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About Lake Maggiore
The steep inclines of Piedmont's lower Alps and gentle Mediterranean climate make Lake Maggiore's vegetation lush, and are the reason why so many rare and exotic plants thrive here. So the blue expanse of Lake Maggiore looks as if it's been plucked right out of a fairytale: there are old castles and churches, and grand villas. The pretty towns and resorts along its shores have the architecture to match the wonderful gardens, and they play host to the majority of the best places to stay in Lake Maggiore.
The lovely climate and very pleasant outlook are what's made this area a holiday destination for as long as holiday destinations have existed.
If you don't have the budget to rent a private charter, cruise the lake aboard the Locarno to Stresa steamer.
Locarno and Ascona
Locarno is a great base for exploring the north side of the Lake. Boasting the warmest climate in the whole of Switzerland, it is home to lemon and palm trees, and has a distinctly Italian flavour.
Neighbouring Ascona is a similarly Mediterranean feeling destination. with charming old town, lake front promenade, golf course and outdoor lido.
If you enjoy a bit of a poke round the shops, Stresa is one of the best places to stay on Lake Maggiore. You can get a lot of the Italian staples, including good leather handbags and Murano glass - at prices far lower than in Venice.
Stresa can be lively in season, so if you prefer a quieter setting, check out Baveno, just a short drive from Stresa.
Cannero Riviera is a charming lakeside town with much to recommend it: lovely Mediterranean style climate, beautiful flora (include world renowned Camellias) and pretty streets. The boat stop offers excellent connections to the Borromean Islands, Stresa and Locarno.
Ranco is located at the southern end of Lake Maggiore on its eastern shore. Come here for the historic buildings, lake views and the highly recommended Il Sole restaurant.
What Not To Miss
- Isola Madre, one of the Borromean Islands that's easily accessible via a hop-on, hop-off boat, has a beautiful palace surround by 19 acres of English style grounds and gardens.
- Meanwhile, Isola dei Pescatori has a cobbled promenade with some excellent cafes and spectacular views. Or you can visit Isola Bella, which has some of the lake's best gardens.
- To appreciate the lake's true beauty you should view if from afar, as well as up close. The cable car running up to the summit of Mount Mottarone is a good way to get a bird's eye view.
- As is a trip on the train to Domodossola - the narrow line trundles you slowly over precarious viaducts spanning ravines and past vertiginous waterfalls, but the scenery will take your breath away.
If you're coming in the busy summer months then be sure to book ahead as the best places to stay in Lake Maggiore get quickly booked up.
Best places to stay in Lake Maggiore
Locarno and Ascona
- Castello del Sole is a luxurious getaway located on the shore of Lake Locarno. The contemporary accommodation is chic and tasteful, whilst the property's surrounded by a lovely garden full of fruit trees. With a spa to boot, it's a wonderfully relaxing spot.
- Giardino Ascona is a stunning lakeside 5*, boasting light and airy contemporary rooms as well as a two Michelin star restaurant! A dreamy stay.
- Art Hotel Riposo provides bright, colourfully decorated rooms in Ascona. With two restaurants to choose from and live music each night, it's a fun stay.
- Giardino Lago is a stylish spot with fresh, boutique-style accommodation and bikes available to use for free. Make the most out of your location to get stuck into a range of watersports.
- The family-run Hotel Cannero enjoys a superb setting and boasts wonderful lakeside views. The bedrooms are traditional in style whilst there's also a piano bar, tennis court and a pool.
- Park Hotel Italia is a great option for those on a budget - offering chic rooms in a top location from just £61. Work up a sweat on the tennis court before tucking into lovely Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.
- If you want to stay in one of the islands, we'd suggest you try Hotel Verbano. This is more of a restaurant with rooms, so it's also great for foodies. As well as the gourmet restaurant there are 12 really charming rooms, with romantic terraces looking onto astounding views. This is a really romantic spot, so would also work for those looking for a honeymoon destination.
- Hotel Isole Di Brissago, set in a grand 20th century house, offers traditional rooms with vintage wallpapers and large bathrooms. What's more, there's a lovely restaurant and an outdoor pool in which to enjoy a refreshing dip.
- If you're looking for lakeside grandeur and a central Stresa location, book a room in the traditionally luxurious Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees. The hotel fronts onto the lake, a wonderful white facade with rows of little balconies. It oozes elegance and sophistication and also boasts great facilities including a spa and a gastronomic restaurant with lake views.
