10 stunning places to visit on Lago Maggiore

Written by on March 22, 2021 in Lakes & Rivers, Things to See & Do

Islands on Lago Maggiore - 10 stunning places to visit on Lago Maggiore

Because of Covid we are not able to get out and about around our area of North West Italy as we would like, in order to bring to you stimulating information about places and experiences that you might find useful when you are next in this amazing part of Italy.

There can only be so many times you want to read about another lovely walk or winter sports adventure in the Aosta mountains, which is basically what we have been limited to since September due to the travel restrictions. Not that we are complaining of course.

But we do now have seriously itchy feet and are sure that you do too! We are dying for spring & summer to arrive, hopefully accompanied by more freedom of movement, so that we can all get to the seaside, the lakes, the wine areas etc that this part of Italy is so blessed with.

Rocca of Angera - 10 stunning places to visit on Lago Maggiore

Enrolling the help of local “experts”

In the meantime, rather than resort to producing content for the sake of it by regurgitating stuff from the usual online travel resources, we thought it would be more stimulating and useful to engage the services of some warm and generous people who either live in or who are at least very familiar with the places that we want to discover more about.

10 personal recommendations of places to visit on Lago Maggiore

For this short piece giving his 10 personal recommendations of sights to see on Lago Maggiore we are very grateful to Pietro di Girolamo, a resident of Milano who when the weather is nice visits Lago Maggiore nearly every day for a dose of its soul cleansing beauty and tranquillity. Pietro kindly allowed us to share this little tour of his favourite places, written originally for his own Facebook page in his native Italian and which we have rather clumsily translated into English.

Beautiful garden on the Island of Bella

The town of Stresa

Stresa is one of the villages that dominate Lago Maggiore with its villas, the breath-taking view, its gardens, the lakefront for a romantic walk. Stresa as well as being the historic destination of the Grand Tour, is also the site of very suggestive Art Nouveau buildings. From the lakeside you can take the boat to visit the Borromean Islands, a real pearl of Lombardy. In short, it is a destination not to be missed if you are nearby.

Stresa lovely walk on the shore

The Borromean Islands

On Lago Maggiore there are several islands including the Borromean Islands, full of many residences, surrounded by beautiful flower gardens. Absolutely not to be missed is Isola Bella, rich in botanical gardens, flora, fauna, statues and baroque palaces with their halls full of tapestries, paintings and furniture. Also not to be missed is Isola Madre, also known as Isola Maggiore, which is the largest of the Borromean Islands. Absolutely to visit the Palazzo Borromeo, built in 1500, full of decorated rooms such as the elegant Venetian living room full of floral paintings. Also worth seeing on the island is the noble chapel, with its beautiful English garden.

islands of lago Maggiore - 10 stunning places to visit on Lago Maggiore

The islands of Brissago, Ascona and Locarno

The Brissago Islands are worth a visit if you go to the Ticino coast, on the Swiss part of Lake Maggiore. Ascona and Locarno are two very characteristic locations, especially due to two important events such as Ascona Jazz and the Locarno Film Festival, which take place in the summer.

lakeshore town in on the swiss side of Lake Maggiore

The hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso

This is one of the most interesting places on the Lombardia coast of Lago Maggiore, located in Reno di Leggiuno (VA). Do not miss the lakefront and the concerts that in summer increase the value and beauty of this splendid place.

The Madonna del Sasso Orselina

It is a very important pilgrimage destination due to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso in Orselina. Do not miss the Baroque church of Santa Maria Assunta, the convent, the chapels, the Via Crucis and the Church of the Annunciation.

beautiful church on the rocks on Lake Maggiore - 10 stunning places to visit on Lago Maggiore

The Villa Taranto

Near the promontory of Castagnola there are the beautiful gardens of Villa Taranto, rich in very rare plants and flowers which in the summer give rise to an incomparable show of colours.

The Villa Pallavicino

In its neoclassical style, the Villa Pallavicino is located a few km from the Borromean Islands and inside it is possible to find different plant species but also about 40 different species of animals including mammals and tropical birds.

Villa Pallavicino with the friendly zoo around it

Arona and the Colossus of San Carlo Borromeo

Located in the province of Novara, Arona is important because traces of the first human settlements in the region were found. The Colossus of San Carlo Borromeo is very important, a statue that can also be visited from the inside to get to the top while enjoying the spectacle of the panorama.

Arona, statue from where you see the panorama of the lake

The Alpinia Garden

Located near Stresa, close to the Alps, it is one of the largest and most important botanical parks in the area with a splendid panoramic view overlooking Lake Maggiore.

The Rocca of Angera

A spectacular construction that rises above Lake Maggiore, built on a large limestone rock. The view from Arona is absolutely suggestive.

Written by Pietro di Girolamo of Milano. 

Read more about Stresa on our own family day trip on Lake Maggiore. 

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