Lake Maggiore or Lake Verbano is the second largest lake in Italy, with a surface area of 212 km², making it the second largest lake in Italy after Lake Garda.
Lake Maggiore has a surface length of 212 km². It's the second largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda.
Thanks to the Borromeo family’s wealth, the peaceful and charming hamlets that surround the lake were expanded, and were given churches, paintings, beautiful villas, and gardens, captivating all who visit them.
Lake Maggiore’s most charming villages
- Laveno: Laveno has the only natural harbor in Lake Maggiore. Although there are prettier villages than Laveno, it has a funicular that climbs to the top of Sasso del Ferro, a mountain with an altitude of 1062 meters (3,500 feet) that offers some stunning views of the Alps and the lake.
- Leggiuno: Overlooking Lake Maggiore is the hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso. To this day, the structure is used as a monastery, but tourists can visit the building. This is one of the most beautiful and fascinating parts of Lake Maggiore.
- Isola Bella: Isola Bella is one of the islands on Lake Maggiore. It's an ancient fishing village that occupied the island and has become a beautiful oasis with a baroque palace and a beautiful garden full of exotic plants.
- Isola Madre: Isola Madre is the largest island in Lake Maggiore. It houses a stunning palace with a tropical garden, where white peacocks run free.
- Angera: The imposing medieval fortress in Angera overlooks the lake. It's worth visiting the palace’s interior to see the beautiful fourteenth and fifteenth-century frescoes, as well as the Doll Museum.
Getting to Lake Maggiore
The best way of discovering this area is by car; nevertheless, you can also take the train or book a guided one-day tour.
The easiest way of getting to Lake Maggiore is by car. You'll need to take the A8 motorway in direction of Malpensa Airport and then follow the signs to Lago Maggiore. The Lake is only 50 miles (80 km) away from Milano.
If you would like to hire a car, you can click on the following webpage:
To get to Laveno by train, you'll need to get the train from “Cadorna” railway station. It takes one and a half hours and the ticket costs € 6.70 (US$ 7.20). If you're heading to one of the villages on the southern side of the lake, for example, Arona, you'll need to take the train to “Porta Garibaldi”. The trip lasts one hour and costs € 6.10 (US$ 6.50).
You can check the timetables and buy the tickets online on Trenitalia’s webpage:
For those that prefer a hassle-free and comfortable trip to Lake Maggiore, you can book an organized one-day trip to the area and you won’t have to worry about getting lost or driving.
Getting around Lake Maggiore
The easiest and most enjoyable way of getting around Lake Maggiore and visiting the most popular villages and towns is by taking one of the ferries that cross the lake. You needn’t worry if you have a car since Lake Maggiore has vehicle ferries.
On the following website, you'll be able to check the timetables and prices of the ferries:
Milan Malpensa Airport, Italy (37.4 km) Lake Como (48.4 km)