- If you want wonderful views direct from your hotel room, one of the best places to stay on Lake Maggiore is Il Sole di Ranco. This is another hotel priding itself on its menu, especially its seafood - sourced direct from the lake. With 14 rooms and ten suites, some suitable for families, this is a good option for those travelling for kids.
- Albergo Belvedere is a quaint restaurant with rooms featuring wonderful views of Lake Maggiore. The rooms are simple and stylish, whilst you can also enjoy private candlelit dinners on request - ideal for a couples retreat.
- Locanda de Mai Intees, set in a charmingly traditional property, boasts wonderfully romantic and atmospheric rooms - complete with wooden beams and frescoed floors. Enjoy private diners for two in the dining room before relaxing in the whirlpool hot tub.
- Casa Ambica is an intimate 5-room stay with a private attic room which is perfect for couples. The rooms are comfortable and simple, offering splendid views of the Maggiore Valley, plus there's a cosy lounge and lovely gardens.
For An 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.
- Weather-wise you're best off visiting Lake Maggiore in the summer months, with the average temperature rising to 22°C in July and August.
- This however is peak season, so if you fancy visiting at a quieter and cheaper time (but still enjoying the good weather!) then consider coming in May or September.
- International visitors can fly into Milan Malpensa Airport before taking a train up to Lake Maggio, with the journey taking an hour and a half.
- Ryanair fly direct from Stansted to Milan, easyJet from Gatwick, Luton and Edinburgh, whilst British Airways go from Heathrow.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Lake Maggiore
Park Hotel Italia 31 rooms from $71Lake Maggiore
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.Hideaway - An elegant lakeside property. Gloriously tranquil and with plenty of outdoor activities to rejuvinate oneself.Value chic - Incredible value, especially for this locationGreat 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.
Hotel Cannero 55 rooms from $137Cannero Riveria, Lake Maggiore
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.Foodies - Exquisite lakeside terrace for breakfast, lunch and dinner.Views - Magnifcent views overlooking Lake Maggiore.LakesideGreat walks - Good for walkers.
Albergo Belvedere 12 rooms from $137VA, Lake Maggiore
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.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
Hotel Verbano 12 rooms from $171Stresa Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Lake Maggiore
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.Views - All the rooms have stunning views over Lake MaggioreRomantic BreakHoneymoonsFoodiesRecommended by - Frommers, CN Traveller
Locanda de Mai Intees 12 rooms from $171Azzate Varese, Lake Maggiore
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.FoodiesSights nearby - In the centre of the Italian Lake district.Great walks - Good for walkers.Traditional
Giardino Lago 14 rooms from $212Locarno (Minusio)
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.Lakeside - RIght by Lago MaggioreElegantCountry EscapeTowelling robes
Casa Ambica 5 rooms from $187Gordevio
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.Romantic Break - The attic room provides enough privacy and amazing views from its balcony. Good for couplesBack to Nature - In a peaceful setting, this property offers wonderful mountain views of the Maggia ValleyGreat walks - Excellent scenic hikes through the mountains surrounding the property. Finish with a dip in the river close bySights nearby - Must visit the church in Mogno
Il Sole di Ranco 14 rooms from $206Ranco Varese, Lake Maggiore
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.FoodiesViews - Great views from hotelSwimming Pool - Oudoor poolCooking classes - Check for timings.Recommended by - Relais & Chateaux
Art Hotel Riposo 31 rooms from $292Ascona, Lake Maggiore
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.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
Hotel Isole di Brissago 10 rooms from $294Brissago
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.Hideaway - Staying in the 20th century building feels like having the whole island to yourself, with delightful botanic gardens to exploreSights nearby - Regular ferry services provide connections to the lakeside villages of Lake Maggiore, including Locarno, Porto Ronco and AsconaGreat walks - Walk round the peaceful island; hotel can prepare packed lunchesOutstanding location
Grand Hôtel des Iles Borromées 179 rooms from $286Stresa Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Lake Maggiore
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.Romantic BreakSpa breaksViews - Great views from hotelSwimming Pool - Indoor and Outdoor PoolsRecommended by - CN Traveller
Giardino Ascona 72 rooms from $337Ascona, Lake Maggiore
A five star property situated on the stunning Lake Maggiore. Set in Mediterranean gardens reflective of it's 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.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.SpaRecommended by - Tablet
Castello del Sole 78 rooms from $435Ascona
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.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.Swimming Pool - Outdoor pool.Recommended by - Relais & Chateaux