Usually when people refer to “The Italian Lakes”, they mean Lakes Maggiore, Como and Lugano. Sometimes they also mean Lake Garda but that is several hours to the east. The three most famous lake, along with many other small ones nearby, can be combined to make a wonderful trip. Getting to Lake Maggiore is pretty straightforward: by train from Milan (it’s an ideal daytrip from Milan), it’s just an hour to the town of Stresa, an ideal base for exploring the area. And, it’s a perfect last stop on an itinerary that departs from Milan’s Malpensa airport, if you don’t want to stay in an airport hotel. What to do on Lake Maggiore? Spend the day enjoying the scenery of the Alps and of course the lake itself. Hop on a boat to visit the islands: Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori, and Isola Madre. Take a picturesque train ride. Take a cable car up for views. Go for a hike. Or just sit lakeside with a drink and a book. Details below….
The Isola dei Pescatori or Fisherman’s island is indeed just that: an island of fishermen. When I worked in the area as a hiking guide, one time we almost got stranded on this small island because it started raining and the ferries stopped running. We did find a nice fisherman to take us back, though. What a great setting for a relaxing lunch! The photo below is the Isola Pescatori with the Alps in the background.
Then take a boat to nearby Isola Bella, where both the palace and grounds are open for visiting. Here’s a view of the gardens behind the palace on Isola Bella:
Photos by Sanjay
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