Lake Maggiore, Italy & Switzerland

Lake Locations:

Italy - Lombardy - Piedmont - Switzerland - Ticino -

Lake Maggiore, also known as Verbano, is Italy’s second largest lake. Although not quite as popular as the well-known Lake Como, the beautifully romantic Lake Maggiore has charms all of its own and beckons travelers from all over the world. Italy is not the only country that has a claim to Lake Maggiore; the northern tip of this spectacular lake makes its home in Ticino, Switzerland, while the rest of the lake resides in two regions of Italy, the Lombardy and the Piedmont.

The glacier-formed lake is nestled in the foothills of the Alps. On a clear day lake visitors on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore may spot the snow-capped majestic Monte Rosa which has 10 peaks, with four of the peaks counted among the highest in the Alps. The mild Mediterranean-like climate of Lake Maggiore enables beautiful gardens to grow and features rare and exotic plants. A great place to view these beautiful gardens is on the Borromeo Islands. The Borromeo Islands were named after the Borromeo family who still owns some of the islands after hundreds of years. The beautiful castle-like homes built on the islands entice visitors to take one of the tour boats to explore the picturesque settings. The Borromeo Islands consist of Isola Bella, Isola Madre, and the Isola Pescatori. Isola Bella, known in English as the Beautiful Island, features a baroque style castle and terraced gardens. Isola Madre or Mother Island is the largest of the islands and is the residence of the Borromeo estate. While exploring the beautiful gardens of the Mother Island, it is not uncommon to catch a glimpse of peacocks, parrots or pheasants. Isola Pescatori, also known as Fisherman’s Island, is still inhabited by working fishermen and their families. During a couple weeks in the summer a flag is hoisted to announce that the Borromeo family is on Isola Pescatori to enjoy some time fishing.

After visiting the Borromeo Islands, Lake Maggiore visitors can take a boat from the town of Stresa to the eastern shores of the lake to a place called Santa Caterina del Sasso. Dating back to the 13th century the incredible architecture intrigues visitors due to the fact the building clings to the steep cliffs of Sasso Ballaro. Once a hermitage, the palace-like structure is now used for classical concerts.

On the western side of Lake Maggiore, known as the Piedmont, visitors will find two Natural Reserves, the Cane Reservation of Dormelletto, and the Fondotoce Reservation. Both Natural Reserves offer habitats for many wildlife and bird species, including swans and ducks. Also in the Piedmont, lake visitors will find the National Park of Val Grande which offers a beautiful area for naturalists to enjoy the many species of plants and animals, some of which are rare.

With so much to see and do, visitors may want to take some time to enjoy the refreshing waters of Lake Maggiore. Swimming, sailing, wake-boarding, water skiing and scuba diving are some of the water sports Lake Maggiore’s visitors may enjoy. Off-water activities include mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, and bungee jumping. Golf is also popular with award-winning greens and exquisite settings.

When looking for sleeping accommodations, Lake Maggiore visitors will find numerous places to stay that meet a wide variety of tastes, including camping, resorts and vacation rentals. Lake Maggiore visitors who fall in love with the culture and beauty of northern Italy or southern Switzerland may want to find a place to call home. Real estate along the shores of Lake Maggiore is abundant, and can be purchased as summer homes or as permanent residences.

While vacationing at Lake Maggiore, visitors can enjoy the culture as well as the culinary arts all around them. Museums, fine dining, art galleries and little villages that transport visitors back in time are all just a short drive or walk from the lake’s shores. The beauty and enchanting view of Lake Maggiore will leave visitors wanting to come back for more. The romantic setting will leave couples spellbound as they enjoy their time visiting grand homes and the magnificent gardens.

Things to do at Lake Maggiore

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Water Skiing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Park
  • Museum

Lake Maggiore Photo Gallery

Lake Maggiore Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 52,510 acres

Shoreline Length: 93 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 633 feet

Average Depth: 582 feet

Maximum Depth: 1,220 feet

Water Volume: 29,996,388 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 4 years

Drainage Area: 2,548 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligo-mesotrophic

Spread the word! Share our Lake Maggiore article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.