This past fall, C and I were looking into possible European honeymoon destinations. When I saw pictures of Lago Maggiore, Italy, I knew we had found a winner. We ended up deciding to go on a Euro road trip, with our first stops in Colmar, France and Zurich, Switzerland. We then drove through the alps to get to Italy.
I cannot express how much I fell in love with Lago Maggiore. I already knew I loved Italy from previous trips, but this was beyond what I could have imagined. It also didn’t hurt that we went from cold weather in France and Switzerland, to the Italian sunshine. (Part of the lake is located in Switzerland, but we stayed on the Italian side.)
If you are looking for an Italian destination beyond the typical touristy options of Rome, Florence, and Venice, then you are going to want to read more. I promise you will not be disappointed.
Hotel: Golfo Gabella
Golfo Gabella might just be my favorite hotel of all time. We went during October which is outside of their main tourist season, so we were able to get a pretty good deal. We stayed in an apartment style room with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and balcony, which was super modern and chic. I could have easily stayed in the apartment for a full week.
The best part of the hotel for me was the pool, which had a stunning view of the lake. The tiny town of Maccagno, where the hotel was located, was very quaint and cute. It was easy to navigate and the grocery store was just a short walk away.
Restaurant: La Gabella
Can you ever eat too much Italian pizza? If you would answer with a no, like me, then I can guarantee that you will love La Gabella. The pizza was absolutely out of this world, so much so that we even went back a second time. If that’s not enough to convince you, then how about the fact that we had a liter of wine and two pizzas for 20 euro? Yes, that’s right. That delicious looking meal for two was only 20 euro. (Although maybe it just seemed so cheap after experiencing the outrageous average meal cost in Switzerland. The staff was also super friendly and we got to spend some time chatting with the owner who gave us some tips about the area.
Lago Maggiore Express
C found out about the Lago Maggiore Express online and decided that we had to do it. It will take up a full day of your time, but is completely worth it in terms of price and experience. Included in the 32 euro ticket price is ALL the transportation I am about to talk about, including a three hour boat ride through the lake, two train rides, and a boat ride to the island of your choice.
We boarded the first boat at Maccagno and spent the morning on the lake. The boat then dropped us off in Locarno, where we were able to walk around for a bit and then boarded the Centovalli Railyway for a scenic train ride through the Centovalli Vegiezzo.
The scenery is breathtaking, as the train passes by waterfalls, vineyards, forests, and villages. We then departed the train in Domodossola and got on another short train to Stresa. We had some time in Stresa to eat a gelato as we strolled through the streets.
Next, we took a short boat ride to Isola Bella, one of several islands located in the lake. We spent the afternoon exploring the tiny island and bathing in the sun.
After the island we took a longer boat back to Maccagno and went to dinner at our favorite restaurant. As I said before, it is a long day, but if you want to see as much of Lago Maggiore as you can I think it is totally worth it.