Stresa Travel Guide

  • Stresa
    by draguza
  • The lake shore, Stresa
    The lake shore, Stresa
    by nyperose
  • free roaming wildlife on Isola Madre
    free roaming wildlife on Isola Madre
    by edwis

Stresa Things to Do

  • Take a Sunrise Stroll

    On our first morning in Stresa I suggested we get up early and take a sunrise stroll to the lakefront to catch the sun rising over the surrounding mountains. Several years ago we did a similar sunrise opportunity outside of Charleston, South Carolina and that turned out so well that we decided to try it again.Unfortunately the sunrise over the...

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  • Isole Borromee

    The Isole Borromee - Isola Bella, Isola Pescatori and Isola Madre - are Stresa's main attraction. They are three small islands that can easily be reached by boat from Stresa. They were named after the House of Borromeo, the family still own part of the islands today.Isola Bella is the most famous of the islands, but I must admit that it was the one...

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  • Lago Maggiore

    When we arrived at the shore of the lake, we were fascinated by the wonderful views. Unfortunately it was very cloudy, so the view was not as far as it usually might have been, but it was still amazing to see this large lake surrounded by the mountains. It looks so large, but of course this is still only a small part of the lake!From the...

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  • The lakefront

    Stresa's lakefront is really beautiful. When we arrived after we had walked down from the train station, we were amazed by the beauty of the flowers and the green space. There are some wonderful gardens and it is so nice to walk along the waterfront amidst all the green bushes and trees, and the pretty flowerbeds. It all looks so splendid! There...

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  • The Grand Hotel and its Hemingway...

    When you walk along the lake to the west, you cannot miss the huge and opulent Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees. It looks very impressive and splendid, however, it is not famous because of this, but rather because of a famous guest who used to stay there: Ernest Hemingway.He stayed here for the first time in 1918 after the had been wounded in the war...

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  • Stresa harbour

    Stresa's main harbour is a very pretty place in the town centre. We arrived here in the end of our trip to the Isole Borromee, and had a look around before we walked back to the train station. There were only a few small boats, but it looked very picturesque with historic walls surrounding it and some fine and elegant buildings.The harbour is a...

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Stresa Hotels

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Stresa Restaurants

  • Popular Ristorante-Pizzeria

    On our first night in Stresa we walked through a good portion of the main part of town and window shopped at a number of stores and looked at what various restaurants had to offer. A few of the places were closed (it was a Sunday evening) but it appeared that the one with the most people was Ristorante Pizzeria Mamma Mia which had people eating...

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  • Trattoria due Piccioni - Part 2

    Ok, a little bit more about the restaurant.I would say that the entire restaurant had about 15 or so tables. There were only 3 other occupied when we arrived at 9:00 p.m.The motif is interesting with a number of items from the 1940's and 1950's scattered throughout.I really wish I could remember our server/owners name, but suffice to say he was...

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  • Our Best Restaurant Experience in Stresa

    We were spending 3 nights in Stresa and even though not a big town there were plenty of restaurants to choose from. Sue had read about this restaurant in one of the guide books and saw that it was just a few minute walk from our hotel. So when we ventured into town upon our arrival we sought it out since it was still light out so that we could find...

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  • Best value in Stresa

    Sound, unpretentious cafe/restaurant. Cheapest coffee we found. Competent lunch at a reasonable price with decent service. Filet of trota which purported to come from the lake - grilled and sprinkled in coriander - delicious!

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  • Incredible view and tasty food!

    The Loco Beach Club in Stresa is a restaurant with terraces in front of the Lake...from where you have a full and beautiful view of the Isole Borromee.There is a beach with a small patio where is also possible to have dinner...very romantic and cosy!The interior are very nice...and the overall atmosphere is elegant...even if is a place where you...

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  • Restaurant with a view

    There are many restaurants, cafes and pizzeria in Stresa, but if you want one with a great view of the lake and of the Borromeo islands, it is hard to find a better choice than L'Idrovolante.It has a nice terrasse on the lake front, but even if you sit inside you are likely to enjoy a beautiful view from the wide windows. Risotto al Nebbiolo, it...

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Stresa Transportation

  • From Milan to Stresa by train

    If you want to go to Stresa from Milan by train, you can either take a fast EC train, or a slower regional train. Because of budget reasons, we opted for the regional train. A one way ticket for one adult is 7,40€ and the journey takes about an hour. You can buy a ticket at the ticket machines in Stazione Centrale, it is very easy. There are...

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  • Boat to the Borromean Islands -...

    From Stresa, you can take a boat to the Borromean Islands, and to many other destinations on Lago Maggiore. There are different boat companies, but Navigazione Laghi is the biggest and as far as I know the only one going to all three islands.There are different tickets available, we used the Free Circulation Ticket which costs 16,90€ and allows you...

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  • Carciano Harbour

    We did not start our boat ride at Stresa harbour, but at Carciano, which is a small harbour to the west of the town centre. We just walked along the shore of the lake and ended up here, I did not even realize that this was not Stresa harbour until we got back in the evening.You can buy tickets for the boats of Navigazione Laghi here, and also of...

