A day trip to the breathtaking Borromean Islands at Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore day trips

If you are looking for a Lake Maggiore day trip, the world-famous Borromean Islands are a worth a visit. You cannot leave without having admired their stunning gardens and palaces overlooking the lake. Here nature and art come together: especially when spring springs and the flowers bloom.

The uniqueness of those places were recounted by Dickens, Stendhal, and Hemingway who left their hearts among these charming places.

The Borromean Islands are a true nature wonder and even the great philosopher Montesquieu in an essay in 1795 paid homage to this area, writing, “In Italy there is a large lake, called Lake Maggiore. Fifteen miles from the shore, in the midst of the lake there are the islands, called Borromee, which are in my opinion the most enchanting resort in the world.”

Lake Maggiore day trip – Where?

The Borromean Islands belong to the Piedmont part of Lake Maggiore and are an archipelago made of three islands: Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori.

Only Isola dei Pescatori is inhabited with just over 50 inhabitants.

Lake Maggiore day trip to the Borromean Islands

Let’s discover them, one by one.

Isola Madre

The noble residence on Isola Madre tells the story of the powerful Borromeo family, who became owners of these territories on Lake Maggiore in the 14th century, and to whom the islands still belong.

The largest of the Borromean Islands is green, lush and stunning. The history of Isola Madre began in 1501, when Lancelot Borromeo initiated its transformation into a citrus grove.

From the Renaissance to the nineteenth century, work went on: today you can admire the Borromeo Palace and the spectacular English garden, eight hectares of plants and flowers from every corner of the world. Palazzo Borromeo is a triumph of period furnishings, portraits and porcelain. The English-style botanical park covers almost the entire surface of Isola Madre. It is a place of enchantment, a lost paradise populated by more than 2,000 varieties of exotic plants and flowers.

Lake Maggiore day trips

Isola Bella

In the 17th century it was Charles III Borromeo who had the insight to transform what was then just a rock into a place of delight, as a tribute to his wife Isabella d’Adda. Compared to the one on Isola Madre, the Borromeo Palace is much more opulent, almost an exercise in Baroque art suspended over the water. The sumptuousness of the decorations and furnishings leaves one speechless: you will feel overwhelmed by such a display of wealth.

Lake Maggiore day trips

Isola dei Pescatori

Within a short distance from Isola Bella you can reach Isola dei Pescatori, permanently inhabited by about 50 people who make their living from fishing and tourism. Walking through its narrow alleys, it is hard not to be tempted by the many small restaurants.

The traditional Ferragosto festival is a real event for the island in which a statue of the Virgin is carried on a boat around the island.

Lake Maggiore day trips

Lake Maggiore day trips – How to get there?

The islands are conveniently connected by the daily excursion service offered by Navigazione Isole Borromee. But to truly enjoy its beauty, we recommend taking a private tour to the islands.


Are you a lover of botanical gardens? Join our tour to discover the treasures of Lake Maggiore: Isola Madre and Villa Taranto.

Lake Maggiore day trips – Villa Taranto Botanical Gardens

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