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Borromean Islands

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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

With this hop-on hop-off boat tour you can explore the beautiful Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands. The exclusive boat service travels between Stresa and the 3 Borromean Islands – Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori, and Isola Madre. This tour allows you to travel at your own pace – you can leave the boat at any of the islands and hop back on the next boat when you want to continue. This tour is one of the most used services for reaching the amazing locations of the Borromean Islands and Lake Maggiore. The modern and comfortable boats take you to the most stunning and characteristic places on Lake Maggiore, the Borromean Islands, and Stresa. Ideal for those who like the freedom to travel at their own pace, this tour allows you to simply relax and enjoy the beauty of the lake.

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

2. 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. 

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Stresa: Lake Maggiore and Borromean Islands Sunset Cruise

3. Stresa: Lake Maggiore and Borromean Islands Sunset Cruise

Navigating Lake Maggiore is a pleasurable-enough experience as it is. When coupled with a good bottle of Prosecco, it becomes even more unique and unforgettable. The boat you use throughout this activity is suitable for small groups of people for cocktails, or to make a romantic surprise for your partner. Larger groups can be accommodated inside of the boat, protected from the weather but at the same time offered wide views of the lake through the boat's large windows and open terrace area. Enjoy a delicious aperitif in good company as you socialize onboard your comfortable boat. During your approximately 1-hour cruise, make the most of your time to take photos and learn more about this wonderful side of Lake Maggiore.

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From Stresa: Isola Pescatori Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Ticket

4. From Stresa: Isola Pescatori Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Ticket

Get stunning views of Lake Maggiore and stop at the small Borromean islands and islets on a hop-on hop-off boat service between Stresa and Isola Superiore Pescatori. A private boat service is also available. Relax and travel at your own pace with a flexible schedule. Leave the boat at any of the islands and hop back on the next boat when you want to continue.  Visit the quaint fishing village on Isola Superiore Pescatori. Enjoy its charming local craft market and stop for lunch or drinks at one of the restaurants or bars overlooking Lake Maggiore. Here you can taste local dishes which include fish from the lake such as including perch, whitefish, whitefish, and many more. After,  Go for a stroll around to discover the charm of this tiny island.  Cross back to Stresa, where you can journey up into the hills to visit the botanical gardens of the Villa Pallavicino.

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

5. 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.

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Borromean Islands Private Hop-On Hop-Off Boat from Stresa

6. Borromean Islands Private Hop-On Hop-Off Boat from Stresa

Avoid the restrictive schedules of most sightseeing tours and discover the beauty of Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands at your own pace. Avail of an exclusive private boat service between Stresa and the islands of Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Madre. Hop off and on as often as you like throughout the day. Relax aboard the comfortable boats as you take in the stunning views of the lake. Jump off at Isola Bella to visit the summer palace of Count Vitaliano VI. Stroll around the gardens of Palazzo Borromeo on Isola Madre. Find a nice spot for lunch in the fishing village on Isola dei Pescatori, the only island of the archipelago still inhabited.

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Stresa: Madre & Bella Borromean Islands Boat Trip

7. 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.

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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.

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Stresa: Lake Maggiore Private Boat Tour

9. Stresa: Lake Maggiore Private Boat Tour

Cruise Lake Maggiore in your own private boat, operated by a driver who will take you around the lake and the 3 Borromean Islands. Soak up the enchanting atmosphere of one of Italy's largest and most well-known lakes. Admire the stunning scenery of the surrounding mountains and villages as you cruise. Choose the most suitable boat for your occasion, whether it be romantic or family-oriented. You can also opt for various tours or itineraries on your hour out on Lake Maggiore. Enjoy boating out to the Borromean Islands of Isola Bella, Isola Madre, and Isola Pescatori. You can also be taken to the coastal towns of Stresa, Verbania, and more.

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4-Day Northern Italy Lakes Tour from Milan

10. 4-Day Northern Italy Lakes Tour from Milan

Spend an enjoyable 4 days and 3 nights touring the lakes region of northern Italy. Admire the scenic beauty of the area as you tour by land and water. Visit lovely lakeside villages and islands and explore the historic city of Verona on a guided tour. Day 1: Milan, Lake Orta, Stresa, Como Depart Milan at 08:30 for the drive to Lake Orta, a small, charming lake situated in the north-eastern part of the Piedmont region. Stop in the beautiful village of Orta San Giulio for a short visit. Then take a boat to the island of San Giulio, the gem of the lake that is almost entirely occupied by the Mater Ecclesie Monastery. After a short visit, you’ll take the ferry back to Orta, and travel by bus to Stresa, on Lake Maggiore, one of the largest of Italy’s lakes. Arrive in Stresa, an international tourist resort, where you’ll enjoy free time for lunch, and in the afternoon take a tour of Pescatori island by boat. Continue to Bella Island, where you can visit Borromeo Palace with its magnificent gardens. Return to Stresa before heading on to Como. Overnight in Como. Day 2: Como, Bellagio, Varenna, Bergamo, Brescia Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, followed by a short visit to Como. Take in views of the high mountain overlooking the lake, the wild alpine valley, and the surrounding villages. On Lake Como you’ll board a boat to take you to Bellagio, located at the tip of the peninsula that separates the lake's 2 southern arms. You’ll have views of the Alps across the lake to the north. There will be free time for lunch. In the afternoon, you’ll depart by boat for Varenna. After a panoramic tour you’ll continue on to Bergamo. Enjoy a short walking tour of the city center before heading to Brescia. Overnight in Brescia. Day 3: Brescia, Sirmione, Riva Del Garda, Verona You’ll depart Brescia for Lake Garda after breakfast. Enjoy a panoramic tour along the western coast of the largest of the Italian lakes. Admire the splendid natural landscapes surrounded by the Dolomites of Brenta to the north and gentle sloping hills to the south. When you arrive in Sirmione you’ll have the best panoramic views of the lake. Take a boat tour and admire the Sirmione Cape, the castle, and the Grotto of Catullo. Depart for Riva del Garda on the north side of the lake. Visit its historic center with free time for lunch before the drive to Verona. Overnight in Verona. Day 4: Verona, Milan After breakfast at the hotel you’ll tour the famous city of Verona, a work of art in itself. This fascinating crossroads of historical periods and cultures is a blend of Nordic and Mediterranean influences. See traces of its splendid Roman origins, its prevailing medieval structures, its magnificent Renaissance palaces, and impressive fortifications. You’ll have free time for lunch before departing for Milan in the afternoon.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Borromean Islands

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What people are saying about Borromean Islands

Overall rating

4.1 / 5

based on 990 reviews

Excellent service, efficient and charming; we were able to embark upon our arrival at the meeting place, choose in which direction to visit the islands, take advantage of the advice of the captain and the boat for us alone. Then all you have to do is call the captain directly on each island so that he can pick you up 10 to 15 minutes later, it is very practical and a real saving of time and comfort for the visit of these superb Borromean islands.

Excellent ! We didn’t know the stops were in the order of Bella , Madre, the Pesctorie … we had a tour on Madre arranged 1st … the captain was gracious and took us to Madre , then picked us up and took us to Bella ! Grazie !

Romantic evening. All perfect. Great buffet. Friendliness on the part of the skipper. Recommended

We had a romantic trip with sparkling wine and various antipasti. A good start!

A friendly welcome, frequent and occasional shuttles between the islands