Lakes in the province
In the great region of lakes of Lombardy, Bergamo part is represented by two very special basins. The small lake Endine, a wildlife oasis surrounded by reeds and woods, and Lake Iseo, more majestic, known for the fascinating boat trips, water sports and picturesque coastal villages. This area includes the Val Cavallina, Val Calepio, Upper and Lower Sebino, lakes outline the most distinctive geographical character, to match the surrounding hills and mountains, environmental features and rich historical and artistic presence.
One of the least renowned lakes in Lombardy, Lake Endine, in the heart of Val Cavallina, with its mountains and landscape reflected in the water, offers a very suggestive sight. It’s a quiet, relaxing place of entertainment for a not too exigent tourist. It’s a sort of outdoor gym for water sports (sailing, windsurf, canoeing and boat racing) and a well-known place for fishing, in winter, with its frozen waters. It offers a very particular sight at this height.
Visit Lake Endine
You can appreciate the beauty of the lake passing through the ancient mule-tracks that from Endine and from the right bank go up to Ranzanico and from here to Bianzano. The little coast villages are scattered with little medieval churches rich in works of art and with several medieval castles, that can be visited and explored quietly on foot, by bicycle or by canoe. The places worth visiting are Spinone al Lago, surrounded by cane thickets, with its restaurants, the possibility of boat trips and its thermal baths; Monasterolo del Castello, for its XIII century castle and the Parish Church by Fantoni; Endine Gaiano for its beautiful Romanesque church. Also the villages on the hillside looking onto the lake are worth recommending: Ranzanico for its San Bernardino’s Oratory of 1400; Bianzano for its Suardi Castle of 1300; Solto Collina for the little Disciplini Church with frescoes of 1400; Fanovo, San Felice al Lago, Piangaiano and Valmaggiore for their wonderful panoramic position. You have to visit the nearby Valle del Freddo (“Cold Valley”), (400m on sea level), a protected area showing a spectacular Alpine nature, unusual at these altitudes.
The best of Lake Sebino: walks, mountain-biking and dishes of an excellent cusine.
The Sebino, known also as Lake Iseo, is a mirror of water and the perfect place for enjoying a beautiful sunny day. Here you can stroll or take trips – mountain bike included – along the shores, take a ride on a boat or go sailing, go in discovery of the lake on board one of the comfortable ferries that travel back and forth between the lakeside villages, or taste, at the tables of a trattoria or restaurant, dishes of lake fish and local products such as quality olive oil (Sebino oil is deservedly famous) and excellent wine (Val Calepio is just a stone’s throw away). A recommended destination is the island in the centre of the lake, Montisola, which is popular in any season, but best visited in Summer.
Twenty years ago or more, the Sebino was presented to the tourist as a hidden treasure to discover; today it reveals its secrets to visitors who even have only a few hours to spare. We suggest you try to visit each town on its shores: all have historic origins and many have preserved their unique features. They are pleasant places to stroll around while admiring the architecture and historical buildings and enjoying the beautiful views over the lake. In certain places, such as Lovere, the artistic heritage is in incredible abundance. Here the Accademia Tadini can compete with the art galleries of more important and well known cities.
A car is certainly the best means of transport for travelling around the full perimeter of the lake. But to thoroughly enjoy the environment and countryside, the perfect vehicle is a bicycle, or better still a comfortable mountain bike if you want to make a quick trip to the small villages that look down from above. Don’t miss the spectacular ravine of “Bogn”, a dizzy rock cliff that drops steeply down into the water, located near Zorzino along the gentle, easy route that connects the Lovere to Sarnico on the Bergamask shore. Other sections of the route offer maybe less exciting views, but provide pleasant places to stop and enjoy the tranquillity of the countryside. And you can also make use of these stops to savour the local cuisine.
We recommend including in your plans a trip to Montisola, the perfect place for a walk or beautiful bike ride. This island can be reached on one of the boats that provide a ferry service across the lake, on which cyclists are always welcome. Once on the island, you can ride around the entire perimeter without worrying about traffic: cars are not allowed.
Both in Montisola and in the small ports of the various towns, you will most certainly notice unusual rowing boats with simple, tapered lines. In local dialect these are known as a “naèt”, and it is this boat – once the only type used by fishermen – that is at the centre of “Naecc d’or”, a spectacular summer event involving a series of races along the shore leading up to a lively final. The event also features a wonderful firework display, feasts and festivals and attracts a great many spectators.
Have you been cycling all day along the lake shore? Well then you deserve a break in a restaurant specialised in dishes made with typical local produce, like a good plate of baked or stuffed lake fish, seasoned with a sprinkle of scented olive oil from the Sebino and washed down with a cold glass of white Val Calepio wine. Buon appetito!
Lake Iseo ravines
Along the coast road of Lake Iseo, in the stretch between Riva di Solto and Castro, you can enjoy the suggestive sight of the ravines: huge rocks disposed in large vertical slabs on the lake, one of the most remarkable naturalistic surprises of the Lake.Here there is Pigone, a place of a great naturalistic interest, one of the rare reproduction places of the bofu-bofu toad.
How to get here: from Bergamo along the highway for Lake Iseo towards Sarnico.
The small Alpine lakes
Almost 200 alpine lakes are dotted around the Orobie mountains. All of modest dimensions and generally situated between 1,800 and 2,200 metres, some are visible only in summer when the snow has melted. These enchanting lakes are an excellent place for hikers to stop for a picnic.