Italian lakes

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Italy might be most famous for its fabulous food culture, world-class wine and stunning architecture. But the country's varied natural wonders have plenty to offer, too, including some truly stunning lakes. 

What makes Italy's lakes so special?

Lakes in Italy have drawn admirers since the days of the Roman empire, and they still do. The largest glacial lakes can be found in the north of Italy, near the border with Switzerland. They are grand bodies of water, crystal clear and surrounded by beautiful alpine scenery. From boat trips to hiking holidays and windsurfing, lakes in Italy provide the perfect setting for a vacation in this glorious country.

The best lakes in Italy for your itinerary

Each of the Italian lakes has a distinct charm that makes it difficult to rank one against the other. They are great vacation destinations for a family, honeymoon couples, hiking enthusiasts, or culture vultures. Here are some of the best lakes in Italy and what to see. 

Snap the algae of Lake Carezza

A rare algae gives this lake a striking turquoise-blue color, which makes it irresistible to budding photographers. With its setting on the South Tyrol mountains, surrounded by UNESCO-protected mountain ranges, the area is mainly English and German-speaking. It takes 15 minutes to walk around the lake, with several hiking trails allowing beautiful forest exploration.

See filming locations in Lake Braies

This azure lake is best known as the setting for the popular television show Un Passo dal Cielo. And it’s easy to understand why they chose it as a filming location, it’s one of the most beautiful Italian lakes. Bring water, snacks, and good walking shoes as it’ll take two hours to circle the entire lake. Go in the early morning for the best views of the surrounding landscape.

Fascinating black sand of Lake Bolsena

From the hills overlooking Lake Bolsena, the views are seemingly endless. Home to several islands, attractions here include pretty churches and Etruscan ruins. The lake is an excellent driving stop point between Tuscany and Rome, and visitors can swim, fish, and watch gray herons and egrets in the wild. You will find black volcanic sand while wandering along the beaches.

Windsurf at Lake Bracciano

The best lake for the water-sports enthusiast, at Bracciano you can swim, scuba dive, sail or even windsurf. There’s sunbathing aplenty on its lovely beaches, and fishing too. On land, there are plenty of outdoor activities on offer within the surrounding parkland, such as hiking. Don’t miss the charms of Bracciano village and its castle. This lake makes a brilliant day-trip from Rome. 

Enjoy the blooming blossoms of Lake Maggiore

Straddling two countries, Italy's second-largest lake acts as as border with Switzerland. Its warm climate means exotic-looking plants thrive to create stunning scenery, and on the lake itself a smattering of islands make intriguing days out. For the best view of this beautiful lake, take the Mottarone cable car, cycle around its perimeter or enjoy a relaxing cruise.

Tips for visiting Italian lakes

There are buses and day trips available to various Italian lakes, but make the most of your vacation by hiring a car. Italy’s lakes are supremely popular in summer, so try traveling in the off season or low season for a more relaxing experience. They can still be incredibly romantic in winter when the mountains have a dusting of snow.

When to go in Italy?


Spring and autumn are the best times of year to visit Italy. In summer, the central and southern parts of the country experience a few weeks of very hot weather; and it can get very cold in Northern Italy in winter, especially in the Alpine region. Take the area you intend to visit and explore into consideration when choosing the time of year for your trip. And avoid the month of August at all costs: the cities are absolutely teeming with people at that time of year.

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