2. Northern Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore (also called Verbano), narrows at its northern tip with steep mountain ranges pushing in on the resorts and lakeside towns. Italy merges into Switzerland for the final loop of the lake where the roads improve dramatically. Sleepy attractive Italian villages dot the area while further ahead there are the well-established holiday resorts in Swiss towns. The climate around the lake is ideal for sailing and windsurfing and also encourages banks of camellias, rhododendrons and palm trees that line the shores.
(Photo courtesy of interbeat/Flickr Creative Commons)