Wedged between the Swiss-Italian borders is the Mediterranean-like oasis, Lake Maggiore. The unexpectedly mild winters and granite-enriched soil foster an environment for exotic vegetation and flowers. Visit Lake Maggiore to enjoy time exploring islands, markets and cafes.
Hire a boat or take a ferry to the lush botanical gardens on the islands dispersed throughout the lake. Isola Madre is especially known for the exotic birds inhabiting its gardens. Borromeo Villa resides on Isola Bella with its beautiful architecture and gardens, any visitor will be glad they took the time to explore its grounds. Stop off at Isola dei Pescatori, where a population of about 60 resides. Visit nearly any house and you’ll discover a great place to eat or enjoy a café, most residences put their terraces to commercial use for charming meals and company.
The Open-aired markets are not to be missed. Each day of the week a different one is open for business. Sunday is Cannobio, Monday hosts Baveno, Tuesday get to Arona, Wednesday head to Luino, Thursday is Amegna, Friday is lively both in Stress and Pallanza and Saturday you’ll want to check out what Intra’s market has to offer.
Lake Como and Lake Garda tend to get a little more attention when it comes to tourist destinations; however, Lake Maggiore can truly hold its own in comparison. The scenery and climate, the markets and islands, the restaurants and hotels, but mostly the people and culture are worth a visit. In the mid-17th century the Borromeo family began building their legacy on the islands of Lake Maggiore, and understandably so, once you visit these enchanting places you’ll want to take up residence immediately.
One thing you will definitely want to take full advantage of is the fresh fish. Whether you go to the market and buy one whole to cook back at the villa, eat at one of the fine eateries surrounding the shores or taxi to Isola dei Pescatori, don’t miss out on some of the best fresh water fish dishes in all of Italy or Switzerland.
Hemmingway, Flaubert and Lord Byron were all seduced by what the lake had to offer and found inspiration in its presence. You could go solo, take a romantic trip for two or enlist the whole family for a lengthy holiday full of relaxation and refreshment. The locals are friendly and welcoming, the climate is perfection and the scenery unbeatable.