Explore Italy's Great Lakes

08 May 2014

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Italy is home to a number of wonderful attractions - its lakes included. Head to the Italian Lake District and experience them for yourself. Expect natural beauty and luxury in abundance. Here are some of the region's must-see destinations if you're heading to Italy on a holiday in Europe.

Lake Como Lake Como is one of Italy's most indulgent areas. It's known for its celebrity visitors, such as George Clooney, who owns a property along the lakeside. There are plenty of options when it comes to 5-star accommodation, with gorgeous villas and resorts surrounding the lake. Stay at Como itself and explore its heritage architecture, including the local cathedral and medieval churches of San Fedele and Sant'Abbondio. Bellagio, the village known as "the pearl of Lake Como" is particularly beautiful, with historic villas that have housed famous artists and writers and boast pristinely maintained gardens and breathtaking views. Wherever you go around Lake Como, you'll be greeted by stunning mountain and lake vistas, beautiful properties and a touch of glamour. Stroll along one of the many lakeside trails, head up into the mountains or enjoy activities out on the water. One thing's for sure, you'll never tire of this sumptuous destination.

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Lake Lugano Lake Lugano is situated on the border between Italy and Switzerland, with the lion's share of the lake belonging to the latter. If you want to stick to Italian territory, head to the town of Porlezza. Like at Lake Como, there are plenty of stunning buildings and gorgeous natural views to enjoy - plus there's more of an Italian flair. However, it pays to head to the Swiss side of the lake and visit Lugano itself too, which provides visitors with a whole new experience. The town is still greatly influenced by Italian culture despite its location, but tends to embrace more modern architecture and trends. Spend your days enjoying the lake's natural environment, from swimming to boating to kayaking and more. There are also plenty of hiking and mountain biking tracks to enjoy, plus golf, cruising, fishing and windsurfing! Head up a mountain trail for spectacular views spanning the lake. Lugano's also home to some great shops, and when the sun goes down you can check out the bars, restaurants, clubs and casinos. That gives Lake Lugano a great mix of things to do, and means no matter what kind of activities you like, there's something for you to enjoy.

Lake Maggiore Lake Maggiore is another asset shared between Italy and Switzerland, but this time most of the natural feature belongs to Italy. One of the most popular lakeside towns is Stresa, a luxurious getaway destination. It simply drips with glamour, in everything from its beautiful homes to its lush gardens and aristocratic architecture. Head to the town centre, Piazza Cadorna, browse the shops and watch people wander by the from charming cafes and restaurants. If you're eager to get active, head to the Mottarone mountain that overlooks the town. In summer you can tackle the wonderful hiking routes offering breathtaking views of the lake, while in winter it's great for hitting the ski slopes. You can access the mountain via a 20 minute cable car ride. Another option is to visit the offshore island of Isola Bella, which is home to a beautiful palace and gardens commissioned by the Borromeo family in the 1600s. So there you have it - three of Italy's biggest and most beautiful lakes simply waiting for you to visit. There are so many gorgeous lakeside towns, things to see and activities to take part in, that a substantial trip to Italy's Lake District is an absolute must. Surrender to the region's natural beauty and luxury - and don't look back.