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Located in the heart of Stresa, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Villa Ducale and Borromeo Plaza. Stresa Ferry Terminal and Congressi Palace are also within ...
Hotel Milan Speranza Au Lac£111Hotel Milan Speranza Au Lac£111
This family-friendly Stresa hotel is located on a lake, within a 15-minute walk of Villa La Palazzola and Borromeo Plaza. Stresa Ferry Terminal and Carciano ...
Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees£156Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees£156
The incredible beauty of Lake Maggiore and the other Italian Lakes has inspired poets and composers for centuries. Long and thin, Lake Maggiore straddles the regions of Piedmont and Lombardy before creeping into Switzerland. Its allure is seductive, with deep blue waters bordered by elegant lakeside promenades and shadowed by vivid green hills. In the old days, it was the first taste of Italy for travellers coming over the Alps – and still today it’s an unforgettable experience.
Delightfully old-fashioned lakeside resorts recall an earlier, more tranquil time. The town of Stresa was a stop on the old Orient Express, and its genteel charms include flower-filled waterside promenades and beautiful lake views.
Get a taste of old-world Italy by staying in a lakeside villa or one of the grand palace hotels in resorts such as Stresa and Verbania. Or you can stay in a simpler, family-run hotel that offers wonderful views of Lake Maggiore from its balconies. Pamper yourself with a stay in a spa hotel, or opt for a cosy bed and breakfast set in exotic gardens.
Take a relaxed stroll along the waterfronts of Stresa, Pallanza and Verbania, where you can see one of Lake Maggiore’s biggest attractions: the Borromean islands. Isola Bella is the stuff of fairy tales, with an ornate Baroque palace and luxuriant landscaped gardens. Isola Madre and Isola de Superiore – the latter reportedly Ernest Hemingway’s favourite island – are appealing islands to explore, filled with gardens and charming village houses. On Lake Maggiore’s eastern shore is the monastery of Santa Caterina del Sasso, clinging to the rock face.
Head further north towards the Swiss border to reach the town of Cannobio, which has a large Sunday market that sprawls over its cafe-filled waterfront. Its tree-shaded beach is an excellent spot for a picnic.
For a fun day out, visit the Aquadventure Park north of Stresa, which is an outdoor swimming complex and adventure park rolled into one. People of all ages can enjoy activities including mountain biking and climbing.
Savour the best of northern Italian food including creamy risotto dishes, rich game, polenta and roast meats – washed down with robust reds from the Piedmont region. Some restaurants also offer a taste of the Mediterranean and feature seafood dishes as well as local lake fish.
Ferries run all along Lake Maggiore, connecting the towns and villages. Stresa has frequent boats that go up and down the lake as well as to the Borromean islands.
One of the most pleasurable things to do is to take the Lake Maggiore Express. This fascinating way to see the lake combines both rail and boat travel and sets off from numerous points along the water, including lakeside towns in Switzerland. There’s the option to return by narrow-gauge train that goes through dramatic mountain scenery on the western side of the lake. It’s an experience not to be missed.