If you are considering a Southern European camping trip and are still not convinced you’ve found the right place consider Lake Iseo: the North Italian Lake that offers something unique and off the beaten track. Although the area is rich in cultural heritage and history I have chosen to focus on the following five reasons to come camping here: It is beautiful; it has great facilities; there are lots of things to do; the food and wine is excellent and it is easy to get to.
1. Lake is Iseo is a Beautiful but Unvisited Area
People, people nowhere
It remains a mystery to me why more holiday makers are not to be found camping around Lake Iseo’s shores but this is surely a bonus for those who do come. Not only do they get spectacular scenery but they also get to enjoy it in relative peace and serenity.
Mountains, beaches and Islands
Most of the lake’s shoreline is made up of dramatic mountain slopes. The northern end of the lake leads into Val Camonica while the southern end gives way to rolling hills covered in vineyards and picturesque hamlets. In between are a series of lakeside villages and beaches. The cherry on the cake, and what makes the area so unique, is the majestic Montisola, one of Europe’s largest lake-islands that sits at the lake’s centre.
2. It has great facilities
There are a range of campsites. This article covers the ones nearest to Iseo town and more details can be found on our camping page. There are other campsites further south between Clusane and Paratico and on the Bergamo side between Sarnico and Predore (see this list of campsites for more examples).
The quality of the lake water in the area has been classified as “Excellent” by the Region of Lombardy. Below is a photo of the Montecolo certificate. I’ve seen similar certification for the Iseo area.
Pilzone – 2 miles from Iseo a million miles from Care
The quietest and most remote campsites lie on the lake shore just beneath Montecolo, a small peninsula that juts out into the lake, in front of the small village of Pilzone. They are a long way from any main roads, railway lines or other sources of noise and are sheltered by the impressive Montecolo cliff. They offer no-thrills-relaxation, good service and panoramic views of the lake.
Iseo – Smaller intimate campsites
About 1km further south are three campsites conveniently positioned along a quiet road only 5min walk away from Iseo village. Although two small local trains go by each daytime hour, their lakeside positions offer great views and peace and quiet.
Panoramic views of the lake and the majestic cliffs of the Presolana make it hard to go wrong. There are sites that offer little bungalows, caravans and small apartments for rent. As the level of the lake lowers in June, pebble beaches appear making great paddling spots for children.
The south side of Iseo: holidy camps
Iseo’s largest campsites are located 10min walk south of the village near the Torbiere Natural Reserve. The reserve itself offers a lovely six kilometre round trip walk around a peat bog whose birdlife is protected and guaranteed to impress.
The bigger campgrounds offer a host of services and activities including swimming pools, tennis, sports fields and daily activities for children. In addition to tents and caravans, mobile homes, chalets and apartments are also available for rent.
3. The Area’s sports
The area has a number of possibilities for both mountain and water sports. The former include hiking, climbing, paragliding and skiing in the winter while the latter include windsurfing, kite surfing, sailing, diving and wakeboarding.
See Visit Iseo’s sports page for more details.
4. The Area offers good food and wine, relaxation and leisure
Food and Wine
There are many specialities in the area but none are more renowned than the local Franciacorta wine. It is one of Europe's 10 "controlled designation of origin guaranteed (DOCG)" wines, and like Cava and Champagne, it is made using the "méthode champenoise".
There is no shortage of fine food to accompany the wine. For a growing list of restaurants see our restaurants page.
The mountains around Lake Iseo are famous for their health spas. Darfo Boario has one of the oldest hot water spas in Northern Italy and is worth a visit both for its historical feel and excellent facilities. Its luxury does not come cheap though. If budget is an issue it is worth asking locals about the burst thermal spring tube that feeds an enclosed rock pool down by the river. This is a perfect place to soak tired bones after a satisfying mountain hike.
The two main private leisure centres are Sassabanek and Lido Belvedere. The former is the swimming area of the campsite and has a bar, a play park and a lawn that extends out towards the lake, giving impressive views. The latter is well loved by locals, and has similar amenities to those of its neighbour with the notable additions of a waterslide an outdoor gym.
5. It is easy to get to
Although Iseo has an out of the way feel it is not hard to get to.
From the south follow the main roads from Brescia, Rovato or Palazzolo which are all on the main A4 Milan – Venice motorway. If coming from the north, follow the E45 highway that comes down from Switzerland.
A small local train connects Iseo to the main routes at Brescia before it heads up to Edolo and Val Camonica. Trains run approximately once an hour.
A number of airports are less than an hour away including: Milan Linate (for info: www.seamilano.eu); Orio al Serio only 40min drive away (for more info: www.sacbo.it) and Montichiari, the smallest and least busy of the airports. Verona airport services many charter flights (more info: www.aeroportoverona.it).