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Lake Maggiore

Photo of Lake Maggiore

About Lake Maggiore

Sunny and lush, Lake Maggiore is frequently likened to the Mediterranean, with its colourful and exotic plant varieties and bright blue water. Yet it’s fed by rivers running off Piedmont’s lower alps, which have cut its narrow shape, and which for many is one of the great appeals of the Italian Lake District — so much spectacular shoreline for your buck! The best places to stay on Lake Maggiore are dotted around the shoreline, from stylish Locarno and Mediterranean Ascona on the lake’s northern shores, to Cannero Riviera and Stresa on the western Piedmont side (good for walkers, and shoppers respectively), and Ranco on the southern, Lombardy shore. The hotels and guesthouses themselves are a broad collection of converted palazzos and villas, plus a few castles and farmhouses, traditional Italian hotels, grande dames, spa resorts and contemporary properties.

Because Lake Maggiore pushes down through Switzerland into Italy, there are some variations in accommodation style that run along the border. Swiss Locarno and Ascona have a number of extremely luxurious properties, whilst within Italy you'll find more traditional, low-key properties that have been run by the same family for generations. Our recommendations for the best places to stay on Lake Maggiore cover both.

Broadly speaking the lake doesn’t differentiate by borders, its equally lemon scented all around, with palm trees and camellias, and walking its wooded shoreline is one of Lake Maggiore’s simple pleasures. This is also a great destination for cyclists. And sailors, kayakers and canoeists. Like many Italians, our Gurus’ also pick out the best places to stay on Lake Maggiore to recommend to families. The lake’s beaches are calmer than the sea, and the water is crystal clear. The lake is also littered with beautiful and historic architecture, in pretty towns with regular market days and rich culinary histories. And all around are vineyards, and alpine views.

The Best Places to Stay on Lake Maggiore

For A Special Occasion

  • Villa Orselina is a blissfully picturesque hotel on the slopes above Locarno, overlooking the lake and the alps. Its 28 rooms and suites, all with lake-view balconies, are decorated in white, with dark woods that match the original ceiling beams of the villa. The pool is on a sunny terrace, which is also a prime spot for lake views, and inside is an atmospheric stone wine cellar, and an intimate restaurant with a vaulted brick ceiling. This is the sort of accommodation it’s easy to forget to leave, but there’s a 15th century church a couple of minutes walk away, so you don’t have to go far to sightsee.
  • The Grand Hôtel des Iles Borromées is one of Lake Maggiore’s grande dame hotels, a strikingly elegant property in central Stresa, with opulent interiors and magical lake views. This is where to stay for the peak of old fashioned grandeur; think uniformly charming rows of lake-view balconies, chandeliers, gilt, great mirrors, frescoes and murals, velvet, chaise lounges, plump cushions and huge windows. The facilities are five star, from the indoor and outdoor pools and impressive spa to the bar, gastronomic restaurant and library. And the gardens are quite something.

For Luxury

  • The Giardino Ascona is a large and luxurious lakeside villa in Ascona, with a collection of rooms, suites and apartments, that are light, airy and stylishly comfortable. We like the rooms on the ground floor, which have French windows opening right out onto the fragrant gardens, which are lush with flora from all over Italy and Switzerland. With a list of facilities including both indoor and outdoor pool, and a hotel yacht, the most impressive is probably the restaurant, Ecco Ascona, which has two Michelin stars.
  • Eden Roc is a glamorous hotel with a wonderful list of facilities, and hard-to-beat lake views. To share between the spacious, and stylishly decorated 100 odd guest rooms, are four restaurants which range from elegant to supremely elegant with a Michelin star; a superb spa with a very accessible treatment menu; a private beach with kayaks, paddle boards and a yacht; and they have hotel bikes AND hotel Vespas.

For Families

  • The Castello del Sole is close to the water in Ascona, just on the other side of the river from Locarno. But one of the wonderful things about this hotel is that you just wouldn’t know it — the grounds are so large, and so framed by the mountains and the lake, that it feels like a country escape. Expect tennis courts, sailing facilities, bike hire, and a library, games room and pool. As well as generous grounds, the Castello del Sole has 78 rooms and suites, decorated with simple luxury. And an excellent spa. All the space makes this a great choice for families too, plus there’s a playground, a timetable of kids’ activities, and babysitting services available too.

