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Things to do in

Lake Maggiore

Our most recommended things to do in Lake Maggiore

Stresa: 1-Day Borromean Islands Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Tour

1. Stresa: 1-Day Borromean Islands Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Tour

Discover the beautiful Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands on this hop-on hop-off boat tour. Cruise from Stresa to the 3 Borromean Islands — Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori, and Isola Madre — and choose to include stops at 2 or all 3 of the islands. After making your way to the meeting point, board the modern boat and set off to Lake Maggiore's most characteristic places. Relax and enjoy the beauty of the lake as you go. Upon arrival at the islands, simply hop off the boat and hop back on the next boat when you want to continue your tour. Explore the islands' sights — such as the Palace Museum and Gardens on Isola Madre — at your own pace.

Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Bella Hop-on Hop-off Boat

2. Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Bella Hop-on Hop-off Boat

Discovery of the fishing village of Isola dei Pescatori, the only one of the Borromean Islands inhabited all year round. Explore its many charming alleys and stop to taste the typical dishes of the lake at one of the numerous restaurants. Then continue to Isola Bella, the queen of the Borromean Islands, where, in addition to the beautiful ancient village full of typical craft shops, you can decide to visit the Palazzo Borromeo with its wonderful gardens and peacocks ready to be photographed.

Stresa: Madre & Bella Borromean Islands Boat Trip

3. Stresa: Madre & Bella Borromean Islands Boat Trip

Embark on a boat trip from Stresa and discover two of the Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore. First, visit Isola Madre which is the farthest island from Stresa. Explore the island which is famous for its botanical gardens. See the free-living birdlife and admire the peacocks and pheasants who stroll calmly through the gardens. Discover the unique plants of the island, such as the famous Cashmere tree. You can also visit the villa with its puppet collection. Next, continue the tour to Isola Bella, most famous for its palace, splendid caves, and Italian-style gardens. Admire the views from the famous terraces, enjoy some shopping in the elegant boutique stores, or visit the local handicraft market, before returning to Stresa.

Borromean Islands Private Hop-On Hop-Off Boat from Stresa

4. Borromean Islands Private Hop-On Hop-Off Boat from Stresa

Avoid the restrictive schedules of most sightseeing tours and discover the beauty of Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands at your own pace. Avail of an exclusive private boat service between Stresa and the islands of Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Madre. Hop off and on as often as you like throughout the day. Relax aboard the comfortable boats as you take in the stunning views of the lake. Jump off at Isola Bella to visit the summer palace of Count Vitaliano VI. Stroll around the gardens of Palazzo Borromeo on Isola Madre. Find a nice spot for lunch in the fishing village on Isola dei Pescatori, the only island of the archipelago still inhabited.

Stresa to Isola Bella Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Ticket

5. Stresa to Isola Bella Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Ticket

Get stunning views of Lake Maggiore and the small islands and islets of the Borromean Islands on an exclusive boat service between Stresa and Isola Bella. Travel at your own pace and according to your preferred schedule. Leave the boat at any of the islands and hop back on the next boat when you want to continue. Relax aboard the modern vessels as they ferry you between the most characteristic places on Lake Maggiore. Hop-off at the romantic island of Isola Bella to visit the Palace Museum and its Italianate gardens at your own expense. Go for a stroll around the fishing village on the other side of the tiny island. Cross back to Stresa, where you can journey up into the hills to visit the botanical gardens of the Giardino Botanico Alpinia at leisure. 

Stresa: Lake Maggiore and Borromean Islands Sunset Cruise

6. Stresa: Lake Maggiore and Borromean Islands Sunset Cruise

Navigate the waters of Lake Maggiore with your group of family or friends on a sunset cruise from Stresa. Explore the Borromean Gulf admire the sights and scenery from the water as you pass by Isola Madre, Isola dei Pescatori, and Isola Bella. The boat you use throughout this activity is suitable for small groups of people for parties or a romantic getaway with your partner. Larger groups can also be accommodated inside of the boat, protected from the weather while still being able to enjoy wide views of the lake through the boat's large windows and open terrace area. Finish off your cruise with a tour of the most famous Island, Isola Bella from the lake view. Sail around the Borromeo Palace and see the Italian gardens and terraces, where, if you are lucky, you will be able to see some white peacocks peeking out.

