May 20, 2022
Lake Iseo

Lake Iseo: What to do and what to see.

Take a complete tour of Lake Iseo

Unlike the other two Lombard lakes close to it (Lake Como and Lake Garda), Lake Iseo is much smaller in size. Precisely for this reason it is possible to explore its waters in a short time, managing to carve out moments for pleasant stops in the villages that overlook its banks. A boat tour of Lake Iseo is also the only possible way to discover two of its three islands up close: the island of Loreto and the island of San Paolo. These two islands, in fact, cannot be visited, as they are private. The third island, on the other hand, is a real must that we will talk about shortly.

To take a complete tour of Lake Iseo, you can take advantage of the excellent public navigation service made available by Navigazione Lago d’Iseo. The rates are quite affordable and vary depending on the route, starting from a minimum cost of € 2.10 (for a ticket that is valid for 60 ‘from validation) to € 14 for the day ticket. These costs also already include the € 1 tax for those who intend to disembark at Monte Isola.

Otherwise, there are also private services that can help you organize your complete tailor-made tour of Lake Iseo. The rates are obviously higher, but we believe it is a convenient service if you are in a group of several people. For information, we recommend that you contact the boatmen of Monte Isola.

Visit Monte IsolaVisit Monte Isola

Monte Isola boasts a record: it is the largest lake island in all of Europe. This is a record that, according to what we have learned on the spot, makes the residents and inhabitants of the villages that arise around Lake Iseo very proud. Beyond this statistic, however, Monte Isola is worth a visit for several reasons. The first, in our opinion, is the fact that there are no cars on the island, with the exception of service ones (police and common services). The 9 kilometers of “ring road” that run along its perimeter can therefore be covered on foot or by bicycle (which can be rented on site) without any thought other than enjoying the varied panorama. This would already be a more than valid reason, but we are adding two more. With its 600 meters above the lake level and its varied trekking routes, Monte Isola is a perfect stop for both those who love mountain walks and for those who prefer bathing. In fact, there are many coves and beaches where you can stop for a tan or, why not, for a nice swim.

Despite being a rather small island, Monte Isola is home to 12 hamlets. The most popular is Peschiera Maraglio (due to its proximity to the mainland), while the “capital” is Siviano where, if you have time, we recommend that you spend a few hours in the Network Museum and a stop at the La Torre pizza restaurant.

By motorboat to Sarnico on Lake Iseo

Located on the Bergamo side right at the point where the Oglio river begins, Sarnico is the most “combed” town in the whole of Lake Iseo. And, perhaps, it could not be otherwise. The shipyards of these areas have in fact given life to one of the most famous Italian brands in the world: Riva motorboats. Unfortunately, the factory where these jewels are produced cannot be visited, but it is still possible to admire a large quantity of them entering and leaving the pretty port of Sarnico. The lakefront is also full of trendy cafes where you can stop for an outdoor lunch or for an evening aperitif while waiting for the sunset. The historic center of Sarnico is also very pretty, with its characteristic Medieval Tower which rises above a maze of alleys alternating with historic churches, Art Nouveau villas and typical shops. Finally, for lovers of painting, the Bellini Art Gallery can be a pleasant discovery.

PYRAMIDS OF ZONEAdmire the pyramids of Zone

On the Brescia side of Lake Iseo, the road that starts from the center of Marone leads through a series of switchbacks to the locality of Zone, a small town located 700 meters above sea level. The real attraction, however, is found along this road and, to be precise, in the locality of Cislano. Here, in fact, there are the “pyramids of Zone”, a group of real spiers made of earth at the top of which are placed boulders.

This spectacular natural site is the result of a very rare phenomenon of erosion which is attracting more and more interest among nature lovers. The pyramids are easily visible from the road (there are some pitches where you can stop the car for a few minutes without obstructing traffic) but, if you want, you can access the natural area where a wide explanation is available.

 

 

LovereVisit Lovere

It may not be “the most romantic place ever” as the English writer Lady Mary Wortley Montagu has defined it, but Lovere is still a very pretty town. Its wide lakefront extends between the tourist port, lovely balconies with comfortable benches from which to admire Lake Iseo and the main street named after Luigi Tadini. Also on the lakefront is one of the oldest museums in all of Lombardy, namely the Tadini Academy of Fine Arts Gallery.

However, we particularly liked the old village of Lovere. It can be reached starting from Piazza XXIII Martiri along the ancient cobblestone streets that climb uphill. Among the alleys of the old village it is possible to shelter from the summer heat and discover many small pearls of architecture of the past: palaces, churches and really beautiful squares. The Municipal Tower, on the other hand, is the highest vantage point in the city and is Accessible for free. A nice gift from the Municipality to allow everyone to admire Lake Iseo from above.

 

Stroll along the lakeside of Iseo

Located at the southernmost point of the lake, Iseo is the main center of the whole area as well as the most popular location for those visiting the area. Here there are shopping centers, supermarkets and shops where almost all the residents of the area get their supplies. In addition to this, however, Iseo boasts a large lakefront which, in our opinion, is among the most beautiful in all of Lake Iseo. In our opinion, spending a few hours walking around it is a real must.

