A visit to the wonderful area of the lakes in Lombardy is a must for all water sports lovers.

Lombardy is well-known as a region of lakes: with its five major attractions and numerous smaller basins, it is the Alpine area with the greatest concentration of water basins.

Of the five largest Italian lakes, only two are entirely in Lombardy: Lake Iseo and Lake Como). Find out more about them.

 

 

1.   LAKE ISEO

Bathing is permitted along all the shores of Lake Iseo. The sailing centres here were among the first to be established in Italy and rowing is practiced all year round. The airstreams that blow from the valleys provide excellent conditions for windsurfing, kitesurfing and wakeboarding enthusiasts. Local boating clubs organise sailing trips from the picturesque towns of Sulzana and Sarnico. There are numerous diving options provided by local clubs.  

 

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2.   LAKE COMO

All water sports are also catered for on the crystal clear waters of Lake Como (ranked third largest of all Italian lakes but first in perimeter and depth): kitesurfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, diving, cannoning with experienced guides, and sport fishing. Thanks to favourable wind currents, sailing is best practiced in the Alto Lago (the northernmost part of the lake) but sailing centres operate along Lake Como’s eastern shore as well.

 

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3.   LAKE GARDA

Thanks to a favourable climate, windsurfing and sailing are undoubtedly the most popular sports on Lake Garda (Italy’s largest lake). Torbole, Riva, Malcesine and Gargnano are the most popular spots where two winds blow with a certain intensity and regularity: Ora, blowing south to north from late morning until late afternoon and Pelér, which blows north to south from early morning until noon. This constant and reliable airflow is the relentless motor behind the competitive sailing events that are organized on Lake Garda. Cannoning is undoubtedly the suitable option for the more adventurous, who can enjoy jumping into the icy water of the streams, steep waterfalls and ravines. The north-west shores of the lake are the most suitable location for this sport. Maximum safety is assured thanks to the presence of expert guides and professional equipment.

 

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4.   LAKE MAGGIORE

Lake Maggiore (or Verbano) is the second largest Italian lake and, thanks to the year-round mild climate, many water sports, such as canoeing, yachting, sailing, water skiing, kitesurfing, wakeboarding, diving and fly boarding may be practiced during all seasons. Lake Maggiore is one of the most spectacular places in the world for sailing: the Tramontana and the Inverna winds blow across its surface. The former arrives in the morning from the mountains and blows towards the plain, while the latter shows up in the afternoon, blowing in the opposite direction and enabling all sailing enthusiasts to enjoy their favourite sport throughout the day.

5. LAKE IDRO

The largest of the smaller lakes - Lake Idro (or Eridio) - is also the one with the highest altitude among all the Lombard pre-Alpine lakes. Of glacial origin, it is located in the Brescia province, on the border with Trentino. Its elongated shape is surrounded by high wooded mountains and steep banks. Thanks to the presence of the Ander, the constant wind created by the channelling of alpine breezes through its rocky slopes, the lake is a mecca for sailing and wind-surfing lovers. Due to the south-north afternoon airstream the lake is traversed from east to west by wind-surfers and sailboats. The northern part of the lake at Ponte Caffaro, where the wind brings greater pressure, is dedicated to kite surfing enthusiasts. In the morning, the surface of the lake is calm and provides perfect conditions for rowing: indeed several sports clubs head to Lake Idro to train every year.

NOT TO BE MISSED

Manerba del Garda - the Island of Rabbits.

As the name suggests, one of the attractions of this tiny island is the presence of rabbits that are now well-accustomed to the company of humans. When conditions allow for it, the island can be reached on foot by means of a low-water passage connecting it with the mainland near the San Biagio Camping site. In very low tide the water is knee-high. For the less adventurous, and in case of bad weather, a paid taxi-boat service is available. The Isola dei Conigli area is very popular with scuba divers and the Scoglio dell'Altare (Altar Rock) is undoubtedly one of the best-known diving locations on Lake Garda. The crag descends to a depth of 150 metres and is famous for two wide ledges covered with yellow sponges and for a grotto that houses large shoals of royal perch, pike, tench, eel and bleak fish.

 

For a charming day out in nature, Villa Pallavicino at Stresa on Lake Maggiore is well worth a visit. Part botanical garden and part zoo, the park surrounding the villa has magnificent magnolia trees, sequoias, an imposing Lebanese cedar and well-kept lawns bordered by rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas: the greenhouses contain additional exotic species. Animals are relatively free to move around. Strolling in the park you are likely to spot over forty different species: llamas, zebras, Tibetan goats, fallow deer, kangaroos, flamingos, swans and brightly coloured parrots.

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