
Although the northern part of the country embraces most Italian lakes, there are still fascinating ones to visit in Central Italy. Lake Trasimeno lies in the Umbria region and is an excellent escapade for those who like to steal a few moments away from the bustling cities. It’s among the best Italian lakes where you can swim in its azure waters and enjoy the serenity.
Castello di Magione is another castle that goes back to the 12th century and is among the most prominent landmarks around the lake. This castle holds a religious significance, being built as a stop-point for pilgrims that were travelling to Jerusalem. However, it’s now open for locals and visitors to enjoy its beauty.
There are also several churches, monasteries, and medieval villages lying around the Italian lake that you can visit. This lake is also the best spot for music lovers, for it’s home to the Trasimeno Blues Festival, the most significant blue festival in all of Europe. There’s a lot of unique musical culture to enjoy around here, not to mention the restaurants that offer authentic Umbrian food to indulge in.
4. Lake Dobbiaco (Lago di Dobbiaco) – Trentino-Alto Adige Region
While most Italian lakes offer a glimpse of nature’s raw beauty, nothing can beat the untouched beauty of Lake Dobbiaco. It’s one of the most glorious Italian lakes lying in the northern region, in the Trentino-Alto Adige region, precisely. You may think it lies in a secluded area, but it’s easy to reach by train from Venice or Verona.
This lake offers a mind-blowing landscape featuring nature on full display, where the Alps Mountain integrates into the scene effortlessly. The awe-inspiring mountain range spans along the lake’s shimmering waters, rising high enough to be reflected in the waters in a beautifully surreal view.
Pedal boating is one of the most famous activities around this lake, where you can get the closest to nature. Walking, biking, and hiking are also some vigorous activities to engage in if you’re a fitness enthusiast. What’s more, several cafes and restaurants around the lake offer signature specialities that will leave you in awe.
5. Lake Bolsena (Lago di Bolsena) – Lazio Region
Central Italy embraces its fair share of Italian lakes, bestowing upon us the pretty Lake Bolsena that lies in the Lazio region. The beauty of this lake lies in its versatility, offering something to everyone. So, whether you’re a history buff, a science lover, or a fitness guru, there’s something for you around here to spend the best time.
The lake offers several water activities for everyone to enjoy, including sailing, sports fishing, swimming, and boat rides. Kite surfing is another activity for both adults and children to rejoice in while absorbing the beauty of this spot. Historic towns and villages surround the lake, presenting excellent opportunities for exploring and unearthing secrets from the past.
Its remarkable tidal changes set this lake apart from all other Italian lakes. This phenomenon occurs given that Lake Bolsena is known to be a volcanic lake that formed thousands upon thousands of years ago. Moreover, it’s the largest volcanic lake in all of Europe, originally stemming from some hot volcanic activity.
6. Lake Maggiore (Lago Maggiore) – Near the Swiss Borders
Although Lake Maggiore is one of the major Italian lakes, it still takes part in the beautiful lands of Switzerland. It lies in the Lombardy and Piedmont regions, stretching quite long and reaching the Swiss borders. Lake Maggiore is deemed the second-largest Italian lake but the largest one in Southern Switzerland.
The beauty of this lake lies in its location, being situated between two European lands and featuring fascinating Alpine scenery. Tourists mainly visit this lake for the pristine views of nature and the beautiful gardens that embellish the region. Interestingly, these gardens are home to some pretty white peacocks, which you can see freely and proudly roaming the green lands.
Hiking around here is such an entertaining activity, for you will enjoy the gentle wind caressing your face, and the scenes will also leave you spellbound. There are many water sports to enjoy around Lake Maggiore, including paddle boarding, sailing, swimming, and boat trips. You can also visit the beautiful small islands scattered over the alluring lake.
7. Lake Resia (Lago di Rèsia) – Trentino-Alto Adige Region
Hiking is far more entertaining when surreal views fill your vision, and Lake Resia offers you that and even more. Although Resia is not one of the natural Italian lakes, it still managed to gain huge popularity among tourists and locals alike. This artificial lake was built for hydroelectricity.
