Taking inspiration from available itineraries exploring this beautiful corner of the country, here are 6 exceptional things to experience in and around the famous lake.
1. Admire the gardens around Maggiore
Stretching from Italian Lombardy right up into Switzerland, Maggiore’s idyllic position sees gardens in the region benefit tremendously from a lovely climate.
Sheltered by the vast Alps, some of best-known gardens contain a wide range of plants usually found throughout the Mediterranean.
Some of the most notable gardens in the region worth visiting include Villa Taranto Botanical Gardens found on Maggiore’s western shore and those growing across the lake on the Borromean Islands.
One of the region’s key tourist attractions, visitors to Villa Taranto get to enjoy a park home to several thousand different species of plant blooming into a fantastic variety of different colours.
Carefully placed throughout, visitors will also be able to enjoy a number of ponds, water fountains and sculptures throughout the Botanical Gardens.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Taranto’s colourful water gardens!
With strong links to Scotland (the gardens were established by a Scotsman) those with a keen eye may spot similarities between the gardens of Taranto and some of the UK’s most spectacular green spaces.
In fact, the garden’s entrance even takes visitors through a section referred to as ‘Conifer Alley’!
2. Cross the border to Locarno
The very northern parts of Lake Maggiore sits across the border in Switzerland.
Also Italian-speaking, the resort town of Locarno can be found on the shores of the great lake and is a popular tourist attraction.
Located at the foot of the immense Alps, Locarno is known around the world for its generous helping of sunshine and striking old church.
One of the most famous sights around Maggiore, Locarno’s Madonna del Sasso is a beautiful landmark with another – Visconteo Castle – also providing fascinating historical insight into the region.
Set in a stunning valley and looking out across the lake back into Italy, Locarno is an essential place to visit whilst enjoying the spectacular beauty of this famous region.
3. Take a boat to the Borromean Islands
A key Maggiore experience, the collective Borromean Islands, sitting out adrift on the lake, are simply beautiful.
Collectively known as the Borromean Islands, the islands of Bella, Madre, dei Pescatori, San Giovanni and La Malghera each have their own charm and character.
A firm favourite with some notable figures including British royalty, these instantly memorable islands have more than their fair share of pristine gardens and historical buildings for visitors to enjoy during a visit.
Perhaps the most-visited of the islands, both Isola Bella and Isola Madre are home to their own delightful gardens that often capture the imaginations of green-fingered garden enthusiasts during a visit.
Providing plenty of inspiration, the different gardens on either island are wonderfully kept with some magical and exotic plants flourishing thanks to the generous climate enjoyed throughout Lake Maggiore, protected by the Alps.
4. Explore the history of the Hermitage
One of the most photographed locations around Maggiore, the cliff-side Santa Caterina del Sasso monastery is a dramatic sight.
Clinging on to a cliff, the monastery can be reached by either car or boat ride from a number of spots around the lake.
To finally reach the monastery, visitors are required to walk up a series of steps that climb up the hillside into the interior.
Originally built out of a cave, the views looking out across the lake are truly spectacular.
Technically looking out across the Borromeo Gulf, this enchanting lake-side attraction is one of the best photo opportunities found during a holiday exploring Lake Maggiore.
5. Enjoy the spectacular Matterhorn
One of the Alps’ most recognisable peaks, the rather thorny-looking Matterhorn is a special sight.
Resting on the border between Switzerland and Italy, the Matterhorn is one of the tallest peaks on the European continent.
A challenging ascent, scaling this iconic mountain has featured on many adventurous bucket lists over the years with explorers arriving from all over the world in a bid to reach the summit of the brooding mountain.
Eroded by winds over millions of years into an almost pyramid-like shape, the sight of the Matterhorn can be enjoyed during scenic tours throughout the region following the Simplon Passe to the mountain resort of Zermatt resting in the shadow of the mountain.
An extremely popular resort for holidaymakers with a passion for skiing and hiking, Zermatt has a great selection of shops and restaurants offering local wares and the chance to taste some delicious local cuisine.
6. Travel to nearby Lake Orta
Just west of Maggiore, another of the great Italian lakes can be ticked off your bucket list when spending time on the banks of Maggiore.
Something of a hidden secret in comparison to some of the country’s iconic lakes, Orta is no less memorable.
Lake Orta, though smaller, is an extremely picturesque lake.
Found off the main shoreline, Orta’s most striking feature is undoubtedly San Giulio island.
A tiny island not even 300 metres long, San Giulio is not without its own memorable landmarks including the monumental Basilica di San Giulio.
Easily reached, the island’s medieval village is easy to navigate and as well as offering a fascinating history to discover for yourself, presents some eye-catching views of the lake and surrounding landscapes.