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Things to do in the Italian Lakes: Braving the Bucket Lifts of Lake Maggiore

(Last Updated On: 04/08/2020)

The cable cars of Lake Maggiore, commonly known as Funivie del Lago Maggiore to Sasso del Ferro mountain are one of the most fun things to do in Lake Maggiore and they are no ordinary cable cars! These bucket lifts can be taken open-topped, giving you unparalleled views of over Lake Maggiore, Po Valley and the Lakes of Lombardy as you climb the heights of the snow-capped Alps in the distance.


Braving the bucket lifts of Lake Maggiore

Braving the Bucket Lifts of Lake Maggiore

Whilst, the views are undeniably beautiful, before embarking on the trip up the mountain in the bucket lift I was terrified! I had to work up a lot of courage before braving the bucket lifts of Lake Maggiore and Adam hadn’t helped the situation…

Adam had crudely compared the bucket lifts of Lake Maggiore to a common household item (I’ll let you ponder this for yourself) and remarked how the bucket lifts are hanging but a thread. This, as you can imagine, did not alleviate my nerves!

Where to park when visiting the Bucket Lifts

In fact, I was still getting over the drive to the bucket lifts. The Sat Nav had taken us down such a narrow road to the bucket lift car park. So narrow, Adam had to physically get out the car to check beforehand that the car would squeeze through! As with most points of interest in Italy, the car park was very small and the spaces were limited.

With this in mind, I would highly recommend parking at Laveno-Mombello Railway Station car park located next to the ferry crossing and walking five minutes to the bucket lifts. This car park is free every day apart from Sunday. Odd, I know but after verifying this information with the operators at the ferry terminal, we parked up and made our way to the lifts.

Picturesque Santi Filippo E Giacomo Bell Tower Loveno Mombello

Climbing the mountains in the bucket lifts of Lake Maggiore

As I mentioned, braving the bucket lifts of Lake Maggiore is a tad on the scary side. For the initial descent, you literally have to jump in the bucket lift, hold on for dear life while your companion jumps in behind you and the door is closed. That said, after a few moments you really do begin to appreciate the open top and increasing views as you make your way up.

Beautiful views braving the bucket lifts of Lake Maggiore

If you are too faint-hearted to brave the open-top bucket lifts or are climbing the Lake Maggiore bucket lifts with kids, there are closed-top ones available too. The choice is yours!

Holiday at Golfo Gabella Resort Lake Maggiore

Bookings For You Italian Villa discount code

Open and closed topped bucket lift cable cars at Lake Maggiore

 | Read: 2 days in Venice with kids |


Despite their small size, the bucket lifts are remarkably sturdy and we didn’t feel like we were shaking side-to-side. We were also glad of the weather as it wasn’t windy or cloudy so we had a steady, clear view over the valley below us.

braving the open-top bucket lift cable cars of Lake Maggiore

Just as we thought we were getting to the top, the bucket lift climb evened out, only to make an even higher climb.

view for miles across Lake Maggiore from Funivie Del Lago Maggiore Sasso del Ferro mountain

Bucket lifts views of Lake Maggiore

If felt like we were in the bucket lifts for around 20 minutes, but a glance at the Funivie del Lago Maggiore website suggests we were only climbing for around 10 minutes.

climbing up in bucket lifts of lake maggiore italy

With my camera securely around my neck, I soon plucked up the courage to loosen my grip to take some pictures of the mesmerising view.

cable car views over Laveno Mombello

As we approached the top, we eyed a restaurant overlooking the valley and couldn’t resist a dining experience with such a fantastic view.

Panoramic Restaurant

We were shown to a table on the terrace in the aptly named, Panoramic Restaurant.  Taking in the views, we observed the bucket lifts ascending and descending as we sipped our drinks and placed our food orders.

Salted meat and views over Lake Maggiore

Bread and views at Panoramic Restaurant Lake Maggiore

To start, we shared slices of salted meat with balsamic vinegar glazed apple. A generous portion of salted beef was served, which was complemented perfectly by the sliced apple and balsamic vinegar.

Salted beef with apple slices Panaromic Restaurant

As regular readers will know, my love affair with Italy began with a food masterclass with the Giovannini family and their mouthwatering wild boar dish. For this reason, I could not resist ordering the pappardelle pasta with wild boar sauce.

pappardelle pasta with wild boar sauce at Panoramic Restaurant

Adam chose one of his Italian favourites spaghetti bolognese.

