The Italian Lakes are an incredible holiday destination. But there’s just so much to see and do in this wonderful part of the world, it can be difficult to decide between Lake Como or Lake Maggiore. So, we’ve compiled this handy comparative list – pitting the two against one another to see which Italian Lake best suits your holiday requirements.
Although, we have to say, it’s still pretty close…
Best for dining: Tie
Whichever lake you head to, you’ll be spoiled for choice with restaurants aplenty.
In Lake Maggiore, if you’re looking for local cuisine you’ll love Villa Piazziniin Mottarone, Trattoria Imbarcadero on Isola Pescatori, or La Botte in Stresa. If haute cuisine is more your style, head to Ristorante Amelie in Baveno, Osteria Are 36 on Isola Pescartori or try Ristorante Piccolo Lago in Verbania.
In Como, dine like a celebrity at Locanda La Tirlindana in Sala Comacina, Kitchen in Como or Da Gigi in Crandola Valsassina. But if you fancy scoping out the local produce and delicacies, try Agriturismo La Selvaggia in Mandello del Lario, Ristorante Vapore in Faggeto Lario or Antica Trattoria Del Risorgimento in Mezzegra.
Best for wine: Lake Como
Lake Garda might be the better known Italian lake for wine, but that shouldn’t put you off visiting Lake Como or Lake Maggiore — you’ll still find plenty of locally-produced wines in these areas. It’s a close call, but with the Montevecchia hills a stone’s throw from Lake Como we’re edging this lake as the better choice for wine lovers. Head to Cantina Follie in Tremezzo for wonderfully authentic wine tasting experience; in the cellar of a house in the old town, you’ll find local wines paired with tapas-style Italian food.
Best for photos: Lake Maggiore
Lake Como might be the better known of the two — and the lake adored by celebrities such as George Clooney and Ed Sheeran — but, actually, we think Lake Maggiore more than holds it own against its more famous counterpart. Head out into the lake to find Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori and Castelli di Cannero. Well worth a selfie, or two.
Best for towns: Lake Maggiore
Lake Como boasts some of the most beautiful towns in Italy; Bellagio, Tremezzo and Varenna are all breathtakingly stunning. You won’t be disappointed with the towns surrounding this world-famous lake; in Como, head up the funicular to Brunate for fantastic panoramic views, in Tremezzo you’ll find Villa Carlotta, with incredible cultivated gardens, and in Bellano you can explore a 15 million year old ravine (and brave the viewing bridges).
On Lake Maggiore, you’ll find Stresa, where you can hop on a ferry to explore some of the islands on Lake Maggiore. For the more adventurous, head up the cable car in Mottarone, and for history buffs head to Borromeo castle, where you’ll also find a superb museum of dolls and toys and equally impressive gardens.
Want to explore more? Check out our holiday accommodation in the Italian Lakes >