Welcome to Lake Maggiore

More than its siblings to the east, Lake Como and Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore has retained a belle époque air. All three have mesmerised foreign visitors down the centuries but Lake Maggiore became a popular tourist destination in the late 19th century after the Simplon Pass was opened.

Top experiences in Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore activities

$94.87 Day Trips & Excursions

Zermatt and Matterhorn Day Trip from Stresa

In the morning we start our journey from Lake Maggiore and make our way through the Ossola Valley before climbing into the Alps over the Simplon Pass. The highest point of the pass is the Belvedere panoramic viewpoint and is where we make our comfort stop. From there you can see 360° views of the Swiss and Italian Alps. Descending the Simplon Pass towards Brig we continue our scenic journey along the Matter Valley towards Taesch and finally Zermatt.Zermatt is pedestrianised so in the village of Taesch we leave the tour bus and take you up to Zermatt on the rack and pinion railway (included). Zermatt itself is at 5,315ft above sea level and is surrounded by some of the most famous peaks in the Alps: the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, the Gornergrat and no less than twelve “4,000’s” – peaks over 4,000m.Zermatt is a typcal, picturesque Swiss Alpine village and you can spend your free time simply exploring the village, or enjoying a journey up to the Sunnegga plateau on the Mountain Metro (optional). Have a look around the Zermatlantis Matterhon Museum (optional) and don't forget to taste some of the local food! (meals are not included). All whilst enjoying views of one of the most well-known mountains in the Alps: the Matterhorn. In the afternoon we retrace our journey back over the Simplon Pass (with comfort stop) and down towards Lake Maggiore.

$115.69 Day Trips & Excursions

Lake Maggiore Full-Day Tour by Train from Milan

Meet your guide at Milan’s Cadorna train station in the morning, hop on a train and relax on the 1.5-hour ride to Laveno-Mombello, a lovely port town on the western banks of Lake Maggiore. The second-largest lake in Italy, Lake Maggiore straddles the Piedmont and Lombardy regions, and is most famous for its gorgeous Borromean Islands. Literature buffs may know the area as being a setting in Ernest Hemingway's infamous novel, A Farewell to Arms.With your guide, hop on a boat and enjoy views of splendid lakeside villas and Mediterranean gardens as you cruise for 1.5 hours along the deep-blue water. Float past Isola Madre, lush with exotic vegetation year-round, before arriving at the picturesque Isola dei Pescatori (Island of the Fishermen).Spend time exploring the little island at your leisure. Explore the maze of narrow alleys, and pop into a cafe or restaurant for lunch (own expense).Back on the boat, cruise to Isola Bella (Beautiful Island), one of the larger Borromean Islands. Here, visit independently Borromeo Palace, a 17th-century baroque palace featuring lovely Italian gardens. Then, enjoy free time to explore independently or go shopping in town.Hop on the boat again in the late afternoon and cruise to your last stop, the elegant lakeside town of Stresa. With its easy access to Milan, Stresa was a favorite destination for artists and writers in the 19th century, including Hemingway. Enjoy free time to explore the hive of cobbled streets in Stresa Old Town.Then board the return train to Milan, arriving at the Milano Centrale train station in the early evening.

$9.26 Tours & Sightseeing

Lake Maggiore Isola Bella Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Tour

With this hop-on hop-off boat tour you can explore the beautiful Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands. The exclusive boat service travels between Stresa and  Isola Bella. This tour allows you to travel at your own pace – you can leave the ferry at any of the islands and hop back on the next boat when you want to continue. This tour is one of the most used services for reaching the amazing locations of the Borromean Islands and Lake Maggiore. The modern and comfortable boats take you to the most stunning and characteristic places on Lake Maggiore, the Borromean Islands, and Stresa. Ideal for those who like the freedom to travel at their own pace, this tour allows you to simply relax and enjoy the beauty of the lake. Entrance to the Palace Museum and Gardens is not included in the ticket but we highly recommend visiting.