For Romantics

  • The Locanda de Mai Intees is a 12 room hotel converted from a castle-like private residence built in the 15th century. Think crenelated towers, vast stone fireplaces, windows that feel more than double height, frescoes and murals, beamed ceilings, and bags of charm. The rooms are atmospheric and romantic, with cosy, luxurious details — some have mezzanine levels, which make them large enough for families. The restaurant is gourmet, and they have private dining rooms.
  • The Castello Seeschloss is an extremely beautiful and special place to stay: a converted castle complete with towers, murals, frescoes, vaulted ceilings, ornate plasterwork and a whole host of fancy finishes. Its 45 rooms and suites range from simpler styles, with exposed stone walls and tiled floors, to the whole shebang of gilt and glamour. The location is idyllic, its terrace and gardens are right up against the lake, and the views are stunning. The heated pool, expansive wine list, and option of cooking classes are all useful extras.

For an Intimate Escape

  • The Hotel Isole Di Brissago, has been converted from a grand villa, built in the 20th century, complete with palatial statuary, magical lake views, vast windows and French doors. There are just ten rooms and suites, decorated with vintage style and antiques, against original floors and stucco ceilings, plus large marble bathrooms, and private balconies. This is definitely the sort of place where you can imagine you’re the guest of the owner. Being located right next to the botanical gardens gives a feeling off having the whole island to yourself. The restaurant is very popular too.
  • Ranco’s Albergo Belvedere is a great little restaurant, with 12 simple, colourful rooms, all with lake views. Enjoy private, candlelit dining on request, and a friendly atmosphere.
  • La Capuccina isn’t on Lake Maggiore, it’s an agroturismo, converted from a farming estate about 10km south of Arona. It has just nine rooms, all uniquely decorated, with strong colours and a collection of vintage and contemporary furnishings. Some are suitable for families, some have private terraces, and one has a private sauna. There’s also a games room, with plenty on offer for families, and a whole farm to mess around on with pigs, goats and chickens etc., and an excellent restaurant serving food as locally sourced as possible.

For Exploring

  • Sunny and cheerful, with unbeatable views of Ascona and the lake beyond, the Art Hotel Riposo is a welcoming choice, while still feeling small enough to call intimate. There are 31 rooms and suites, most with private balconies, and all with simple, fresh decor. There are two restaurants onsite, and plenty within strolling distance, and some evenings the hotel hosts live music. Fun and friendly.
  • Small, super stylish, and well positioned, Giardino Lago is a great match for active couples. Right on the water on the edge of Locarno, this hotel has views of the town and the lake from most of its 14 rooms and suites, and from its huge, sunny cocktail terrace. The hotel’s restaurant is excellent, and you’re within a pleasant stroll of many others, plus the hotel offers complimentary bike hire, and surprisingly varied watersports facilities.

For Foodies

  • Il Sole di Ranco is a peaceful, lakeside hotel in Ranco, with wonderful lake views and a gourmet restaurant. The decor is traditional in the 14 rooms and suites, but it’s unfussy, and the atmosphere is very relaxed. The restaurant is known for its fresh fish, caught in the lake, of course, and serves meals outside on a sunny terrace when possible. They also run cooking classes.

Stay on an Island?

  • If you like the idea of staying on one of the little islands dotted around Lake Maggiore, our Gurus recommend the Hotel Verbano, which is a chic little restaurant with rooms on tiny Isola dei Pescatori. The hotel has just 12 rooms, all charming, with lake views, decorated simply atop the original features. The communal areas are friendly, and the restaurant spreads outside and in. Perfect for a wedding or a honeymoon.

For Walkers

  • The Casa Ambica is a painstakingly renovated 19th century villa with just five rooms; we love the attic room, which has the best views over the lake and the Maggiore Valley. Set in a peaceful spot in Gordevio, Case Ambica is a great base for exploring on foot, or on wheels. The communal lounge is cosy and welcoming, with an open fire when needed, and there’s also a lovely garden. Breakfast is a generous spread every morning.

