Lake Maggiore, no more than 3 miles wide and around 30 miles long is located right on the Italian-Swiss border. In fact, its northern tip is located in Switzerland, while its eastern shoreline touches on Lombardy and Milan, while its western shore line is in the region of Piedmont and the city of Turin. The most famous resort on the Lake is Stresa, mentioned in Hemmingways "Farewell to Arms", Stresa is on the Piedmont shore of the Lake.
Like Lake Garda & Como it's a popular lake to visit, but for those seeking a more restful and relaxing vacation they should consider passing some time on the smaller but more tranquil waters of the nearby Lake Orta whose principal town is San Giulio, which acts as a hub for tourists wanting to visit other parts of the lake.
While on Lake Maggiore, Stresa is the hub of local transportation and the main destination for most tourists. With its close location to Switzerland and many major Italian cities Lake Maggiore suffers greatly from the heavy traffic that seems to be present all-year-round. Its fine villas and beautiful gardens are still awaiting to be discovered, but its reputation has been a little tarnished over the years.
Apart from Lake Orta, those seeking to get away from the hassles of modern-day life should travel out to the Borromean Islands on the Lake that are made up of Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori, and the Isola Madre that were named after the Boromeo family that have owned them since the 12th century. The Isola Bela, the beautiful island, boasts a Palace with delightful views of the lake, terraced gardens, wildlife and sparkling fountains built to create a romantic atmosphere for the wife of Count Carlo Borromeo, IsaBella in the 16th Century.
The smallest of the three-islands, Isola dei Pescatore, the fishermans island is a series of little lanes and houses inhabitated by fishermen for centuries. While Isola Madre, the Mother Island is the largest of the three-islands where a huge Botanical Garden was created. For more tourist information on Lake Maggiore and the Borromeo Islands you can visit the main tourist office of Lake Maggiore at Stresa, Via Principe Tomasso 70, where you'll find useful maps and tourist information on Lake Maggiore & the neighbouring Lake Orta.
Weather & Climate at Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore is located on the Italian-Swiss border, with plains to the South that seem to invite in the summer months the warm winds originating from Africa & the Sahara. While its northern shore faces onto the Alps and the valleys carved by previous glaciers in the winter act like wind tunnels bringing down the cold winter air in the form of heavy winds that can make the waters of Lake Maggiore rise up like the waters of an open sea.
In the winter everything closes down and its not an ideal time to visit the lake. The best times to visit are the Spring & Fall months when the climate is ideal, the clear blue skies create the ideal visibility and the flora of Lake Maggiore is at its best. Apart from holiday weekends you'll find Maggiore relatively tranquil and this time of year is the ideal time to venture off-the-well-beaten path to hike and walk amongst the hills and mountains that surround the Lake.
In the summer months, the climate of Lake Maggiore can be very hot and humid, and often these months the high pressure of southern air clashing with the colder mountain air can create thunderstorms on a regular basis. Also, the roads around the Lake can be overrun with Italian and German & Swiss tourists making it hard going for the tourist looking for a relaxing vacation. If you visit during the summer months try to utilize water transport to get around the lake to avoid delays in traffic and also to enjoy the true beauty and serenity of the Lake. In fact, travelling by water is probably the best way to travel around the Lake from Spring to Fall.
Tourist Offices at Lake Maggiore
Main Tourist Office:
Via Principe Tomaso, 70
Stresa, Lake Maggiore
Telephone - 0323 30150
Where you'll find free maps and other tourist information on Lake Maggiore.