The seaside beaches of Europe are among the most beautiful in the world, attracting millions of sun seekers during the summer months. Consequently, it’s hard to avoid crowded coastlines, that come with endless rows of lounge chairs, bumper-to-bumper traffic along narrow roads and long queues at bars and restaurants. Our advice? Leave behind the masses and enjoy the delights of summer at these stunning lakes found in Europe’s sublime Lake Districts.
Lake Como – Italy
For centuries, the Italian Lake District has been one of the most sought-after vacation spots in Europe. Surrounded by the rolling forests of the foothills of the Alps, its gentle waters are dotted with scenic villages and lavish villas. There are eight main lakes, but Gaia de Bueger of Trust&Travel and excellence.villas doesn’t hesitate one moment in choosing her favorite: Lake Como.
“The romantic poet Shelley correctly stated that it ‘exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty.’ The best way to discover the lake is definitively by cruising on a slow ferry floating past villas and small villages clinging to the water’s edge. You can stop in Varenna, a small village on the eastern shore of Lake Como.
“Here you can lunch at Cavallino: La Trattoria Dei Pescatori, a delightful place serving great fish dishes. Then, from the dock, stroll south to Villa Monastero, a former monastery and noble residence that today draws visitors to its lakeside gardens. On the opposite shore, you can visit another jewel of Como, Villa Carlotta, a former marquis’s mansion dating from the late 17th century and its romantic Italian gardens. In the city of Como, a favorite restaurant is Market Place, which is a sophisticated venue in the city center with only 12 seats.”
A perfect base from which to discover Lake Como is the sophisticated Villa dell’Imperatrice. The neoclassical villa is virtually suspended over the water on a beautifully manicured 7-acre park. It sleeps 12 guests in six double bedrooms, four with ensuite bathrooms and two with their own private bathrooms across the corridor large windows. The decor is a stylish mix of classic antiques and comfortable modern furniture. It has lovely French doors, a spacious terrace, a balcony, a private boat deck as well as a panoramic swimming pool with phenomenal views over the lake.
For more information about the Villa dell’Imperatrice or their other magnificent luxury villas on Lake Como, contact Trust&Travel and excellence.villas here.
Lake Garda – Italy
Though it’s often overshadowed by its neighbor, Lake Como, many similar pleasures and beauty can be enjoyed on Lake Garda, a favorite of Marina Gratsos from Carpe Diem Luxury Travel.
“There are plenty of picturesque towns on the lake,” says Marina. “Like the lovely historic town of Salò, dating back to Roman times. Visit on a Saturday to catch its excellent morning market, admire the city center’s Renaissance palazzos and take a stroll along its promenade (the longest on Lake Garda) before having lunch of traditional local dishes at the refine Hotel Laurin.
“While vacationing on the lake you can also visit Il Vittoriale, the fascinating, bizarre and exotic house of the great Italian poet, eccentric and proto-fascist Gabriele d’Annunzio. Lastly, book a table at the gorgeous hotel Villa Feltrinelli for a delicious meal at its Michelin-starred restaurant.”
Nearby Salò is arguably the finest private property on Lake Garda: this early 16th-century lakefront palazzo that has been in the owner’s family since its foundation. The palazzo has a beautiful garden, three little beaches on the lake, a private dock, six bedrooms and six bathrooms and comes with staffing. There is no pool, but guests generally swim in the lake from the house, or take out the boats and do day trips or water sports on the lake.
To reserve your stay at this beautiful villa or learn about other options in the Italy Lake District contact Carpe Diem Luxury Travel at this link.
With its 76 lakes, the Austrian Lake District of Salzkammergut, is one of Europe’s finest. Once the playground of Austria’s aristocracy, including the Emperor himself, the area boasts crystal clear blue lakes, green pre-alpine mountains, quaint villages and elegant lakeside villas.
Highlights of the area include the towns of Mondsee and UNESCO World Cultural certified Hallstatt. However, according to our local expert Monika Mayr-Melnhof at Schloss Kogl Castle, Lake Attersee combines the best attributes of the region. The largest lake in Salzkammergut, Attersee was the retreat for many artists, musicians and intellectuals like Gustav Klimt, Gustav Mahler and Johannes Brahms.
Spend some time communing with its spectacular nature by hiking through peaceful forests or by enjoying the lake’s many watersports such as swimming, sailing, water-skiing or diving. Monika also recommends attending a chamber concert at the Pfarrkirche Sankt Georgen Church. Afterward sample some of the region’s best wiener schnitzel at the elegant restaurant Bräugasthof Aichingerin Nussdorf.
In the nearby countryside is the refined Schloss Kogl Castle. Built in 1750, it has been owned by the Barons of Mayr-Melnhof since 1872. The baroque castle was entirely renovated in 2000 and is furnished in an elegant fin-du-siècle style. When you’re not exploring the area’s many splendors you can sit by the fireplace in the library, lounge by the pool in the garden, meander the graceful grounds or strike out on their historic bowling lane.
Join the Mayr-Melnhof family at their luxurious castle by contacting Schloss Kogl here.
Loch Ness – Scotland
The British Isles have several Lake Districts, but Andrew Loyd, director of Loyd & Townsend Rose, takes us north to Scotland and in particular to Loch Ness. Certainly the country’s most famous lake – thanks to its legendary monster – Loch Ness is also the country’s largest.
“Undoubtedly, one of the most popular things to do on the lake is a boat cruise in search of ”Nessie,” says Andrew. “However, there are many other excellent local attractions like the Culloden Battlefield, an important site of the religious civil war, historic Cawdor Castle and the ruins of Castle Urquhart.
“The area is also ideal for hill walking, bicycling and horseback riding. Hunting fans can take their hand at archery, falconry and clay & game shooting. Golfers may want to journey a little further north to tee off at the Royal Dornoch Golf Club. Make sure to have a meal at the quaint Dores Inn. Located right on the loch, its friendly staff serve up modern dishes and traditional Scottish cuisine, like their famous Stuart Grant Haggis with Neeps & tatties, mustard cream sauce.”
Enjoy the best of Scottish country life by staying at the exceptional Baronial Castle. Found on the banks of the lake, this authentic Highland Estate is the only habitable castle on Loch Ness. The classically furnished castle sleeps 28 in its meticulously restored luxurious state bedrooms. Have a moment to yourself in its opulent drawing room and library, or pick up a cue in the billiards room. The 500-acre estate features formal gardens, woodland and a private marina from which to embark onto the loch.
You can enquire about this castle or many other exquisite properties in the United Kingdom and Ireland by contacting Loyd & Townsend Rose at this link.