Italian lakes by motorhome: tips, areas, itineraries

La Lombardie en Camping-car

How to visit Italy’s lakes by motorhome or van? Discover our guide for a successful trip to Lombardy!

In our opinion, a van or motorhome is one of the best ways to travel. Firstly, visiting Italian lakes by camper van gives you great freedom of movement. Secondly, you won’t have to compare the prices of hotels in the towns bordering a particular lake. Fancy a romantic weekend or a family getaway? This destination most often refers to the lakes of northern Italy. These are vast basins wedged between the Alps and the Po Valley, from Milan to Venice. The best-known of these are Lakes Garda, Maggiore, Como and Lugano. But there are dozens more on the Italian peninsula, from Lombardy toUmbria and as far south as Puglia. Would you like to take a road-trip through Italy’s lakes in a motorhome?

Italy’s cultural and culinary heritage reveals its charms. The program includes an idyllic climate, an explosion of Mediterranean colors and a festival of flavors. Finally, it’s a marathon of art and history that has fascinated its guests since Roman times. Here’s our mini-guide to the Italian lakes by motorhome!

Route ideas around the Italian lakes by motorhome

Lac de garde, route, Italie

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Stefano Termanini

Not sure where to start? From France, Switzerland,Austria or Slovenia, the Italian lakes have many points of access. Wherever you start from, you’ll find beautiful views and picturesque villages along the way. As you prepare, imagine the scenery and atmosphere. The lakes offer superb views of snow-capped peaks, contrasting with the deep blue of the lake. Admire the lush Mediterranean vegetation on the mountainsides and the villages planted with olive and lemon trees. In short, visiting Italy’s lakes by motorhome is a veritable aesthetic pilgrimage.

Logically, your itinerary should be tailored to the length of your trip. You can’t visit all the Italian lakes in three days: for a weekend, you’ll need to restrict your roaming area. Stick to a single lake, for example. Here are a few ideas for itineraries based on the length of your trip:

  • Lake Garda over 3 days: Sirmione, Bardolino, Riva del Garda and Linfano, Monte Baldo, Gargnano, Peschiera del Garda, Verona.
  • Lacs italiens en 3 jours

    Source : Caramaps

  • Lake Como over 3 days: Lecco, Bellagio, Como, Menaggio, the Greenway del lago di Como from Colonne to Griante.
  • Le Lac de Côme en Camping-car

    Source : Caramaps

  • Lake Maggiore over 3 days: Suna, Palanza, Intra, Baveno, Stresa, Arona, Borromean Islands, Laveno,
  • Italian lakes in 15 days: Lake Garda, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano, Lake Orta (Orta, Sacro Monte, Pettenasco), Lake Iseo (Monte Isola, Pisogne, Sarnico), southern Italian lakes (Trasimeno, Bolsena, Albano, Bracciano, Varano, Lesina).

Visiting Italy’s lakes by motorhome will give you the pleasure of visiting Italy and its natural capital. What’s more, these wilderness escapades will allow you to explore the country in an unusual way: by the water. These stages are obviously only indicative, but they represent the must-see Italian lakes.

Driving around Italian lakes in a motorhome: traffic rules you need to know

Comment circuler en Lombardie ?

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Daniel Jedzura

Driving in Italy

Italy’s roads are renowned for being considered racetracks. Italians love speed and sporty, even reckless, driving. You might even think that traffic regulations don’t apply in Italy. But paradoxically, road users remain respectful and courteous. Driving fast doesn’t mean not paying attention! One rule to remember, however: right of way belongs to the person who takes it! In Italy, freeway traffic can be very dense, especially on the Milan-Venice route. The A4, for example, is one of Europe’s major arteries. It’s often packed with lorries heading in all directions: Portugal, Spain, France, the Balkans. So take extra care when visiting the Italian lakes by motorhome.

The Italian Highway Code

Generally speaking, the highway code in Italy is the same as in France. Motorhomes must be equipped with a reflective vest, warning triangle, first-aid kit and spare wheel. Each passenger must, of course, wear a seatbelt when the vehicle is in motion. It is now compulsory to turn on the low beam, day and night. Speed limits for motorhomes are as follows:

  • 50 km/h in built-up areas,
  • 90-110 km/h on secondary roads,
  • 130 km/h on freeways.

To know more

The maximum legal blood alcohol level is 0.5 g/l. Speed checks by automatic radar are frequent. We therefore recommend that you never exceed the speed limit. Bear in mind that historic city centers have restricted access to passenger vehicles. This is the famous zona traffico limitato , a radar device that scans your license plate as you enter the zone. The device then imposes cumulative fines in the event of a repeat offence outside the authorized hours.

Freeway tolls around Italian lakes: what price for your class of motorhome?

