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Lake Iseo

Listed under Lakes in Brescia, Italy.

  • Photo of Lake Iseo
  • Photo of Lake Iseo
  • Photo of Lake Iseo
  • Photo of Lake Iseo
  • Photo of Lake Iseo
  • Photo of Lake Iseo
  • Photo of Lake Iseo
Photo of Lake Iseo
Photo by Karen Bryan
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A short hop away from Milan, lies an area of Italy little known by tourists, yet resplendent in culture and beauty. Having discovered this oasis of tranquility some 18 years ago I moved my family to the area and for many years have savoured the delights of ski in the winter, lakes in the summer and street parties with an honest Italian welcome throughout the rest of the year. Even though Ryanair and many other low cost airlines fly into Milan Bergamo airport (barely 20 minutes away), the area still remains mainly undiscovered and unspoilt.

The area includes Bergamo, Lake Iseo and the lower Alps. The train and bus station of Bergamo sits like a pedestal to the expansive central avenue with some excellent shops and restaurants but the cream on the cake is the fortified old medieval high town (Città Alta) reachable by cable car at the top of the main street. More importantly The bus station has handy buses every 30 minutes to Lovere port on Lake Iseo. The lake surprises most people as it winds majestically for over 18kms through the lower Alps and hosts Europe’s largest inland Island, Monte Isola, with it's characteristic Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Ceriola sitting like a beacon on the highest elevation of the Island.

Lovere was recently voted as one of Italy's prettiest borghi (picturesque villages) and apart from the obvious bars and restaurants, I particularly recommend a walk along the bank of the lake down to the port with the odd duck or swan to accompany you on your way. The ferry point in the centre is a great place to set off on a trip around the lake or take an evening cruise with live music to accompany an evening meal on board.

Excellent pasta, pizza and wine are a staple of the Italian cuisine but digging deeper their are some exquisite local delicacies to discover in every region. In this area it's Casoncelli (A home made type of Raviolli), wild boar stew with Polenta, Strinu (a type of sausage) and Tagliata, delicate slices of lightly cooked beef often served with rocket salad and Parmesean cheese.

Any trip to Iseo must end with a picturesque train journey from Pisogna down to the bottom of the lake to the actual village of Iseo. Also voted amongst Italy's top 20 villages, it sits along the lake with a large pedestrian area behind. Many people from the surrounding area go down to sit outside a bar sipping a cocktail and watching the sun set behind the mountains reflected in rays of orange and red across the lake...unforgettable.

Many "branded" locations like Lake Garda, Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome, I find much the worse for wear from over development of tourism, sometimes to the detriment of their local culture. They remain "must-see" places, yet, for a real "slice of Italy", I'd head for the hills and the lesser known Lakes of Lombardy.

Full destination report.

Written by  Alman.

Other expert and press reviews

“Lake Iseo”

Tucked away between Lake Como and Lake Garda lies Lake Iseo, which I discovered in a booklet at the Bergamo airport tourist information office. It looked so stunning in the photos, with it's car free island of Monte Isola lying in shimmering blue water… Read more...

Written by  Karen Bryan. Karen Byran's Full Guide to Lake Iseo

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