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A Weekend In Lake Maggiore, Switzerland


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Korrie Williams



Welcome to the picturesque region of Lake Maggiore in Switzerland, where breathtaking landscapes, charming towns, and a rich cultural heritage await you. Nestled in the southern part of Switzerland, Lake Maggiore is a true hidden gem that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical landmarks.


Surrounded by magnificent mountains and crystal-clear waters, Lake Maggiore is the second-largest lake in Switzerland, spanning across both Switzerland and Italy. The Swiss side of the lake is known for its peaceful atmosphere, quaint villages, and a wealth of outdoor activities that cater to all types of travelers, whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation.


With its mild climate, Lake Maggiore is a year-round destination that delivers unforgettable experiences in every season. From spring blossoms to golden autumn hues, the changing landscapes offer a tapestry of colors that will leave you in awe. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking to unwind in beautiful surroundings, Lake Maggiore has something for everyone.


This article will guide you through a weekend getaway in Lake Maggiore, highlighting the must-visit attractions, activities, and hidden gems that will make your trip truly memorable. From exploring the historic town of Locarno to taking a boat tour of the lake, you’ll be immersed in the beauty and charm of this unique destination.


So pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and get ready to embark on an enchanting journey to Lake Maggiore, where nature, history, and Switzerland’s unmistakable charm await you.


Day 1: Arrival in Lake Maggiore

Welcome to Lake Maggiore! After a scenic drive through the Swiss countryside, you’ll arrive at your destination, eager to begin your weekend adventure.


Check into your chosen accommodation, whether it’s a cozy lakeside hotel, a charming guesthouse, or a holiday rental with stunning lake views. Take a moment to settle in and admire the beauty surrounding you: the calm waters of the lake, the majestic mountains in the distance, and the peaceful atmosphere that permeates the area.


Once you’re ready to explore, head out to the waterfront promenade, where you can take a leisurely stroll and soak in the ambiance of the lake. Stop by the local cafes and restaurants to savor some delicious Swiss cuisine, or indulge in a refreshing gelato to satisfy your sweet tooth.


If you’re up for some cultural immersion, visit the Fondazione Monte Verità, located just outside of Ascona. This historical site was once a haven for artists, writers, and philosophers during the early 20th century. Explore the lush gardens, visit the exhibition spaces, and learn about the fascinating history of this place that was at the heart of the artistic and intellectual movement.


In the evening, as the sun sets over the lake, take a leisurely walk along the lakefront promenade and admire the stunning views. Find a cozy lakeside restaurant and indulge in a romantic dinner while enjoying the picturesque scenery.


After a day of traveling and exploration, it’s time to rest and recharge for the adventures that await you in the coming days. Return to your accommodation, take in the tranquility of your surroundings, and get a good night’s sleep to prepare for an exciting Day 2.


Day 2: Exploring the Town of Locarno

Get ready for a day full of history, culture, and stunning scenery as you explore the charming town of Locarno, located on the northern shore of Lake Maggiore.


Start your day with a visit to the Piazza Grande, the heart of Locarno. This beautiful square is lined with colorful buildings, cafes, and shops, creating a vibrant atmosphere. Take some time to sit at one of the outdoor cafes, sipping on a cappuccino and enjoying the lively ambiance.


From the Piazza Grande, make your way to the Castle of Locarno, perched on a hill overlooking the town. The castle dates back to the 12th century and offers panoramic views of Locarno and the surrounding areas. Explore the castle’s ancient walls, towers, and courtyards while learning about its fascinating history.


Afterward, head to the nearby Church of Madonna del Sasso, a pilgrimage site with stunning views over Locarno. Climb the steps to the church and marvel at its beautiful frescoes and ornate interior. Take a moment to soak in the serenity of this spiritual place.


For a dose of culture, visit the Museo d’Arte della Svizzera Italiana (MASI), located near the lakefront. This modern art museum showcases a diverse collection of contemporary art, including paintings, sculptures, and installations. Explore the exhibitions and immerse yourself in the artistic expression of both local and international artists.


In the afternoon, take a leisurely stroll along the lakefront promenade, enjoying the views of the turquoise waters and the surrounding mountains. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a paddleboard or a kayak and explore the lake at your own pace.


As the sun begins to set, make your way to the nearby village of Orselina and take a ride on the Orselina-Madonna del Sasso funicular. This scenic cable car takes you up to the Madonna del Sasso sanctuary and offers breathtaking views of Lake Maggiore and the surrounding landscapes.


After a day of exploring Locarno, return to your accommodation in Lake Maggiore for a well-deserved rest, knowing that there are still many adventures yet to come.


