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StresaItaly

Discovering the shores of Lake Maggiore has to start with a holiday in Stresa, the famous town overlooking the Borromeo Gulf. 

Stresa was founded before the year one thousand, when it was a small community of fishermen and farmers. Only during the subsequent rule by the Milanese patrician family of the Borromeos did the works to which Stresa owes its fame and modern structure begin, including construction of the famous palaces and gardens on Isola Bella and Isola Madre. Its fame as a tourist destination began in the nineteenth century, when the luxurious aristocratic villas were built, including Villa Pallavicino and Villa Vignolo. Then, thanks to the construction of the London-Paris-Milan railway line, travellers and writers from all over Europe began to discover the beauty of Stresa and Lake Maggiore, strengthening its international reputation.

Holidays in Stresa are the perfect opportunity to take a wonderful relaxing and cultural break in a charming setting that evokes the atmosphere of the Belle Epoque. The three Borromean Islands, quickly accessible from Stresa, attract lovers of art, history and botany. Isola Bella and Isola Madre are enriched by opulent palaces and rare plant gardens where peacocks, parrots and pheasants roam free in an exotic atmosphere reminiscent of distant lands. Isola dei Pescatori, however, is known for the simplicity of the old village, considered one of the most picturesque places on the Lake Maggiore. Villa Pallavicino, a typical mid-nineteenth century building, is renowned for its zoo, a large 20 -hectare park that provides a habitat for a large population of local flora and fauna.

Stresa’s elegant and refined lake front offers a spectacular view of the Borromeo Gulf. Walking along the lakeside, your eyes will be drawn to the Art Nouveau hotels and the three Borromean Islands. For lovers of landscapes and photography, the top of Mount Mottarone Stresa, overlooking the valley, is unmissable. A privileged vantage point, Mottarone is known as the mountain of the two lakes, for its strategic position between Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta.

Stresa is the starting point for other unforgettable excursions along the lakeside. To the north you can quickly reach the town of Pallanza, a quiet tourist centre, and Verbania, home to Villa Taranto, known around the world for its wonderful garden full of flowers and rare plants. Moving further up the lake you'll come to the village of Cannero Riviera, appreciated for its sunny position and famous for growing lemons. Especially impressive in this area are the ancient fortifications, the famous Castles of Cannero, located on a small archipelago of three islands facing the town. Moving southwards, you’ll reach the town of Arona, opposite the Rocca d'Angera, a fully preserved medieval building which houses the original Museum of Dolls and Toys. On the opposite lakeside to Stresa, perched on the sheer rock at one of the deepest points of Lake Maggiore, stands the Hermitage of Santa Caterina, a monastic complex of three buildings dating back to the thirteenth century.

Don’t waste time: check out our holiday packages to Stresa and get ready for a brand new, unforgettable adventure!

Top hotels in Stresa

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Hotel La Palma
Hotel La Palma
4 out of 5
Corso Umberto I, 33, Stresa, VB
The price is £151 per night from 16 Oct to 17 Oct

Located in the heart of Stresa, this spa hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Villa La Palazzola, Carciano Ferry Terminal, and Stresa-Alpino-Mottarone Cable Car. ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (542 reviews)
Amazing place on the lake

"The place is super nice. It has nice rooftop bar with incredible view. Personnel is very friendly and helpful."…"

Reviewed on 28 Oct 2019

Hotel La Palma
Grand Hotel Bristol
Grand Hotel Bristol
4 out of 5
C.so Umberto I, 73, Stresa, VB
The price is £104 per night from 4 Oct to 5 Oct

Situated in Stresa, this golf hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Villa La Palazzola, Carciano Ferry Terminal, and Stresa-Alpino-Mottarone Cable Car. Congressi ...

