To see the best (and worst) times to visit, please read our reviews of our recommended places to stay
Note: flight, boat, train and bus timetables change constantly, and airlines come and go, so please do not rely solely on this information for your travel planning. Check with relevant companies, or a flight search engine like Skyscanner, first.
The Italian Lakes are served by several airports - Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa and Bergamo towards the east (all particularly convenient for Lake Como), and Verona Valerio Catullo in the west (a useful arrival point for Lake Garda and around). There is also a small airport at Brescia, but it receives few international flights.
From the UK:
British Airways flies from London Heathrow to Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate, and from London Gatwick to Verona.
Alitalia operates flights to Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate from London Heathrow.
easyJet flies to Milan Linate and Verona from London Gatwick, and to Milan Malpensa from London Gatwick, London Luton and Edinburgh.
Ryanair has services to Bergamo from Birmingham, East Midlands, London Stansted and Manchester, and seasonal services from Bristol and Leeds-Bradford.
BMI Regional flies to Milan Malpensa from Bristol.
Flybe has services from Birmingham and Manchester to Milan Malpensa, and seasonal services from Southampton to Verona.
During the summer months, there are also charter flights from various UK airports to Verona with Thomson Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines and Monarch.
easyJet flies to Milan Malpensa from numerous European cities, including Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Brussels, Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Prague, Lisbon, Madrid, Málaga and Paris Charles de Gaulle. It also has services to Milan Linate from Paris Orly, and to Verona from Paris Charles de Gaulle.
Aer Lingus flies from Dublin to Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa, and operates seasonal flights from Dublin to Verona.
Air France flies from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Milan Linate and Verona.
KLM has flights from Amsterdam to Milan Linate.
Brussels Airlines flies from Brussels to Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa.
Iberia has services from Madrid to Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa.
Lufthansa flies to Milan Linate from Berlin and Frankfurt, and to Milan Malpensa from Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg.
Air Berlin has flights from Berlin and Dusseldorf to Milan Malpensa.
TAP Portugal flies from Lisbon to Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa.
Norwegian Air Shuttle has services from Oslo and Copenhagen to Milan Malpensa.
Finnair flies from Helsinki to Milan Malpensa.
Alitalia has flights to Milan Linate from Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle.
Ryanair flies to Bergamo from numerous cities, including Alicante, Barcelona, Berlin, Billund, Dublin, Eindhoven, Madrid, Seville, Valencia and Knock (some services are seasonal).
From further afield:
If you’re coming from outside Europe you’ll need to fly into Milan Malpensa, one of the largest hubs in Italy. It’s served by American Airlines and Delta flights from New York JFK, seasonal Delta flights from Atlanta, Cathay Pacific flights from Hong Kong, Emirates flights from Dubai, Etihad Airways flights from Abu Dhabi and Singapore Airlines flights from Singapore.
If you'd prefer to travel overland you can reach the Italian Lakes quite easily from London and other European cities - see the excellent Seat 61 for details. There are several train stations serving the area, including Como Nord Lago, San Giovanni, Rovereto, Desenzano and Brescia, as well as major rail hubs in Milan and Verona.
There are buses from the above airports to most major towns on the Lakes, and frequent ferries (some of which take cars) provide a scenic way to explore. There are also good train services, particularly on the line linking Milan and Venice, which stops at Brescia, Desenzano, Peschiera del Garda and Verona.
To get the most out of your stay it’s worth hiring a car - see our car rental recommendations.. The A4 Milan-Venice, A9 Linaite-Chiasso and A22 Modena-Brennero motorways provide fast and convenient links to the Lakes and Verona, but make sure you bring plenty of change for the tolls. Lakeshore roads are often clogged during summer.
Come in spring, early summer or autumn if you can - you'll get warm, sunny days and beautiful landscapes, without the crowds of July and August. Book well ahead if you plan to visit Verona during the summer opera festival, as tickets and hotel rooms can sell out months in advance. Many hotels around the Lakes close during winter, but some stay open and it's a fantastic time to visit for snowy mountains and cross-country skiing.