Lake Iseo, or Lago d’Iseo, is one of the bloodily beautiful lakes in northern Italy. The lake has a total length of 25 kilometers and width of four kilometers and is located between the popular Italian lakes Lake Como and Lake Garda. And although the location of Lake Iseo is perfect, it is a lot less visited than its bigger sisters. This – and the beautiful sights on the island – make Lake Iseo an ultimate vacation destination in Italy. Here you will find the best tips for a vacation on Lake Iseo with information about the most beautiful places and attractions.
Reasons for a holiday on Lake Iseo in Italy
Lake Iseo is located in the Italian region of Lombardy in the provinces of Bergamo and Brescia. The green-blue lake is surrounded by hills and beautiful mountain peaks. Lake Iseo is particularly popular with Italians who come here mainly to find peace and quiet and to enjoy the beautiful nature. Around the lake are several picturesque villages, to the south you will find the Italian wine region Franciacorta and in the middle of the lake is the beautiful island of Monte Isola. Although Lake Iseo is a lot smaller than the popular lakes Lake Como and Lake Garda, you won’t be bored for a moment during your vacation on Lake Iseo.
Would you rather not relax, but travel to Italy for an active vacation? Then Lake Iseo is also recommended. The lake is located south of the nature reserve Torbiere del Sebino where you can enjoy cycling or beautiful walks.
Take the boat to the island of Monte Isola
The island of Monte Isola is one of the most popular attractions in Lake Iseo. Monte Isola is an almost completely car-free island and has a total area of about 4.5 km2. The island is so compact that you can easily admire all the attractions in one day, but of course it is also possible to stay on the island. From almost all places around Lake Iseo leave several times a day ferries to Monte Isola. We ourselves stayed in the beautiful village of Lovere and traveled from here by ferry to Monte Isola (€ 9.70 per person). The trip took over an hour and a half, but was definitely worth it. On the way, you pass some beautiful spots on the lake.
The best sights on Monte Isola
- The small church Madonna della Ceriola on the top of Monte Isola.
- Peschiera Maraglio is where we got off the boat and is one of our favorite places on Lake Iseo.
- Walk from Peschiera Maraglio to the fishing village of Carzano. Carzano is picturesquely beautiful and the place where you can take a refreshing dip in the lake. For this you go to Spiaggia publica Carzano.
Admire Isola di Loreto
Monte Isola is not the only island located in Lake Iseo. Other islands include Isola San Paolo and Isola di Loreto. When you sail to Monte Isola from the north of the lake, you first pass the impressive little island of Isola di Loreto. An impressive medieval castle and 19th century villa have been built on this small private island. Unfortunately, you can’t visit the island, but the pictures from the water are stunning.
Visit Iseo city
Iseo town is the largest town around Lake Iseo and is therefore well worth a visit. Iseo town has a lively promenade and a picturesque downtown area where you can get lost. Some of the most popular sights in Iseo city include the Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi and the church Pieve di St. Andrea. If you want to swim around Iseo town, we recommend the area around the beach bar La Spiagetta. Here you can sit on the terrace, relax on the sun beds and take a refreshing dip in the lake.
Visit the most beautiful picturesque villages on Lake Iseo
Iseo town is the largest town around Lake Iseo, but there are many more picturesque villages that are definitely worth a visit. All of these villages around Lake Iseo can be reached by ferry. Below is a list of some of the most beautiful villages around Lago d’Iseo.
- Lovere: Lovere is located on the northwest side of the island and has as its central focal point the beautiful square Piazza XIII Martiri. In Lovere you can get lost in the narrow alleys, dine and drink until late at night.
- Pisogne: Pisogne is located on the northeast coast of Lake Iseo and is a popular destination. Here, especially visit the church Chiesa di Santa Maria della Neve.
- Sale Marasino: Sale Marasino is located on the west coast and from here you have a fantastic view of Monte Isola. In particular, the church Chiesa S. Zenone is an important eye-catcher in the village
- Other beautiful places around Lago d’Iseo that we unfortunately did not visit, but seem to be worthwhile, include Sarnico, Riva di Solto and Sulzano.
Have fun on and in the water
A vacation on a lake in Italy should of course include water fun. At various places around the lake you can take a refreshing dip. Lago d’Iseo is also the ideal destination for various water sports, such as kite surfing and stand up paddling.
If you want to swim in Lake Iseo, I recommend you to bring water shoes. At several places on Monte Isola – and other places around the lake – you can take a refreshing dip. However, the beaches are all pebble beaches and there are also many stones in the water.
Nature reserve Le Torbiere del Sebino
South of Lake Iseo you can make beautiful walks through the nature reserve Le Torbiere del Sebino. From Iseo town you can follow a beautiful hiking trail that leads you to the nature reserve. The area is especially known as a tourist attraction among birdwatchers. You can spot various bird species here.
Combine your holiday with a trip to the smaller Lake Idro and/or Lake Ledro
After our visits to Lake Garda, Lake Como, Lake Iseo and Lake Idro, we can say that Lake Iseo is one of our favorite Italian lakes. However, I would also recommend a visit to the smaller Lake Idro which is surrounded by mountains and where you can completely relax.
Another popular Italian lake is the stunning Lago di Ledro, or Lake Ledro. Lake Ledro is a bit more popular than Lake Idro and you’ll find more villages to visit. The water is azure blue and perfect for swimming.
On the map below you can find all the places and attractions at Lake Iseo Italy mentioned in this article.