Holidays in Lake Iseo

Lake Iseo happily lives in the shadow of its famous neighbours, quietly producing some of the best wine – and best views – in the Italian lakes

With Lake Garda to the east and Lake Como to the west, Lake Iseo is a case of out of sight, out of mind for many visitors to the Italian Lakes. Italians, meanwhile, have been spending their summer holidays here for decades, drawn in by the laid-back fishing towns strung around the waterfront – and the walking, cycling and ferry routes that link them. Iseo town, on the south bank, comes alive in the summer. From here, ferries cross between fishing villages and sanctuary-topped islands. Up in the hills, wine-makers are busy creating Lake Iseo’s beloved Franciacorta fizz, as they have done for generations.

Introducing Iseo: food, wine, history and nature

The lake’s namesake town, Iseo, makes a great base for a walking and foodie summer holiday. Arcaded cafés and shops surround the main square, Piazza Garibaldi, where an historic market filled with everything from creamy farmhouse cheeses to silver jewellery, pops up every Friday. From the piazza, medieval streets curve past trattorie, with their red-checked tablecloths and seafood menus, to the palm-lined promenade – the starting point for a leisurely lakeside passeggiata.

Walking trails: pull up a (really, really) Big Bench

Walking in Lake Iseo ranges from sedate strolls along the promenade to mountain climbs – but all walking routes encourage wanderers to pause and take in the views. The Big Benches art project has placed BFG-sized seats at strategic viewpoints to rest weary legs upon… if you can clamber onto them.

For a different type of scramble, ascend the rocky path to San Defendente, a church with an uninterrupted view of the Corna Trentapassi peak. Easy routes through the Piramidi di Zone Nature Reserve showcase more in the way of geological wonders, with well-marked paths snaking past stalagmite-like rock formations. Or, you can head to the southern edge of Iseo, where wooden walkways criss-cross the swaying reed-beds of the Torbiere del Sebino Nature Reserve.

Summer in Franciacorta: Italy’s champagne region

Over 100 family-run vineyards stripe the hills of Lake Iseo, all on a mission to produce the finest glass of Franciacorta sparkling wine. This wine is as close to champagne as an Italian sparkling gets – but (we’ll go there) it’s even tastier. A bit like Lake Iseo, Franciacorta is popular in Italy but isn’t sipped as much abroad. Tours of labyrinth cellars and lake-view vineyards reveal each winery’s secrets, whether that’s their passion for organic vines or the story behind Italy’s first sparkling rosé. We musn’t forget that, of course, all tours end in a wine tasting! We'd recommend booking one of these tours in advance with the vineyard as they book up quickly. The vineyards are not on the doorstep of our destinations, but they're accessible by taxi (payable locally) if you're looking to do a day trip - we'd suggest being very organised in order to get the true Franciacorta wine experience and planning the day well in advance.

Sightseeing fun: ferry routes to Sarnico, Monte Isola & more

Passenger ferries putter between towns like Iseo, Sarnico, Castro and Pisogne, taking just over two hours to cross the whole lake from north to south. If you have time for only one trip, go for the crossing to car-free Monte Isola island. Fishing traditions are still going strong here. Silvery fish dry on lines along the shore and net-making is a living tradition – including making nets for football goals used in the FIFA World Cup. For the best views in the summer, follow the stone mule tracks up to Madonna della Ceriola – a frescoed church perched on the highest point of the island.

Why book a summer holiday in Lake Iseo with Inghams?

At Inghams, we do walking holidays differently. With no fixed itinerary, you have more time in your destination and the freedom to walk as much or as little as you like, discovering some of Lake Iseo's best walking routes and activities at your own pace.

Plus, we've included two optional guided walks every week in Lake Iseo. Join a professional mountain guide and really get to know the area (see more details in the ‘walking’ tab below).

With over 85 years of outdoor travel experience, our holiday packages to Lake Iseo include flights, transfers, and accommodation, so you can relax and leave the small details to us. Our experts can help you choose the best holiday for you, and our team in resort can give you the inside scoop on how to spend your time away with us.

