The Lake Maggiore is one of the favorite destinations of people who live in Milan and want nature and relaxation. It is a very quiet area, full of nice restaurants and bars with a lake terrace. But also a way to learn about a nature reserve composed of a fauna and a protected flora. Surely in the north of Italy, you know Lake Como, famous for its villas and the famous people that occupy them, but Lake Maggiore is not far behind. Its villas and gardens will leave you speechless, like the Borromean Islands.
Lake Maggiore is located north-west of Lombardy and north-west of Piedmont, is the second largest lake in Italy (after Lake Garda). The nearest airport is Malpensa 30km from Stresa.
1 DAY STRESA
To reach Stresa which is where you will take the ferry to the islands you have 2 options. The Milan – Domodossola railway line, the price depends on the km, ex. Stresa is € 8 one way per person, duration 1.45h, with trains from morning to night.
Another possibility to rent a car to visit the area is the best option considering your trip. To rent a car I recommend doing it directly at the airport which costs less.
The first day we dedicate it to the beautiful Stresa and the Borromean islands. The Isola Madre with its gardens full of peacocks. The Isola Pescatori perfect for a terrace lunch while admiring the tranquility of the lake. And finally the Isola Bella is the most beautiful and sumptuous of the three, you will be dazzled by its beauty. The palace, and the gardens. More info read this post!
2 DAY VERBANIA
We follow towards the north, and we arrive up to Verbania, a very pretty city, and perfect for our next night. Verbania presents tourism developed thanks to the privileged geographical position. Of particular interest is the botanical gardens of Villa Taranto on the promontory of Castagnola and Villa San Remigio, in baroque style. The city is called the garden on the lake, given the abundant presence of gardens and terraces.
Villa Taranto, today the town hall of the city, cannot be visited but its gardens, for a fee. Visits are free (fares and admission) and each plant is accompanied by a sign indicating its name. It is possible to reach the gardens not only by land but also from the lake, with Navigazione Lago Maggiore serves and a dock for private boaters.
3 DAY ANGERA
The third day we remain on Lake Maggiore but changing region, from Piedmont to Lombardy. On the way, we will find the convent of Santa Caterina del Sasso. A convent built in the 12th-century rock that can be visited (fares and admission).
The Hermitage was founded by Alberto Besozzi. A wealthy local merchant who, having escaped from a storm during the crossing of the lake, decided to retreat to that stretch of coast and lead a hermit’s life.
Once in Angera, our last stop, you can visit his castle, now used for events and weddings. The path inside the solemn Historical Halls is amazing, embellished with precious frescoes, ancient paintings, and original decorations. Inside the Rocca is housed the Doll and Toy Museum which retraces the history of the game from the 18th century to the present day.