Lake Maggiore, Italy & Switzerland
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Maggiore — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!
Topics we cover in this article:
- All About Lake Maggiore
- Things to Do
- Fish Species
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Lake Maggiore Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Shop Lake Maggiore Gifts
Looking for Lake Maggiore cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.
All About Lake Maggiore
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
- Water Skiing
- Scuba Diving
- Horseback Riding
- Wildlife Viewing
- National Park
Find Places to Stay at Lake Maggiore
If you’re considering a Lake Maggiore lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Maggiore Vacation
If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Maggiore lodging partners.
- VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
- Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
- Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
- Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
- TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
- Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
- KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
- RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
- CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.
Lake Maggiore Statistics & Helpful Links
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
We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.
Shop Lake Maggiore Gifts
Advertise Your Lake Maggiore Business or Vacation Rental
LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.
Looking for the Lake Maggiore Forum?
LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!
Lake Maggiore Photo Gallery
New photos coming soon!
Spread the word! Share our Lake Maggiore article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!