Italian Lakes Holidays

Decadent evenings in Michelin-starred restaurants and days spent sailing the shores on a luxury yacht… there’s nothing quite like the glamour of holidays in the Italian Lakes

The moment you dip into your floating swimming pool on the edge of Lake Como you realise that sometimes the best summer holidays aren’t about the beach. Imagine a fairytale world of lemon trees and bougainvillea, where castles and Italianate gardens sit on their own islands and chalky-coloured houses almost fall into vibrant blue glacial waters. Holidays to the Italian Lakes feel like a deliciously clandestine north Italian affair, yet scattered across Lombardy they are surprisingly close to Milan, Verona and the Swiss Alps.

It’s all about fresh-from-the-lake fish straight onto your plate in elegant restaurants against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, crisp white wine enjoyed on a yacht as you sail down the wind, and those very European narrow pebbled shorelines where sunbathers relax, intermittently paddling in the deep blue. Expect hot sulphur springs and Roman Ruins in seductive Sirmione, Belle Époque spas and decadent hotels dripping in glamour in Lake Como and sleepy fishing villages juxtaposed with wild beauty in Lake Maggiore. The famous breeze of Lake Garda is a delight for windsurfers, but the surrounding mountains and water keep the heat in, ensuring sun-kissed strolling along cobblestoned streets.

There’s that ‘dolce vita’ macchiato for breakfast, seafood brunches under olive trees in a glorious garden and starry evenings in Michelin-starred Moorish Palace restaurants. Studded with the private homes of European aristocracy and Hollywood celebrities and punctuated with luxurious resorts, spiring cedars and age-old churches and palaces, this is how the Italians do idyllic lakeside living.

Get in touch with one of our experts to find out more.

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Italian Lakes Regions

Our recommendations for the best places to visit in Italian Lakes

Lake Garda Holidays

In a land of lemon and olive groves, Lake Garda holidays are all about harbour hopping to enchant...

Lake Como Holidays

Lake Como holidays draw jet set crowds to the shore for neoclassical architecture, café culture a...

Lake Maggiore Holidays

Holidays to Lake Maggiore are full of splendid opulence; luxury yachts on the harbour, peacocks i...

Holidays in Italian Lakes

hotel
  • Lake Como
  • 4 Star

Perched on the water’s edge, views of the lake are available around almost every corner.

From £1,298 p/p
hotel
  • Lake Garda
  • 4 Star

Excellent wellness and sports facilities as well as exemplary service make this hotel a regular favourite.

From £936 p/p
hotel
  • Lake Maggiore
  • 5 Star

Surrounded by magnificent parkland, experience the opulence of staying in an historical building.

From £1,341 p/p
hotel
  • Lake Garda
  • 4 Star

Chic and classic, this famed hotel has played host to a number of illustrious guests.

From £1,037 p/p
hotel
  • Lake Maggiore
  • 5 Star

A Belle Époque masterpiece with spellbinding Lake Maggiore views, state-of-the-art spa and sumptuous interior design.

From £1,357 p/p
hotel
  • Lake Garda
  • 5 Star

A resort combining exquisite lake views, an unrivalled wellbeing ethos and exemplary service.

From £1,511 p/p
hotel
  • Lake Garda
  • 4 Star

Breathtaking panoramic views of mountains and Lake Garda from every corner.

From £1,322 p/p
hotel
  • Lake Garda
  • 5 Star

A chic property set on Lake Garda’s southern shores.

From £996 p/p
hotel
  • Lake Garda
  • 4 Star

A wellness retreat, perfectly positioned to explore historic Sirmione.

From £1,062 p/p
hotel
  • Lake Como
  • 5 Star

A timeless late 19th-century architectural masterpiece, recently renovated to create a blend of classic charm and modern luxury.

From £2,111 p/p

Lakeside dining, guided walks and Switzerland’s world-famous mountain train, escorted tours are wonderful ways to explore the Italian Lakes

It’s all about the lakeside living in this part of Italy, where days are spent drinking crisp white wine by the water, strolling the gardens of famous villas, and exploring fisherman’s houses, charming cafés, Michelin-starred restaurants and family-run gelaterias before retiring to the hotel as the sun sets over the lake. With so much history, beauty and culture to behold, a guided tour of the most beautiful and famous lakes of the north, including Lake Como and Lake Lugano, is the best way to make the most of your time here. You’ll be shown the sights by a knowledgeable guide and there will be a full day where you get to do your own thing, giving you the freedom to explore the area at your own pace. For those who like the scenic route, a highlight is the trip on the Bernina Express, one of Switzerland’s world-famous mountain trains.

