Holidays to Lake Maggiore are taken at slower pace, with an enticing focus on fresh local food, regional wine and beautiful natural scenery.
The picturesque fishing villages on Lake Maggiore are a sight to see. Clusters of rainbow-coloured buildings pepper the shoreline and fade up into the hills, giving each village its own unique personality. Lively, bustling Stresa is a stark contrast to its quieter, less tourist-heavy neighbour of Baveno. Wherever you choose to stay though, you’ll find winding, cobbled streets lined with shops, lakefront promenades full of family-run pavement cafés, and a real mix of architecture that begs to be explored.
Restaurants and food play a big part in Italian culture, and even more so when you can savour something delicious while also feasting on beautiful lake views. Many of the eateries around Maggiore maximise these views with big windows and terraces, to complement menus full of local produce. The weekly markets are a great way to immerse yourself in Lake Maggiore’s foodie scene. On Wednesdays, eat your way round some of the stalls at the most famous market in Luino, sampling regional fruit, vegetables, cheeses and more.
For days when laying on a sun lounger just won’t cut it, Lake Maggiore is packed full of interesting things to see and do. The Borromean Islands are undoubtedly the jewels in the crown - reached only by boats, they're home to grand palazzos, botanical gardens and unique restaurants. There’s a handful of speciality museums to pique your curiosity too - like the eerily fascinating doll and toy collection at the Rocca di Angera, or the display of porcelain and ceramic pieces at the Museo Internazionale Design Ceramico. Lake Maggiore spreads across the border into Switzerland, so shun the tourist hotspots for a day and head north. The smaller lakeside resorts here are quieter, with a captivating atmosphere.
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There are two sides to Meina - the winding, interlinking streets that create a maze of narrow, Italian townhouses; and the Village of Villas, situated along the lakefront with a huddle of grand dwellings overlooking the lake. Take a stroll to explore, and don't forget to take a camera to capture the views across the lake.
Life in Baveno is rather laid-back and relaxed, a little more so than the neighbouring town of Stresa, which is just 2km down the western coast. If you plan on soaking up the Italian sunshine, there’s a small lakeside lido just outside of the village that stays open late in the summer, playing music into the evening.
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