Added value

Inghams Guided Walks included from 17th May - 20th Sept (subject to availability)

All holidays include flights from the UK and transfers

24/7 support & tailored advice from our local resort team

Walking in and around Lake Iseo

On an Inghams walking holiday, you have the freedom to explore the area at your own pace. Make each day a new adventure, with as much or as little walking as you like.

Why we love walking in Lake Iseo

From 'Giant Bench' instalments to the natural phenomenon of the pyramids of Zone, there are so many hidden gems to discover when walking around Lake Iseo and walking for all abilities is on offer. If you want a more challenging but rewarding walk then go in search of the pyramids which are 30 metre high vertical slabs of rock, surrounded by boulders, in the middle of a nature reserve. On the other hand, if you're wanting something more relaxed there are plenty of flatter lakeside walks, and even more opportunities for tasting the local Franciacorta wine!

Guided walks

Don't forget, you have the option to join two included Inghams guided walks per week, with a local, professional guide. Get to know our favourite walking trails with insider knowledge and the company of Inghams guests. Pre-booking is essential - check out the Guided Walks section below for more information.

Tourist office

The tourist office can also provide more information locally on walks in the area, in addition to our guided walks. 

Getting around Lake Iseo

Getting around Lake Iseo without a car, you must be happy taking various forms of public transport. If you're looking to expand your walking portfolio on the lake, then there are so many beautiful routes that can be accessed using the public transport links in the area.

Ferries

The ferries are a great way to get around Lake Iseo in the summer, you can check the timetables and prices on the Navigazione Lago Iseo website, this is also where you'll find the list of ferry stopping points from Iseo town. If you're visiting Monte Isola for the day, take the ferry from Sarnico; it's an easy and scenic way to get around. Ferry timetables will be amended and may be running on a reduced service from 1st September in line with late-season demand.

Trains & Buses

Lake Iseo has trains and buses linking to most of the main towns around Lake Iseo. These are useful if you want to hop over to a nearby town relatively cheaply. All of our hotels are within walking distance or have nearby bus links to Iseo train station.

Why not hop on a train to the village of Sulzano (approx. 7 mins) where you can hop on a ferry to the famous Monte Isola! If you want to go slightly further to the North of the lake, take the train to the town of Pisogne (approx. 30 mins), first documented in the 13th Century. This ancient town is home to the hidden gem, Church of Santa Maria della Neve; it's walls are covered in frescoes by Romanino! Or, head over to Sarnico on the bus (approx. 15 mins) and admire the 15th Century Church of San Paolo or gaze at some fantastic art in the Gianni Bellini Picture Gallery.

Inghams Guided Walks in Lake Iseo

Inghams guided walks are included on your holiday in Lake Iseo

We’ve included one full-day and one half-day walk per week in Lake Iseo, just for Inghams guests. Join a small group and be led by a professional guide on some of their favourite trails. It’s a great way to get to know the area.

The full-day (Moderate-Challenging) walk will run every Monday and the half-day (Easy-Moderate) walk will run every Friday from the 17 May-20th Sep 2024 and from the 12th May-26th Sep 2025. On the 6th June and 1st, 22nd & 29th August 2024 the half day walk will run on a Thursday instead of a Friday. You can add the walks onto your holiday at the time of booking, through My Booking or by calling us.

Panoramas of Franciacorta & South Iseo

Heading up to the old church of Madonna del Corno to a fantastic viewpoint where you can gaze over the Franciacorta region and the Torbiere Nature Reserve, wonderful for bird watching. The walk heads past the ruins of an ancient castles and takes you all the way to Provaglio, where you'll come across an old monastery, San Pietro in Lamosa.

  • Grade: Easy-Moderate (a decent fitness level and sure-footedness is required)
  • Distance: 6km
  • Duration: Half Day
  • Ascent/Descent: 250m
  • Terrain: paved road, forested paths, single track paths
  • Useful Information: You'll meet at the Iseo train station where the walk begins and at the end of the walk you'll return to Iseo on the train (approx. €1 one way, payable locally). There are a few places along the way to stop for a comfort break or to grab a snack along the way.

