Known for Boating, Gardens and Lakes
Wander along the shoreline of Stresa and be transported to a bygone age. Soak up the belle époque atmosphere and admire the luxury villas and art nouveau mansions. The town is an upscale place, where you can sip wine in outdoor cafés, dine in excellent restaurants or discover some of the region’s most stunning views.
Stresa is located on Lake Maggiore along the Gulf of Borromeo. In this charmingly pretty town a long promenade offers lake views. A maze of cobbled streets forms the old center and breathtaking countryside envelops it all. Begin by wandering through the town and observing local activities. Stop for coffee in little squares such as Piazza Cadorna.
Few people visit Stresa without making the trip to the Borromean Islands. The three islands of Bella, Madre and Isola dei Pescatori are a treasure trove of botanical gardens, palaces and old fishing villages.
Take the cable car up Mount Mottarone, which rises behind Stresa. Stop at the midway point to wander around the stunning Alpinia Botanical Gardens, where over 1,000 alpine and subalpine plant species create a magical garden with a view. Continue to the very top of the mountain to experience one of the region’s most staggering 360-degree vistas. In addition to viewing the Borromean Islands, gaze across the Alps and see seven distinct lakes.
Just over 1 mile (2 kilometers) from Stresa is the 19th-century palace Villa Pallavicino, with a huge park and zoo. Watch zebras, kangaroos and black swans amid lush landscaped gardens. Bring your camera for the wonderful views here too.
Stresa is located 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Milan Malpensa Airport, 60 miles (100 kilometers) from Milan Linate Airport and 80 miles (130 kilometers) from Milan Bergamo Airport. A train line runs directly from Milan to Stresa. Get around the town on foot or hop in a taxi. Alternatively, ferry across the lake to other top sights and towns.