If Lonely Planet put this lake in 2016 top locations there must be a reason and it is not only because of the Floating Piers event that will take place from the 18 June. The Lake Iso surprised us for its beauty, its atmosphere, its landscapes and its small towns. It is surely less famous than its "brother" ( Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda ) but it is perfect for a day trip.
Our trip starts from Riva di Solto, a really medieval town on the Bergamo side of the lake. You can reach it from Milan exiting from the A4 at Palazzolo and then through the Provinciale 469 towards Sarnico. Here in Sarnico you can stop for some minutes for a stroll along Via Porto among churches and medieval buildings.
Leave Riva di Solto and drive slowly up to Lovere. Enjoy the 7 kilometers of road carved into the rock, enjoy every turn, enjoy every small inlet, but be aware because the road is narrow and you can find pedestrians and bikers.
After 15 minutes you arrive in Lovere, the most important touristic attraction on this side of the lake in spite of its small dimensions ( less than 5000 inhabitants ). Lovere is among Italy's most beautiful towns. Park the car and walk on the lakefront passing by the Accademia Tadini, an art gallery where you can find the best of Canova's works, and then arrive in Piazza XIII Martiri, nice and classy, where you can have a good Italian sandwich on the lake.
Take advantage of the tourism office to get some information and delve into the borough alleys. Reach the XII century Civic Tower that shows the lion with wings, symbol of Venetian domination, then move towards the Chiesa di San Giorgio Martire, built in the XIV century, where a 1657 Jean de Herdt work is located. Lose yourself in the medieval alleys before going back to your car.
The next stop is in Pisogne, only 13 kilometers far from Lovere but located on the Brescia side of the lake. The small town offers a nice lakefront and really small old center where the Bishop Tower stands upon the colorful Grande Piazza del Mercato. You can visit Pisogne in 30 minutes, but enjoy the tranquillity of the lakefront, where the sun is mirrored in the water before setting behind the mountains, and where the quietness of the lake is disrupted only by groups of ducks. On that lakefront we felt relaxed, as if the stress of hard working week had been erased by that beautiful nature and silence.
Take your time to enjoy everything but then get back on the car to reach the last destination of this day trip and to see the beauty of the lake at dusk.
From Pisogne take the Strada Provinciale towards Iseo and then take the exit Colpiano and a small road ( Via Val Pintana ). Follow this route and suddenly you'll be in front of this scenery ...
The beauty of the landscape is unbelievable, Monte Isola towers above the water enlightened by a setting sun that shines above the small boroughs of Pregasso e Vesto, everything framed by the Prealpi.
To reach Iseo you can follow the lakefront or get back to the faster Strada Provinciale 510. We chose the second option and we were lucky, because from one of the rest stops we had such a view...
In less then 20 minutes you'll arrive in Iseo, surely the most important town on Lake Iseo both in terms of size and tourism. Unfortunately we hadn't enough time to visit it properly, but the glimpse we had convinced us that Iseo is worth visiting. Iseo gave us the idea of a wealthy, elegant, clean and charming city, where the heritage of Risorgimento is mixed with shops, restaurants and a nice lakefront. One thing not to miss is the Pieve di San Andrea.
After a happy hour on the lake we took the car to go home at the end of a beautiful day, between the provinces of Bergamo and Brescia among nature, relax and medieval boroughs. A day trip that we strongly suggest to discover a part of Lombardy that will fascinate you!