Lake Maggiore, Switzerland
Lake Maggiore, known for its beauty, is mostly located in northern Italy and only the northern section with about a fifth of the area is in the Swiss canton of Ticino. The shore in the northeast of the lake is in the also belonging to SwitzerlandLandscapesthe Gambarogno and the Magadino plain. The eastern bank of Lake Maggiore is in Lombardy and the western bank is also inItalian Piedmont.
Due to the climatic and geographical conditions there is a very clear “east-west divide” in which the west bank clearly represents the favored side of Lake Maggiore in terms of landscape and climate. The east side of the lake, on the other hand, is not quite as attractive and therefore not as heavily frequented for tourists as the Swiss side. Nevertheless, the entire Lake Maggiore benefits from the mild, balanced climate, which is particularly evident in the lush, subtropical vegetation. The further the landscape extends into the mountainous hinterland, the more the flora takes on a subalpine and alpine character. That economic life around Lake Maggiore is mainly determined by tourism. The most popular holiday destinations in Switzerland are in the region around Locarno, Ascona and Brissago. In Italy, tourism is concentrated in the bay in the west between Pallanza and Stresa. Here the Borromean Islands with their spacious parks are the main attractions.
On the Italian side of Lake Maggiore, just across the Swiss border, lies the beautiful old town of Cannobio with the pilgrimage church of Santa Pietà from 1571. The cities of Verbania and are also worth seeing Stresa, the latter being an important spa town in the 19th century, where not only the European nobility but also well-known artists such as Richard Wagner and Ernest Hemingway felt at home. The four Borromean Islands in the lake, also known as the “pearls of Lake Maggiore”, are among the main attractions of the area. While two of the islands were designed entirely in the style of Italian horticulture, Isola Madre was given the appearance of an English landscape garden. The small town of Angera, located on the east bank of the lake, is a popular destination, especially because of the towering Rocca. The crenellated fortress was built by the Lombards in the 8th century.
On the Swiss side, the lively and elegant city of Locarno dominates Lake Maggiore. Magnificently blooming exotic species such as azaleas, camellias, oleanders and mimosas make the city a much-visited destination for cold-tired holidaymakers even in winter. The beautiful historic town center with the picturesque alleys and the lovingly furnished inner courtyards, together with many sights and the promenade, make Locarno so attractive.
Ascona, on the north shore of the lake, has an even more beautiful location, and has transformed from a quiet fishing village into one of the most popular holiday resorts in Switzerland. Although Ascona has not passed the modern times in the form of unimaginative new buildings, the city has been able to retain much of its former glamorous character, especially along the lively promenade and in the old town center.
The health resort of Brissago, which was a popular place of residence for wealthy Romans even in ancient times, is also one of the worthwhile excursion destinations that should not be missed when staying on Lake Maggiore.