Summer 2024- This walk will run on Fridays: 24th May, 6th, 21st Jun, 5th, 19th Jul, 1st Aug, 29th Aug, 13th Sep

Summer 2025- This walk will run on Fridays: 16th, 30th May, 13th, 27th Jun, 11th, 25th Jul, 8th, 22nd Aug, 5th, 19th Sep

Corna Trentapassi

Starting from the town of Zone, you'll set off in search of historical landscapes, where dinosaurs once roamed the area. Climbing up to 1429 metres above sea level you'll find yourself in awe of the 360° view all the way from the Appenine Alps to the Po Valley.

  • Grade: Moderate-Challenging (a decent fitness level and sure-footedness is required)
  • Distance: 9.5km
  • Duration: Full Day
  • Ascent/Descent: 590m
  • Terrain: paved road, forested paths, single track paths, ascents and descents
  • Useful Information: Meeting at Iseo train station you'll hop on a train to the nearby town of Marone (approx €4.80 return, payable locally) where you'll catch a bus to the starting point of the walk in the town of Zone (payable locally, approx. €3 return). Along the walk you'll stop to have a picnic, so make sure you come prepared with a packed lunch. There'll also be the option to buy some food from a local bakery at the start of the walk. Make sure you bring plenty of water with you, as there aren't any places to fill up during the walk.

Summer 2024- This walk will run on Mondays: 20th May, 3rd, 17th Jun, 1st Jul, 26th Aug, 9th Sep

Summer 2025- This walk will run on Mondays: 12th, 26th May, 9th, 23rd Jun, 7th, 21st Jul, 4th, 18th Aug, 1st, 15th Sep

Monte Clemo

Climb up through the little village of Zorzino and up to Esmate where you'll get fantastic views of the lake. The walk takes you through forests and over the smooth hills of Na and Clemo. You'll stop for lunch in a pretty local restaurant and then head back to Riva del Solto harbour via the stunning 'Orrido di Zorzino' cliffs and the Eremo di San Defendente, a little church overlooking Lake Maggiore, dating back to 9th Century AD!

  • Grade: Moderate-Challenging (a decent fitness level and sure-footedness is required)
  • Distance: 13km
  • Duration: Full Day (walking time approx. 4 hours 40 mins)
  • Ascent/Descent: 650m
  • Terrain: paved road, forested paths, single track paths, ascents and descents
  • Useful Information: To get to the starting point of the walk you'll meet at the Iseo ferry point and take a ferry from Iseo to Riva di Solto, which takes around 40 minutes (approx. €9 return, payable locally). You'll stop along the walk for some lunch in a little local restaurant (payable locally) and there are several places to fill up water or stop for a comfort break along the way.

Summer 2024- This walk will run on Mondays: 27th May, 10th, 24th Jun, 2nd, 16th Sep

Summer 2025- This walk will run on Mondays: 19th May, 2nd, 16th, 30th Jun, 14th, 28th Jul, 11th, 25th Aug, 8th, 22nd Sep

The Giant Bench Walk

Heading up to the church of St. Fermo you'll get a fantastic view of Lake Iseo. This walk will take you past some of Lake Iseo's 'Giant Benches', part of a community project in the area. You'll also head over to the ancient village of Bosine, where you can soak up the historic atmosphere. Parts of this walk have quite a steep uphill ascent, but it's worth the effort if you want to get up to those fantastic panoramas.

  • Grade: Easy-Moderate (a decent fitness level and sure-footedness is required)
  • Distance: 6km
  • Duration: Half Day
  • Ascent/Descent: 395m
  • Terrain: Paved road, forested paths, single track paths, ascents and descents
  • Useful Information: You'll meet at the Iseo train station and take the train to Pilzone where the walk begins (approx. €1.50, payable locally).

