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Isola Bella, Borromean Islands

Isola Bella, Borromean Islands: Our most recommended tours and activities

Stresa: 1-Day Borromean Islands Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Tour

1. Stresa: 1-Day Borromean Islands Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Tour

Discover the beautiful Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands on this hop-on hop-off boat tour. Cruise from Stresa to the 3 Borromean Islands — Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori, and Isola Madre — and choose to include stops at 2 or all 3 of the islands. After making your way to the meeting point, board the modern boat and set off to Lake Maggiore's most characteristic places. Relax and enjoy the beauty of the lake as you go. Upon arrival at the islands, simply hop off the boat and hop back on the next boat when you want to continue your tour. Explore the islands' sights — such as the Palace Museum and Gardens on Isola Madre — at your own pace.

Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Bella Hop-on Hop-off Boat

2. Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Bella Hop-on Hop-off Boat

Discovery of the fishing village of Isola dei Pescatori, the only one of the Borromean Islands inhabited all year round. Explore its many charming alleys and stop to taste the typical dishes of the lake at one of the numerous restaurants. Then continue to Isola Bella, the queen of the Borromean Islands, where, in addition to the beautiful ancient village full of typical craft shops, you can decide to visit the Palazzo Borromeo with its wonderful gardens and peacocks ready to be photographed.

Stresa: Madre & Bella Borromean Islands Boat Trip

3. Stresa: Madre & Bella Borromean Islands Boat Trip

Embark on a boat trip from Stresa and discover two of the Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore. First, visit Isola Madre which is the farthest island from Stresa. Explore the island which is famous for its botanical gardens. See the free-living birdlife and admire the peacocks and pheasants who stroll calmly through the gardens. Discover the unique plants of the island, such as the famous Cashmere tree. You can also visit the villa with its puppet collection. Next, continue the tour to Isola Bella, most famous for its palace, splendid caves, and Italian-style gardens. Admire the views from the famous terraces, enjoy some shopping in the elegant boutique stores, or visit the local handicraft market, before returning to Stresa.

Stresa to Isola Bella Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Ticket

4. Stresa to Isola Bella Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Ticket

Get stunning views of Lake Maggiore and the small islands and islets of the Borromean Islands on an exclusive boat service between Stresa and Isola Bella. Travel at your own pace and according to your preferred schedule. Leave the boat at any of the islands and hop back on the next boat when you want to continue. Relax aboard the modern vessels as they ferry you between the most characteristic places on Lake Maggiore. Hop-off at the romantic island of Isola Bella to visit the Palace Museum and its Italianate gardens at your own expense. Go for a stroll around the fishing village on the other side of the tiny island. Cross back to Stresa, where you can journey up into the hills to visit the botanical gardens of the Giardino Botanico Alpinia at leisure. 

Stresa: Lake Maggiore and Borromean Islands Sunset Cruise

5. Stresa: Lake Maggiore and Borromean Islands Sunset Cruise

Navigate the waters of Lake Maggiore with your group of family or friends on a sunset cruise from Stresa. Explore the Borromean Gulf admire the sights and scenery from the water as you pass by Isola Madre, Isola dei Pescatori, and Isola Bella. The boat you use throughout this activity is suitable for small groups of people for parties or a romantic getaway with your partner. Larger groups can also be accommodated inside of the boat, protected from the weather while still being able to enjoy wide views of the lake through the boat's large windows and open terrace area. Finish off your cruise with a tour of the most famous Island, Isola Bella from the lake view. Sail around the Borromeo Palace and see the Italian gardens and terraces, where, if you are lucky, you will be able to see some white peacocks peeking out.

Castelletto Ticino: Lake Maggiore Electric Boat Rental

6. Castelletto Ticino: Lake Maggiore Electric Boat Rental

This e-boat is ideal for a romantic outing or for an outing with good friends and family to enjoy nature away from the crowds. Enjoy a boat trip with electric power to explore the lake and its islands. Rent the boat for an afternoon and discover the beautiful Lake Maggiore. Create your own adventure and visit locations of most interest to you. Stop for a swim in pristine waters, circumvent Arona and admire the Rocca di Angera from the lake. Enjoy an eco-friendly activity as you create your own itinerary to explore the lake.

