Blue sky. Shimmering Lakes. Vast mountains. Dolce Vita. Awww, when I think about Lombardy, I can’t stop raving about this part of Italy.
As I live in the south of Germany, Italy is not far, and I’ve been to almost all parts of Italy: From the rugged Alpine landscape in the north all the way south to the so-called “Maldives of Italy” in Apulia.
Yet, my heart still skips a beat thinking about the country’s gem tucked at the foot of the Alps: Lombardy.
This area offers the perfect mix of “La Dolce Vita” – the sweet Italian lifestyle, amazing food, and picturesque countryside. At the same time, it’s not as chaotic as further south.
So let’s have a look at how you can spend 2 weeks in Lombardy and the places you shouldn’t miss.
What to do during two weeks in Lombardy, Italy?
Soak up some history in Milan
When you’re planning to spend two weeks in Lombardy, Milan is the perfect place to start your trip. As it’s the region’s capital, it’s also the perfect place to fly to, in case you arrive by plane.
Milan is well-known for its fashion scene, expensive designer boutiques, and some famous sights, such as the Dome or Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. While these places are well worth seeing, the city offers so much more. You can find an interesting mix of historic and modern monuments in Milan, antique sites as well as (of course!) amazing food.
So take your time and spend a few days in Milan to see more than its famous sights. Stroll through the beautiful Brera quarter, where you can have an authentic lunch in an old Trattoria. Or visit the antique castle Castello Sforzesco, and relax in its huge park. And don’t forget to head to Navigli for a nice drink right next to the canal.
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Enjoy la Dolce vita at Lake Como
From Milan, you can easily get to Lake Como which is around one hour by car or a direct train ride. There are direct trains to Lecco, Como or Varenna. All of these towns are super beautiful and worth checking out. And you can easily take a boat (called “Batello” over here) from one town to the next.
Lake Como is the perfect place to spend a few days or a long weekend. It’s actually where the Milanese escape the bustling city for a short holiday or a weekend trip to hike Monte Barro or Monte Resegone. Enclosed by large mountains, you can find countless cypresses and colorful Italian towns and villages along the crystal clear lake.
Over here, you can spend hours exploring cute towns or enjoy La Dolce Vita in a lakeside café next to loudly chatting Italians, sipping Aperol by the gleaming water. Also, there are numerous hikes, always with a spectacular view. And for the adventurous, why not opt for some water activities such as water-skiing or kite surfing? Sound like the perfect place to calm down, right?
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Visit the medieval town of Bergamo
Only half an hour from Lake Como, you can reach the next gem in Lombardy.
What a historic town! With an old center that rests on top of a hill, Bergamo offers steep, picturesque alleys, and a great view across the Lombardian countryside.
Between the lower and upper parts of the town, you can take a funicular railway, in case you don’t want to climb up the steep road. The old part of Bergamo is surrounded by impressive Venetian defensive walls with several historic gates.
When you’re in Bergamo, you should definitely check out Piazza Vecchia, the Colleoni Chapel and walk along Viale Della Mura in order to see several sections of the historic walls.
Even though it’s a smaller town, Bergamo also has an airport. So you can also start your Lombardy trip in Bergamo and continue to the other places in Lombardy from here.
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Learn how delicious olive oil is made at Lake Garda
Did you know that Lake Garda is located right between three Italian regions? While the eastern part belongs to the Veneto region, the north to the region Trentino Alto Adige and the west to Lombardy. Due to this location, Lake Garda combines a beautiful mixture of various Italian cultures.
The western or Lombardian coast is my favorite part of Lake Garda. It’s less touristy and therefore also less crowded than the south and the east, even during the high season.
Some of the lake’s most beautiful towns belong to the Lombardy region, such as Sirmione, Manerba, and Limone.
During your time at the lake, don’t miss joining an olive oil tasting! Some of the best Italian olive oils are from the olive groves by Lake Garda. And many of them allow visits and even offer tours. It’s impressive to see how the premium oil is produced and all the hard work that’s necessary to get this amazing taste in the end.
Some olive oil producers also grow wine, so you can combine your tour with a wine tasting. What else do you need?
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Relax at Lago d’Iseo
Among the northern Italian Lakes, Lake Iseo is the fourth largest, and it may be the most authentic one. Even though the area is gorgeous, and the lake is just as clear as Lake Como, it’s still quite untouched by tourism.
The region surrounding this charming lake is mostly known for wine production. Most of the vineyards have specialized their production on Franciacorta – the high-quality sparkling wine. It’s like the Italian sister of Champagne. So don’t miss visiting a vineyard and book a Franciacorta wine tasting at Lake Iseo.
Besides, you can enjoy the lake by swimming, hanging out on one of the beaches, or taking a bike trip around the lake.
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What do you need to know before spending 2 weeks in Lombardy?
How to get to Lombardy?
In case you’re not able to reach northern Italy by car or train, you can fly to Milan or to Bergamo.
However, I can tell you that the drive across the Alps is quite spectacular, so I highly recommend arriving by car.
But there are also great train and even coach connections from other European countries.
How to get around Lombardy?
Lombardy is not a huge region, so distances are short. Most of the distances are less than an hour by car or train.
If you rent a car or drive around with your own car, you’re more flexible. This gives you the option to stop at a cute roadside café or a small lake you pass by. The roads are great and there’s a lot to see on the way.
In case you don’t want to take a car, the train connection between the major towns and the lakes is also great. So you can also have a great time getting around Lombardy by train.
What’s the best time for traveling to Lombardy?
While the area is beautiful all year round (just think about snowy mountains surrounding the lakes in winter), I’d say spring and autumn are the perfect time.
In summer, it can get really hot and even though the lakes are refreshing, it’s also usually rather crowded, especially around Lake Garda and Milan.
So spring and autumn offer nice, warm weather. Some days warm enough to relax by one of the beaches, but not too hot to go sightseeing.
How much time do you need to see Lombardy?
As the region is quite diverse and there’s a lot to see and many activities you can join, I highly recommend spending at least ten days in Lombardy. If you’ve got less time, you should rather pick one area, such as Lake Como and focus on diving into the highlights there.
For a relaxed trip without a hassle, two weeks are perfect for a trip around Lombardy.
If you’d like to extend your time in Italy, why not continue to Tuscany? It’s really close to Lombardy and offers just as many amazing landscapes!
This post was written by Jill, the author behind Jill on journey, where she writes on sustainable travel, shares inspiration on travel destinations, and provides tips on how to travel more eco-friendly. Having traveled to more than 50 countries, she has a rich experience of different cultures all over the world. Her mission is to inspire other travelers to see the beauty of this world, so they learn the importance of protecting it.
Other posts you may be interested in:
Trekking by Como Lake in Italy. From Lecco to Monte Resegone
Trekking by Como Lake in Italy. From Lecco to Monte Barro.