Staff Review

The Italian Lakes


12 Jul 2018

by The Kirker Team

Kirker Holidays

Much praise has been heaped upon Italy’s man-made magnificence - and justifiably so! Siena, Florence, Venice and Rome are all wonderful destinations in their own right and they were not built in a day, however, its lakes have been formed over many thousands of years and have long been a place of inspiration, exploration and relaxation.

Situated in the far north, in the shadow of the Alps, the lakes are a series of vastly different stretches of azure brilliance. Described as the tears of the mountains, it is not hard to see how the lakes have inspired and soothed in equal measures.

My journey started in the far North West at the scenic Lake Orta, a mere 50 minutes from Milan Malpensa airport. Because of its close proximity to the airport, it serves as an ideal location for both a short break (by private transfer), or a base to explore further a field (with car hire). What greets you on arrival is Italian simplicity; small, picturesque villages nestled gently around a sea of tranquillity. If peace and pretty scenery away from the populace is what you desire, then look no further. A shining example of this is the pretty town of Orta San Giulio; as gentle and ornate a town as you would hope to find on such a handsome lake.

Heading east is the nearby lake of Maggiore, a much larger and more dramatic lake. Its immediate neighbours are the panoramic mountains and green rolling hills making it a rambler’s paradise. Maggiore may be large but busy it is not. It perhaps, does not have the reputation of the other lakes, but do not let this detract from a lake that offers a very rare combination – drama and serenity. Perfectly situated, Pallanza is a fine example of how diverse this lake can be. It lies a short boat journey from the Borromees Islands, which in themselves offer beautiful botanical gardens.

Further east is arguably the most spectacular lake of them all – Lake Como. The mountain backdrop is like no other and is picture postcard material. The remarkable town of Bellagio is an absolute must to watch the sun drop away whilst you sup on your first Spritz Campari. Lake Como also offers more variety than others. The town of Como itself provides therapy for shop-a-holics as well as a cable car that takes you up the mountain face. It also has the direct train service to Milan for real fashionistas. To visit more of the lake, merely jump aboard the frequent water taxis and let them transport to other villages desperate to be explored.

Continuing east is the tiny lake of Iseo. Best visited with car hire, Iseo is the lake for those who wish to explore, whilst getting away from the maddening crowds. Being such a small lake, you may wish of course to do nothing but relax, take in the views, play a round of golf or just breathe in the fresh air.

Our final lake, Garda, is a huge lake and again offers its visitor plenty of activities to keep the most discerning client happy. What it lacks in mountain scenery, it makes up for in ever-changing bursts of water-colour heaven. Sunrise and sunset on the lake provide glorious visual showcases of what the lake has to offer. Its most renowned location is the town of Sirmione, an impossibly pretty peninsular jutting out into the south of the lake. At its tip are the ruins of an old Roman villa providing staggering views as far as the eye can see. Garda does have a more tranquil side than the bustle of Sirmione and with car hire, the town of Garda itself provided a more placid approach to life. Day trips from the lake include Verona (accessible by train) and the Valpolicella area to sample some of Italy’s best wines. Once you have sampled the vivid sunset over a plate of prosciutto and a large glass of wine you have begun to feel the effect of what the Italian Lakes have to offer.

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Our expert reservations team regularly travel to a wide range of destinations to explore new cities, visit hotels and to research museums, galleries and restaurants so that we can offer the most up-to-date advice and recommendations.


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