The best Italian lakes for short breaks

The best Italian lakes to visit for a weekend break
These are the best Italian lakes to visit for a weekend break / Pixabay
15 April 2021, Redaction

Clear blue waters so evocative and so romantic that sometimes they don't seem real… welcome to the most beautiful lakes in Italy that you simply must visit.

One of the best ways to release the stress of the working week is to switch up your environment and spend a weekend on the shores of a lake, trying out some water sports and enjoying the local culture, and when travel restrictions are finally relaxed, your first stop should be the Italian Lakes. What is the best Italian lake to visit? We can't simply name just one, so here are our recommendations of the best Italian lakes for short breaks, for a fabulous spring getaway to an Italian lake:

Lake Garda

Incredible views over Lake Garda / Bernd Hildebrandt/Pixabay
Incredible views over Lake Garda / Bernd Hildebrandt/Pixabay

First up on our list of Italian Lakes is the stunning Lake Garda, nestled between Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige. The territory surrounding the largest lake in Italy is mainly mountainous to the north, while to the south is part of the gentle moraine hills.

Here, the rich and verdant vegetation contrasts with this stretch of blue water, and along the southern edge of the lake are several beautiful beaches with activities for all the family. Particularly recommended for those who love sports such as sailing, windsurfing, climbing, kite surfing or activities such as hiking and horseback riding, Lake Garda is also the perfect place for the whole family to visit thanks to Gardaland, the most popular theme park in Italy.

While you’re there, why not take a trip to some of the nearby towns, including Peschiera, Sirmione, Tremosine, Malcesine and Limone sul Garda? The only problem you’ll have is choosing which of these incredible Italian villages to visit first!

Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore, one of Italy's greatest wonders / Wikipedia
Lake Maggiore, one of Italy's greatest wonders / Wikipedia

Lake Maggiore is the second largest lake in Italy after Lake Garda. It is divided between Italy and Switzerland and the territory that surrounds it is mainly Alpine and pre-Alpine. There are several beaches and bathing facilities along the coast of Piedmont and Lombardy where you can also rent boats and inflatable dinghies and go sailing on the lake.

The views that you can enjoy of this Italian Lake are unbeatable, thanks to Lake Maggiore Express, a magical journey halfway between rail and boat ride which is sure to delight the little ones and which you can catch in any number of cities in the area. The Lake Maggiore Express is currently suspended due to COVID-19 but hopes to be up and running soon once the health situation starts to improve. 

Lake Maggiore is ideal for trips with the whole family and also for cycling and hiking enthusiasts. Among the wonders not to be missed in the vicinity are Stresa and the views of the Borromean Islands, Arona, Cannobio, Locarno and Verbania.

The Alimini lakes

The Alimini lakes are in a protected area of 1,000 hectares / Wikipedia
The Alimini lakes are in a protected area of 1,000 hectares / Wikipedia

Just a few miles from Otranto, in the province of Lecce, is the protected oasis of the Alimini Lakes with their famous Alimini beach. The larger of the two lakes, Alimini, is full of salt water and is surrounded by a rocky territory rich in Mediterranean scrub, while the northern stretch is low and sandy.

Alimini piccolo, meanwhile, has mainly fresh waters, although in summer they can become salt marshes due to evaporation. The great beauty of these two lakes lies in the landscape and in the abundant plant life growing all around them. Take advantage of this green paradise to go horseback riding, bird watching or canoeing.

Nearby, you'll also find several towns and cities that are well worth a visit, including Otranto, Torre Sant'Andrea, Porto Badisco, Santa Cesarea Terme, Castro and Maglie.

Lake Braies/Pragser Wildsee

Braies lies on the Italian border with Austria / Pixabay
Braies lies on the Italian border with Austria / Pixabay

Also known as Lake Prags, this ethereally serene body of water is a real natural spectacle! It is one of the most beloved lakes and photographed by all instagrammers thanks to its spectacular colours ranging from turquoise to emerald green. A fascinating alpine lake in the Puster Valley and in the Fanes-Sennes-Braies nature park, Lago di Braies is not far from the Austrian border, which is why it is also known by its German name Pragser Wildsee

Thick brush opens onto the green and blue waters of the lake, also called the Pearl of the Dolomites, and here there is plenty of space for long walks and excursions to the Picco di Vallandro, the Malga Foresta and the Croda del Becco. Also worth a visit and perfect for relaxing are the Thermal Baths of Braies Vecchia.

Lake Bolsena

Lago di Bolsena in Viterbese / deltatoast/Pixabay
Lago di Bolsena in Viterbese / deltatoast/Pixabay

Discover one of the most beautiful places in Lazio, as well as the largest volcanic lake in Europe and one of the few large lakes in Italy where you can swim and get your whole body wet. Lago di Bolsena sits between soft, sandy coasts of black sand with calm waters, making it ideal for fishing or just relaxing by the shore. Treat yourself to any number of activities, from kayaking, hiking and cycling to horseback riding and even paragliding.

And to finish the tour? Everyone must pay a visit to the beautiful Bolsena, together with Capodimonte, Montefiascone, Valentano and Marta.

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