Forested slopes tapering down to the glistening blue expanse, centuries-old palazzos enthroned on lush islands, and grand hotels evoking classic Italian charm; this is Lake Maggiore. One of the lesser-visited of Italy’s northern lakes, it is also one of the largest at 66km long, stretching all the way into Switzerland with mighty peaks teetering above it. Aside from arresting panoramas, Lake Maggiore is known for the Borromean Islands that float elegantly above its glassy waters. Here, Baroque palaces nestle alongside exquisite, flower-filled gardens that need to be seen to be believed, with resident peacocks adding to the regal air. As well as taking a boat trip to the islands, your time in Lake Maggiore could be spent unearthing the regional hub, Stresa, with its quaint waterfront promenade and centuries-old houses.