Our recommended Italian Lakes tours

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Cruise to Villa Balbianello

Afternoons don’t come much more picturesque than cruising across Lake Como to a beautiful 18th-Century villa. On the tip of the Lavedo promontory, Villa Balbianello sits in the most spectacular spot on the lake. It now belongs to FAI (the Italian equivalent of the National Trust) and has beautiful fragrant gardens. Explore the lavishly furnished interiors and see the collection of pre-Columbian objects, Chinese porcelain and terracottas, reverse-glass paintings, tapestries and carpets that belonged to previous owner Count Guido Monzino – a keen explorer who climbed Mount Everest in 1973. If you think the villa looks familiar, it might be because it starred in Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

• Departing set Sundays from Lake Como hotels )please call for details)
• Operates May to September on specific dates
• Group experience

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Bernina Express to St.Moritz

There’s something particularly charming about travelling by train. The Bernina Express is Switzerland’s ultimate scenic train – despite its ‘express’ name, it leisurely navigates mountain twists and tunnels. Your adventure begins with a drive along northern Lake Como to Tirano, where’ll we stop for coffee before crossing into Switzerland to board the Bernina Express train for the most scenic part of its route. Our one-hour train journey from Poschiavo to Diavolezza takes in the sights of the White Lake and the Black Lake, as well as breathtaking glaciers. We’ll continue by road to the iconic ski resort of St Moritz on the southern side of the Alps where highlights include crystal clear mountain lakes. There will be free time to wander around the beautiful town of Chiavenna before returning to Lake Como.

• Departing Monday and Wednesday from Lake Como hotels
• Operates on Mondays on 10 and 24 April and from 8 May-23 October 2023; departs on Wednesdays from 24 May-20 September 2023
• Group experience

Good to know
You’ll need to bring your passport as this experience crosses the border into Switzerland.

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Private Cruise Around the Villas of Lake Como

Perfect for those who want a private boat trip to see the villas of Lake Como. Board an idyllic private cruise to admire the glorious villas of Lake Como in all their splendour, including Villa Balbianello, whose gardens were used as a backdrop in Casino Royale, and Villa Cassinella, one of the most prestigious private villas of the lake. You’ll also see Comacina Island, famous for its dramatic history and fascinating legends.

• Daily departures
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Highlights of Venice from Lake Garda

The City of Bridges is one of Italy’s most iconic destinations and it’s just a couple of hours from Lake Garda. Speed through the countryside as you travel by train and arrive in Venice for a private two-hour tour. Later, there’ll be time to explore on your own, getting lost down charming canalside streets, drifting through the waterways on a gondola or marvelling at the majesty of St Mark’s Square and the busy Grand Canal.

• Daily departures
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

Good to know
You will need to make your own way to Verona train station. Lunch and any entrance fees for museums and attractions you wish to visit are not included.

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Highlights of Verona

‘Fair Verona’, a city that will forever be associated with Shakespeare’s ill-fated characters, Romeo and Juliet, is a joy to explore. On this short guided tour, you’ll explore the characterful old town, see the riverside Castelvecchio castle, the ancient Arco dei Gavi and Juliet’s house, and wander along narrow streets that wind their way between café-lined squares including the Piazza Brà, home to the iconic Verona Arena.

• Departs Monday-Friday
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

Good to know
Transfers included from Bardolino, Garda, Malcesine, Gardone and Sirmione.

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Verona In Depth

Get to know Verona on a full day visit from the shores of Lake Garda. On arrival, join a private 3-hour tour – the perfect way to get your bearings for the rest of your city explorations. With a local guide, who will pass on their extensive knowledge, walk through the network of streets and squares in the old town and see Juliet’s house and the striking Verona Arena. The rest of the day is free to explore at your own pace; a VeronaCard, which gives you access to a variety of museums and city attractions, is included so you can pick and choose the spots you’d like to visit.

• Departs Tuesday to Friday
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

Good to know
Lunch and any entrance fees to attractions that are not part of the VeronaCard are not included. The guided tour itinerary may change depending on the guide, the traffic or other conditions. Transfers included from Bardolino, Garda, Malcesine, Gardone, Desenzano and Sirmione.

