From pristine Mediterranean beaches, rolling Tuscan hills, and snow-capped mountain peaks, Italy's landscape is quite diverse. The Lake District in Northern Italy is one of the country's most picturesque, but less traveled regions and is certainly worth a visit. Here are three lake towns you won't want to miss if you travel through Northern Italy:
The town of Bellagio sits at the heart of Lake Como, perhaps Italy's most well-known lake. The long, narrow arms of this lake form an inverted Y shape, and Bellagio sits at the peak of the triangular land mass between the two.
Often referred to as the "Pearl of Lake Como," many consider Bellagio to be the most beautiful town in Italy. Here you'll find a grand tree-lined promenade that is set against grand villas, luxury hotels, and a host of world-class restaurants and shops.
Also set on the shores of Lake Como, Varenna is located on the opposite side of the lake from Bellagio and is only about 10 minutes away by ferry. Despite its close vicinity, however, Varenna offers a much more relaxed atmosphere from posh Bellagio across the way.
Originally a fishing village dating back to the eleventh century, Varenna is considered a hidden jewel of Lake Como with its colorful buildings and peaceful, wisteria-lined boardwalk that features breathtaking views of the surrounding blue water and towering mountain peaks.
About two hours east of Lake Como is Lake Garda, the largest of the glacial lakes in the Italian Lake District. The town of Sirmione is one of the most popular sights on this lake and sits on the southernmost shore on a narrow peninsula.
Sirmione is packed with history with its iconic thirteenth-century castle, Rocca Scaligea, and the largest collection of Roman ruins in Northern Italy at Grotte di Catullo. Or, if a relaxing holiday is calling your name, the thermal baths of Sirmione is the perfect place to spend the day where the Romans once bathed, too.
If your Italian travels will be taking you toward the Northern borders, these three towns deserve a spot in your itinerary!
Putting together a packing list for your Italian holiday can seem like a big challenge, especially if you will be visiting for the first time. To help simplify the process, here are seven tips to keep in mind before you pack your bags for your upcoming Italy trip:
1. Less is More
Don't let extra baggage drag you down! It's very easy to over pack for an Italian excursion, but you'll probably regret it once you get there. If you'll be using any type of public transportation—like trains or buses—to get to your destinations, having several suitcases to haul around can be a hassle. Plus, most hotels or lodging setups won't have spacious elevators, ramps, or stairways to accommodate multiple large suitcases.
2. Go Digital
In your efforts to pack lighter, consider leaving the bulky guidebooks and maps at home and instead opt for the digital versions on your smartphone or tablet. This can cut several pounds of weight from the luggage you'll be carrying! Remember that if you'll be using your devices on the go, you may want to pack a USB battery pack, too.
And of course, be sure to verify any international fees with your phone carrier (if applicable) and confirm that your phone will be functional in Italy.
3. Comfortable Shoes Will Be Your Best Friend
You will be walking a lot during your trip, so comfortable and broken-in shoes are an absolute essential. If you buy new walking shoes for your trip, make sure you walk in them for several hours straight before your trip so you don't end up with blisters or sore spots during your holiday.
4. Ditch the Heels
Have you ever tried walking on cobblestone streets or uneven sidewalks with stiletto heels? It's not easy or comfortable and there's a good chance you will regret it. Instead of packing your favorite pair of high heels for your nights on the town, consider opting for cute flats or wedges that will make walking much easier no matter what city your in.
5. Be Careful with Appliances
Before you pack your hairdryer, curling iron, shaver, or computer, make sure you double-check their compatibility with the European electric current. If your appliances don't already have dual voltage, you could end up ruining your valuables just by plugging them in on your trip.
6. Bring a Plug Adapter (or Two)
Aside from the appliances mentioned above, all of your other electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, cameras, etc., will likely require a plug adapter—if you don't already live in a place with the European two-prong plug system. If you'll be charging several devices at night, you may want to consider bringing more than one adapter for convenience.
7. Money Belt or Pouch
You can never be too safe when it comes to protecting your valuables while on holiday. A money belt or pouch is always a good idea for toting around important documents like your passport or driver's license, large amounts of emergency cash, debit cards, etc.
While this certainly isn't a comprehensive packing list for your Italy trip, using these seven tips will help simplify the process and make your experience much better once you're there...so you can enjoy everything your Italian destination has to offer!