Summer 2024- This walk will run on Fridays: 17th, 31st May, 14th, 28th Jun, 26th Jul, 22nd Aug, 9th, 6th, 20th Sep

Summer 2025- This walk will run on Fridays: 23rd May, 6th, 20th Jun, 4th, 18th Jul, 1st, 15th, 29th Aug, 12th, 26th Sep

For every walk you will need:

Suitable walking shoes with good grip, appropriate clothing, sun-cream, insect repellent, sun glasses, rain jacket, rucksack, at least a litre of water, a snack and cash. You may find walking poles useful.

Early booking is strongly recommended as spaces are limited. All walks are subject to availability of local guides, weather conditions and maximum numbers. Planned routes are subject to change. Any distances and ascents/descents stated are approximate. Full details of the walks with the meeting points and routes will be provided to you on arrival. In some instances there may be a small charge for local transport that is payable locally. In resorts where the walks run over more than two days, the day of the walk will be allocated to you by your Rep in your welcome meeting. Where we cannot confirm your preferred option in resort, we will endeavour to offer an alternative subject to the above conditions.

Please ensure you are comfortable with the grade of walk, planned distance covered and terrain before booking. The decision of the guide on the suitability of the walk for you is final and no compensation will be paid where the guide believes, in their professional opinion, that it is not suitable. Please ensure you are well-equipped for the walk have suitable clothing and footwear. Walks are not recommended for guests under 12 years. Any guests under 18 years will need to be accompanied by an adult.

Our Favourite Walks

Piramidi di Zone (Pyramids of Zone)

Walk in the Piramidi di Zone Nature Reserve where you'll see the natural phenomenon natural pyramids or cones over 30 metres high, which have formed over millions of years from the natural landscape. Starting at the Church of San Giorgio in Cisano this is a relatively short walk with a reasonable uphill climb, but it's a great way to marvel at the pyramids from close up.

  • Grade: Moderate (a decent fitness level and sure-footedness is required)
  • Distance: 2.5km
  • Duration: approx. 1 hour
  • Ascent/Descent: 160m

Torbiere Nature Reserve

Starting at the Monastero San Pietro in Lamosa head on a relaxed walk around the incredible 'Torbiere del Sebino' Nature Reserve. The reserve is the biggest expanse of wetland in the province of Brescia (360 hectares) and has a huge variety of plants, birds and animals, making this a fantastic walking spot for nature lovers.

  • Grade: Easy-Moderate (a decent fitness level and sure-footedness is required)
  • Distance: 12km
  • Duration: approx. 3 hours 15 mins
  • Ascent/Descent: 35m

Monte Bronzone

If you're looking for a challenge and you're used to more challenging terrain, then check out this walk from Sarnico to Monte Bronzone. The intense uphill nature of the walk means you'll get all the more rewarding views of Lake Iseo once at the top. On the way you'll pass a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Walk through chestnut, birch and holly treeson the way up to the summit of Monte Bronzone. This is a great walk for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts.

  • Grade: Very Challenging (an excellent fitness level and sure-footedness is required, must be an experienced hiker)
  • Distance: 8.5km
  • Duration: approx. 3 hours 50 mins
  • Ascent/Descent: +1145m
Useful Information & Guidelines

Recommended equipment

Suitable walking shoes with good grip, appropriate clothing, rain jacket, sun cream, insect repellent, sun glasses, rucksack, at least a litre of water, a re-usable water bottle, a snack and cash. You may find walking poles useful.

Walking maps

For a paper map we'd recommend the Lago d'Iseo- Valle Trompia - Franciacorta Kompass 106 (1:50,000).

Walking guidelines

The Lake Iseo landscape is a natural paradise, with lots to explore and discover. To help it stay that way, and remain an enjoyable and safe place for everyone, we recommend following our little list of do's and don'ts:

  • Plan your route well and don't over-estimate yourself
  • Check the weather forecast
  • Tell someone where you're planning to walk and what time you're expecting to be back
  • Take all the recommended equipment
  • Make a note of emergency numbers:
    • Italian Emergency Services: 112
  • Don't leave the marked trails without a guide
  • Let nature stay wild by not picking flowers (it's illegal in some places) or getting close to/making contact with wild animals
  • Always leave gates as you found them and don't climb over fences
  • Leave no trace

Check out our Responsible Walking insider guide if you want more tips for your summer walking holiday.

