The Lakes sprawl across a scenic slice of northern Italy, backdropped by steep hills and snow-capped mountains. Their dramatic landscapes and natural beauty have been luring visitors for decades – generations of artists and writers have been inspired by the vistas here.
The three big names are Lake Como, Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. Lake Garda is the largest, offering up everything from spa towns to theme parks. Lake Como is a favourite with the A-list, and is edged with stylish towns like Bellagio and Como. Lake Maggiore's shores are dotted with elegant palazzos and extravagant palaces, but you'll also find plenty of traditional little fishing villages, too.
All three are spot on for outdoorsy types, as well – walking trails thread through the hills and waterside promenades are perfect for breezy bike rides.
Flights to the Italian Lakes take around 2 hours from the UK. For Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, Milan is the closest option; for Lake Garda, it's Verona.
The Italian Lakes are at their best between April and October. June, July and August see temperatures soar to the high 20s (perfect for swimming and sunbathing), while the slightly cooler temperatures in April, May, September and October are ideal for those who want to spend a bit more time walking, cycling or sightseeing.
British citizens do not currently require a visa to visit Italy.
When you dine out in Italy, you will generally be charged a coperto (cover charge), which is for the bread, tablecloth, cutlery, etc. Tipping in Italy is not customary, but is always appreciated.
The official language of Italy is Italian. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.