Maggiore lake: a great alternative to Como lake, Italy

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View on Maggiore lake and a church, Laveno-Mombello
View on Maggiore lake and a church

Since I saw Martin’s pictures of Como lake from his previous visit, I got obsessed with it. I’ve got a dream of celebrating my Birthday at the shore of this magnificent Italian lake, drinking wine and eating mozzarella.

I cherished this dream right until the moment when I saw pictures of my good Italian friend Samuele from the lake Maggiore. This is when my dream has changed together with our travel plans.

Arriving to Maggiore lake, Italy

Easy Jet plane in Corfu
Boarding in sunny Corfu

We took a plane from Corfu to Milan on Wednesday, 18th of September. After a long wait at the airport in Greece we still had quite a journey in Italy, until we reached our destination.

The flight was fast and comfortable. We used an EasyJet regular flight Corfu – Milan. Nice service, comfortable seats. All was fine. When we arrived to Italy, we were a bit surprised with the airport terminal. We needed to find an information stand ass we didn’t know where was the train station. Unfortunately, there was no information stand. Like at all.

Train seats in Italy
Trains in Italy are comfortable

We went to the office of a railway company. Women, who worked there, did everything super fast and seemed quite stressed. We could not decide whether to buy a weekly ticket for all transport in the Lombardy or not.

Saronno station, Italy
Saronno station

Here we must say a huge grazie to Samuele, since he gave us supper detailed instructions and a lot of tips on how to get to Laveno-Mombello (the town we chose to stay in) and what tickets we would need.

In the end, we decided to take single tickets, because places we could visit were out of Lombardy and it would make buying this weekly ticket quite senseless.

Laveno-Mombello Nord train station with a view to Maggiore lake
What we saw when we arrived to Laveno-Mombello Nord train station

So we took two trains from the station in Milan with a change in Saronno, and by the sunset we have arrived to Laveno-Mombello.

Right at the station, when we went out of the train we saw the fabulous Maggiore lake in pastel shades.
Maggiore lake as we found it upon our arrival

What a beauty of nature! I was absolutely happy to be there.

Apartment at Maggiore lake in Laveno-Mombello, Italy

Our two-levels apartment in Laveno-Mombello
Our two-levels apartment in Laveno-Mombello

We rented an apartment for 6 nights. It was quite close to the train station. However, the town is quite small, so everything seemed close enough. The apartment was located on a hill and it took our last strengths to get there with our bags.

The owner lived right next to us. He welcomed us and showed the place. From all the places we stayed in during our trip, this one is definitely in the top-list. A super cosy and comfortable, fully equipped two-floors apartment with a view to the Maggiore lake and Italian Alps. A place from my dreams.

Our first breakfast with the view to Maggiore lake
Our first breakfast with the view to Maggiore lake

I remember a couple of years ago I exchanged pictures of my dream-breakfast with one of my friends (Marina, I’m talking about you 😛 ) and this was my dream come true.

Compliment from the host: wine and chocolate with nice quotes
Compliment from the host

The owner was super nice to leave a compliment for us: a bottle of local red wine and Italian chocolate Baci with interesting quotes written in different languages.

Pizza from the pizzeria that our host recommended
Pizza from the pizzeria that our host recommended

To finish this long day we went to the pizzeria that our host recommended and grabbed a delicious pizza for dinner. Our Italian Dolce Vita has begun.

Laveno-Mombello: a cosy small town with a 5-stars view on the Maggiore lake, Italy

Maggiore lake, Italy
Clouded view to maggiore lake from our window

On the next day we went to the supermarket (because when we arrived everything was already closed) in the morning and prepared a nice breakfast. The day was quite grey, but we enjoyed the view from our window anyway.

We were “lucky”, because the weather was unbearably hot right until the moment when we arrived. So we’ve got more of an Autumn-like vibes instead of a little continuation of the Summer. Still was great.

Nicely designed patio with plants, Laveno-Mombello, Italy
Nicely designed patio with plants

Laveno-Mombello is situated in a kind of a bay of the Maggiore lake. A part of the town is located on the hill, the rest – down at the lake level. The population is not big, somewhat around 9000 people. It is a quite and cosy place with a great view to the lake.

Pierce in Laveno-Mombello

We enjoyed walking at the lake in any time of the day. All the main attractions (the church, the lake itself and the cable car) were right next to our apartment. Also from our windows we could see the main train station and the main street.

Beach at Maggiore lake where you can swim

During hot weather it is possible to swim in the lake, but we didn’t have a chance to try it. It was way too cold for it.

We had not too many plans for our time in Laveno-Mombello. Mostly we wanted to enjoy delicious food, spectacular views and spend some time with our friend and his family. It all was done and was great. Italy conquered our hearts forever.

Italian hospitality

El Pino! We miss him a lot 🙂

During our trips we saw Russian salad in many places. It is an adapted version of a Russian salad called “Oliv’ye” that never looks like what we do. It always misses ingredients, proportions are different. So I decided that one of my missions is to show people how we really do it 😀 (along with teaching them that we do NOT say “na zdorovie” when we toast).

For the dinner I prepared the salad to bring something original from our side. We expected to be welcomed well, but we did not expect it to be SO well.

At Samuele’s, delicious food!

The dinner was delicious! We started with different kinds of cheese and ham, veggies, salad and some wine. And also grilled meat and sausages. We were quite full with that already.

Samuele’s father is great at cooking and he prepared a nice and big T-bone steak for us too. It was medium-cooked, i.e. it had blood. technically, it was not blood, so we were told, but it pretty much looked like that.

The T-bone steak held by Samuele: our good friend, great composer, writer, translator and just an awesome person. Big grazie also to Samuele’s parents for welcoming us at their beautiful house

Neither Martin, nor I have tried a medium-cooked meet before. We have some doubts, but we were also honored to be guests at such a feast, so we could not just refuse it. We’ve put some salt-slakes on the meat and tried it… And it was very good!

Even though we were already fully-full, bur we finished it with gratitude. Little did we know what expected us afterwards.

Dessert goes straight to heart 🙂

A home-made tiramisu and a set of desserts we bought instead of a cake for my Birthday 🙂

Samuele and his family have a bar with dozens of different drinks. When we were told before dinner that later we would try like 10 of them, we thought it was a joke. Well, it was not. We tried a lot of different liquors and digestives. Most of all I liked Bicerin liqueur. It comes from Turin and is used to make chocolate sweets typical for that region: gianduiotti (this candy I got for free at one of the restaurants in Turin, I love Italy!).

We also had pastry and fruit for dessert, together with sparkling wine and very warm communication. We enjoyed our time with Samuele’s family a lot!

It proved once again that Italy is a place we want to come over and over again, not only for fantastic nature, rich history, amazing sights and delicious food, but also for warm and hospitable people, who know how to relax and enjoy the moment 🙂

Alps from the window

For Christmas times when it is cold this statue is put under water in the lake Maggiore

In the last couple of days we woke up early enough to notice that we actually can see the snow peaks of Alps. Later they disappeared because of the light angle and humidity, but in the morning the air is clear and transparent.

Morning Alps from our window

It was an amazing experience. Never in our lives had we such a breathtaking view from the windows. We have spent a wonderful week in the North of Italy, in the beautiful Laveno-Mombello.

I never regret for one bit changing our plans and coming there instead of the Como lake. We are super grateful to Samuele and his family for welcoming us and keeping us company during our stay there.

From Laveno-Mombello we continued our Italian tour. What a beautiful country it is!