Recently when we visited Milan, in order to escape the heat of the city we took an excursion to the mountain fresh air of Lake Maggiore. Lake Maggiore is a just over an hour’s drive from Milan and is part of the beautiful Italian Lake District. Here, green lush mountains surround crystal clear waters, and luxury ‘La Belle Époque’ style hotels line the seafront.
The little town of Stresa is the focal point for boat trips around the area, especially to the Borromean islands. In the past, Stresa has been a popular retreat for Europe’s aristocrats, who built stunning villas here. Now it is known for its luxury hotels, cute little shops and the cable car that takes visitors to the top of Monte Mottanone for an amazing view. Easily accessible from the alps by the train service on the Simplon pass, Stresa is certainly worth a visit especially for a trip to the idyllic Borromean Islands.
The Borromean Islands
These are three small islands and two islets located near Stresa. The islands take their name from the aristocratic Borromeo family, who took ownership of the land in the 16th and 17th centuries. Isola Bella with its beautiful palace and gardens is the most well known for its luxury, whilst Isola Dei Pescatori it a simple village known for its cobbled streets and restaurants whilst Isola Madre is known for its many wild plants and exotic flowers which cover the island.
The hop on, hop off boats to the Borromean Islands are reasonably priced and easy to take. We visited the beautiful Isola Bella palace and gorgeous gardens and Isola Dei Pescatori, the Fishermen’s island with the cobbled streets and an abundance of restaurants, was a perfect for a spot of lunch.
Before long it was time to take the boat back to the shore and then after a gelato in a cafe in Stresa it was time to take the bus back to Milan.
We loved our time in Lake Maggiore so much so, we are planning to go back next year.
Have you been to Lake Maggiore or can you recommend any of the other Italian lakes.