Visit The Lake Known As Italy's Most Beautiful Instead Of Overcrowded Lake Como

If you're one of the 1.4 million visitors who make it to Lake Como each year, you know it's yet another Italian landmark that is struggling under the weight of overtourism. Whether you scored a room at the legendary Villa Balbiano, AKA the 'House Of Gucci', are taking a boat tour, or are spending your afternoons shopping, Como delivers, perhaps too well. On the other hand, if you'd rather explore an area with less glitz and glam and more undeveloped natural wonder, Lake Molveno will be more your pace.


The town of Molveno sits about 1.5 hours north of the well-known Lake Garda and about 4 hours east of the iconic Lake Como. With a total population of just over 1,100 people, it doesn't draw a lot of attention — but it should. That's because Lake Molveno (and the town that shares its name) sits in the middle of the stunning Dolomites, a mountainous region on the southern section of the more famously known Swiss Alps. On the southern side of the border, these mammoth peaks are known as the Italian Alps, or simply, the Dolomites, and if you're to embrace Rick Steves' top travel tips, such as getting away from major tourist attractions, this is the place to do it.

How to enjoy Lake Molveno

Each of Italy's 1,500 lakes has something special to offer, and Lake Molveno is no different. While Italy's coastline features some of the most famous beaches in the world, Lake Molveno offers a quiet confidence without the pomp. The locals know that Lago di Molveno, as they call it, is the perfect place to grab a picture of the Dolomite peaks reflecting on the mineral-rich water on a calm day. The grassy surroundings welcome a day of picnicking, kite flying, or frisbee, and lounging along the shoreline. Nearby, families will find a children's playground, mini-golf, water slides, pools, and other city services. You can ride or walk around the lake, too.


Activities abound on the water as well. With a notably consistent wind from spring until fall, sailing and windsurfing are popular. The clear water invites a swim on a warm day, while paddle boats offer a chance to tour across the lake. You can also paddle around with oars in a canoe or kayak or on a SUP board. When you're done, hit one of the local restaurants and you might be able to order fish that was pulled out of the lake the same day by a local fisherman.

Other reasons to love Lake Molveno

The region takes sustainability seriously, and as a result the lake has earned numerous accolades by Legambiente and Touring Club Italiano for its protective efforts. Not only does this mean the water is clean, but the surrounding area is meticulously cared for as well. The water is regularly tested for safety, there's a zero tolerance for industrial wastewater, controlled areas for pet use, and a ban on motor boats. The designation also means there are top-tier services, such as clean restrooms and designated picnic areas.


It makes sense, since Lake Molveno is part of Adamello Brenta nature park, the largest protected area in the Italian province of Trentino. When you're done hanging out by the water, this opens the door to endless hiking options and the opportunity to visit dozens of other lakes within the region. The entire town of Molveno is within the nature park, including the view from above the city when you ride the Paganella cable car to Prades plateau and the surrounding high-elevation hikes. Whether you view it from the surface, the shore, or the hills above, Lake Molveno is worth the visit.