The lake offers bizarre scenes, being another Italian lake where the Alpine Mountain adorns the backdrop, given its situation in the Alpine region near the Swiss and Austrian borders. It’s famous for being a hot spot for fitness activities, including races for children, hand bikes, and Nordic walking. However, the lake’s real deal is the submerged Curon village, the real-life Italian Atlantis.
The village of Curon went underwater in 1950 by order of the government, evacuating hundreds of residents that lived within the town. Their submerging plan was for the purpose of creating a hydroelectric plant. During winter, the lake freezes, paving the way for smooth gliding over the icy lands and above the submerged city. The village was once drained for repairing the reservoir and the ruins, then returned to being the Atlantis it once was.
8. Lake Lugano (Lago di Lugano) – Lombardy Region
Italy seems to share many of its fascinating lakes with the Swiss borders, including this magnificent one that speaks of elegance and sophistication, Lake Lugano. This lake lies in the Lombardy region, along with the other fascinating Italian lakes beautifying this area. Mountain biking is a common activity around here where you can observe awe-inspiring scenes.
Hiking is yet another activity to take around Lake Lugano, allowing yourself to bask in the spellbinding beauty of the lake and its surrounding. The sophistication here lies in the high-end stores and multiple fine dining restaurants, presenting Northern Italian cuisine‘s most delicious vital ingredients.
Nearby cities include Lugano, which the lake is named after, along with Campione d’Italia, and Melide, all of which you can explore. Moreover, Lake Lugano lies between the renowned Italian lakes, Lago Maggiore and Lago di Como. It’s an excellent opportunity to visit more than a few Italian lakes and other prominent landmarks all on the same day.
9. Lake Massaciùccoli (Lago di Massaciùccoli) – Tuscany Region
Lucca is a pretty walled city in Italy with coastal views and outstanding beauty, lying in the magnificent region of Tuscany. While Tuscany is home to plenty of the best landmarks in Italy, it also hosts one of the most beautiful Italian lakes ever, Lake Massaciùccoli. The lake is quite appealing, with scenes that seem straight from a fairytale.
Like all Italian lakes, Lake Massaciùccoli is ideal for cycling, walking, fishing, and boat trips. It’s also home to rare species of flora and fauna that add charm to an already appealing spot. Moreover, unique birds fly over the region, making birdwatching an exquisite experience you won’t want to miss.
Another great feature of the renowned Italian lake is lying nearby some of Italy’s best landmarks and attractions. Besides the walled city of Lucca, you can also give Pisa city a shot and observe the all-time mind-blowing leaning tower of Pisa. Have been home to the prestigious Italian composer Puccini; a big festival takes place every summer in his honour in the nearby theatre under his name.
10. Lake Braies (Lago di Braies) – Trentino-Alto Adige Region
Although all Italian lakes offer an excellent platform for photographers to snap the best images, Lake Braies reigns supreme, presenting the most surreal views of pristine nature. Lake Braies is one of the splendid Italian lakes in Northern Italy, located in the Dolomites, in the famous Trentino-Alto Adige region.
You can quickly get to the lake by train from Venice or Verona. The lake lies within the Fanes National Park, which offers ideal hiking trails among nature suitable for people of all fitness levels. Moreover, the lake is deemed the most splendid in the Dolomites region and the park’s main feature.
Even more, the Italian Alps surround the national park, casting a captivating reflection in the lake’s waters. Lake Braies gives off a beautiful emerald green colour, making it seem quite exquisite. It’s one of the many reasons this region is a photographer paradise. The tranquil ambience and its gentle wind add a far more edge to the already glorious lake, capturing the attention of travellers worldwide.
So, while planning your dream vacation in Italy, adding the Italian lakes to your itinerary has become necessary. These spectacular waters offer more than tranquillity and sunset views; being nestled within pristine nature makes them quite enchanting.