Lago Maggiore is the second largest of the Italian lakes, and its northern reaches extend into Switzerland. The surrounding landscape, with its lakeside towns and villages, is beautiful and varies from steep mountainsides to a flat alluvial plain.
Get an overview of the region by taking a cruise from Arona to Ascona in Switzerland, at the north end of the lake, and returning via the narrow gauge railway which winds its way through mountain valleys back to Domodossola. From here, you take a train back to Arona.
Visiting the three Borromeo Islands is a real must: Isola Bella has a Baroque castle to explore, Isola Madre, wonderful azaleas, camellias and cashmere cypresses, while Isola Pescatori is a great place to have lunch.
There are interesting and varied hiking trails around the lakeshore and in the surrounding mountains. Check out the routes in the Val Grande National Park, in the Alpe Veglia Regional park, and along the shores in the Riserva Naturale of Verbania-Fondotoce. Lago Maggiore is excellent for all water sports, including swimming, sailing, waterskiing and SUP. Cyclists will enjoy a challenging tour through the Val Grande National Park, or for a more relaxing ride, follow the gentle paths around the shores of the lake. Paragliding and hang gliding are possible from various launch points around the lake.
The Lago Maggiore region is famous for its cheeses, such as Bettelmatt and its hams and salamis, for example, the delicious Mortadella and the Violini di Capri (cured goat's leg) of the Vigezzo valley. These are complemented perfectly by the full-bodied red wines of the Novara hills, such as Nebbiolo Doc and Barbera. For those with a sweet tooth, Lago Maggiore wild flower honey is fragrant and delicious.