For Great Value

  • Cannero Riviera’s Park Hotel Italia is a smartly converted lakeside villa, with 31 rooms and suites in an excellent spot right by the water. The high ceilings, huge windows and generous proportions remain, but the unfussy furniture lends comfort. As well as views from all the balconies, the location means the pool and restaurant terrace have views too. Work up a sweat on the tennis court before tucking into lovely Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.
  • The family-run Hotel Cannero is picturesquely located in a waterfront spot in Cannero Riviera, its terrace just a few steps from the edge of the lake. This is a traditional hotel, with 55 rooms and suites, all charmingly, but individually decorated. The more traditional have tile or parquet floors, antiques and French windows, whilst the more contemporary have simpler wood flooring and contemporary furnishings, but still huge windows and terraces. The traditional features run to a piano bar too, and there’s a pool, tennis courts, a restaurant and wine bar.

Prefer a self catering Apartment or Villa?

  • If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Milan’s airports, Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate, are the closest airports to the southern end of Lake Maggiore, about an hour and a half away by car, depending on where exactly you’re staying. However, Milan isn’t particularly well connected to the lake by public transport, so if that’s important to you, you might find it easier to fly into Zürich Airport, and travel south to the northern shores of the lake. Depending on where you’re staying it will be between two and three hours drive, or around five hours by public transport.
  • If you want to hire a car we recommend you visit our online partner, Rentalcars.
  • Summer is the most popular time to visit Lake Maggiore. It’s not as popular a destination as Lake Como or Lake Garda, but it’s still much loved by Italian families, and everyone who appreciates bluey-greeny natural beauty, and woodsy walking trails. If you’re not restricted by school holidays, it’s worth considering May through June or September and October to visit Lake Maggiore, because it’s especially green and verdant in spring, and beautifully copper golden come autumn. You’ll get some rain in both of these windows, but you’d be unlucky to have so much that it spoils your trip. Easter and Christmas are always wonderful celebrations in Italy, but it does get chilly on the lake.

Still not sure where to stay?

Weather

Monthly Weather in Lake Maggiore

Best Hotels in Lake Maggiore

  • Castello Seeschloss Ascona 45 rooms from £84

    Active Holiday  -  With such a maginificent setting, one is involuntarily drawn outdoors, to swim, hike, or perhaps just for a lakeside stoll!
    Back to Nature  -  Get up into the hills surrounding Lake Maggiore to see the beautiful mountain lake and its environs
    Great walks  -  Whether you want to do some serious hiking or just a gentle lakeside stroll, all is possible from the village of Ancona
    Cooking classes  -  The hotel organises cooking classes on request. Ask at reception for more information
    Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyParking

    This magnificent Castello's setting on the shore of Lake Maggiore is truly special. The high-ceiling rooms are palatial, with large windows and ornate plaster-work and furnishings. With a heated pool and a restaurant offering lakeside dining with stunning views. A perfect romantic destination. See More

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  • La Dama del Porto Laveno-Mombello, Lake Maggiore from £90

    Great walks  -  Embark on a serene stroll at Cerro beach, where clear waters and alpine vistas offer a perfect pause from life's hustle
    Sights nearby  -  Ascend Monte Sasso del Ferro by cable car for a thrilling encounter with breathtaking alpine and lake panoramas
    Sailing  -  Explore Isola Bella by boat, where stunning botanical gardens and historical palaces await your discovery
    Foodies  -  Feast on local flavours and fresh ingredients at a lakeside spot where each dish is a masterpiece
    RestaurantViewsNo pets
    Recommended by  -  I Escape

    A stylish boutique hotel overlooking Lago Maggiore. Rooms are a tactile haven, curated by architect Claire Kimball, designed for relaxation amidst breathtaking views. Guests can indulge in a culinary journey at the restaurant with a panoramic lakeside backdrop. Elegant minimalism meets luxury. See More

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  • La Capuccina (NO), Lake Maggiore 9 rooms from £95

    Foodies  -  Foodies will be bowled-over by renowned chef Gianluca Zanetta's contemporary take on regional dishes
    Country Escape  -  Charming, quiet, picturesque and producing superb cuisine; a rural idyll
    Great walks  -  Head out straight from the property and enjoy the beautiful countryside
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViewsParking

    A real agritourism experience in a renovated farmhouse headed by famed chef Gianluca Zanetta. The homely feel in this charming property, set near Lake Maggiore, will put you instantly at ease. The rooms are quaint and personalised while the restaurant is undoubtedly excellent. See More

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  • Hotel Cannero Cannero Riveria, Lake Maggiore 55 rooms from £104

