Both Stresa and Baveno on the western shore of Lake Maggiore have lakeside promenades lined with bars and cafés, which have wonderful views of the Borromean Islands. However, you’ll find cheaper and less tourist-oriented restaurants if you head into the backstreets and piazzas. Definitely try some mussiltini – lake fish often served with pasta – if you want to eat like a local.
On the lakefront in Baveno is La Baia, a charming restaurant that hosts live music events and transforms into a place to party when the sun goes down. You’ll be able to try pizza and pasta, fish dishes and salad with stunning views over the water. But even if you just stop for a drink, you’ll get a delicious aperitivo platter.
In the backstreets of Stresa, the next town along, you’ll find Ristorante Pizzeria Mamma Mia, serving Italian cuisine at pretty reasonable prices. The staff are really attentive, and if your pizza isn’t on the menu, they’re happy to accommodate your own choice of toppings.
Also on the waterfront in Baveno is Ristorante Sottosopra, offering exciting and inventive meals made with rare, high-end ingredients – dishes you wouldn’t find at home. You can enjoy your meal in the tranquil gardens or in the spacious restaurant.
Stresa and Baveno both have lovely lakeside promenades, ideal for a relaxed stroll. Stresa is full of cobbled streets, so it may not be the best choice for those with walking difficulties. Meina is a small hamlet, 13km south of Stresa.
Ferries run from each town to the other towns, the Borromean Islands and to Verbania on the other side of the bay. Rover tickets can save you money if you’re island-hopping, and fast services are more expensive. Over 65s get discount from Monday-Friday (with ID).
Each town has a railway station, which runs a local service around the lake. From Stresa, you can also catch the train straight to Milan (1-2 hours).
The main bus stop is opposite the ferry port in Stresa and Baveno, and near the Hotel Villa Paradiso in Meina. Buses run through each town and to Arona and Verbania. Buses from Stresa also go to Giganese and Omegna. Services are limited on Sundays and bank holidays.
Pre-bookable ExcursionsTrip Price
Some entrances, tolls and optional extras are payable locally.Three Lakes Tour (Tue)
|Three lakes (Tue) full day ||€60 |
|Zermatt and Matterhorn (Mon) full day ||€79 |
|Lake Orta (Thu) half day ||€40 |
|Milan (Fri) full day ||€57 |
|Macugnaga (Sat) half day ||€42 |
|Islands tour (Sun) half day ||€12 |
Visit three stunning lakes and two countries in a day; lovely Lugano, set against a backdrop of Swiss mountain scenery, romantic Como, haven to poets through the centuries and elegant Maggiore.Zermatt and Matterhorn (Mon)
A once in a lifetime trip along the shores of splendid Lake Maggiore into neighbouring Switzerland. The cosmopolitan atmosphere of the chic ski resort of Zermatt is unmistakable, even in the summer with that famous skyline, dominated by the magnificent Matterhorn.Milan City Tour (Fri)
A fantastic day out exploring the cosmopolitan Capital of the north, renowned not only for its fashion but for some of the most fabulous cultural sights in Europe such as, the stunning interior of the La Scala Opera house and the Castle Sforzesco. The Duomo Cathedral is the largest gothic cathedral in the world with over 3400 hand carved sculptures on the cathedral.Lake Orta (Half Day Thu)
Travel to the enchanting village of Orta, Surrounded by lush woodland it really is a hidden secret with free time to stroll and admire the quaint cobbled streets, historical buildings and maybe an Italian Ice cream.Islands Tour (Half Day Sun)
Admire the visual beauty and romantic settings of the three main islands of Lake Maggiore, Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori. Stroll around the quaint cobbled streets of Isola dei Pescatore and wander round the palace on Isola Bella, home to the Borromean family and visited by many famous people including Napoleon, Mussolini and Winston Churchill. Enjoy the famous 10 tiered gardens modelled on the hanging gardens of Babylon.