There are many beautiful lakes near Rome. Perfect for a summer day away from the city, the lakes in Rome vicinity are all surrounded by scenic small towns and historical settlements that you will love visiting year round, and offer some of the best culinary and wine tasting experiences in the Lazio region.
Most of the lakes near Rome are the result of volcanic eruptions – so dark sand is what you’ll mostly find. They are often surrounded by thick forests – so you will feel immersed in nature. And they are perfect places to swim, enjoy water sports, and spend a relaxing day with family and friends.
Curious to find out more? Continue reading, as in this post I will explain what to see and do in each lake and share some useful practical information.
For more places to visit near Rome, read my post The Best Day Trips From Rome.
The Prettiest Lakes Near Rome
Lago di Bracciano
32 km northwest of the capital and just a 40 minutes drive, this volcanic lake – one of the largest in the region and in the country – serves drinking water to Rome, and is also home to some of the nicest beaches near Rome and picturesque villages.
The most popular beach in the lake is La Marmotta. Another nice, lesser known and quieter beach is in Vigna di Valle – which is fully equipped for a perfect, relaxing day. The lake is ideal for water sports such as kayaking and windsurfing.
Looking for cultural activities? Make sure to wander around Bracciano town and visit the Orsini – Odescalchi Castle, built in the 15th century, and the 13th century Duomo. Not far from the shore you’ll also find the remains of a Neolithic settlement daring back to 5690 BC – artifacts are on display at museum in Anguillara Sabazia.
HOW TO GET THERE: Take the train from either Rome Tiburtina Station, Trastevere, San Pietro and Valle Aurelia to Bracciano. The ride lasts about 45 minutes. You can check the train timetable and buy train tickets here. From the village, it’s a 20 minutes walk to the beach.
Lago di Bolsena
This is probably one of my favorite lakes near Rome, if anything because that’s where my dad used to spend his summers and where he took me growing up. Lake Bolsena is the biggest volcanic lake in Europe, filling the caldera of Volsini Volcano, whose last eruption took place in 100 AD. The lake is actually located in the Tuscia Viterbese, near Viterbo in northern Lazio, closer to the border with Tuscany and Umbria.
The perimeter of the lake measures 43 km, along which you will find many lovely beaches with nice sand and clear water, so clean you can literally drink it. Bolsena is the main town in the area – a lovely medieval town home to lovely churches such as San Flaviano, and the tomb of German Bishop Johannes Defuk’s, known to have moved there for his love of the local Est! Est!! Est!!! wine – which is a must-try, btw!
Other places to visit in the area include Marta, a nice fisherman’s village, and Capodimonte, from where you catch boat rides to the islands of Bisentina and Martana.
HOW TO GET THERE: Take the train to Montefiascone departing from Roma Termini. The journey takes about one hour and 40 minutes. You can check the train timetable and buy train tickets here.
Lago di Martignano
Another lovely lake near Rome, and a lesser known one so that you can get away from the crowds of tourists! Close to Lake Bracciano, Lago Martignano offers a nice lawn beach, kiosks serving local food, hiking and mountain biking trails, swimming and horse riding opportunities. You will find plenty of places to rent umbrellas and loungers, as well as a kayak to go around. It’s a great place to go windsurfing!
Surrounding the lake there are hot hot sulphurous springs.
HOW TO GET THERE: The easiest way to get to Lago di Martignano from Rome is by car. Check out the prices of car rental here.
Lago di Albano
A volcanic lake with cool clear waters, Lago di Albano is one of the most popular lakes near Rome; the kind of place where locals go to enjoy swimming, kayaking stand up paddle board and – generally speaking – a day away from the chaos fo the city. Should you decide to visit, you will find several good, fully equipped beaches.
Yet, what makes Lake Albano a place to visit for international travelers is Castel Gandolfo, a lovely small town famous for being the Pope’s summer residence. The 17th Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo sits right above the ancient residence of Emperor Domitian. The palace and the minutely manicured gardens are a jewel of Gianlorenzo Bernini’s design – who created statues, fountains and even the main church.
Regional food and wine are another reason to visit. Ariccia, another lovely town on the shores of Lake Albano, is where you’ll find the best porchetta in the area. Marino is the site of a famous wine festival taking place each year in October. Curious to try the local specialties? Make sure to find a good “fraschetta” – a typical village eatery!
HOW TO GET THERE: Direct trains to Castel Gandolfo depart from Roma Termini station. Tickets cost €2.10. You can check the train timetable and buy train tickets here. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour that includes roundtrip transportation and a visit to the Papal Palace. You can book it here.
Lago di Nemi
Taking its name from Nemi, a lovely city on its shores, and also located in the Castelli Romani area, Lago di Nemi is famous for the sunken ships built upon Emperor Caligula’s orders. They were never really meant to set sail in the sea, but were mostly used as floating palaces. In 1446 Leon Battista Alberti tried to raise them from the bottom of the lake, but it was only in the 1920s that they were finally recovered – and placed on display in a nearby museum.
The area of Lake Name is packed with good hiking trails – so that is another reason to visit.
If you happen to be in the region between the end of May and the beginning of June, don’t miss Nemi’s strawberry festival – the local fragoline di bosco are a real delicacy! Nearby Genzano di Roma, on the other hand, is famous for its bread and hosts a yearly flower festival, also in June.
HOW TO GET THERE: The easiest way to get to Lago di Nemi is by car. If you wish to go there by public transport, take the COTRAL bus from Rome’s Anagnina station to Genzano and from there take the bus to Nemi.
Lago di Vico
Another scenic volcanic lake in the Tuscia Viterbese, in the heart of the Cimini Mountains, you will find Lago di Vico close to Ronciglione and Caprarola, two beautiful historic towns. The lake itself is stunning: clear waters and views of Mount Fogliano and Mount Venere nearby; and completely surrounded by a beech and oak forest, this is a great place to go hiking.
According to legend, the lake was formed after Hercules, having challenged local shepherds in a show of his power, smashed his club on the ground. As the shepherds were unable to extract it, he did that with such force that he brought out a source of water, which formed a lake.
HOW TO GET THERE: The easiest way to get Lago di Vico from Rome is by cat. It’s about one hour drive. Check out the prices of car rental here.
Lago del Turano
This is the best place to go if you are looking for something that is completely off the beaten path. Located in the province of Rieti and close to the Appennini Mountains of Abruzzo, this is actually an artificial water reservoir that was formed with the placement of a damm on the Turano river in the 1930s. The lake is honestly gorgeous: clear waters, beautiful untouched nature surrounding it, and that peaceful atmosphere you only get in places that have yet to be discovered by mass tourism.
Should you decide to venture in this part of Lazio, make sure to stop by Castel di Tora, a lovely, tiny village on the shore of the lake.
HOW TO GET THERE: Part of the reason Lago del Turano is lesser known is that the lake is actually hard to reach – no public transport gets there.You will beed a car to get from Rome to Lago del Turano. It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to get there. Check out the prices of car rental here.