  • from£839pp
  • @accommodation.PropertyRating

    4 Rating

    We rate all of our accommodation based on their facilities, service level, character and customer feedback. Our ratings may vary from the official star rating.

Hotel Iseolago, Pool (1)

Hotel Iseolago is perfect for a family holiday. It's surrounded by gardens and the lake can be reached by a private path straight from the hotel. The hotel's in a fantastic walking area and ideal for exploring the beautiful Lake Iseo landscape.

  • from£669pp
  • @accommodation.PropertyRating

    3 Rating

    We rate all of our accommodation based on their facilities, service level, character and customer feedback. Our ratings may vary from the official star rating.

Hotel Rosa, Lake Iseo, Garden Terrace

If you're looking for a family-run hotel then Hotel Rosa's a good choice. It's a small hotel so it has a welcoming atmosphere. The lakefront town of Iseo is just 500 metres away so you'll be in a great location for exploring the local area.

  • from£719pp
  • @accommodation.PropertyRating

    3 Rating

    We rate all of our accommodation based on their facilities, service level, character and customer feedback. Our ratings may vary from the official star rating.

Hotel Ambra, Iseo, Harbour View

Hotel Ambra's located in the centre of town just in front of the harbour. You get some great lake views from here and you're right in the middle of everything so getting out to explore couldn't be easier. The hotel feels really authentic with friendly staff and traditional rooms.

Things to see and do in Lake Iseo

Check out the Medieval Iseo Town, explore the back streets and open-air squares and a lakefront lined with stylish cafes and bars. Iseo's main attraction is the Monte Isola, the largest land island in Europe. Monte Isola's completely pedestrianised and easily reached by boat from Iseo and Sulzano. It's a fantastic spot for a walk. Cruise the lake on the ferries or catch the train to see the other main towns: Sulzano and Pisogne. Bergamo's also close-by. Take a day trip and get to know this historic city which dates back to the 6th Century BC.

If you love getting outdoors and being active, Iseo's a great place for walking, whether you're hiking or taking gentle lakeside strolls. The Lake Iseo railway from Brescia's a great way to explore the lake and its surrounding areas. If you're looking for gentle walks you can check out the nearby Torbiere del Sebino. It's a wetland nature reserve, and is always a highlight for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Food & Drink

If you love sardines, then Iseo's your dream place- one of their most traditional foods is dried sardines, usually eaten with Polenta. If sardines aren't your favourite then try the Casoncelli, stuffed pasta (like ravioli) or salami from Monte Isola. Cheese is always important in the Italian lake district and Lake Iseo's no exception. Silter DOP is a hard cheese from the lower Camonica Valley made from the milk of the brown cows of Monte Guglielmo. Perfect with your Franciacorta wine and salami.

Activities

If you fancy a day trip, head to the Church of Santa Maria delle Neve in Pisogne, where you'll find frescoes of the Passion of the Christ by Romanino. For more art don't miss the Valcamonica rock engravings in Capo di Ponte, which have been engraved over thousands of years, from the pre-historic to medieval and iron ages. This is fantastic if you want a more personal look at the area throughout the ages.

There are plenty of castles for you to enjoy, like the 12th Century Breno Castle and the Castello Quistini. The Castello Quistini has stunning gardens which you can also visit. Find a secluded spot and think about all the amazing things you've seen so far.

Good to know

Walking Trails: 460km of hiking trails around Lake Iseo with ferries to even more nearby areas

Terrain: paved roads, forested paths, single track paths, ascents and descents

Best time to go: May, June & September; the temperature is slightly cooler for walking. July and August are hot and sunny, so we'd recommend keeping to more shaded routes or lakeside paths; you can always cool off with a dip in the lake if need be!

Best for: All walking abilities, nature, activities, couples and friends, food & drink

Fly into: Verona Airport (approx. 2 hours)

Fly from: London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Bristol, Leeds Bradford, Newcastle

Transfer Time: approx. 1 hour

24/7 Support and advice: Over the phone from our local resort team

Inghams Guided Walks included

Feefo badge