Lake Maggiore (in Italian: Lago Maggiore or lago Verbano) is the most westerly of the three large prealpine lakes of Europe and the second largest after Lake Garda. It lies approximately at 45°57N 8°38E. It has a surface area of about 213 km², a maximum length of 54 km and, at its widest, is 12 km. The lake basin has tectonic-glacial origins and its volume is 37 km³.
Its main tributaries are the Ticino, the Maggia, the Toce (by which it receives the outflow of Lake Orta) and the Tresa (which is the sole emissary of Lake Lugano). The rivers Verzasca, Giona, and Cannobino also flow into the lake. Its outlet is the Ticino which, in turn, joins the river Po just south-east of Pavia.
The lake’s jagged banks are surrounded by the Prealps of Piedmont and Lombardy. The western bank is in Piedmont (provinces of Novara and Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola) and the eastern in Lombardy (province of Varese), whereas the most northerly section extends thirteen kilometres into Switzerland, where it constitutes the lowest point (in terms of altitude) in that entire country. The climate is mild in both summer and winter, producing Mediterranean vegetation, with beautiful gardens growing rare and exotic plants.