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.

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Popular Areas in Italian Lakes

Lake Como

6 hotels from £786

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