With the arrival of the spring, the desire to escape from Milan becomes even more pressing, and this is where the picnics start.
Milan is definitely strategic from this point of view and allows you to reach the different lakes (Greater, Iseo, Como, Garda) with an hour's drive or a little more.
I therefore propose to you four out-of-town trips from Milan to the lakes which I particularly love:
Pian dei Resinelli and Lake of Lecco
For an exercise outing, I highly recommend the Piani dei Resinelli above Lecco. They extend over the municipalities of Abbadia Lariana, Mandello del Lario, Ballabio and Lecco and from their privileged position you can enjoy an incomparable view of the lake and the mountains, up to Monte Rosa.
The site is detailed, it describes all the itineraries (well marked) that can be done to reach the Rosalba Refuge (1730 mt), or the summit of the Southern Grigna with the Brioschi Refuge (2184 m), if you are more experienced climbers. For the Rosalba Refuge I followed the Resinelli-Le Foppe itinerary (signs N.9) and it is really beautiful !! To reach the Brioschi Refuge there are several itineraries and you can find them here.
After the hike, you can go and rest at the lake with a refreshing dip from the beach of the Parco di Ulisse Guzzi (in Abbadia Lariana). The water of the lake here is very clear, and the park is very nice, with a kiosk that also rents deckchairs and sun loungers.
To top it off, you deserved a wealthy tycoon atOsteria Belvedere Montalbano. It is not very easy to reach (there is a dirt road that is not exactly well indicated), but the search is worth it! It is a rustic place, with excellent genuine cuisine! If you go there during the day, from the garden you have a beautiful view of the lake.
Bellagio and Lake Como
If you are not too sporty and you just want to take a walk and put your paws under the table in front of a beautiful view, I recommend the Trattoria Baita Belvedere in Chevrio di Bellagio, right above the fork in the lake. The food is terrifying (any animal exists on earth or almost .. deer, donkey, etc.) and the view of the lake is unbeatable!
You can eat both inside and out (reservations required, it is very popular!).
With a full stomach you can go for a walk in Bellagio and close with a nice aperitif on the marina (or in the magnificent Villa Serbelloni if you have a double zero budget).
Alternatively, you can go and see the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Ghisallo, a funny church, venerated and dedicated to cyclists (the Ghisallo climb is traditionally covered by the Giro di Lombardia and has been repeatedly included in the route of the Tour of Italy). For many decades there has been the custom among cycling champions (especially Italians, but not only) to donate their memorabilia to the Ghisallo Sanctuary; inside the church you will find the bicycles used by Bartali, Coppi and Merckx, the pink sweaters, etc… a curious place I would say!
Next to it there is, needless to say, the Cycling Museum (in the church there was no longer room for memorabilia!).
Monte Isola and Lake Iseo
For a trip out of town halfway between the magnereccio and the sportsman, Monte Isola and Lake Iseo are perfect!
Arriving at the Lake from Lovere (to the north), you can make yourself for an excellent lunch at Hostaria La Trisa. It is a Hostaria so to speak, the cuisine is excellent and refined, almost star-studded I would say! The quality / price ratio, however, is there and it is really worth it (I have been there thanks to a friend who lives in the area).
From there, you can go for a trip by bike on the island which is located in the center of the lake (Monte Isola); the ferry goes back and forth from Sulzano and in 10 'you are there.
The island is really nice !! There are three / four villages and beaches along the coast where you can stop for a swim (or a picnic, if you decide to spend the whole day on the island). Bikes can be rented right in front of the pier; there is a road (almost the only one!) that goes around the lake (about 10 km). Highly recommended tour !!!
Isolee Borromee and Lake Maggiore
This is one of the most beautiful outings that can be done from Milan in my opinion and I have dedicated an entire article to it: Borromean Islands (Lake Maggiore): how to visit them, when, how much does it cost.
The Borromean Islands (Isola Bella and Isola Madre) are located in Lake Maggiore and can only be visited from the end of March to the end of October. The best time to visit them is April / May, when the flowering of the plants is at its peak.The closest point to reach the Borromean Islands is the town of Stresa, on the western shore of Lake Maggiore, but there are ferries that also stop there starting from Arona, Angera and Baveno. From Stresa you can take the motorboats that leave from the Molo di Carciano and go around the 3 islands at set times (they stop first at Isola Madre, then Isola dei Pescatori, and finally Isola Bella). You can buy this ticket which is valid for a full day and allows you to get on and off as many times as you want within the hours 9: 30-18: 00. Both in Isola Bella and Isola Madre (the smaller of the two) it is possible to visit the magnificent gardens and palaces of the Borromeo family which are truly amazing!
Still on Lake Maggiore, possibly to be combined with the trip to the islands (only if you dedicate at least 2 days to them), I highly recommend you go for a ride (maybe a bee overlooking the lake ...) to Luino and Laveno, two very beautiful villages on the east bank of the lake.
Lake Orta and San Giulio island
I close with a trip among my absolute favorites: the one on the lake Orta. The village of Orta San Giulio and small island of San Giulior are they real jewels !! Orta San Giulio is about 70 km from Milan (it takes about 1h 15 ') and has been included among the most beautiful villages in Italy. It is a well-kept medieval village located on the tip of a small peninsula stretching out over the lake; on the hill immediately above is the Sacro Monte of San Francesco (included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites together with the other Sacred Mountains of Lombardy and Piedmont) with 20 small Renaissance chapels. Practical tip: park your car at the Sacro Monte car park (free) and then walk down to Orta San Giulio! From the village then take the public ferry or private motorboats (84,5 euros return) to reach the islet of San Giulio. The island hosts a Cloistered monastery and a mini-village that can be visited along the only road that goes around the islet, the Way of Silence. On the island you can also eat, there is the beautiful San Giulio restaurant with a terrace that overlooks the water (if you book, they will pick you up by speedboat in Orta). Speaking of eating… in Orta San Giulio there is also the famous restaurant of Cannavacciulo, in the magnificent Villa Crespi.
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