Disclaimer: Lake Maggiore Itinerary and Italian Lakes Holiday at Golfo Gabella Resort is part of a press trip with villas in Northern Italy specialists Bookings For You. Thoughts & photos are my own as always.
Peace and tranquillity are not words often used to describe staying on a holiday resort. Though, self-catering holidays in Lake Maggiore Italy (or Lago Maggiore as it’s known by the locals) do not come much nicer than a holiday at Golfo Gabella Resort, which fronts the beautiful scenery of the Italian Lakes.
The Golfo Gabella Resort located in Maccagno sits along Lake Maggiore, one of the most tranquil of the Italian Lakes. Whilst, perhaps a little less known than Lake Como and Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore is, in fact, the second largest of the Italian Lakes and one of the best lakes to visit on your Northern Italy itinerary. If you’re hoping to spend two days in Milan exploring the sights and shops, you’ll want to add on some time to spend a few blissful days to stay in Lake Maggiore.
Observing the lull of the water, mountains and greenery, peppered here and there with a golden autumn glow; it’s easy to unwind and appreciate the beauty of the resort’s surroundings.
Lake Maggiore Things to Do
Though, this quiet and authentic area of Lake Maggiore is far from boring for those looking for a more active break, as I soon discovered…
A holiday at the Golfo Gabella Resort is as relaxing or active as you want it to be.
The Golfo Gabella Resort boasts a large swimming pool, hot tub and a children’s splash pool, all overlooking the picturesque Lake Maggiore lakefront. Those looking for places to stay with kids in Lake Maggiore should look no further than Golfo Gabella, with a range of activities for families in Lake Maggiore such as the bucket lifts, water parks and mountain-topped rollercoasters; there are plenty of fun things to do located nearby.
For more relaxing days, books are also available if you forget to bring your own and want to curl up with a book on the shores of Lake Maggiore.
Free to use electric bikes and kayaks enable an active stay, as well as the chance to explore the scenery nearby.
For those looking to venture a little further afield, boat hire is available along the waterfront enabling you to take a boat out at your own pace to visit pretty towns such as Cannobio. A water taxi stand is located opposite the hotel front to take guests to the popular Cannobio Sunday Market.
If you’re seeking places to visit in Lake Maggiore, you will be pleased to know driving around Lake Maggiore couldn’t be easier (Italian drivers and all.) We enjoyed day trips to the Luino Wednesday Market, Stresa, St Catherine’s Monastery and the beautiful Borromean islands.
Self Catering Holidays in Lake Maggiore
Golfo Gabella’s self-catering apartments all provide a large space to relax with an open-plan kitchen area, dining area and additional outside terrace. Handy features such as free WiFi/air-conditioning, kettle, dishwasher, full-length mirror and heating make the stay that much more comfortable. The hair-dryer in the room made getting ready that much easier, as well as saved valuable space in my hand-luggage (click here to read my Italian Lakes Autumn Packing Guide.)
One of the things I like most about the resort is the variety of apartments available to suit various budgets. From a more simplistic stay to picturesque lake view apartments overlooking Lake Maggiore, to suit both couples and groups of families; there are apartments available to suit all needs and budgets. The best thing about self-catering holidays in Lake Maggiore is that you are obliged to check out the local cuisine!
You can’t help but be wowed by not only the views but also the design of some of the apartments. The trendy apartment shown below has a mirrored tv, additional foldaway beds and kitchen area as well as cubby WC with lakeside views!
I bet some deep thinking goes on whilst sitting on this toilet!
Before you think this apartment looks far too exposed for your liking, you will be glad to know blinds can be drawn to shield the bathroom area and windows!
It’s adaptable spaces such as these that really enable guests to enjoy a holiday at Golfo Gabella Resort, as they have the freedom to alter their living space to their own requirements.
Parking at Golfo Gabella Resort
For peace of mind, the Golfo Gabella Resort has gated underground parking with access granted via a resort key. Great features for those travelling with a young family, or who like me, get paranoid about the wellbeing of the hire car!
Where to Eat in Maccagno Lake Maggiore
Make like the Italians and enjoy a coffee and a croissant for breakfast in the onsite cafe bar or on warmer days out on the terrace. And why not, Italians are known for having the best coffee in the world!
I can verify the chocolate croissants are very tasty too!
And for the evenings, especially after long days of exploring you will be glad to know the onsite restaurant has a fantastic menu.
In fact, Adam and I dined twice at Ottone, the sleek onsite restaurant during our five-night stay. The restaurant is modern (check out the light-up taps) but also has a rustic feel with alcoves and exposed stone walls.
We enjoyed a bottle of Pinot Grigio on both nights we dined, as well as enjoyed some classic Italian dishes; pizza (for Adam) and seafood ragu pasta for me. I particularly loved the grilled picagna with spicy baked potato for main.
Adam and I shared the chocolate cake with a melting heart, berries and pistachio ice cream on our first visit, but I had to have one to myself on our second visit!
The old town of Maccagno is full of historic charm and is under five minutes walking distance from the Golfo Gabella Resort, where you will find a supermarket, as well as a smattering of cafes and restaurants. We enjoyed a cappuccino and a cake or two at Cerinotti Cafe and, a pizza at Bar Ristorante Italia during our stay. We even used the local takeaway restaurant one night after a long day of exploring.
Our host’s Bookings For You kindly arranged a cooking masterclass with local chef Alessio, who owns intimate mountain restaurant Osteria D’Alberto. You can read about this cooking experience by clicking here.
Holiday at Golfo Gabella Resort
All in all, a holiday at Golfo Gabella Resort gave us a haven on the pretty Italian Lakes where we enjoyed peace and tranquillity, within an easy distance to explore all Lake Maggiore has to offer as a tourist destination.
We hired a car, which we picked up from the airport and took us around 1 hour 30 mins to drive. A car hire enabled us to really explore the area, though it is possible to get the train from the airport to the resort.
If basking in the enchanting lakeside views doesn’t quite quench your appetite, and like us, you want to explore more of the area; adventures await nearby. The stunning Borromean Islands are a drive and short boat ride away as well as the daring mountain bucket lifts. To our delight, the Swiss Border is only a 45-minute drive along Lake Maggiore, where we enjoyed a splash park, cable car ride and a hair-raising mountaintop rollercoaster. Check out our day trip from Lake Maggiore to Switzerland road trip by clicking here.
The weather in Lake Maggiore couldn’t have been better during our trip in the Autumn and, with the resort being a little quieter I’d say September is arguably the best time to visit Lake Maggiore.
Special thanks to the Golfo Gabella Resort Lake Maggiore for my stay on their picturesque complex and to Bookings For You Villas in Italian Lakes Specialists for giving me the opportunity to explore yet another wonderful area of Italy.
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