Italian freeways are subject to tolls, which can be quite expensive. To visit the Italian lakes, you’ll certainly want to take the Turin-Venice route (A4) and the A9: the Milan-Come-Chiasso Lakes freeway. How do I pay the toll? You buy a ticket at the entrance to the freeway. On leaving the freeway, you pay according to the distance covered. You can also opt for prepaid subscription cards: ViaCard: There are three options: €25, €50 and €75. If you’re visiting the Italian lakes by motorhome, you’ll be subject to class 2. In a converted van, on the other hand, you’ll be subject to class 1. Here are some indicative rates:

  • Chiasso to Como: €2.30,
  • Chiasso to Milan: €5.60,
  • Chiasso-Rome: €47.40 (class 1) and €48.50 (class 2),
  • Chiasso-Naples: €62.60 (class 1) and €64.10 (class 2),
  • Chiasso-Bari: €69.90 (class 1) and €71.50 (class 2).

So crossing Italy can be expensive, depending on where you go!

How and where to rent a motorhome in France?

Would you like to explore the Italian lakes with your motorhome or camper van, for example? It’s now easy to rent a motorhome in France. How can you do this? By using platforms such as Yescapa to put renters in touch with private owners of motorhomes.

How does it work?

  • Make sure you choose unlimited mileage, check the number of berths available and whether international travel is possible.
  • Make your rental request online and share your travel information (dates, rental options, mileage, etc.) with the owner.
  • If your request is accepted and after payment, you will have access to the owner’s contact details to arrange a first meeting.
  • On the day, present your driver’s license and pay the deposit.
  • An inventory of fixtures is drawn up and a rental contract signed by both parties. On your return, after having driven all over Italy, you sign the return inventory and that’s it!

How and where to rent a motorhome in the Lake District?

Où louer un camping-car en Lombardie ?

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Andrey Armyagov

If you’re flying to Italy, it’s possible to rent your motorhome on the spot. However, it’s advisable to use online platforms and reserve your motorhome before you leave. This will ensure that you have the vehicle you need to visit Italy’s lakes in a van or camper van.

Renting is very simple on these sites. Enter your travel dates and the city where you’d like to rent your motorhome. Search by number of spaces, price and vehicle type. Then make a request and pay online if your request is accepted. You’ll receive a confirmation email, and that’s it! Now all you have to do is pick up your camper van or motorhome and explore the Italian lakes!

RV parks around Italian lakes: where to park?

Stationner en Lombardie

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Michal Ludwiczak

Wilderness camping

Camping in Italy is officially forbidden, as it is in France. And yet, Italy is known as a paradise for motorhomes and travelers in converted vans. Sleeping on public roads is prohibited. But sleeping inside your camper van is tolerated. The boundary between the two practices is therefore porous. However, it’s easier to do so near the coast: around Italian lakes, it’s more complicated to park overnight in public spaces.

Where to set up?

To find a place to sleep near the lakes, there are several options: campgrounds, motorhome service areas and free parking lots. Don’t know where to park? We’ve got the solution. Have you heard of the Park4night application? It’s a veritable bible for touring. We use it every time we go on a van trip. It’s a tool for sharing places to park your motorhome, van or camper van. Gone are the days when you had to spend two or three hours a day looking for an acceptable spot! Around the Italian lakes, an interactive map features campgrounds, motorhome service areas, parking lots and open spaces. These are places where travelers have already been. A comment system allows you to compare the quality of the spots. In a word: brilliant!

Would you like to sleep high up in the mountains with a splendid view of the lakes? Look for the best viewpoint accessible with your vehicle!

When is the best time to travel around the Italian lakes in a motorhome?

When to visit Italy’s lakes by motorhome? Italy is hot, it’s a southern country, it’s Mediterranean…! But don’t be fooled, you need to check the climate and weather forecast. Most of Italy’s lakes are in the Alps, in the north of the country. Northern Italy is subject to several climatic influences. In particular, the Italian Alps have a mountain climate. Winters are long, cold and wet, while summers are cool at night and hot during the day.

The climate around Lake Maggiore is temperate. It is characterized by cold, wet winters and hot, stormy summers. Average maximum temperatures reach 27°C in July and 6°C in January. Frosts are frequent in winter, and rainfall is heavy from May to October. Lake Garda, further south, enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Winters here are milder, and summers are hot but stormy. The climate of the Italian lakes is more humid than that of the Po plain. This is due to the humidity of the lakes and the proximity of the Alps.

So, when is the best time to visit Italy’s lakes by motorhome or camper van? The best periods are late spring, summer and September. Summer, on the other hand, sees a peak in tourist numbers. What’s more, prices can rise sharply in summer.