This Gorgeous Lake in Italy Is Even More Amazing Than Lake Como
Nestled in between Lake Como and Lake Garda is Lake Iseo.
Surrounded by dense woodlands and soaring peaks, the lake remains sheltered from the naked eye, and is the least known of Italy's Lombard Lakes.
The hidden gem is an awe-striking sight to behold, with an enormous mountain that shoots straight out of its waters and an array of activities that include everything from touring vineyards to spending the afternoon enjoying fresh sardines in the middle of the ocean.
We’ve put together a selection of images that showcase just what makes the lake a gem worth visiting, especially before other tourists start to catch on.
A Hidden Oasis
Shrouded by soaring mountains on all ends, the lake has remained closed off to the unassuming eye for years.
The lake is located in Lombardy, which is in northern Italy, and sits near the cities of Brescia and Bergamo, almost equally divided between the two provinces.
To provide visitors with easy access and magnificent views, a road has been carved into the side of the mountains that circles around the entire lake, though once inside, there are plenty of activities to enjoy on foot.
A Nature Lover’s Paradise
The lake is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, with a variety of parks and nature reserves that you can explore.
These range from the Fossil Lakes Park, where you can observe fascinating rock formations created 800,000 years ago to the Tinazzo Gorge Park, where you’ll be greeted to terraced meadows lined with olive trees and roe deer, badgers, and a variety of bird species that take to the skies here.
In the Water
You'll also find a variety of water activities you can participate in, including canyoning, canoeing, kayaking, rowing, diving, and surfing.
Meanwhile, the wind that blows from the surrounding valleys makes the ideal environment to engage in kayaking or windsurfing.
Taking a Dip
When it’s time to cool down, don’t be afraid to hop in the calm waters of the lake, all of which are open to swimmers.
Surrounding the lake and within the islands that dot its terrain, you’ll also find a selection of beaches and shores to soak up the sun, while the sheer cliffs and rock faces that surround the lake also make the location ideal for mountain climbers.
Scuba divers are also invited to discover the many species of fish live in the lake's waters.
Catching a Boat
Tours by Boat
You can also hop on tours on motorboats and ferryboats to explore the boat and its surroundings both during the daytime and in the evening.
Paths Lined With Views
If you’re looking to tour the lake by foot, consider taking one of the hiking or biking trails that follow either alongside the lakeshore, or take you into the rolling hills that surround the lake.
There are also non-paved roads and mountain routes more experienced hikers will enjoy.
Europe's Biggest Island in a Lake
One of the lake’s most notable locations is the island of Monte Isola, which is the largest lake island in Europe at close to 5 square kilometers.
The wooded mountain rises out of the lake, providing a lush island lined with chestnut groves and a quaint fishing village you can wander through as you make your way up cobblestone streets winding towards the mountains.
South of Monte Isola, you’ll find the quant islet of Sao Paulo Island, where the buildings of what was once a Franciscan convent remain.
For history buffs and artists, the lake is also dotted with churches, sanctuaries, castles, and museums to visit.
There are 8 different museums, over 100 churches and religious institutions, 38 different historic buildings, 8 archeological sites, and 16 different cultural trails that lead you into charming towns.
Towns and Villages
The lake is also home to many towns, ranging from those that date back to the medieval era to the sleepy fishing villages where you can enjoy succulently fresh seafood selections.
As you walk through cobblestone streets and ancient fortresses, you'll find yourself transported back in time.
These include locations like Lovere, which sits right between the lake and surrounding mountains and looks like a large amphitheater.
Home to medieval forts and basilicas, the town is home to a dreamy atmosphere that led Lady Worley Montagu, an English writer, to dub it as “the most romantic place I have ever seen.”
In Pisogne, the theme continues as the town is home to 17th-century homes, medieval gates, and a Market Square that leads you to churches filled with 19th-century paintings and instruments.
If you’re looking to wine and dine, Lake Iseo makes for a top-notch location. The lake is home to restaurants, some of which sit right on the shore, that serve up fresh fish selections.
A specialty here is sardines slow dried on wooden racks for 30 to 40 days before being marinated in olive oil for a few months. They’re seasoned with parsley and garlic and served with polenta.
Throughout the week, the lake is also home to a variety of markets ranging from farmer’s markets serving up fresh dishes and produce to antique markets and shops selling handcrafted items.
Already a haven from the bustling crowds of tourists heading into the country’s more noted locations, Lake Iseo also has parks and green spaces for picnics plus wellness spaces in the hotel's that line its vicinity.
Top Wine Right at Your Doorstep
The lake also sits in close proximity to the lush vineyards of Franciacorta, where you can sample wines that are made using a selection of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pino blanc grapes.
With more than 116 different wineries to visit, the area is a dream come true for wine connoisseurs.