Monte Mottarone

Lake Maggiore West Bank

The cable-car trip up Monte Mottarone (1492m) from the northwestern end of Stresa offers pretty views over Lake Maggiore, including Isola Bella and Isola Superiore. From the summit on a clear day you can see Lake Orta, several other smaller lakes and Monte Rosa, on the Alpine border with Switzerland.

The 20-minute cable-car journey on the Funivia Stresa–Mottarone takes you to the Mottarone station at 1385m, from where it's a 15-minute walk or free chairlift (when it's working) up to the summit. At the Alpino midstation (803m) more than a thousand Alpine and sub-Alpine species flourish in the Giardino Botanico Alpinia, a botanic garden dating from 1934. On a clear day, the views from here over Maggiore are truly special.

For the more active, there are plenty of good hiking trails on the mountain. Walkers can ask at the cable-car station or the tourist office for a free copy of Trekking on the Slopes of Mount Mottarone, which outlines a two-hour walk from Stresa to the Giardino Botanico Alpinia and a four-hour walk to the top of Mottarone.

Skiing Mottarone’s gentle slopes ( is limited to five green and two blue runs, making it good for beginners. The ski pass includes the cost of the cable car and you can hire gear from the station at the top of Mottarone. The ski pass costs €17 per adult per day (€24 on weekends) while equipment costs extra.

Also possible from the summit is Alpyland, a 1200m-long bobsled descent with adjustable speeds that makes it ideal for families.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lake Maggiore West Bank attractions

1. Giardino Botanico Alpinia

2.18 MILES

More than 1000 alpine and subalpine species flourish in this 4-hectare botanical garden set partway up Monte Mottarone. It was founded in 1934 and…

2. Museo dell’Ombrello e del Parasole


Those driving to Mottarone or Orta San Giulio (for Lake Orta) from Stresa could stop in Gignese (8km from Stresa) for the intriguing Museo dell’Ombrello e…

3. Chiesa di San Vittore

3.43 MILES

This tiny church on equally tiny Isola Superiore generally gets more tourists than congregation, except on 14 August when its saintly figurine – the…

4. Palazzo Borromeo

3.56 MILES

Presiding over 10 tiers of spectacular terraced gardens roamed by peacocks, this baroque palace is arguably Lake Maggiore's finest building. Wandering the…

5. Isole Borromeo

3.58 MILES

The Borromean Gulf forms Lake Maggiore's most beautiful corner, sheltering the Borromean Islands and their spectacular, privately owned palaces. Closest…

6. Lungolago di Stresa

3.89 MILES

For the best passeggiata (afternoon stroll) on Lake Maggiore head for Stresa, where a 2km-long lakeside promenade meanders through florid gardens and past…

7. Isola Madre


The closest of the three islands to Verbania, Isola Madre is entirely taken up by the Palazzo Madre and the lovely gardens that surround it. The 16th- to…

8. Parco della Villa Pallavicino

4.53 MILES

An easy 1km walk southeast of central Stresa along the SS33 main road, the Pallavicino is a 19th-century neoclassical villa set in banked lakeside grounds…