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Sunset Canoe Paddle on Lake Garda

Experience the calmness and quietness of the lake and see a stunning sunset on an unforgettable sunset paddle. You’ll make your way under your own steam on a one- or two-person canoe and take in the beauty two of the lakeside gems: Baia del Corno and Punta San Vigilio. Then make your way back to the lively town of Garda and the sun dips below the lake’s western shore.

• Departs Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
• Operates April to October
• Private experience

Good to know
This canoe trip is suitable for everyone and has a difficulty level of easy. Transfers only available and included from Bardolino, Garda and Malcesine.

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Lake Garda Cooking Class

Learning a skill is a wonderful way of extending your holiday once you’re back home. During this cooking class in Lazise, a town in the south-east corner of the lake, you’ll learn how to make the most classic of Italian staples: pasta. The experience begins as you shop for the fresh ingredients, as well as some wine to complement your creation. You’ll then head to a local kitchen to create your dish under the guidance of a skilled chef.

• Departs Monday to Saturday
• Operates March to October
• Private experience

Good to know
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday the dishes made will be gnocchi and tagliatelle and on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday the dishes will be risotto and ravoli. Includes transfers from Bardolino, Garda, Malcesine, Gardone and Sirmione.

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Private Lake Garda Cruise

The landscapes of Lake Garda look their best from the water, so we highly recommend spending a relaxing couple of hours on a private boat. You’ll have the services of a local skipper who will create a route that’s unique to you and your wish list of places to see.

• Daily departures from Garda, Bardolino, Desenzano and Sirmone
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

Good to know
Transfers included from Bardolino, Garda and Malcesine.

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Lake Garda Sunset Cruise & Prosecco

Sunset is a special time of day on Lake Garda as the sipping sun casts shadows, creates a golden glow over the surrounding landscapes and makes the surface of the water sparkle. Step on board the only remaining two-mast sailing boat on the lake, San Nicolò, cruise along the lake shore and raise a glass of Prosecco or Bardolino Chiaretto to your incredible Italian Lakes adventure.

• Departs Friday and Saturday
• Operates May to October
• Private experience

Good to know
Transfers included from Bardolino, Garda, Malcesine, Gardone and Sirmione.

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Lake Garda by Vintage Sailing Ship

There’s nothing quite as fittingly atmospheric and romantic as cruising around Lake Garda on a beautiful antique ketch. Step aboard the two-masted San Nicolò, the last of its type in the region, and let the power of the wind transport you past towns, villages and beautiful lakeside villas.

• Departs Monday to Friday
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

Good to know
Transfers included from Bardolino, Garda, Malcesine, Gardone and Sirmione.

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Art & Wine Tasting in Valpolicella

Winery. You’ll get to explore the winery’s rolling vineyards and the glorious 14th-Century manor house which features rooms that are adorned with faded renaissance frescoes. Finally, you’ll have the change to taste four of the region’s best wines: Valpolicella Classico 2019, Valpolicella Ripasso 2017, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2011 and Recioto della Valpolicella Classico 2017. Each glass will be served with local delicacies which enhance the aromatic flavours.

• Departs Monday to Saturday
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

Good to know
Transfers included from Bardolino, Garda, Malcesine, Gardone and Sirmione. This experience is on a request basis and is subject to itinerary and operating schedule changes that are outside of our control.

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Picnic in The Moraine Hills

Dine al fresco with stunning views at a vineyard in the rolling Moraine Hills to the south of Lake Garda. Make your way to the Monte del Frà winery, which is located near the town of Custoza, and join a knowledgeable guide for a winery tour. Then sit down to your picnic which is packed in a charming wicker basket; the meal includes locally sourced delicacies, wine and water and is perfectly complemented by far-reaching vineyard vistas.

• Departs Wednesday to Saturday
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

Good to know
transfers included from Bardolino, Garda, Malcesine, Gardone and Sirmione. Please let us know if you have any food allergies or intolerances.

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Lake Garda Hills Wine Tasting by E-bike

Combine beautiful vistas, great food and wine and a bit of a workout on a cycling trip through the Moraine Hills. Pick up your e-bike at the meeting point: the beautiful Monte del Frà winery which is located close to the town of Custoza. You and your group will then set off into the rolling hills, passing vineyards and cypress-line lanes on the way to the hamlet of Oliosi where you’ll have a picnic packed with local specialities. Return to Monte del Frà for a tour of the cellar and a tasting of four of their wines.

• Departs Tuesday to Saturday
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

Good to know
Transfers included from Bardolino, Garda, Malcesine, Gardone and Sirmione.