    Foodies  -  Exquisite lakeside terrace for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    Views  -  Magnifcent views overlooking Lake Maggiore.
    Total relaxation
    Lakeside
    TennisRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViews

    Charming old-fashioned establishment run by the same attentive and gracious family for decades. Spectacular position on Lake Maggiore with beautiful views. Spotless bedrooms, piano bar, lakeside terrace, pool and tennis court. Buffet breakfasts are a speciality. The perfect place to unwind. See More

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  • Albergo Belvedere VA, Lake Maggiore 12 rooms from £111

    Romantic Break  -  Special private candlelight dinners under the stars can be arranged on request.
    Families  -  Great for families, extra cots for children below 3 years can be provided.
    Views  -  Right by the Lake Maggiore with all rooms offering wonderful views.
    Fishing  -  A perfect base for anglers the hotel has their own fishing boats and can take you out for the day
    Air conditioningRestaurantGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking

    A quaint little restaurant with rooms in a stunning location with views of Lake Maggiore. The simple and stylish rooms offer a laid back atmosphere. The renowned restaurant serves local food and boasts a terrace with panoramic views. A charming base for local explorers or more active types. See More

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  • Park Hotel Italia Lake Maggiore 31 rooms from £113

    Hideaway  -  An elegant lakeside property. Gloriously tranquil and with plenty of outdoor activities to rejuvinate oneself.
    Value chic  -  Incredible value, especially for this location
    Great walks  -  Meander along one of the lakeside trails and soak in the stunning scenery.
    Sailing  -  A private pier is available for those arriving by boat.
    Air conditioningTennisRestaurantSwimming PoolPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking

    An imposing lakeside property with spectacular views. Elegant interiors with high ceilings and sash windows. Light and airy rooms are traditional in design and boast private balconies. A traditional Italian and Mediterranean restaurant with panoramic views. Very reasonably priced. A tranquil abode. See More

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  • Hotel Verbano Stresa Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Lake Maggiore 12 rooms from £130

    Views  -  All the rooms have stunning views over Lake Maggiore
    Romantic Break
    Foodies
    Honeymoons
    Air conditioningRestaurantGardenViews
    Recommended by  -  Frommers, CN Traveller

    Special restaurant with rooms set on an island of Lake Maggiore. Excellent local cuisine from romantic terraces overlooking the lake. Lovely bedrooms and living areas in creams, with brick fireplace, wooden beams, white washed walls, and private balconies. Ideal for a romantic break or a wedding. See More

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  • Locanda de Mai Intees Azzate Varese, Lake Maggiore 12 rooms from £130

    Foodies
    Sights nearby  -  In the centre of the Italian Lake district.
    Traditional
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Air conditioningRestaurantGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessParking

    A charmingly traditional private residence with an excellent gourmet restaurant. Rooms and suites have frescoed walls, mezzanine levels, wooden beams, parquet floors, and attractive fabrics. Plenty of activities, close to Lake Maggiore. Romantic, gourmet and family friendly. See More

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  • Giardino Lago Locarno (Minusio) 14 rooms from £163

    Lakeside  -  RIght by Lago Maggiore
    Elegant
    Bath robes
    Country Escape
    Air conditioningRestaurantParking

    This hotel marries amazing views of the stunning Lago Maggiore with a stylish boutique feel that offers simple but attractive design features. Upon the lake, guests are encouraged towards a number of watersports, including fishing. The restaurant offers fine cuisine, and bicycles are free to hire. See More

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  • Casa Ambica Gordevio 5 rooms from £142

    Romantic Break  -  The attic room provides enough privacy and amazing views from its balcony. Good for couples
    Back to Nature  -  In a peaceful setting, this property offers wonderful mountain views of the Maggia Valley
    Great walks  -  Excellent scenic hikes through the mountains surrounding the property. Finish with a dip in the river close by
    Sights nearby  -  Must visit the church in Mogno
    RestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    A 19th century house painstakingly renovated providing comfortable accommodation. Rooms feature chestnut wood furniture, art on the walls and bathtubs in all bathrooms. A cosy lounge area with a fireplace and a lovely garden outdoors. Fresh homemade breakfast is served every morning. See More

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  • Il Sole di Ranco Ranco Varese, Lake Maggiore 14 rooms from £156

    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Foodies
    Swimming Pool  -  Oudoor pool
    Cooking classes  -  Check for timings.
    Air conditioningTennisRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Relais & Chateaux

