There are countless gems buried in and around the Alps, from mountainous ski slopes to quaint hillside villages, but few can rival the perfection of Italy’s Lake Iseo. Sitting amidst the southern fringes of the Alps and surrounded by picturesque Italian hamlets, the lake forms a small pocket of paradise, a pinch me moment upon arrival.
Despite this, the area seems known only by natives and a handful of Dutch and German glampers. For the UK, a country where camping is loved by some and loathed by everybody else, Iseo provides the antidote. The stunning scenery and Mediterranean climate are surely capable of winning the hearts of visitors. And with Iseo situated only a 50 minute drive from Milan’s Bergamo airport, there really is no excuse to miss out.
Contrasted with the both grand and rugged terrain on either side, Lake Iseo is a picture of humble tranquillity.
Whilst lakes are often overlooked by holidaymakers for the sandy alternative of a beach, Iseo’s position just south of the Alps gives it a blanket of Mediterranean warmth.
Its village is a dressed-up hybrid of the authentic Italian town. On the fringes of the lake itself, small yachts and dinghies sparkle as sun bounces off the water and Italian restaurants offer a fine taste of pizza or pasta, espresso or gelato, so you can really take it in. Slightly further inland, the town’s cobbled streets sprawl out from an active market square, where a sneaky forage could get you a picnic that doesn’t have to include cocktail sausages.
But it’s in camping where the real experience is found – and no, that wasn’t irony. Dotted around the lake’s edge are several campsites and hotels of differing quality, but choose Camping Covelo and you’ll plonk yourself down right next to the water. Whether it’s a morning swim, a midday sun-soak or an evening beer as the sun sets, the campsite makes you feel truly connected with the breathtaking landscape around you. And with an on-site restaurant and pizzeria, it’s hard to feel there’s anywhere else (in the world) to be.
If you wish to fill your time with kayaks, bikes, pedaloes and hikes, it is easy to explore both in and around the water. On the other hand, the luxurious stay is also an option, with fine Italian cuisine, cafeterias and a ferry service to the lake’s island.
Having the water and sun that sees many flock to the Amalfi Coast, Iseo offers spectacular scenery and a fraction of the crowds, at a fraction of the cost. A memorable, idyllic and refreshing getaway, Lake Iseo will leave you breathlessly keen to return.