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Lake Albano: what to see and what activities to do

About Vatican


Lake Albano is one of the most suggestive and frequented places in the province of Rome. In spring and summer it is a destination for water sports lovers or for anyone who just wants to take a dip or get some sun. But it is also a natural beauty rich in history.

In our article we recommend what to see at Lake Albano and some unmissable activities in the area.

Lake Albano, the most evocative place for a trip out of town

Lake Albano (in Italian Lago Albano) is a volcanic crater lake elliptical in shape situated in the Alban Hills (Colli Albani), at the foot of Monte Cavo.

It takes its name from Albalonga, the mythical city founded by Ascanius, son of Aeneas, and narrated in the Aeneid by Virgil. But it is also called Lake Castel Gandolfo for its proximity to the village that houses the summer residence of the Pope. Together with Lake Nemi it forms the volcanic lake complex of the Colli Albani.

The lake is fed by underground sources and drained by an artificial outlet supposedly built in 398-397 B.C. At about 170 meters it is the deepest of the Italian volcanic lakes, rich in vegetation and archaeological and historical-artistic evidence.
On its banks are the archaeological remains of ancient Bronze Age stilts (now called Village of the Millstones). 

What to see in Lake Albano?

Papal gardens

At Lake Albano you can admire not only the natural beauty of its landscape but also:

  • Villages of Albano Laziale and Castel Gandolfo. 
    The village of Albano Laziale is immersed in the charming park of the Castelli Romani.
Castel Gandolfo was elected one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and it’s known for its nature’s beauty and the elegance of its historic center. Here is the Papal Palace and the beautiful Papal Gardens;

  • Artificial outlet: an artificial tunnel built in the rock and 1800 meters long.  It is one of the largest hydraulic engineering works of the Roman era that begins along the western shore of Lake Albano and culminates in Mole di Castel Gandolfo


  • Doric Nymphaeum: a cavity with a rectangular base of 11x6 meters, part of the Domitian complex;

  • Nymphaeum Bergantino (also known as Bagni di Elena): a nymphaeum made in a natural cave and located on the western shore of Lake Albano.

Lake Albano: 5 things to do

Lake Albano is full of wonders to admire but also of activities to do. We recommend some activities on the lake to spend an unforgettable day:

  1. Take a walk to discover Lake Albano.
    The lake has its charm in both summer and winter. You can admire the picturesque views and its most hidden corners;

  2. Do sports or a boat ride on the lake.
    Canoeing and pedal boats are among the most popular activities on the lake while the shores are easily accessible for jogging, mountain biking or walking;

  3. Organize a picnic on the shores of Lake Albano.
    Whether with friends, family or with your partner, spending a day surrounded by greenery will give you moments of tranquility and lightheartedness. A picnic can be ideal to achieve this;

  4. Visit the village of Castel Gandolfo.
    The village of Castel Gandolfo is a must. Its fame is mainly due to the presence of the Papal summer residence and its beautiful gardens;

    → Discover our Castel Gandolfo tour from Rome

  5. Have lunch in a restaurant overlooking the lake and enjoy the food of Roman cuisine.
    The lakeside promenade is full of restaurants where you can enjoy typical local dishes overlooking Lake Albano.

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