The Lombardy region of Italy has become the richest region in the country since Milan, the capital of Lombardy, has become a hub for big businesses. But the real stars of the region are the Italian lakes ringed by gorgeous villas and romantic resorts. High in the Alps, lakes Maggiore, Garda, Como and Lago d'Iseo offer ...

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Lombardy and the lakes - Travel Highlights and Tips

The Lombardy region of Italy has become the richest region in the country since Milan, the capital of Lombardy, has become a hub for big businesses. But the real stars of the region are the Italian lakes ringed by gorgeous villas and romantic resorts. High in the Alps, lakes Maggiore, Garda, Como and Lago d'Iseo offer water sports, winter sports and awe-inspiring nature preserves that have long been a popular tourist destination for both Italians and foreigners. People from all over the planet come to the Italian lake district of Lombardy for the charm and amazing food.  

Travel Highlights

  • Stay in one of Lake Como’s historic manors, ancient inns or luxurious lakeside hotels.
  • Take a break from the lakes and visit Milan's Duomo, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.
  • Visit the unusual “earth pyramids” near Lake Iseo.
  • Watch the silk-making process at the Silk Museum in the town of Como and pick up a silk scarf in one of the many shops.
  • Attend Lake Como’s international summer music festival.
  • Take a ferry to the picturesque Borromeo Islands on Lake Maggiore.
  • Explore Lake Garda’s Botanical Garden on Mount Baldo.
  • Windsurf, sail or hike in one of Lake Garda’s many parks or visit Gardaland, Italy’s largest amusement park.  
  • Explore the castles and fortress on the shores of Lake Maggiore.
  • Take a gourmet food walking tour in Como and savour a tasting of freshly brewed espresso, delicious pasticcio, tasty focaccia, handmade breadsticks and a choice of local cheeses. Lunch and dinner options are also available. 
  • See the prehistoric rock art sites at Val Camonica, north of Lake Iseo.

Travel Tips

  • Plan to visit the lakes during the week; the lake district is a popular weekend destination and gets very crowded.
  • Dishes at local restaurants are very hearty and large, so consider ordering one dish and sharing.
  • Ask at your hotel where you can get a welcome card. The cards provide free travel on public transportation and offer discounts on many activities in the region.
  • Be wary of uninvited locals who are willing to help you navigate around the city or tourist spots. They often expect money after claiming to help you. Take an Italian lakes tour for easy navigation around the lake region.
  • Pickpockets are common in the big cities so keep all valuables and electronic gear securely in your pockets or in a bag.
  • Skip the long queues for buses and trains by heading to kiosks that sell drinks and snacks. They also sell tickets for some destinations.
  • Make sure you review the ferry timetables before heading to the dock. There are different schedules for weekdays and weekends.  
  • Escape the crowd of tourists by heading to Lake Como’s Riva di Quarzo. Access is free and it’s the beach where the locals go to relax. This wide green area on the shores of the lake is accessible only after a long and steep walk.