$329.72 Day Trips & Excursions

Private Tour of Borromean Islands from Stresa

The sightseeing tour of the Borromean islands will start in Stresa. The discovery of isola Bella will begin in the 17th-century palace owned by the Borromeo family, where an expert local guide will show you all the interesting rooms on a private tour at your own pace that also includes the famous gardens of isola Bella built on levels. At lunch time you will be able to enjoy a stop at Fishermen's island where some free time for lunch will be available in the picturesque fishermen's village. Your tour guide will then take you on a sightseeing tour of Isola Madre that houses a Renaissance villa and an amazing botanic garden with peacocks and pheasants. Please note that the order of the visits on this tour may change: it could be isola Madre in the morning and isola Bella after lunch stop.

$17.35 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

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

Make the most out of your day by arriving in Stresa in early morning. The first public boat leaves at 9am and departures continue about every half an hour throughout the day until the evening (18.00). Step aboard the comfortable boat and try to nab a window seat if you can. From there, peer out over the breathtaking Lake Maggiore and the forested hills and dramatic mountain peaks that rise beyond the shimmering lake’s edge. You are free to hop on and off the boat as much as you please, so you can create a sightseeing itinerary to suit your preferences. Wander through Isola Madre’s English-style gardens at your leisure, strolling among colorful blooms, which include azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and wisteria. You might also visit the 16th-century villa house on the island, where you can explore a collection of period rooms and an exhibit of small puppet theaters.When you’re done on Isola Madre, head back to the harbor and catch the next boat to Isola Pescatori. Use your boat ticket to continue on to Isola dei Pescatori, the only island that is inhabited year-round. Stop for a bite to eat at one of the island's fish restaurants (own expense) or wander around the quaint fishing village, which retains its old-world charm.Use your boat ticket to continue on to Isola dei Pescatori, the only island that is inhabited year-round. Choose to stop  at Isola Bella and pay an entrance fee to explore the sumptuous and ornately decorated 17th-century palace that dominates the island. See the home where the noble Borromeo family lived and entertained. Admire tapestries, fine paintings and antique furniture, all displayed in lavishly gilded, rococo rooms. Afterward, wander around the well-tended formal gardens. Look out for the two white peacocks strutting their stuff amidst the fountains, flowers and topiary. Feel free to revisit any of the islands’ during the day as your ticket is valid for as many journeys as you please during the day (from 9.00 to 18.00 period), but be sure to catch the last boat back to the mainland in early evening.

$45.12 Day Trips & Excursions

Lake Orta Day Trip from Stresa with Optional Island Cruise

Meet your group and guide to board your tour bus in Stresa after lunchtime. Pickup is available from select Stresa hotels or a central meeting point. Travel to the lakeside town of Omegna where you will have the option to carry on straight to Orta town on the tour bus or take an optional boat cruise to reach Orta via San Giulio's Island.If you have selected the Lake Orta with San Giulio Island option, you will have the opportunity to visit the basilica whose apse dates back to the 9th century. The earliest frescoes date back to the 14th century and are mostly of saints. In the crypt lies the reliquary of San Giulio, complete in his Bishop's robes.Upon arrival in Orta town, take a stroll through the narrow cobbled streets and into the little park hidden behind the town hall. It's a great spot for views across the lake. In the main piazza, climb the steps of the 16th century Palazzo della Communità for a bird's eye view of the square. Enjoy a drink in the square (at your own expense) or head up to the Santa Maria Assunta church. Free time in Orta ranges from 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours depending on whether you decide to take the optional cruise.Later in the afternoon, board the bus to continue through the scenic countryside along the southern tip of Lake Maggiore to reach the giant 115 foot (35m) high statue of San Carlo Borromeo. Return along the southwest shore of Lake Maggiore past stunning villas and views of the Rocca Borromeo castle on the way back to Stresa.

Lake Maggiore in detail