Lake Maggiore is a sizeable body of water that straddles the border between Switzerland and Italy, just to the south of the Alps. As such, Baveno's lakeside location makes it a place for rugged beauty, with a whole lot of awe-inspiring views to match.
Plus, with a lake on hand comes a number of water-born activities, too. Out in Baveno, you can spend your days strolling along the waterfront or rent a boat and explore the waves yourself. There are also watersport schools that'll loan you gear and teach you the basics for activities like wakeboarding, windsurfing and waterskiing.
Traditional Italian delights
To leave the land of pizza and pasta without tasting local Italian food would be a holiday travesty of epic proportions. Luckily, Baveno provides a whole host of opportunities to try its famous cuisine right from its source. In Baveno, you can expect succulent seafood and hearty pastas, plus classic pizzas and the odd burger and chips with a Mediterranean twist.
Much of the restaurants here take advantage of their stunning locations, stashed up along the waterfront or hidden away down side streets deep within the village. And the dining vibes aren't one size fits all, either – you've got everything from white table cloth service to funky cafes, street pizza and busy, family-run trattorias, too.
The Borromean Islands are a cluster of little islands that sit close to the shores of Baveno. Their picturesque village settings and close proximity to Baveno mean visits here are a top choice for daytrips.
Isola Bella – which aptly translates to 'beautiful island' in English – is a mere 400 metres wide, but still contains a fabulously-elaborate palace, gardens and a little fishing village. Isola dei Pescatori – which means 'fisherman's island' – is the only continuously-habited island of the bunch, complete with a tiny fishing village that's heavy on the charm.
Finally, there's Isola Madre, the biggest of the Borromean clan. It was once home to a 9th-century church, though a palace and an impressive set of gardens have since been built on the site.
Piazza della Chiesa
The sandy-coloured Piazza della Chiesa is an unexpected little window into Baveno's past, located not far from the waterfront in the city's centre. Altogether, this little site includes an open square and an adjoining chapel with a bell tower, both of which are peppered with religious frescoes that were painted way back in the day.
What's most notable about this little corner of Baveno is its tranquillity. Though not far from the main hustle and bustle of the city, strolls through this quiet sanctuary are supremely peaceful and will give you a well-earned breather before you venture back into the Italian streets.
Baveno's lakeside location might inspire yearnings for lazy days, but its surrounding mountains beckon a little adventure during your Austrian holiday.
Trails twisting up through the mountains and past the quarry will help you break a sweat and provide gorgeous views over the village and beyond. For an even bigger spike in your heart rate, the Alps lay just on the horizon, where snowy landscapes and ski holidays are the norm.