Stresa: Half-Day Lake Maggiore Tour

7. Stresa: Half-Day Lake Maggiore Tour

On the borders of Piedmont, Lombardy, and Switzerland, the spectacular Lake Maggiore is the second largest lake in Italy, known for its incredible beauty. With a comfortable climate, Stresa offers stunning lake views, and you can also take a cable car up to Monte Mottarone for views of the Alps and the surrounding lakes. Hop on board for a cruise on Lake Maggiore and admire the stunning scenery, as your boat takes you out to the Borromean Islands. Afterwards, travel to the Isola Bella or "beautiful island," just offshore from Stresa. On this rich historical island, you will visit the Palazzo Borromeo (entrance to the palace not included), an exquisite palace dating back to the 17th century. You'll also be able to explore the beautiful palace gardens. Later on, you will have free time in the Isola dei Pescatori for lunch, before your return transfer to Stresa by boat.

Stresa: Lake Maggiore and Isola Bella Private Boat Tour

8. Stresa: Lake Maggiore and Isola Bella Private Boat Tour

Explore Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore, and the surrounding area on this private taxi-boat tour. Discover all the mysteries and history of the Borromean Islands with a professional tour guide exclusive to your group. Start your excursion in Stresa Piazza Marconi either in the morning at 9:30 AM, or in the afternoon at 2:30 PM. Then set off on your customizable tour whose duration and timing will be at your discretion (about 2-4 hours). Stop at Isola Bella and take a guided tour of its architectural beauties with your knowledgeable guide. Stroll through the beautiful baroque gardens, and admire the wonderful views of the Borromean Gulf.

Lake Maggiore: Return Boat Transfer to Borromean Islands

9. Lake Maggiore: Return Boat Transfer to Borromean Islands

Explore a Borromean Island of your choice with a return boat transfer from Stresa. Take as much time as you want to see the sights before returning. Meet the boat directly at your hotel's dock and embark on a scenic ride across Lake Maggiore. Choose one of the islands to discover: Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori, or Isola Madre. Relax on the boat and take in scenic views of the lake as you sail to the island. Stay and see the sights as long as you want, your boat will be waiting for you when you're done.

Borromean Gulf: Sightseeing Cruise

10. Borromean Gulf: Sightseeing Cruise

Set sail on this Borromean Gulf cruise and admire the area’s sights and scenery from the water. Pass by Isola Madre, Isola dei Pescatori, and Isola Bella. Marvel at the Borromeo Palace. Leave from Stresa towards Isola Madre, famous for its gardens with tropical blooms and for its villa that will leave you speechless. After having made a complete tour around the island, head towards the fishing village of Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen's Island), the only island to be permanently inhabited all year round. Spot a set of ancient houses rich in history. Finish off your cruise with a tour of Isola Bella from the water. Sail around the Borromeo Palace and see the memorable gardens and terraces, where, if you are lucky, you will be able to see some white peacocks peeking out.

  • Water activities
  • Hop-on hop-off tours
  • Transfers
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What people are saying about Isola Bella, Borromean Islands

Overall rating

4.1 / 5

based on 1,477 reviews

A little hard to find the meeting location, it’s a light yellow flag on the water front. Boats were frequent and easy to hop on and off! Well worth It, we loved the islands

Admission to the castle and park on Isola Bella is quite expensive at €20 for adults and €11 for children (up to and including 15 years), but still recommendable.

Very good reception by the service providers. Regular shuttles (we waited at most 5 minutes to get one). The 2 islands are different but interesting.

booked a family of 8, for isola madre, pescatore and bella. beautiful views and boat rides on time and very efficient. A must do !

It was a bit complicated at first, but we enjoyed the rides to the fullest.