Looking for things to do on Lake Trasimeno?
Are you thinking about exploring a part of Umbria other than Perugia?
A rural area full of small towns, great food and fun activities?
Then consider Lake Trasimeno, full of things to do, it’s a great place to spend a day or a week.
The small towns sprinkled around the lake with stunning views, medieval architecture and full of locals who’ve lived there for generations.
The food is mostly grown around the lake, especially the olives and grapes. From fantastic wines, line caught fish, amazing olive oil and their own special bean.
And there are a great deal of activities for all ages and abilities. For the athlete wind surfing might be fun. For something less intense, what about a leisurely bike ride around Trasimeno lake? There’s a trail that covers the entire circumference. I have a post all about it here.
Or for a quiet day take a ferry to one of the three islands to enjoy the water.
Beautiful Lake Trasimeno
My love affair of Lake Trasimeno began because our home has a view so beautiful it’s distracting. I can stare out the window for hours. And take a photo every day of the surrounding hills and valleys.
And it isn’t just me.
Sunsets over Lago Trasimeno are voted some of the best in Italy.
And it doesn’t stop at aesthetic. The food is fantastic. We buy our olive oil there, enjoy the best torta al testo at Faliero, and in the summer go for an evening stroll while enjoying my favourite gelato in San Feliciano called Polo Nord.
A large, unusual and shallow lake
It’s a big lake, the 4th biggest in Italy, and has 3 islands.
The entire lake and surrounding area is a regional park. Which means officials need to keep the quality of the water and beaches clean and healthy.
Lake Trasimeno isn’t deep, the average is depth is about 5 meters.
And it’s an unusual lake because none of the water flows out to a sea and no rivers feed into or out of, Trasimeno. Maybe that’s why the water is muddy and murky.
Rain is the main way it maintains its water level; which can cause flooding when there is more than normal.
How to Access Lake Trasimeno
It’s a lovely drive from Perugia to Lake Trasimeno if you rent a car.
If you don’t want to drive there’s a train from Perugia which stops at Passignano
Biking on Lake Trasimeno
Are you feeling like an adventure?
Once you’re in Passignano, rent some bikes and ride the circumference of Trasimeno, 58 km in total.
It should take you most of day. But it’s flat, a (mostly)
We’ve done it with assisted bicycles. We took a few breaks, like Faliero for lunch, San Feliciano for gelato, and lots of pauses for photos.
Even for someone like me, who doesn’t bike often, it was do able – only my bum hurt at the end.
58 km seem like to much? The prettiest part of the path is from Passignano to Castiglione which is about 20 km there and back.
A Ferry Ride on Lake Trasimeno
Ferries run throughout the year to all 3 islands. They depart from Tuoro
The biggest island is Isola Polvese, and the smallest is Isola Minore.
The third island is Isola Maggiore. It’s the only inhabited island, around 40 people live there
Ferries are fairly frequent, here is the time table up for Spring and Autumn 2022.
Lago Trasimeno is a popular spot for camping holidays. All around the lake campgrounds are open from May to September.
A Famous Moment in History around Lake Trasimeno
At one time the lake used to be much bigger, almost reaching Perugia in the east.
Trasimeno is famous for a battle in 217 BC between Hannibal, head of the Carthaginian Army and the Roman Legions.
The Romans were defeated at the north end of the lake in the largest ambush in military history. Hannibal famously first implemented the “Turning Movement” strategy during this battle.
The Towns, Villages
and Islands of Lago Trasimeno:
Castiglione del Lago
One of the bigger towns along the lake, Castiglione del Lago is built on a limestone peninsula looking out at the lake.
Highlights include its medieval walls, the street grid of a Roman town, the fortress Rocca del Leone and the Palazzo della Corgna.
Over the centuries multiple battles have destroyed most of the ancient town and little remains from before the 13th century.
Passignano sul Trasimeno
A pretty little town with lots of restaurants along the shoreline.
Inclosed by medieval walls it also has a castle.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much left of the castle as it was bombed in WWII by the Allies because of their airplane factory.
You can take the ferry to Isola Maggiore, Isola Minore and Isola Polvese from here.
Found at the north part of the lake, close to the sites of the battle of Hannibal.
There is a sculpture park on the grass beside the lake. The ferry terminal is out on the pier, a beautiful spot at sunset.
Monte al Lago
Known as one of Giacomo Puccini’s favorite places, his good friend was the owner of the villa near by.
Built to control the road from Trasimeno to Perugia it now has olive groves and is a magnificent spot for sunsets.
Come in November for some great olive oil. There’s a tour of the old presses, and you’ll see how olive oil is made. After you can taste the different types of oil. Fattoria Luca Palombraro
A tiny town with a nice waterfront full of fishing boats.
There’s a little museum all about the unique boats of this area.
Try one of my favorite gelaterias, called Polo Nord, open only in the summer.
Not much of a town, but just outside find the restaurant Da Faliero with a wonderful view of the lake.
It gets busy but there’s seating outside, inside and on the roof. They specialize in the Umbrian Torta al Testo sandwiches, but have grilled meat, fish from the lake, and lots of vegetable dishes.
This lovely little hill top town isn’t right on Lago Trasimeno, but slightly south.
It has beautiful views of the lake, a great piazza for an aperitivo or dinner and a tiny theatre that you might be able to catch a concert at.
A peaceful way to spend a day outdoors, hike up the hill to the
The small fishing village built in the 14th and 15th centuries has several B&Bs and restaurants serving fish from the lake and other Umbrian dishes.
Find the museum all about this small community famous product: making
No one lives on this island and, since 1995, it’s a
The Foods of Lake Trasimeno:
Fishing is popular on Lago Trasimeno. Eel, carp, smelt, pike
There is a special bean called Fagiolina del Trasimeno that is found only along the shores of Trasimeno. The bean was brought and grown here by the Etruscans.
The Wines of Lake Trasimeno:
Like all of Umbria, Lago Trasimeno has
There are excellent cantinas, or vineyards, around Lake Trasimeno.
Other cantinas near by worth visiting are La Casa Colonica, Montemelino, and Castello di Magione.
Enjoy the Water of Lago Trasimeno
As I mentioned, a great way to explore the lake is by renting bikes. We’ve used electric ones, and follow the bike paths that
Around Castiglione del Lago it’s on the road, but it is only for a few kilometers. Or enjoy part of the bike path on foot.
My in-laws go for lovely walks near Toricella, the wide flat walking path is accessible for most people.
Interested in a day on lake Trasimeno? Here’s my itinerary for a great day.
If you’re staying in Perugia, or other larger city
Scenic walks, olive trees, vineyards and island hopping. Escape the crowds of tourists for a day or a week and enjoy great local food, sunsets and the slow pace of Umbrian life.
Are you interested in exploring Lake Trasimeno?
If you have any questions feel free to write them below or send me an email at email@example.com
Thanks so much for posting this. I’m going to be near Panicale for a week in June and I hope to explore the area around the lake while there. Any recommendation for where to rent the electric bikes?
Katy Thomas says
Panicale is a great spot. I’ve only rented from Passignano sul Trasimeno which is the other side of the lake. Looks like there are a few options in San Feliciano or Castiglione del Lago which would be much closer for you. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org