Lake Maggiore, what to do in Stresa and surroundings

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Aina Prat Blasi

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What to see on Lake Maggiore and around Stresa. What to do and how to reach the Borromean Islands, where to go trekking on Mount Mottarone, what to see beyond Alpyland and many other things near the Piedmontese part of Lake Maggiore. How to spend a holiday or a weekend in Lake Maggiore, read the article.

We often make the mistake of thinking that the lake is a bit melancholy, especially in winter or it is only suitable for people seeking tranquility. Instead, it offers much more with nature trails and even fun attractions. Here are some ideas for spending a pleasant stay on the Piedmont side of Lake Maggiore.


It rises in a privileged position at the foot of the mount Mottarone and right in front of Borromean islands. Stresa is definitely there more elegant town and fascinating lake Maggiore, with its luxurious hotels, period buildings and beautiful liberty style villas. It is very pleasant to take a walk along the lakefront among flower gardens and cafes, where you can stop for an ice cream or an aperitif. The small Old Town it is very picturesque: beautiful nineteenth-century buildings, flowered terraces, boutiques and many restaurants.

Between August and September in Stresa the International Festival of Musical Weeks, a very important musical event that over the years has hosted great artists and concert performers of international fame.

Villa Pallavicino Park

Villa Pallavicino it is just outside Stresa and is enclosed in a beautiful park of 20 hectares. It is the perfect destination for families who can spend a pleasant day among flower-filled avenues, centuries-old plants and gardens. In addition, the park hosts a small zoo with over 40 species of mammals (including zebras and kangaroos) and exotic birds.

It is possible to directly access the area where deer, lamas and goats live in their natural habitat and walk among them in total tranquility. In the park you can also visit a Botanical Garden and meet some specimens of peacocks in freedom.

Borromean Islands

Right from the lido di Stresa it is possible to embark to reach the pearls of Lake Maggiore, Or the Borromean islands. The islands can also be reached more economically by using the boats of the Lago Maggiore navigation line.
Beautiful island: view from the lake is very suggestive, as the intent in the construction of the beautiful Italian garden was to represent a vessel.

The island also hosts the Borromeo palace and the Pinacoteca. The building contains an impressive number of works of art, antique furnishings and tapestries that belonged to the Borromeo family. The garden, in Baroque style, is developed on different levels and terraces. From above it is even more surprising as it is possible to appreciate its perfect lines.

Isola Madre: it is the first island to have been purchased by the Borromeo family, as well as being the largest in the whole of Lake Maggiore. It is possible to visit the English botanical garden which houses rare plants, exotic flowers, ancient trees but also peacocks, parrots and pheasants. In addition to the park, it is possible to visit the ancient noble palace, now used as a museum.
Upper Island o Isola dei Pescatori: very different from the other two islands, as it is still a center inhabited mainly by fishermen. Although fishing has largely been replaced by tourism, typical fishing boats can still be seen moored. The small village is characterized by narrow streets where it is possible to taste fish dishes in typical restaurants.

Isola Madre and Isola Bella are not always open to visitors, but only from March to October . For prices, opening hours and other information you can visit the official website

Public beaches and equipped lidos

All along the lake they are present numerous public beaches where to relax, sunbathe and take a dip on the hottest days. In Stresa there are also some areas equipped with umbrellas, sunbeds, assistance to bathers, bars and kiosks. Among these the Lido of Carciano Regina beach - Lido Blu e Lov Beach Bar close to Villa Pallavicino, where you can also play minigolf.


From Lido di Carciano you can access the funicolare which, in just 20 minutes, takes you from the lake directly to the mountain, exactly at 1.491 meters. The mount Mottarone it is also easily reachable by car along the panoramic Borromean road, for a fee.
Mottarone is located between Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta and on the clearest days you can also see the Lombard lakes.
In spring and summer it is possible to go trekking. The four paths develop in a ring and vary both in duration and level of difficulty, in order to meet everyone's needs.
When there is snow, the same circuits are suitable for snowshoeing. In addition, in winter the ski facility also opens: 16 slopes covering 21 km, suitable for all levels of difficulty.


Always on top of Mottarone it is possible to have fun Alpyland, whizzing on at full speed rail bob overlooking Lake Maggiore. The bob has a mechanism that allows you to adjust the speed making it suitable even for the little ones. A truly fun experience! In summer it is open every day, while during the winter season (from November to March) only on weekends and during the Christmas holidays.

Botanical garden of Villa Taranto

The garden owes its present appearance to the Scottish Captain Mc Eacharn who, in 1931, decided to buy this huge property and turn it into a garden. Today it is possible to admire thousands of plants and flowers imported from all over the world, following a path that crosses labyrinths, terraced gardens, waterfalls, fountains and pools for water lilies and lotus flowers.
The gardens are located in Pallanza and can be reached by car or by boat, having their own dock in front of the entrance. Villa Taranto will be open from March 15th to November 1st 2017.

Lake Maggiore Zipline

Feeling the thrill of flying is possible! There zipline is about 2 km long and whizzes by hooked to a steel cable in total safety. It is also possible to jump in pairs and choose the style of flight: Free Style or Falcon Style. The difference is that in the first you are hooked onto the harness and descend to an upright position, while in the second you are in a lying position, face down.

The zipline is located at Alpe Segletta on the provincial road n.56 Intra-Premeno-Colle.
In 2017 it will be open every day from April 15th to October 22nd and during the Christmas holidays. While the other months only weekends, weather permitting obviously.

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