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Isola Bella, Borromean Islands

  • Water activities
  • Hop-on hop-off tours
  • Transfers
  • Multi-day trips
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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

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. The 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.

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, or disembark on one of the islands of the lake to see what you can find. Enjoy an eco friendly activity as you create your own itinerary to explore the lake.

Stresa: Lake Maggiore and Isola Bella Private Boat Tour

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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.

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.

Other Sightseeing Options in Isola Bella, Borromean Islands

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What people are saying about Isola Bella, Borromean Islands

Overall rating

4.2 / 5

based on 1,276 reviews

The backpacker recommends going first to Isla Bella before madre but the boat no longer passes in the afternoon after 2 p.m. with the yellow and blue company that we had taken. So we had to do madre first. The visit is the most beautiful we have done. Much more charming than Bella, which remains oriented more towards the palace than the garden, even if it is also very beautiful. We had to wait 1 hour for a boat to arrive, whereas with other companies there were 3 that passed before ours arrived…

Very nice experience, the view of the lake is splendid and the islands are incredible: this is the watchword of the trip! Do not hesitate to visit all the islands in every nook and cranny, it's sublime. On the other hand, there are different companies for taxi boats so be attentive and reactive, it is not always well indicated :-)

The experience is unique! Cinque Terre from the sea is of incomparable beauty. In addition, the boat stops twice to swim in blue waters with fish. Don't forget your swimsuit and bottles of water. Totally recommended!

It should be made clear that, once landed on the mother island, it is mandatory to pay to visit it. It is not like the fishermen's island and the beautiful one, where you can walk and where there are stalls.

Reception on the port exchange of easy tickets. On the other hand, arriving at 2 p.m. we were only able to do 2 out of 3 islands, too bad. Magnificent excursion which is really worth the detour +++