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Often regarded as the most beautiful of Italy’s northern lakes, Lake Maggiore is known for its clear blue waters, mild Mediterranean climate and sloping green clad shoreline. The area has long drawn the imagination of visitors passing through the Simplon Pass from central Europe into Italy for whom the lake was one of their first iconic vistas.

The lake itself, acts as a border between the region of Piedmont on the western shore and Lombardy to the east. To the north, it stretches up into Switzerland and the picturesque Locarno area. The jewels in the crown though, are undoubtedly the Borromean Islands, nestled on the western shore between the towns of Stresa and Verbania, within the picturesque Borromean Gulf.

This whole section of the lake, so popular with the European aristocracy during the years of the Grand Tour, is lined with beautiful Belle Époque villas and extensive botanical gardens, just waiting to be explored.

Lake Maggiore has an old-world charm about it. It’s best experienced from the water, by touring the lake and visiting some of its islets, with their sprawling palazzos, landscaped gardens, and whimsical grottoes.

Italy specialist Caroline

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Audley Travel Specialist Ruth

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Lake Maggiore by contacting one of our Italian Lakes specialists

Places to visit in Lake Maggiore

Featuring heavily on our experiences of visiting Lake Maggiore, these selected places are destinations that also prove consistently popular with our travellers. Our specialists can help you choose how to include them in your wider trip, based on your preferences.

Suggested itineraries featuring Lake Maggiore

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Lake Maggiore, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Lake Maggiore

Places & hotels on the map

    Places in and around Lake Maggiore

    Accommodation choices for Lake Maggiore

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Lake Maggiore. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    • Regina Palace Hotel, Stresa

      Regina Palace

      First Class

      The Regina Palace is an elegant and charming property with a traditional Italian style. Its lakeside location, close to the heart of Stresa, offers a good base for exploring the lake.

    • Hotel La Palma, Stresa

      Hotel La Palma


      With rooms facing the splendid Lake Maggiore and the mountain slopes in the background, the hotel provides a central base for exploring the town of Stresa and the surrounding areas.

    • Hotel Villa e Palazzo Aminta, Stresa

      Villa and Palazzo Aminta

      First Class

      Perched on the edge of Lake Maggiore with outstanding views of the Borromean Islands, Villa Aminta is a luxurious hotel with two beautiful restaurants and an excellent spa complex.

    • Grand Hotel Majestic, Verbania

      Grand Hotel Majestic


      Set on a quiet promontory with panoramic terraces and gardens overlooking Lake Maggiore, this Belle Époque hotel effortlessly lives up to its name.

    • Anegada House Pool Terrace, Guana Island, Guana Island

      Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees


      Opened in 1863 on the shores of Lake Maggiore, the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees is one of Italy’s most prestigious lakeside hotels. Its elegant grandeur has been beautifully maintained through the ages and the hotel continues to offer a wonderful experience.