Best of...

Trending: The Italian Lakes

Immortalized by writers and artists centuries ago, the Italian Lakes are now frequented by celebrities and sophisticated travelers looking to escape the heat at a bucolic waterside retreat. The lakes of Como, Garda and Iseo are unified by their regal palace hotels, chic, bronzed patrons and dramatic panoramas, but each is distinctly different. Here, we round up the best of the Italian lakes, long classic destinations for those in search of the glamorous European summer, and exciting new additions, from a hotly anticipated art installation to a sleek new hotel on Lake Como.

2016’s Most Talked-About: Lake Iseo

The smallest and least-touristed of the Italian Lakes is finally outshining the rest this summer, thanks to a hotly anticipated installation from world-renowned artist Christo. This month, Lake Iseo is set to hit the international scene when Christo launches The Floating Piers, an ambitious art installation that will link two islands to the mainland. From June 18 to July 3, visitors will be able to traverse the lake on top of 200,000 floating cubes swathed in dahlia-yellow fabric. The opening is timed to coincide with the last two days of Art Basel, about 250 miles away. Here are more tips on what not-to-miss when visiting Lake Iseo:

  • Sleep… at the hillside L’Albereta Resort, a luxurious wellness-focused escape
  • Splurge…on a private Riva boat for a ride around the lake
  • Eat…at Michelin-starred restaurants Due Colombe (traditional Brescian cuisine) and Da Vittorio (seafood)
  • Drink…at one of the 113 wineries in the sparkling wine region of Franciacorta
  • Savor…a visit to the 2,000-foot-tall Mount Isola, the largest lake island in Europe and home to a charming village with churches, Roman ruins and pedestrian-only streets
  • Visit… the ancient hillside town of Bergamo, which is a treat to explore thanks to its 16th-century Venetian walls and funicular
  • See…Christo’s Floating Piers change colors with the light, from yellow to golden to reddish when wet.
  • Shop…in Milan, just over an hour away by car, before or after visiting the lake

The Grand Dame Classic: Lake Como

Described by poet William Wordsworth as a “treasure whom the earth keeps to herself,” Lake Como is the center of a region that’s both wild and civilized, decadent and low-key, enormous and intimate. The most famous of the Italian Lakes (which, unfortunately, is unswimmable) is home to classic hotels and gardens, but this year a new hotel is shaking up the status quo. Opened in June, Il Sereno Lago di Como is operated by the luxury brand behind Le Sereno on St. Barth’s. The cutting-edge property is located just a five-minute drive from Como town, and boasts thirty-four modern suites and an infinity pool that capitalizes on the dramatic landscape. Here are more tips on what not-to-miss when visiting Lake Como:

  • Sleep…in a lake view suite at the grand Villa d’Este
  • ExperienceVilla Balbianello, a stunning property that was featured in Casino Royal
  • Splurge…on a private boat to see the lake’s most stunning villas from the water
  • Eat…at Il Gatto Nero, a hillside restaurant with incredible views
  • Drink…wine at Locanda dell’Isola Comacina, a decades-old restaurant on an island
  • Savor…simple Italian cooking at Giardino Ristorante Pizzeria, a casual local favorite
  • VisitBellagio and walk the charming streets
  • See…Switzerland from one of the mountains surrounding the lake during a hike
  • Shop…for silk with a guide who can take you to the best workshops

Relaxed and Restorative: Lake Garda

With jagged cliffs carved by the last Ice Age, Lake Garda boasts one of Europe’s most dramatic landscapes, and yet it is often overlooked in favor of the celebrity-adored Lake Como, which lies two hours west. What Lake Garda lacks in movie-star glitz, it more than makes up for with a slower pace of life that emphasizes relaxation, authentic Italian living and an atmosphere that transports visitors to an era when literary legends (Catullus, Lord Byron, Ezra Pound) frequented its calming shores. Here are more tips on what not-to-miss when visiting Lake Garda:

  • Sleep…at the one-of-a-kind, intimate Villa Feltrinelli
  • Experience…the lake’s best watersports, including excellent scuba diving
  • Splurge…on a private boat for the day to explore the massive lake
  • Eat…local cuisine at Trattoria San Martino, a romantic hideaway of a restaurant
  • Drink…wine from the nearby region of Valtensi
  • Savor…a sweet treat at Ciocolat Gelateria
  • Visit…the charming city of Verona, the famed setting of Romeo and Juliet
  • SeeIsola di Garda, the largest island on Lake Garda
  • Shop…along the charming streets of Salò

Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team for customized recommendations and itineraries for any of the Italian Lakes.

More Inspiration

Plan Your Trip With Us

We only feature hotels that we can vouch for first-hand. At many of them, Indagare members receive special amenities.

Get In Touch
Indagare employees walking up stiars

Enjoy 30 Days On Us!

Start your Self Planner
membership trial today.

Unlock access to 2,000+ first-hand hotel reviews, 300+ Destination Guides and the most up-to-date travel news and inspiration.

Already a member?

Welcome back,
log in to Indagare

Not a member?

Forgot Password

Enter your email and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Type the first 3 letters to begin