Nestled between the cities of Verona and Turin, Italy’s most famous lakes each have their own unique atmosphere: some are home to the rich and famous, while others are hidden gems with a more low-key vibe.
This popular holiday destination is characterised by crystal blue and turquoise lakes, snow-capped mountains, sleepy villages and striking architecture.
Follow our guide to the area to find out how you can make the most of these six stunning Italian lakes in spring.
Set against the foothills of the Alps and hemmed in on both sides by steep wooded hills, this is the ultimate destination for Hollywood A-listers such as George Clooney and Madonna... And it’s easy to see why.
Shaped like an upside-down Y, the lake’s winding shoreline is peppered with picturesque villages and exotic villas.
Scope out the area’s small towns – Bellagio, Varenna and Menaggio – by boat and discover some of the most beautiful villas and their gardens.
Several villas are open to the public, including Villa del Balbianello, Villa Carlotta, Villa Monastero and Villa d’Este.
Italy’s largest and easternmost lake, Lake Garda is nestled among rolling green hills, flourishing gardens, vineyards, lemon trees and olive groves.
Sporty and family-friendly, Lake Garda is a hotspot for sailors, windsurfers, and boaters.
It’s also a popular destination for German, Austrian, and Swiss hikers who trek through the Alps to get there.
On the lake’s north side, Riva del Garda makes a great starting point, as does Salò, on its southern side, once the favoured hideaway of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
The spa town of Sirmione is Garda’s most popular resort and is the perfect place for some R&R.
Located near the cities of Brescia and Bergamo, Lake Iseo has the most local feel about it.
The lake is at the heart of Italy’s famous Franciacorta wine region.
Considered one of Italy’s best kept secrets, Franciacorta boasts more than 100 wineries that make exquisite Champagne-style wine.
Meanwhile, to the lake’s north stretches the Valle Camonica, famed for its Stone Age rock carvings.
About halfway along the lake, a mountain soars right out of the water making for a magnificent sight.
Mostly in Switzerland, this glacial lake is set against the dramatic backdrop of alpine peaks.
Situated between Lakes Como and Maggiore, the area is home to a fusion of Swiss beauty and Italian elegance.
Shop and eat in Lugano, the main city, or enjoy spectacular views from the quieter towns of Porlezza and Brusimpiano.
Italy’s second-largest lake, Lake Maggiore is located on the Swiss border, just 55 kilometres from Milan’s international airport.
It’s less opulent than Lake Como, but just as enchanting.
Hire a boat and tour the Borromean Islands – the three islands in the centre of the lake.
While Isola Bella is the most romantic of the trio, each island offers stunning palazzi and gardens.
In the areas surrounding the lake you can practise sports such as hiking, biking, golf and horseback riding, immersed in natural landscapes of rare beauty.
The lake waters are ideal for sailing, canoeing, yachting, water skiing and scuba diving activities.
And if you want to visit Switzerland, just hop on the ferry and off you go!
The smallest and westernmost of the lakes, Lake Orta remains one of the area’s hidden gems.
The main town, Orta San Giulio, is the picture-perfect Italian village, complete with winding streets, old stone walls, and rustically gorgeous 19th-century buildings.
If you visit during the quieter periods, you’ll feel like you have this sleepy and romantic town all to yourself.
It’s also a favourite literary hideout for notable poets and writers.
If you’re after a little peace and quiet, this is your place!