Day 3: Boat Tour of Lake Maggiore

Get ready to embark on a delightful boat tour of Lake Maggiore, where you’ll have the opportunity to explore the stunning landscapes and charming towns that dot the lakeshore.


Start your day by hopping aboard a boat at one of the lake’s ports. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the gentle breeze as the boat glides across the shimmering waters of Lake Maggiore. Marvel at the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, lush greenery, and quaint villages that line the shores.


As you cruise along, the first stop on your tour should be the town of Ascona. Known for its Mediterranean flair, Ascona offers a picturesque old town filled with narrow streets, colorful buildings, and charming boutiques. Spend some time exploring the town, visiting the local shops, and enjoying a delicious meal at one of the lakeside restaurants.


Next, continue your boat tour to the Borromean Islands, a group of four islands located in the western part of Lake Maggiore. The most famous of these islands is Isola Bella, known for its magnificent palace and stunning gardens. Take a guided tour of the palace and stroll through the beautifully landscaped terraced gardens adorned with fountains and sculptures.


After visiting Isola Bella, make your way to Isola dei Pescatori, also known as the Fisherman’s Island. This charming island is home to a small fishing village with narrow streets, colorful houses, and quaint shops. Take a leisurely walk along the waterfront promenade, enjoying the views of the lake and the fishing boats bobbing in the water.


Conclude your boat tour with a visit to Isola Madre, the largest island of the Borromean group. This island is renowned for its stunning botanical gardens, where exotic plants, rare flowers, and centuries-old trees create a magical ambiance. Take your time wandering through the lush gardens, admiring the vibrant colors and fragrant scents.


As the boat returns to the starting point, you’ll be left with memories of the beautiful landscapes, rich history, and captivating charm of Lake Maggiore. Spend the evening relaxing by the lake, reflecting on the experiences of the day, and looking forward to the adventures that await you on Day 4.


Day 4: Visiting the Brissago Islands

On Day 4 of your Lake Maggiore getaway, prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey to the Brissago Islands. Located in the Swiss part of Lake Maggiore, these tranquil islands are home to stunning botanical gardens that will captivate your senses.


Begin your day by taking a short boat ride from the mainland to the Brissago Islands. As you arrive, you’ll immediately be greeted by a sense of tranquility and natural beauty. The islands boast a Mediterranean microclimate that allows for the growth of a wide variety of exotic plants and flowers.


Explore the botanical gardens on Isola Grande, the larger of the two islands. As you wander through the gardens, you’ll encounter a diverse array of plants from all corners of the world. Admire the vibrant colors of blooming flowers, marvel at the intricate designs of the garden sculptures, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere surrounded by palm trees and lush greenery.


After immersing yourself in the beauty of the gardens, take a moment to relax and soak up the stunning views of Lake Maggiore. Find a scenic spot to sit and enjoy a picnic or simply bask in the natural tranquility of your surroundings.


Continue your exploration by visiting the smaller island, Isola Piccola, known for its pristine shores. Take a leisurely walk along the sandy beaches, dip your toes in the crystal-clear waters, and enjoy the serenity of this unspoiled paradise.


If you’re interested in history, make sure to visit the grand villa on Isola Grande, which was originally built as a private residence in the late 19th century. Marvel at the architecture and design of the villa, and imagine the opulent lifestyle of the previous owners as you explore its rooms and gardens.


As the day draws to a close, take the boat back to the mainland, cherishing the memories of the beautiful gardens, scenic views, and peaceful ambiance of the Brissago Islands. Reflect on the natural wonders you’ve witnessed and get ready for the adventures that await you on Day 5 of your Lake Maggiore escape.


Day 5: Hiking in the Verzasca Valley

Day 5 of your Lake Maggiore adventure takes you to the stunning Verzasca Valley, known for its rugged landscapes, turquoise waters, and picturesque villages. Lace up your hiking boots and get ready for a day of outdoor exploration in this breathtaking natural paradise.


Begin your day by driving or taking a short train ride to the village of Lavertezzo, nestled in the heart of the Verzasca Valley. From there, start your hiking adventure along the Verzasca River, famous for its crystal-clear waters. As you traverse the well-marked trails, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the lush greenery, dramatic cliffs, and cascading waterfalls that define the valley.


One of the highlights of the Verzasca Valley is the iconic Ponte dei Salti, a stone bridge spanning the river. Take a moment to admire this architectural marvel and perhaps even take a refreshing dip in the cool waters beneath it.


Continue your hike along the river, passing through charming villages such as Brione and Frasco. Immerse yourself in the rustic charm of these traditional Swiss settlements, with their old stone houses, flower-filled balconies, and picturesque squares.


