Lombardy, Italy’s largest region, has snagged an ideal location, sharing a border with Switzerland while nestled under the soft shadow of the Italian Alps. Within the region, you’ll find an abundance of hotels for all types of travelers; everything from charming inns in old villages, grand resorts, and luxurious city hotels. Get in touch with nature, take some time for love in the mountains, or delve into the history and culture of Milan.
Where to stay at a hotel in Lombardy? Top destinations at a glance:
Milan: Dynamic city break
© UNA Maison Milano Milan is a fast-moving, looks-oriented metropolis that has located a balance between forward-thinking and paying tribute to the past. Storefronts filled with high-fashion boutiques, streets lined with flashy Italian cars, and plazas fronted with stunning cathedrals, Italy’s second-most populated city is all about old-timey class. Foodies will be pleased to discover its ranking as the city with the fifth-most Michelin stars in the world, and even the most amateur of football fans have heard of A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale, two of the best teams in Europe. The conception of the Duomo di Milano, world-famous for its peerless grandeur and spiky-white artistry, can be traced back to 1386. Opt for a guided tour of the cathedral to hear about what lies beneath the ornate surface of this iconic building. Primed for a city break, a walk down long boulevards and twisting alleys is a destination in and of itself. For a family-friendly excursion, head to the Acquatica Waterpark or the Leonardo da Vinci National Science Museum. If it’s a romantic or luxurious escape you’re after, you don’t have to look very far to find some of the most deluxe and atmospheric hotels you can imagine, boasting central locations, stylish spa and beauty centers, smart design concepts, and even common spaces themed after Italian art and poetry.
Lake District: Waterside holiday
© Boutique Hotel Villa Sostaga For those looking for something more laidback, Lombardy’s Lake District offers all visitors unspoiled nature, an aura of deceleration, and totally luxurious waterside hotels. To visit Lake Garda, Lake Como, and Lake Maggiore is just to scratch the surface of Lombardy’s magical water-land. Lake Iseo is the smallest of the “Great Lakes” and is surrounded by ambling vineyards, making stays nearby as diverse as the terrain itself. The varying, but all near-perfect lakes are lined with villages that evoke the memory of a bygone era, almost-ancient castles and monasteries, and charming resorts. The pristine waters are primed for water sports; the Lake District is even referred to by some as “nature’s gym”, given the myriad opportunity for swimming, rafting, and sailing. For a family-oriented trip, head to a family hotel on Lake Garda and make sure to schedule in a trip to the Gardaland Amusement Park. Newly-weds or fresh-in-loves will find that no matter the season, a terrace breakfast with a view of the Alps reflected in the water of Lake Como is the perfect addition to a trip about love. Those with a refined palate should make a stop in Bardolino, a lakeside town filled with wineries that offer tastings and tours of the cellar. The town of Lazise is worth a visit for its great shopping as well as its proximity to some of Lombardy’s thermal lakes and springs, perfect for a wellness-oriented holiday.
The Alps and Franciacorta Wine Country: Into the natural
© L'Albereta Relais & Chateaux The benefit of mountain air for the mind and body has been an undisputed truth for as long as anyone can remember. For a holiday that’ll send you back home totally rested and rejuvenated, a spa hotel in the Alps promises to provide. Enjoy hiking excursions through the mountains, tranquil sunsets in the forest, and plenty of wellness-related facilities, including jacuzzi tubs, hydro-massage showers, and special Alpine spa centers. In the summer, enjoy golfing with a view, breakfast on the pool terrace, and sunrise walks to the highest point in the region, Mount Adamello. Nestled between the Alps and the Prealps, Lombardy is a skier’s paradise in the winter. Hit the slopes in Sondrio for resorts at very high altitudes, Bergamo for beginner and child-friendly tracks, or Brescia for the most breathtaking views of the mountains. If you’re more inclined toward ground that is flat and would rather keep the Alps in the hinterland, Lombardy’s famous wine country, Franciacorta, is filled with sprawling vineyards speckled with charming hotels. Literally translated as short France, Franciacorta lies at the foot of the Alps, stretching from the shores of Lake Iseo to the city of Brescia. A stay in a 19th-century vineyard hotel gives you the means to reset within elegantly-designed interiors and among the unspoiled natural beauty of the region. Take a stroll through the vineyard, opt for a tour of the winery, or reap the benefits of anti-aging or anti-stress spa treatments in the attached wellness centers. The region is most known for its high-quality sparkling wines and unique regional cuisine, based heavily on ingredients like maize, rice, butter, beef, and pork.
Good to know
Getting there: There are 3 airports around Milan. The closest to the city center is Milan Linate, which is a 2-hour flight from London. Malpensa Airport is actually the primary hub for transport into Milan, but is situated about 50 kilometers from the city. One can take a €13, 50-minute train to get into Milan and then switch to public transport once at the Milan central station. To get to the Lake District, fly into one of Milan’s airports and take the train toward Varenna, where you can transfer to one of the shuttles that takes visitors to the lakeside villages. Use ferries to travel around the district once at the lake. For hotels in the rest of the countryside, renting a car is recommended, although it is possible to travel via connecting trains. The more southern areas in Lombardy are also served by Verona Airport.