Italy's lakes Como, Garda and Maggiore are well know postcard perfect glamour destinations, but who's heard of Lake Iseo? Surprisingly, the answer is still, not that many of us. Lake Iseo is the smallest of the major Lombardy lakes, but no less lovely. If you're in on Lake Iseo's secrets go straight to our guru's list of the best places to stay on Lake Iseo. Otherwise here are some of Iseo's highlights some of the best places to stay on Lake Iseo to enjoy them.
Iseo has been the lake local Italians have preferred, probably because it's cheaper and less touristy. Its wooded shores have escaped the overdevelopment of some stretches of the larger lakes, so it's very green. And three main towns and sprinkling of smaller ones feel very Italian.
Ferries cruise all over the lake, heading to and around Monte Isola, the forested island in the centre of the lake. Iseo's colourful towns all front on to the lake; you get the best view of them arriving by boat, so the ferries are one of the best ways to see the sights. Though there's also a very pretty coastal road.
On the lake's southern shores, the town of Iseo is one of the best places to stay on Lake Iseo if you enjoy Italy's people-watching culture. Iseo's large pedestrianised area is rife with cafes and bars facing out to the lake. So you get the amazing views of the sunset, followed by a lively evening. Iseo is also one of the best places to stay on Lake Iseo if you're interested in medieval history - it's got one of the best preserved 11th century forts in Italy, the Oldofredi Castle.
Recently voted one of Italy's prettiest borghi (picturesque villages), probably in part because of the mountain backdrop and partly for the charming old arcades, Lovere is also wealthy in chichi bars and restaurants. Many of the evening cruises depart from Lovere's ferry port, and this is also a good place to come to just stroll around and feed the ducks. This town is also rich in religious architecture, and is one of the best places to stay on Lake Iseo if you've come to Italy to see gorgeous churches.
Sulzano, Lake Iseo
Set in the quiet village of Sulzano on Lake Iseo, bedrooms are comfortable, airy and decorated with elegant colours. Some rooms and suites have private balconies with lake views. Organise daily activities and excursions from the hotel or relax by the pool and private beach.
Erbusco-Franciacorta, Lake Iseo
A very luxurious hotel that has almost made a religion out of wellbeing. A world-class spa and a kitchen operating under a chef named the ‘the Father of Modern Italian Cuisine’. A spa and gourmet break off the beaten track.