If you’re up for a challenge, consider embarking on one of the more challenging hikes in the area, such as the hike to the peak of Pizzo Vogorno. This ascent offers breathtaking views of the Verzasca Valley and the surrounding mountains, rewarding hikers with a sense of accomplishment and a chance to connect with nature.


After a day full of hiking and exploration, take some time to relax and unwind by the river’s edge. Find a spot to sit and enjoy a picnic, or dip your feet in the refreshing water as you soak in the serene beauty of the Verzasca Valley.


As the day comes to a close, make your way back to your accommodation in Lake Maggiore, reflecting on the incredible landscapes and memorable experiences of the Verzasca Valley. Rest and recharge, as there are still more delights to discover on your last day in this enchanting region.


Day 6: Relaxing by the Lake

For your final day in Lake Maggiore, take some time to unwind and soak up the natural beauty that surrounds you. Embrace the laid-back atmosphere and enjoy a leisurely day filled with relaxation and rejuvenation.


Start your day by finding a quiet spot along the lakeshore to indulge in a peaceful morning meditation or yoga session. Feel the gentle breeze on your skin and listen to the soothing sounds of the lapping waves as you connect with the serene energy of the lake.


After your peaceful start to the day, treat yourself to a soothing spa treatment or massage at one of the wellness centers in the area. Let the skilled therapists melt away any tension or stress, leaving you feeling refreshed and revitalized.


If you’re in the mood for some gentle exercise, rent a bicycle and take a leisurely ride along the scenic pathways that wind their way around the lake. Stop at panoramic viewpoints to capture the beauty of the surrounding landscapes or take a detour to explore the charming lakeside villages that dot the shoreline.


Savor a delicious lakeside lunch at one of the many waterfront restaurants, savoring the fresh flavors of Swiss cuisine while enjoying the mesmerizing views of Lake Maggiore. Try local specialties such as Rösti, a Swiss potato dish, or indulge in a traditional cheese fondue.


In the afternoon, rent a paddleboard or a kayak and explore the lake at your own pace. Glide across the calm waters, taking in the panoramic vistas and enjoying the feeling of freedom and tranquility. Alternatively, if you prefer a more laid-back approach, simply find a comfortable spot on the lakeshore to relax, read a book, or take a leisurely swim.


As the day winds down, find a cozy lakeside spot to witness the breathtaking sunset over Lake Maggiore. Marvel at the vibrant hues of pink, orange, and purple as they paint the sky, creating a magical atmosphere. Capture this unforgettable moment in photographs and memories as you bid farewell to the beauty of Lake Maggiore.


On your last evening, indulge in a delightful lakeside dinner, savoring the flavors of the region and toasting to the incredible experiences you’ve had during your time in Lake Maggiore.


With a heart full of beautiful memories, it’s time to bid adieu to Lake Maggiore, knowing that its serene beauty and peaceful ambiance will always hold a special place in your heart.



Your weekend getaway to Lake Maggiore has come to an end, leaving you with cherished memories of its stunning landscapes, charming towns, and captivating experiences. This hidden gem in Switzerland has proven to be a true paradise, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and relaxation.


From the moment you arrived, the picturesque Lake Maggiore embraced you with its serene atmosphere and breathtaking vistas. Whether you explored the historic town of Locarno, embarked on a boat tour of the lake, visited the enchanting Brissago Islands, hiked in the captivating Verzasca Valley, or simply relaxed by the lakeshore, you were treated to an unforgettable journey.


Lake Maggiore offers a unique experience in every season, from the vibrant blossoms of spring to the golden hues of autumn. Its landscapes, adorned by mountains, lush greenery, and crystal-clear waters, create a picture-perfect backdrop for your adventures.


Beyond its natural beauty, Lake Maggiore boasts a rich cultural heritage. From the historic sites like the Castle of Locarno and the Fondazione Monte Verità to the art exhibitions at Museo d’Arte della Svizzera Italiana (MASI), the region offers a fascinating insight into its history and creativity.


As you reflect on your time in Lake Maggiore, you realize that this destination has left an indelible mark on your soul. Its tranquility, charm, and the warmth of its people have made it a place you’ll yearn to return to time and time again.


Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural immersion, or simply a peaceful escape, Lake Maggiore has something to offer everyone. Its beauty has the power to captivate, inspire, and rejuvenate, leaving you with a deep appreciation for the wonders of the natural world.


As you bid farewell to Lake Maggiore, take a moment to cherish the memories you’ve created, and carry the essence of this enchanting destination with you wherever you go. The beauty, serenity, and charm of Lake Maggiore will always be waiting to welcome you back for another unforgettable experience.