4.2/5Excellent! (350 reviews)

"My daughter left her school book in the hotel room and we had to catch an early train to make our flight. I called the hotel and asked them what I should do and they said stay on the train and we will mail the book and they did!!!! Excellent place to stay and mind blowing customer service!!!"…"

Reviewed on 3 Oct 2019

Grand Hotel Bristol
Villa e Palazzo Aminta Hotel Beauty and SPA
Villa e Palazzo Aminta Hotel Beauty and SPA
5 out of 5
Via Sempione Nord 123, Stresa, VB
The price is £279 per night from 9 Oct to 10 Oct

Located in Stresa, this beachfront hotel is in the city centre and within a 15-minute walk of Carciano Ferry Terminal, Stresa-Alpino-Mottarone Cable Car and ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (233 reviews)

"Villa e Palazzo Aminta Hotel Beauty and SPA Stresa, Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Italy Sun, Oct 13 - Wed, Oct 16"…"

Reviewed on 18 Oct 2019

Villa e Palazzo Aminta Hotel Beauty and SPA

Popular places to visit in Stresa

Stresa-Alpino-Mottarone Cable Car
Image for Stresa-Alpino-Mottarone Cable Car

Stresa-Alpino-Mottarone Cable Car

4.5/5(16 reviews)

Soar over the treetops on this awe-inspiring cable car, which shows panoramic views as it rises from the shores of Lake Maggiore to the peak of Mottarone.

Isola Bella
Image for Isola Bella

Isola Bella

4.5/5(17 reviews)

Commune with nature and explore the great outdoors at Isola Bella during your travels in Stresa. Wander the picturesque gardens and lakeside in the area.

Borromeo Palace and Garden
Image for Borromeo Palace and Garden

Borromeo Palace and Garden

Beautifully landscaped Italianate gardens and a sumptuous Baroque palazzo almost entirely encompass the second largest of the Borromean Islands.

Top things to do in Stresa

Private cooking class at a local's home in Lake Maggiore
Image for Private cooking class at a local's home in Lake Maggiore

Private cooking class at a local's home in Lake Maggiore

£131
Per adult
Lake Maggiore Isola Bella Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Tour
Image for Lake Maggiore Isola Bella Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Tour

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

£7
Per adult
Dining experience at a local's home in Lake Maggiore
Image for Dining experience at a local's home in Lake Maggiore

Dining experience at a local's home in Lake Maggiore

£76
Per adult
Pasta-making class in Lake Maggiore at a Cesarina's+Tasting
Image for Pasta-making class in Lake Maggiore at a Cesarina's+Tasting

Pasta-making class in Lake Maggiore at a Cesarina's+Tasting

£131
Per adult
Private Market Tour + Cook + Dine at home at Lake Maggiore
Image for Private Market Tour + Cook + Dine at home at Lake Maggiore

Private Market Tour + Cook + Dine at home at Lake Maggiore

£192
Per adult
Italian Lakes and Switzerland Tour from Stresa: Three Lakes in One Day
Image for Italian Lakes and Switzerland Tour from Stresa: Three Lakes in One Day

Italian Lakes and Switzerland Tour from Stresa: Three Lakes in One Day

£58
Per adult

Reviews of Stresa

4.7

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
21
5 - Excellent 72.41379310344827%
4 - Good
6
4 - Good 20.689655172413794%
3 - Okay
2
3 - Okay 6.896551724137931%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

3 Oct 2019

Stresa is a picturesque small town with plenty of places to dine, enjoy a gelato or a cocktail. The lakeside promenade is easily walkable and you can enjoy the beauty of the lake and the beautiful frontages of the grand hotels which line the road.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

15 Sep 2019

Going back next year

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

13 Sep 2019

Beautiful lakeside location. Lots of restaurants and little shops. Easy to navigate the lake by boat.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

12 Sep 2019

Somewhat less elegant than I was expecting. Perfectly adequate selection of restaurants but for a seemingly wealthy and affluent area, the town lacked up-market shops. Fine for a couple of days.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

3 Sep 2019

Stresa is a nice enough town, quite small. There is a central part with restaurants and shops, a few massive luxury hotels on the water front. You can get a cable car and a ferry for activities but it’s a pretty quiet town. Good transport links.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

1 Sep 2019

Great spot for exploring the lake. We went to the Villa Taranto Gardens, would like to come back again when the rhododendron and camellia are in full bloom. We took the train to Milan, €16 return. Take a visit to the cathedral & the shops.

Cities near Stresa

Belgirate

Belgirate

Baveno which includes mountains, a small town or village and a lake or waterhole

Baveno

Mottarone featuring landscape views, a coastal town and tranquil scenes

Omegna

Photo "Gravellona Toce" by Yiyi (CC BY-SA) / Cropped from original

Gravellona Toce