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Two of Italy’s Best Kept Secrets – Lake Iseo and Lake Idro

Two of Italy’s Best Kept Secrets – Lake Iseo and Lake Idro

The Lombardy Region of Italy has several lakes for people to enjoy, such as Lake Como, Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano, Lake Iseo, Lake Idro and more. Two of the most popular ones are Lake Como and Lake Garda. However, we are going to focus on the two Italian lakes that are less known to the tourists. The two lakes are Lake Iseo and Lake Idro, which are in-between Lake Como and Lake Garda. These last two lakes are referred to as Italy’s best-kept secrets, which is why our host family was excited to take us.

Lake Iseo

Lake Iseo is the fourth largest lake in the Lombardy Region of Italy and is home to several medieval towns. It also has a lake island called, Montisola, which is the largest lake island in Europe and a popular destination for locals. Locals love to visit Lake Iseo for a fun day at the lake, its beautiful town and its amazing nearby hiking trail. The last reason Lake Iseo is loved by the locals is for their annual festival, Sarnico Busker Festival.

When we arrived at Lake Iseo, we were already in awe. This was our first lake to visit in Italy and we were blown away by its grand beauty. We were across from the town of Sarnico, which had views of the city and two other towns across the lake. Behind the towns and beyond the lake were rolling green mountains that encompassed the area – it was magnificent. In addition to Lake Iseo’s beauty, we loved the accents of nature and art surrounding our picnic area. There were manmade lily ponds and art sculptures that enhanced the lake’s ambiance even more.

I can see why our hosts wanted to enjoy a nice picnic dinner at Lake Iseo – it was all very romantic and peaceful. And just when we thought this picnic and lake could not get any better, the sun began to set behind the mountains coloring the sky red and orange. Needless to say, Lake Iseo is the perfect place to enjoy an evening picnic.

Sunset at Lake Iseo, Italy

Sarnico Busker Festival at Lake Iseo

The Sarnico Busker Festival takes place every year between the towns of Sarnico and Paratico, near the end of July. The festival brings street artists together to perform in little spots throughout the town. There are over 150 artists from all around the world who perform over 200 shows over the course of four days. The shows contain aerobics, urban theater, juggling, contemporary dance, puppets, acrobatics, street music and more, all with the intention to entertain both children and adults. The festival was a lot of fun and had some talented acts. It was clear that not only Lake Iseo was a local favorite, but the festival was too.

Lake Iseo’s Official Website

Lake Idro

Lake Idro is one of Lombardy’s smaller lakes, but definitely not one to be missed! The Chiese River is the primary inflow and outflow of water in this 2768-acre lake. It is also an Italian pre-alpine lake of glacial origin, which is probably why this lake is freezing cold! Like the other lakes in Lombardy, Lake Idro is surrounded by alpine mountains and since this lake is small, the mountains felt closer and bigger. It is known to feel similar to the Norwegian fjords because of the shape of the lake and its surrounding landscapes. After visiting Lake Iseo and Lake Garda this lake felt like Italy’s most hidden gem. It is less crowded and has fewer towns than the other lakes, making it feel more secluded.

Beautiful views of Lake Idro, Italy

Lake Idro is known for its famous trout fishing, great sailing and windsurfing because no engines over 10HP are allowed on the lake. It also has an awesome dock that was heavily used by us and some locals. We all spent the day jumping off the dock and into Lake Idro’s refreshing water!

Great dock to jump off and into Lake Idro!

Lake Idro is the perfect place to enjoy a fun day at the lake with your friends and loved ones. We had a great day on Lake Idro with our host family playing games, eating well and enjoying the glacier cold water.

Lake Idro’s Official Website

I know these two lakes are not as glamorous as Lake Como and Lake Garda, but I promise you they are worth a visit. Both are more quiet and peaceful than the other lakes and definitely less touristy!

To read more about our lake day adventures in Italy, check out these posts below!

The Scaliger (Sinking) Castle in Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy

Sailing on Lake Garda, Italy

The Best Italian Hot Chocolate Recipe - Our Sweet Adventures

Tuesday 26th of May 2020

[…] enjoyed Italian hot chocolate with them on different occasions. Specifically, during a rainy day on Lake Idro and in the comfort of their home. To top it off, they even taught us how to make Italian hot […]

The Amazing Italy Bucket List You Need to See - Our Sweet Adventures

Monday 3rd of February 2020

[…] more lesser-known festivals to visitors but popular for Italians is the Sarnico Busker Festival at Lake Iseo. We attended this fun festival with our local hosts and had a great time! The Sarnico Busker […]

Our Two Week Workaway Experience with the Martinelli Family | Our Sweet Adventures

Friday 25th of August 2017

[…] The day after they took us to Lake Iseo for a picnic and to see the Sarnico Busker Festival. Lake Iseo was absolutely gorgeous and the festival was a lot of fun! To read more about this experience click here. […]


Wednesday 2nd of August 2017

Mama Mia....Nice lakes as well as options to hang out during the time...


Monday 31st of July 2017

Beautiful area! We are constantly looking for great outdoor trips, preferably with a lake and mountains around. Many thanks for these insights and inspiration, enjoy your travels!


Friday 11th of August 2017

We are glad to hear you enjoyed this post. We always love our outdoor adventures and its nice to hear you do too.