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Explore the Dolomites

To the north of Lake Garda are the towering peaks of the Dolomites, a mountain range in the breathtaking Alps. Join a daytrip from Lake Garda and head up into the hills for a full day Alpine adventure. Follow the scenic winding road between the Fiemme and Fassa Valleys and travel up to the Pordoi Pass where you could take the cable car up to the Sass Pordoi at 2950 metres above sea level (optional and at extra cost). From here, the tour continues to the Gardena Valley, where you’ll pass through typically South Tyrolean villages. There’ll be some free time here to soak up the views, either while sipping on a coffee or enjoying a short walk.

• Departs Monday & Friday
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

Good to know
The tour itinerary may change depending on the traffic and weather conditions. The weather can change quickly so pack suitable clothing and footwear. This experience is not recommended for those with health issues, and particularly those with epilepsy, breathing issues and heart problems. A minimum of 15 guests is required for this excursion to run. Transfers only available and included from Bardolino, Garda and Malcesine.

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Horse Back Wine Tasting

Take to the saddle and see the Italian countryside from a different angle on this great outdoors experience. You’ll mount your horse at Cicco’s Ranch and head into the vine-cloaked Moraine Hills to the south east of Lake Garda. Enjoy the peace as you ride between the vines and in the shadow of cypress trees, taking in the rolling views as you go. A highlight of the experience is the stop at Monte del Frà winery where you’ll try three wine varieties alongside plates of locally sourced and produced cheese and cold cuts of meat.

• Departs Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

Good to know
Transfers included from Bardolino, Garda, Malcesine, Gardone and Sirmione.

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Get to know the Italian Lakes and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.

Capital
TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT +1 hour

CURRENCY

Euro

FLYING TIME TO DESTINATION

Milan and Verona: 2 hours

RELIGION

Christianity (Roman Catholic)

LANGUAGE

Italian

Where are the Italian Lakes?
In the north of Italy surrounded by mountains that edge into Switzerland, just half an hour from Verona and close to both Milan and Venice.

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Lake Garda
On the largest of the lakes – Lake Garda – you can enjoy a huge range of scenery surrounded by city gates built by the Venetians. The north has higher mountains on the narrower part of the lake and the south is flatter, home to pebble beaches leading down into the water, and those famous Bardolino vineyards. Explore Sirmione’s 13th-Century cobbled streets, the Roman ruins of Grotto di Catullo and the thermal baths and hot springs. Action-packed Lake Garda offers the perfect climate and props for windsurfing, paragliding and kayaking while its northernmost points are idyllic for mountain hikes and climbs.

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Lake Como
Lake Como is where the jet set and the Milanese like to hang out. Take the funicular to the top of Brunate Mountain for panoramic views of the lakes and Switzerland, hop on board a boat to the exclusive village of Bellagio, and visit the stately Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo. Grand Hotel Tremezzo has a floating pool in the lake and is the perfect spot for aperitivo as the sun sets on shimmering waters.   

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Lake Maggiore
From Lake Maggiore, take a boat trip to the Borromean Islands, home to three tiny islands and two islets. On Isola Bella you’ll find a magnificent Baroque Palace and renaissance tiered gardens where peacocks like to roam. Head to the resort of Stresa for cobblestoned streets, spellbinding views and plenty of café culture, shopping and art galleries, and take a cable car to the summit of Mount Mottarone for both Lake and Alps views.

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Getting around
Hiring a car is one of the best ways to make the most of exploring all that this region has to offer. But even without a car, the Italian Lakes are easy to navigate. You can criss-cross through all the towns and resorts in the Lakes by ferry or private boat. Exploring on foot is simple when you reach each resort or town, as most are quite small. There are also buses and taxis.

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Food & drink
Fresh lake-to-table trout and laverello sautéed in butter and sage, lemons, strawberries and peaches on a plate, and that famous Italian gelato… the Italian Lakes don’t disappoint when it comes to food and drink. The extraordinary setting means all kind of fresh produce is readily available – flavoursome mountain cheeses, olives and Bardolino wines. Expect seafood risotto, thin-crusted pizza and an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. Wild boar is an autumn favourite, polenta is a popular side and sun-dried shad is a generations-old regional dish. 

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May - Oct

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Our experts have curated a wide range of handpicked Italian Lakes offers to make your next holiday extra special. Make the most of great-value savings, exclusive upgrades and bespoke touches. 

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