Italian Spaghetti Bolgonese Panoramic Restaurant Lake Maggiore

After sprinkling lots of Parmesan cheese, we tucked right in. The wild boar pasta did not disappoint and was full of flavour.

pappardelle pasta with wild boar sauce

The Panoramic Restaurant offers diners such a beautiful setting to dine and, in all honesty, we could have quite happily sat there all day.

The flower foliage provided a beautiful frame for my photos and videos too.

Pretty views overlooking the closed-top bucket lift cable car of Lake Maggiore

After seeing someone fly through the sky on a kite, we left this scenic spot to explore the little trails atop the cable car terminal.

Picturesque paragliding scenes over Lake Maggiore

Paragliding over Lake Maggiore

If braving the bucket lifts of Lake Maggiore is water off a duck’s back, why not brave paragliding off the side of the cliff?

Paraglide off the top of Sasso del Ferro mountain

Before you ask, I didn’t do it either. Though, weirdly part of me wondered whether I could do it…with an expert strapped to me of course!

Paraglide off the top of Sasso del Ferro mountain

I’m certainly no adrenaline junkie, but it sure looks like great fun!

Sailing through the air paragliding over Lake Maggiore

Watching the paraglider take flight reminded me of the scene from A Bugs Life when the characters soar through the air on a bird they’ve made to scare the grasshoppers away. Yes, I have a vivid imagination.

Adrenaline Junkie Paraglider in Lake Maggiore Italy

A little crowd had gathered to watch the paragliders fly through the skies below, and everyone was caught up in the excitement (cameras at the ready.)

Shortly after, we left the crowds and soaked up the scenery on a striped two-seater swing chair. Watching the wildflowers blow in the wind and the snow-capped mountains in the distance really made us appreciate the beauty of our surroundings.

wildflowers atop Sasso del Ferro mountain

Views over Lake Maggiore atop Sasso del Ferro mountain

Before our visit, we really had not anticipated spending that much time atop the mountain of the bucket lifts, but the incredible scenery was too beautiful not to be enjoyed.

Sparkling sunshine views over Lake Maggiore in the Italian Riviera

Adam and I sat side-by-side on the swing chair enjoying the peace and tranquility of the valley and lake views below us.

Scenic Seating atop Sasso del Ferro mountain

For those visiting with families, there is also a children’s play area, snack bar and pretty nature trails.

Green scenery atop Sasso del Ferro mountain

Braving the Bucket Lifts of Lake Maggiore – Worth the Risk?

Yes, the bucket lifts can be a tad scary at first but once you put those fears to one side you can fully appreciate the remarkable views. I must say, the views are even better on the way down! 

Braving the bucket lifts atop Sasso del Ferro mountain

Sunray lightening bolt through Santi Filippo E Giacomo Bell Tower Laveno Mombello

All in all, I was proud of myself for braving the bucket lifts of Lake Maggiore (especially, as I’d opted for the open-top cable car!) Mesmerising views over the valley and delicious Italian cuisine is enough to entice me that’s for sure!

A feeling of accomplishment braving the bucket lifts of Lake Maggiore Italy

One for Northern Italy bucket list for sure! Would you brave the bucket lifts? I hope you enjoyed reading about my near-death experience braving the bucket lifts of Lake Maggiore! Click the links below to read my other Italy posts for inspiration on things to do in Italy, where to stay and more!

Italian Lakes – The Best Things to Do in Lake Maggiore

Italian Lakes Holiday at Golfo Gabella Resort Lake Maggiore 

Fun Day Trip from Lake Maggiore to Switzerland

What to Wear in Northern Italy in September/October

Living La Dolce Vita at Corte dei Massapi Villa Puglia

Jaz xoxo

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  1. 21/10/2018 / 3:20 pm

    Oh my, I am not usually a scaredy cat but looking at those bucket lifts made mea little nauseous. LOL! I want to visit Italy in the future, Tuscany to be precise and I want to eat pasta every day.

    • thelifeofasocialbutterfly
      27/10/2018 / 11:10 pm

      I have never seen cable cars like this before as they’re normally closed in! It was very scary at first but totally worth it for the views and yummy food! 😋 I would love to visit Tuscany too. It looks stunning in the Spring/Summer months with all the flowers. X

  2. 21/10/2018 / 11:48 pm

    Omg the view from up there is insane! What a gorgeous little village! I’d love to go up in the cable cars. It seems like you had a lot of fun (and great food!)

    • thelifeofasocialbutterfly
      27/10/2018 / 11:08 pm

      Thanks so much for reading Deborah! The views are absolutely incredible from the top and definitely worth braving the bucket lifts for! X

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