The historic center is also very nice, with the elegant shops housed under the perfectly preserved medieval colonnades. The main square, Piazza Garibaldi, houses the oldest Italian statue dedicated to the hero of two worlds. Slightly further away from the lake, we also appreciated the Oldofredi Castle, a 12th century stone fortress that we recommend you visit if you have time.

 

Take the Ancient Valerian Road of Lake Iseo

Going through it in its entirety is practically impossible since it is 140km long, but the Antica Strada Valeriana is one of the most suggestive routes for a walk or light trekking on Lake Iseo. Basically, the Antica Strada Valeriana is a millenary path that, at the time when cars were unknown, was used to connect the lake area with the Tonale Pass, passing through the Val Camonica. Today this ancient path has been completely recovered and adapted for tourist use, dividing it into 9 sections. In particular, the first part is the one that starts from Pilzone and runs along the eastern side of Lake Iseo for 24 kilometers, reaching as far as Pisogne. It is a walk that can be covered in about 9-10 hours. We have only covered a small part of it near Sale Marasino, along one of the most comfortable and easy stretches. Beyond Marone, in fact, the path climbs up becoming much more difficult. We plan, however, to return in the future to walk on a more abundant portion. To recognize the Ancient Valerian Road around Lake Iseo, just follow the signs for the CAI Path 291.

Walk or cycle from Vello to Toline

In the northeastern part of Lake Iseo, between Marone and Pisogne, there is a panoramic cycle / pedestrian path that will allow you to admire the lake in all its beauty. The route starts from Vello, a fraction of Marone, and ends in Toline, a fraction of Pisogne, after about 4.5 kilometers. It is an asphalted road where access is absolutely forbidden to cars. Walking it in the evening will allow you to admire the sunset over the lake. Our advice is to walk without haste so that you have time to go down and explore the many coves that are along the way. If desired, both in Vello and in Toline there are bike rental stations.

 

Ancient Valerian Road of Lake IseoTake the Ancient Valerian Road of Lake Iseo

Going through it in its entirety is practically impossible since it is 140km long, but the Antica Strada Valeriana is one of the most suggestive routes for a walk or light trekking on Lake Iseo. Basically, the Antica Strada Valeriana is a millenary path that, at the time when cars were unknown, was used to connect the lake area with the Tonale Pass, passing through the Val Camonica. Today this ancient path has been completely recovered and adapted for tourist use, dividing it into 9 sections. In particular, the first part is the one that starts from Pilzone and runs along the eastern side of Lake Iseo for 24 kilometers, reaching as far as Pisogne. It is a walk that can be covered in about 9-10 hours. We have only covered a small part of it near Sale Marasino, along one of the most comfortable and easy stretches. Beyond Marone, in fact, the path climbs up becoming much more difficult. We plan, however, to return in the future to walk on a more abundant portion. To recognize the Ancient Valerian Road around Lake Iseo, just follow the signs for the CAI Path 291.

 

Walk or cycle from Vello to Toline

In the northeastern part of Lake Iseo, between Marone and Pisogne, there is a panoramic cycle / pedestrian path that will allow you to admire the lake in all its beauty. The route starts from Vello, a fraction of Marone, and ends in Toline, a fraction of Pisogne, after about 4.5 kilometers. It is an asphalted road where access is absolutely forbidden to cars. Walking it in the evening will allow you to admire the sunset over the lake. Our advice is to walk without haste so that you have time to go down and explore the many coves that are along the way. If desired, both in Vello and in Toline there are bike rental stations.

 

Discover the natural reserve of Torbiere del Sebino

On the southern side of the lake, however, the Sebino Torbiere Nature Reserve introduces the territory of Franciacorta. It is essentially a large wetland area of ​​360 hectares made up of water surfaces, reeds, small woods and a series of wooden bridges to move from one place to another. In the Sebino peat bogs live many animal species that cannot be disturbed at all. This is also one of the reasons why you cannot drive around here, you cannot produce garbage and, above all, it is not possible to leave the marked paths. It is a very beautiful area, especially if explored with a milder climate than the summer we found!

 

wineries in FranciacortaGo for wineries in Franciacorta

The southern shore of Lake Iseo represents the northern border of one of the most famous areas of Northern Italy in the world: Franciacorta. This is a territory whose notoriety is today made such by the homonymous classic method sparkling wine that is produced here. In our opinion, one of the things to do absolutely on Lake Iseo is a tour of the most famous wineries in Franciacorta. There are many, from the most iconic ones (Bellavista, Berlucchi, Cà del Bosco, Monte Rossa), to many micro-producers who focus on the production of organic wine with innovative techniques. Most of the wineries offer guided tours and tasting tours, often combined with typical dishes. Some of them also offer the possibility to stay overnight, which is no small advantage if you don’t want to risk driving problems after drinking! Our suggestion is to take advantage of the so-called “Open Cellars” weekends which are generally held in May, June and September. For those who do not drink, however, our advice is to travel these roads by car or bicycle so as to get lost in the beauty of a landscape with few equals, even in Italy.

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