    Lovely lakeside hotel and gourmet restaurant. Romantic views over Maggiore, elegant understated bedrooms and suites, pool, excellent food served on the terrace, lots of fresh fish from the lake. A gourmet choice for families and total relaxation. See More

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  • Art Hotel Riposo Ascona, Lake Maggiore 31 rooms from £224

    Local exploring  -  A charming property well located by the lake in order to explore Ascona and the surrounding area.
    Sights nearby  -  Take a stroll through the pretty historic centre of Locarno.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool.
    Full of character
    RestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyViews

    An artfully designed hotel on the edge of the pretty town of Ascona. Brightly coloured rooms are hip and fresh and most boast private balconies and lake views. A choice of two restaurants both with outdoor dining. Live music held on some evenings. A trendy choice in a great location for exploring. See More

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  • Hotel Isole di Brissago Brissago 10 rooms from £226

    Hideaway  -  Staying in the 20th century building feels like having the whole island to yourself, with delightful botanic gardens to explore
    Sights nearby  -  Regular ferry services provide connections to the lakeside villages of Lake Maggiore, including Locarno, Porto Ronco and Ascona
    Great walks  -  Walk round the peaceful island; hotel can prepare packed lunches
    Outstanding location
    RestaurantGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViews

    Hotel in grand 20th century house located on an island in Lake Maggiore. Gorgeous rooms have vintage style wallpaper, lakeside views and big bathrooms. Original floors and stucco ceilings with chandeliers, outstanding views, verandahs and popular restaurant. A unique and memorable stay. See More

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  • Eden Roc Ascona 95 rooms from £180

    Sights nearby  -  Visit the incredible nearby sanctuary of Madonna del Sasso in Orselina, a 15th century pilgrimage site.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyViewsParking

    Luxury abounds at the heavenly Eden Roc on Lake Maggiore. Some of the highlights include a superb spa, a choice of four excellent restaurants and a plethora of water-sports facilities on site. Perfect for those looking for a lavish holiday by a lake. See More

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  • Grand Hôtel des Iles Borromées Stresa Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Lake Maggiore 179 rooms from £217

    Romantic Break
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Spa breaks
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor and Outdoor Pools
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller

    Luxurious lakeside opulence in a Five Star Grand hotel. A beautiful setting, sumptuous rooms and suites, delicious food, spa and plenty to do on the lake. A romantic spot, family friendly too. See More

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  • Giardino Ascona Ascona 72 rooms from £259

    Active Holiday  -  Sat on a stunning lake and with golf, sailing and mountain biking all on offer.
    Foodies  -  Ecco Ascona has been awarded two Michelin stars.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor and outdoor pools.
    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyParking
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    A five star property situated on the stunning Lake Maggiore. Set in Mediterranean gardens reflective of its location on the Swiss Italian border. Contemporary light airy rooms the best of which have french doors leading straight on to the garden. A Two Star Michelin restaurant. Complete luxury. See More

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  • Castello del Sole Ascona 78 rooms from £331

    Country Escape  -  With mountains as a backdrop and vineyards surrounding this is an idyllic spot to unwind in some country air.
    Families  -  Numerous activities to keep all entertained plus a playground and babysitting services for children.
    Sailing  -  Use the hotel boat and spend the day cruising on Lake Maggiore stopping off at market places and castles along the way.
    Tennis  -  Tennis courts on site.
    Air conditioningTennisSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessParking
    Recommended by  -  Relais & Chateaux

    A luxury hotel situated on the lakeshore of Lake Locarno. Framed by mountains and sitting in gardens full of fruit trees. Spoiling rooms mixing traditional furniture in a contemporary setting. The bathrooms are large and very modern. A glorious spa for complete relaxation. A spoiling stay. See More

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  • Villa Orselina Locarno 28 rooms from £356

    Hideaway  -  A perfect escape- pamper yourself at the spa, feast at one of the excellent restaurants and admire the views of the lake.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the 15th century sanctuary of Madonna del Sasso in Orselina, less than five minutes walk from the hotel.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Opulent
    RestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels

    Villa Orselina is a blissful hotel overlooking Lake Maggiore and the Alps. The deluxe white on white rooms, feature floor to ceiling windows and lavish bathrooms. With an extensive spa and three restaurants you will be well taken care of. Perfect for a romantic break by the lake. See More

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