From Stresa: Isola Pescatori Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Ticket

7. From Stresa: Isola Pescatori Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Ticket

Get stunning views of Lake Maggiore and stop at the small Borromean islands and islets on a hop-on hop-off boat service between Stresa and Isola Superiore Pescatori. A private boat service is also available. Relax and travel at your own pace with a flexible schedule. Leave the boat at any of the islands and hop back on the next boat when you want to continue.  Visit the quaint fishing village on Isola Superiore Pescatori. Enjoy its charming local craft market and stop for lunch or drinks at one of the restaurants or bars overlooking Lake Maggiore. Here you can taste local dishes which include fish from the lake such as including perch, whitefish, whitefish, and many more. After,  Go for a stroll around to discover the charm of this tiny island.  Cross back to Stresa, where you can journey up into the hills to visit the botanical gardens of the Villa Pallavicino.

From Milan: Stresa, Alps, & Lake Maggiore Half Day Tour

8. From Milan: Stresa, Alps, & Lake Maggiore Half Day Tour

On the borders of Piedmont, Lombardy, and Switzerland, spectacular Lake Maggiore is the second largest lake in Italy and known for its incredible beauty. Your tour will take you from Milan to picturesque Stresa, on the western shores of Lake Maggiore. Stresa is a lovely town with beautiful villas and gardens, some of which are open to the public. With a comfortable climate, Stresa offers stunning lake views, and you can also take the cable car up to Monte Mottarone for views of the Alps and the lakes. Next, hop on board for a cruise on Lake Maggiore, and admire the stunning scenery as the boat takes you out to the Borromean Islands. You'll visit Isola Bella, or "beautiful island," just offshore from Stresa. On this rich historical island you'll visit the Palazzo Borromeo, an exquisite palace dating back to the 17th century. You'll also be able to explore the beautiful palace gardens.

Cannobio: Guided Walking Tour with Aperitif

9. Cannobio: Guided Walking Tour with Aperitif

Your special walking tour begins right in the center of Cannobio, which is a little gem on Lake Maggiore. Your meeting point will be at 5:30PM in the old town. Whilst walking through its narrow streets you will learn of old traditions, curious stories, legends, and even of a miracle! The tour is designed to show you different points of interest of this ancient lake town, and continues on with a guided visit to the Sanctuary of S. Pietà on the stunning lakefront. At the conclusion of the tour, a very welcome aperitif complete with a lake view awaits all the tour participants!

Castelletto Ticino: Lake Maggiore Electric Boat Rental

10. Castelletto Ticino: Lake Maggiore Electric Boat Rental

This e-boat is ideal for a romantic outing or for an outing with good friends and family to enjoy nature away from the crowds. Enjoy a boat trip with electric power to explore the lake and its islands. Rent the boat for an afternoon and discover the beautiful Lake Maggiore. Create your own adventure and visit locations of most interest to you. Stop for a swim in pristine waters, circumvent Arona and admire the Rocca di Angera from the lake. Enjoy an eco-friendly activity as you create your own itinerary to explore the lake.

Top sights in Lake Maggiore

Other Sightseeing Options in Lake Maggiore

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What people are saying about Lake Maggiore

Overall rating

4.2 / 5

based on 1,397 reviews

A little hard to find the meeting location, it’s a light yellow flag on the water front. Boats were frequent and easy to hop on and off! Well worth It, we loved the islands

Admission to the castle and park on Isola Bella is quite expensive at €20 for adults and €11 for children (up to and including 15 years), but still recommendable.

booked a family of 8, for isola madre, pescatore and bella. beautiful views and boat rides on time and very efficient. A must do !

Excellent choice. The guide was very friendly and knowledgeable and the place was very beautiful.

It was a bit complicated at first, but we enjoyed the rides to the fullest.