There are some fantastic beaches on Lake Maggiore. We hope that this guide will help you to find the Lake Maggiore beaches nearest to you.
Whilst some rental villas offer guests the luxury of a swimming pool, having access to a pool really isn’t a necessity in this area of Italy. The crystal clear lake waters are wonderful for swimming in reaching a pleasant 20 to 22 degrees across July and August.
Holidaymakers will find that there are numerous beaches on Lake Maggiore dotted along its shores. You are frequently able to park on the roadside and gain access to a smaller Lake Maggiore beach, whilst there are also larger beaches with car parking facilities such as that at Maccagno on the Eastern shore. Maccagno’s popularity is helped by the additional facilities on site – a couple of restaurants on the shoreline, a childrens playpark, volleyball courts and skateboard ramps are all on offer as is boat, pedalo and canoe hire.
On the other side of the lake, there is a great Lake Maggiore beach at Cannobio as well as at Cannero. Again, you can hire pedalos at both these beaches on Lake Maggiore, whilst Cannobio also offers a host of other water sports to enjoy. The beach here is also bordered by a grassy park with picnic tables and childrens play area.
The thing that Lake Maggiore does best though is the lidos it offers. Those of particular note include those at Ascona and Locarno.
The lido at Ascona has a large grassy area, sandy Lake Maggiore beach, play areas for children, volleyball courts and even waterslides. Entry to the lido at Ascona is free but if you do want to hire a sunbed or use certain facilities, there are small additional charges.
The lido in Locarno only opened in October 2009, presenting itself as a ‘true recreational, sports and well-being oasis focused on a water theme in the splendid scenario of Lake Maggiore.’ It is open throughout the year and in all weather conditions, with numerous indoor and outdoor swimming pools including an Olympic size swimming pool, thermal pool, play pool with water effects and 4 water chutes. The water slides cater for all tastes. There’s the Melezza Blackhole with light and sound effects (6 years +), the Isorno Whitehole (6 years +), the Verzasca Abyss (8 years+) and the Looping slide (12 years +). Apparently, the slides are inspired by the many rivers that feed Lake Maggiore. In addition, the lido has a gym and café which overlooks the pools and lake and serves everything from morning coffee to dinner in the evening. Opening hours are 8.30 – 22.00 Monday to Friday and 8.30- 20.30 on Saturday and Sundays. (www.lidolocarno.ch)
At the other end of the lake near Stresa, there is a smaller lido in Baveno. It offers good lake access and entry is free, however you do pay for the sun beds, chairs and parasols. The lido also offers watersports on site. Nearby Aqualake offers a wider choice of activities, particularly if you have children. There are 3 waterslides here, ranging from 60 to 100 metres in length, along with 3 pools – a semi Olimpic swimming pool, childrens pool and pool with waterslides. There are 2 beach areas, one which is free and another which is accessed for a small fee but includes comfortable loungers. If you do head to Aqualake with children, then it’s worth trying to combine your visit with a trip to the Adventure Park close by.
On nearby Lake Lugano, there is also an absolutely fantastic lido which we would highly recommend. Located in Lugano itself, you do have to pay to get in but there is access to the lake there as well as 3 beautifully clean swimming pools (one Olympic sized pool, one childrens pool with slides and water spray and another family pool) as well as diving boards.
Another great way to enjoy the water is by taking a visit to either Vallemaggia or Valle Verzasca.
Valle Verzasca is definitely worth a visit, particularly on a hot sunny day. You can visit the Verzasca Dam which features in the opening sequence of Goldeneye. Driving on up the mountain from the dam, there are parking spots which give you access to the river. The river is fantastic to swim in and the setting is absolutely idyllic but please do be extremely careful. The currents are extremely strong and the water can be icily cold at certain times of year. You certainly need to be on your guard, especially with young children. You’ll notice the warning signs all around the car parking areas. But, don’t let this put you off – it is a wonderful place and the water is exhilerating.
For those with young children, Valle Maggia is probably a better and safer option. Only 10 or 15 minutes away from Valle Verzasca, it also offers you a chance to swim in the river. One of the big plus points of Vallemaggia versus Valle Verzasca is the parking – it’s much easier to find a parking place in peak season with parking meters along the side of the road. If you do have young children it’s definitely worth stopping near to the bottom of the river as there are some great sandy beaches and shallow waters perfect for paddling. The sandy beach here is probably the best option for building sandcastles too so don’t forget your bucket and spade!
If you’re looking for an event to go to at Valle Maggia, the European Cliff Diving Championships are held in Ponte Brolla, Valle Maggia each year. There is plenty of video footage to view and loads of photos going back over the years at http://www.whdf.com/.