Destination> Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore - Lombardy

Also called Lake Verbano, this neighbor to Lake Como—separated from it only by Lake Lugano—is 65km long, and gets spectacularly overcrowded in the summer. However, it is worth a visit for the beautiful hills that line the shoreline, and the lovely Monte Rosa nearby.

The most popular tourist town on Verbano's shores is Stresa, which has had that honor for centuries. In it, you'll find stylish, costly hotels, cobblestone streets, and a distinctly international crowd. However, Verbania is the biggest town on Lake Maggiore; it's on the Milan-Domodossola train line.

Cannero Riviero is another village worth a look. Also, Cannobio is right near the border with Switzerland; its quaint cobblestone streets remind you of this proximity

You can pick up a booklet at many shops that details 18 walks around lake, called Trekking per Tutti. For a quirky tourist attraction, visit the Il Museo dell'Ombrell e del Parasole, the world's only umbrella museum. It's a relic of Stresa's resort days, with over 1000 umbrellas, parasols, and other pieces. Also try the Villa Pallavicino, an open-air zoo with extensive gardens as well as exotic birds and other animals

Go to Villa Taranto to walk through the gardens of a British captain whose goal was to create an extensive botanical in the lakes region. Or, take one of the multiple ferries leaving for the three Borromean Islands, which feature their own set of fantastic villas and gardens. The best places to catch the ferry are Stresa or Baveno. Isola Bella has had famous artists, authors and composers as its guests, and features a breathtaking palazzo-a 17th-century palace with gardens and sculptures. Isola Madre has an 18th-century palace, lavish gardens, and palm trees. Isola Superiore dei Pescatori, is a non-touristy fishing village, but it does have a nice free beach.

Meanwhile, Parco del Mattarone is perfect for afternoon strolls. For a more strenuous trip, take the Stresa-Mottarone Funivia, which brings you hiking and mountain biking trails. Or, a cable car will take you to Monte Mottarone, the highest peak in the Lake Maggiore region.

To get to Lake Maggiore, take a train from Milan or a bus from Lake d'Orta, Novara, or Milan. There are also ferries and hydrofoils from and to all towns on the lake, including Locarno, just across the border with Switzerland. Many of the towns on the western side of the lake can also be reached by bus.

Places of Interest

Places of Interest