On Lake Maggiore, find opulent architecture and sophisticated luxury where they meet the idyllic, romantic flair of Mediterranean city life. In Locarno, browse trendy boutiques in the old town and check out the film festival; in Stresa, stroll between villas and beaches. The hotels on Lake Maggiore boast comfortable atmospheres and are located directly on the lake, or within the elegant cities of the region. Water sport enthusiasts might choose the beaches around Cannobio to get their fill of jet skiing and surfing, while peace seekers should hightail it to the natural east of the lake.
On the Swiss side of the lake, culture lovers will get their fill wandering between historic buildings and elegant boutiques, on typical narrow streets that access a true Mediterranean flair. Locarno is known for its international film festival, which takes place annually on the cobblestone Piazza Grande. The former artists’ village Ascona has one of the lake’s most beautiful waterfront promenades and an old town with a laidback feel, primed for wasting days in Italian cafes. With stairs that head from some hotels hotel directly into the crystal-clear water, the northern region of the Lago promises true immersion into the natural.
The cities on the Lake Maggiore’s west coast were once the holiday home of aristocratic Europeans, and even today the region exudes a royal flair. Magnificent palaces, romantic villas, and opulent parks come together to forge a particularly sophisticated ambience. Even families feel right at home here—perhaps in Stresa, where the Park Villa Pallavicino is home to its own zoo, or in Verbania, where you can find the old Villa Taranto with a magnificently-landscaped botanical garden. Stresa is one of Lake Maggiore’s favorite seaside locations: a lux resort town with a big heart. Head here for old-world class and a more lively vibe than some of the sleepier lakeside towns.
Due to the particularly favorable wind conditions, the picturesque Cannobio and the smaller town of Cannero are considered an Eldorado for sailors and water-sport enthusiasts. Cannobio is known to be one of the prettiest of the Lake Maggiore towns, consisting of a lovely promenade, pastel-colored facades, and 14th-century ruins. Every Sunday, check out the typical market, where one can feel the energy of old-world Italy in all its pomp and splendor like nowhere else on the Lago. Cannero is a simple, seaside town, with not much else to offer but beautiful views and a picturesque harbor—making it a great choice for those looking for a tranquil stay amid nature. On the well-kept sandy beaches, settle in for a classic beach holiday where traditional Italian everyday life can be experienced in full.
The east of Lago Maggiore is characterized by unspoiled shorelines, tranquil villages, and wide valleys and forests in the hinterland. Active vacationers can get excited about trekking or relaxing strolls through pristine nature. The towns of Angera and Arona are located opposite each other at the narrowest point of the lake and are known for their imposing views of the castle Rocca d’Angera, which sits stately on the rocky cliffs. North up the east coast is the only natural harbor on the lake, Laveno, home to a funicular that’ll take you to the top of Sasso del Ferro for stunning views. Make sure to sample some of the Gardon fish and the region-specific Nebbiolo wine on your Lago holiday.
Getting there: From the Milan Airport, Lake Maggiore can be reached in just 1.5 hours by car. If you don’t want to rent a car, there are simple and cheap train connections to the more major cities on the lake. Once there, you can take ferries to get around to the other lakeside locations.
The most popular hotels on Lake Maggiore are the Hotel Casa Berno in Ascona, with a subtropical garden built directly into the rocks. The romantic Art Hotel Riposo in Ascona showcases its passion for art. On the Italian side of the lake, the Hotel Simplon in Baveno and the Castello Dal Pozzo in Oleggio Castello are definite standouts.
Car: The easiest way to reach Lake Maggiore is by car. From Munich you follow the A96 towards Italy and continue to the A13 through Switzerland, passing Liechtenstein. Continuing to Locarno over the famous San Bernardino Pass. From Munich to Locarno you can plan 5 hours of pure driving time. airplane: The nearest airports are Milan & Bergamo. Direct flights can be booked from many German cities. A flight from Berlin takes about 1h45min. A rental car is the best way to explore the beautiful places around the lake.
The best time to visit Lake Maggiore is spring and summer. In Spring the blossoms begin to bloom, and the first rays of sunshine attract visitors. High season is in the summer, between June and August. At this time, the lake is warm enough for swimming, but it is rarely too hot. In autumn Piedmont becomes a region of pleasure. There are only two things to be said: Grape harvest & truffle season. The temperatures are still pleasantly warm, ideal for excursions & cultural trips; however, you should pack an umbrella. During winter many hotels around the lake and sightseeing attractions are closed. However: At a mere one-hour drive from the lake, ski resorts & snow hikes are tempting.