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The Best Lakes Near Milan: Real Oases of Relaxation for Summer Day Trips

A trip to the lake in the scorching Milanese summer is always a great idea. There are many lakes near Milan that are wonderful oases of peace, where you can be immersed in lush nature and surrounded by enchanting villages. They are also easily reachable by car or train for a day or a weekend of well-being and fun. 

 Plunging into the crystal-clear water, breathing in the greenery, recharging with relaxation, and enjoying good food: what better way to take a break from the hustle and bustle and the city’s heat? Here’s a quick guide of the must-visit destinations. 

The Lakes of Lombardy: Lush Nature, Art, Relaxation, and Excellent Food Just a Short Distance from Milan 

If you head northwest from Milan for about an hour and a half by car, you reach Lake Maggiore, the second largest lake in Italy, which borders the Canton of Ticino in Switzerland and the provinces of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Novara in Piedmont, and Varese in Lombardy. This magnificent lake offers breathtaking natural landscapes, with beautiful archipelagos dotting its surface and plenty of interesting places to discover: castles, historic villas, parks, botanical gardens, and spiritual sites. The Borromean Islands are a must-visit, an extraordinary blend of art and nature, as well as the picturesque Eremo di Santa Caterina del Sasso, clinging to the eastern shore of the lake. 

 Continuing north of Milan, but more east than Lake Maggiore, you’ll find Lake Lugano or Ceresio: a charming pre-Alpine destination along the Italian-Swiss border, perfect for spending a few hours immersed in the beauty of nature and visiting the towns overlooking the water. For example Morcote, one of the most beautiful Swiss villages and home to Scherrer Park, known as the Garden of Wonders, which houses incredible recreations of Egyptian, Greek, and Indian temples. The ideal way to reach Porto Ceresio from Milan is by train, just over an hour. 

 When it comes to day trips around Milan, Lake Como or Lario cannot be overlooked, located about 80 kilometres north of the city. As a historical source of inspiration for great writers and musicians, it has become a symbol of Italian elegance and is beloved by international celebrities. Lake Como captivates with its wonderful landscape, dotted with luxurious villas and picturesque villages like Bellagio, Varenna, Tremezzo, and Menaggio. Along its shores, there are numerous restaurants to taste local delicacies and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. How to get there? It’s just a little over an hour by car or train. 

Lake Segrino, Lake Iseo, and Lake Idro: Sports and Gastronomic Specialties in a Dreamlike Setting

Just South of Lake Como, only 50 km from Milan, lies a small and precious treasure: Lake Segrino. Defined by Stendhal as an “emerald gem” due to the distinct colour of its water, it is considered one of the cleanest lakes in Europe. There are numerous beaches to bask in the sun or rent canoes or pedal boats to explore the lake from a different perspective. In addition, you can take a walk along its perimeter, which extends for about 5 km, completely immersing yourself in the surrounding landscape. 

 Continuing eastward, about 90 km from Milan, at the end of the Val Camonica, Lake Iseo is perfect for those seeking a rejuvenating stop in a natural setting of rare beauty. Its northern side has been declared a UNESCO heritage site. At the centre of the lake is Monte Isola, the largest lake island in Europe, offering a superb view. There are plenty of attractions in the area for all interests. For sports enthusiasts, there is swimming, rowing, windsurfing, and fishing. For those passionate about food and wine, you must visit Franciacorta, the area south of the lake, famous for producing the sparkling wine known as “Bollicine.” 

 Even further to the east, 154 km from Milan, another gem is Lake Idro, considered the highest lake in Lombardy, with an elevation of 368 metres above sea level. Of glacial origin, it is located in the province of Brescia, bordering Trentino. Its privileged location makes it a perfect destination for surfing, sailing, canoeing, or climbing, as well as hiking and biking excursions to explore the surrounding mountains. After a plunge into the crystal-clear waters of the lake, a stop at one of the numerous restaurants along the shores is a must to savour local fresh fish. 

What to do in Milan in the Summer: Cocktails and Aperitifs on the Terrace at Hotel VIU Milan

If you find yourself in Milan for the summer holidays, you now know where to take refuge to escape the heat. But when the evening falls and the temperatures drop, enjoying the bustling city takes on a whole new flavour. You can explore the many bars and outdoor events scattered throughout Milan, or you can stop at Hotel VIU Milan, the ideal destination for the sweet summer life. 

 Located in the Paolo Sarpi area, one of the most interesting areas of the city, the hotel is home to the Bulk Mixology food bar, directed by the award-winning chef Giancarlo Morelli – taste and refinement are guaranteed. With delightful dishes and sophisticated cocktails, the exclusive setting of the VIU Terrace, the rooftop with the spectacular VIU Pool, a 360-degree panoramic view of Milan, and top-notch DJ sets providing the music – you have the perfect place to enjoy an aperitif or a drink on summer evenings. 


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