Lake Como and Lake Maggiore
Como has been a popular retreat for aristocrats and wealthy people since Roman times, and a very popular tourist attraction with many artistic and cultural gems. It has many villas and palaces including Villa Carlotta, Villa Balbianello and Vila Melzi. Many celebrities have or had homes on the shores of Lake Como; Madonna, George Clooney, Gianni Versace, Sylvester Stallone and Richard Branson. The inverted “Y” shaped lake has the town of Colico in the north, while the towns of Como and Lecco sit at the ends of the southwestern and southeastern branches respectively. The small towns of Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna are situated at the intersection of the three branches of the lake: from here there is a regular boat and car ferry service operating between them. The weather on Lake Como is generally mild and is known for its Mediterranean-like climate where tropical and sub-tropical plants can grow year-round. In the winter, the lake helps to maintain a higher temperature in the surrounding region. As a tourist destination, Lake Como is popular for its landscapes, wildlife and spas. Accommodation on the lake is of a very good standard and there are a number of important 5 star properties on its shores. For the more energetic sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing are available. If you are looking at places to see and visit then Lake Como offers many impressive villas and gardens to ramble around. If you are looking for alternative pleasures then Lake
Como is in close proximity to the major cities of Como, world renowned for its quality silk industry, a trip to Milan is a must, the Italian fashion capital if you’re lucky you may even grab yourself a bargain on the way, alternatively take a cultural visit to the historical university city of Bergamo. Switzerland is only a short distance away and border hopping has to be considered, a visit to Lake Lugano, exclusive VIP shopping in St Moritz or why not enjoy a trip on the Bernina Express train which goes from St Moritz to Tirano in Italy. Lake Como is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy.
Bellagio is recognised as “The Pearl of Lake Como”. Bellagio's location enjoys excellent all-round views of Lake Como. The village is characterised by century-old buildings, stone lanes and picturesque cobbled stairways filled with shops showcasing the finest Italian wares. Traditional restaurants provide the perfect place to soak up the lake's famous panorama. With Villa Melzi at hand it makes a great place for walkers to explore this stunning landscape. The regular boat service gives easy access to explore the surrounding lakeside villages.
Cadenabbia is a small resort directly on the western shores of Lake Como. Cadenabbia is a favoured travel destination of British since the 19th century, owing to the great beauty of the scenery and of the vegetation, and its sheltered situation. Places to see and visit include the Villa Carlotta with its extensive grounds and gardens or simply hop on board the local boat service to the many other hidden gems on Lake Garda.
Lake Maggiore is the second largest lake in Italy and is located on the south side of the Alps. Lake Maggiore is the most westerly of the three great prealpine lakes of Italy, it extends for about 70 km between Locarno and Arona. The northern end of the lake is completely alpine in character, as we move towards the south there are hills of a gentler form which lead to the Lombardy Plains in the south. The climate on Lake Maggiore is generally mild. Known for its Mediterranean-like climate where tropical and sub-tropical plants can grow year-round, well-known gardens include those of the Isola Madre, Isola Bella, Villa Taranto and Villa Pallavicino. Stylish Lake Maggiore has been attracting visitors since the early 19th century, and important visitors include Queen Victoria and Winston Churchill. The gardens, villas and many hotels reflect the elegance of those times with stunning views from the lakeside villages which overlook the lake’s three splendid Borromean islands; Isola Madre, Isola Pesactore and Isola Bella. There are regular ferry connections to the islands and around the lake so exploring is easy. If you want to enjoy the view of the lake and its islands at its best, then take the Mottarone cable-car to the middle and even the top station. For those who are keen to explore, then Lake Maggiore makes a good base, aside from the regular boat service around the lake which will even take you over to the Swiss border, why not visit Milan for some exclusive shopping in one of the many Italian designer stores. Other interesting places to see include Lake Orta, Macugnaga in the mountains, the Centovalli train taking in en-route many of the panaromic valleys to be be found in the area. For those wishing to venture a little further afield, the Swiss border is only a short journey, a visit to Zermatt and the Matterhorn with its glacier make a breath taking stop. Lake Maggiore makes an excellent place to stay with excellent hotels enjoying some of the most spectacular lakeside scenery you can find.
Stresa For centuries Stresa has been a popular retreat for Europe's aristocrats, who have populated town with a number of villas. Tourism increased substantially after tunneling of the Simplon Pass allowed train services from north of the Alps to pass through Stresa in 1906. With its unique island attractions, woodland walks with panoramic lake views, botanical gardens, churches, markets and much more you can be sure that when staying in Stresa you will have no trouble finding something to do. The regular local ferry service departing from Stresa means that it is easy to find your way around the lake to see the many attractions and events that take place during the summer months. Brisino is a small hamlet above Stresa, enjoying an elevated position with stunning views overlooking the Borromean Islands and Lake Maggiore.
Baveno is located on the western shores of Lake Maggiore its position ensures many spectacular views overlooking the islands and the lake from all angles. The local boats make regular visits to the islands and visits to the popular gardens of Villa Taranto and Villa Pallavicino are easily reached. For those looking for some different a visit to the Aqualake Water park and the Adventure Park are well worth a visit.
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