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Stresa Shopping

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  • The scents of the lakeside gardens

    Acqua di Stresa (Stresa water) is the name of the perfumery shop, but also of a line of perfumes sold here. Contrary to what it my seem, this is not an old traditional product. In fact it all started in 2002 with a scent based on osmanthus flower. Afterwards it was followed by other fragrances and soaps, all based mainly on flowers that grow in...

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  • Wines and much more

    This is supposed to be a wine shop, and in fact you will find a wide choice of wines and spirits there, but even from outside you will realise it has much more to offer. In fact you can find there spices, herbs, balsamic vinegars and foods. By the way, the owners are fluent in English so it will be easy to find advice and recommendations if you...

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  • Stresa Hotels

    37 Hotels in Stresa

Stresa Local Customs

  • Some history

    The origins of Stresa are very old. For many centuries it was just a fishermen's village, but at Napoleon's time there were already several villas in this area, all belonging to aristocrats.More villas were built in the second half of the 19th century, by tycoons of the Milan area, after Stresa ceased to be "abroad" for the people of Lombardy. In...

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  • Weddings

    Italian laws state that civil weddings can be celebrated only in the town hall, or another building chosen by the municipality specifically for the celebration of weddings. In Stresa, the Town Hall is not a very interesting or romantinc building, as you can see from the picture.In 2004, a wedding involving famous people was celebrated on the Isola...

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  • Some more history

    Have you ever heard of the Stresa Conference, or of the Stresa Front?It's something dating back to 1935. In March Adolf Htler had declared publicly that Germany was going to rearm, so in April, from the 11th to the 14th, representatives from Italy, France and Great Britain met in Stresa, to agree on their future cooperation in peace-keeping, and...

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Stresa Warnings and Dangers

  • It Was So Nice We Were Tempted To Stay

    I kind of thought from the research that we had done that we would enjoy Stresa and the surrounding Italian Lakes region. I was just hoping that the weather would cooperate.After spending a cloudy overcast day in Riomaggiore the day before and on most of the train ride up to Stresa we got to the southern tip of Lago Maggiorre mid-Afternoon and...

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  • Weighing Your Options

    This was something I found interesting. A scale right near one of the public squares near the waterfront. Who uses this? For what reason? Do they want to find out how much they've gained or lost on their holiday (vacation)?Are they actually weighing their options? Can options really be weighed?Maybe that's a question for the miscellaneous forum!

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  • Don't Stay Here

    We see periodic reviews here on VT from New Members who usually don't come back, but have found us and now are venting about a bad experience they've had at a hotel.I usually do enough research before I stay anywhere, so I've never really had a bad experience in the last 25 some years or so that I've really travelled around a bit.When we saw this...

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Stresa Tourist Traps

  • ettiewyn's Profile Photo

    by ettiewyn Updated Aug 8, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The entrance to the harbour area at Carciano is formed by a small wooden bridge, and when we arrived and crossed the bridge, we were approached by a man in a white uniform who had positioned himself at the other end. He spoke to us very quickly and wanted to sell us a boat ticket to Isola Bella and Isola Pescatori, talking so much that I could hardly understand him. At first I thought this was the boat ticket I had planned to buy, but then I realized that I had planned to visit all three Isole Borromee, including Isola Madre, and not only two of them. I said so, but he told me that Isola Madre was not good anyway, but that the other two were much better.
    All this seemed very strange to me, but when I saw a sign saying Navigazione Laghi at the other side of the small harbour and recognized the emblem from the website I had researched before, I was sure that the ticket this man tried to sell me was not the ticket I wanted, but that I wanted a ticket of the other company, and despite the protest of the "captain" we quickly walked away, earning many words and angry glances.

    I am quite sure that the boat ticket he tried to sell is not bad, I later saw the boat he had shown us, and if I understood it right they take you to Isola Bella and Isola Pescatori for 10€, which is a good price. If you actually only want to visit these two, the ticket might be good, but make sure this is really what you want. I enjoyed Isola Madre a lot and was glad I went there and was not caught unaware and persuaded to buy the ticket for only two islands.

    As we started our boat ride at Carciano and not at Stresa, I don't know if these men are waiting for tourists in Stresa, too.

    My advice is to do your own research and compare the prices and different boat companies before you go, and then decide on the basis of what you want to do and see!

    Fun Alternatives: Navigazione Laghi is the biggest boat company at Lago Maggiore and they go to all the three Isole Borromee, as well as many other destinations on the lake, as far as Locarno in Switzerland. A free circulation ticket costs 16,90€ and allows you to roam around the lake as much as you want for one day.

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Stresa What to Pack

  • ChrsStrl's Profile Photo

    by ChrsStrl Written Feb 25, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Whatever you find comfortable.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Comfortable walking shoes, and something for all weathers.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Take some sun cream, but other than that just whatever you woulod normally carry. Milan is not far away!

    Photo Equipment: Good camera with lens for close study of flowers.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Swimming costumes, mountain gear, ordinary comfortable clothes

    Beauty at Villa Taranto
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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Stresa Off The Beaten Path

  • Memorial to the Alpini

    There are several statues and memorials along the lakefront, but this one caught my interest because it includes a horse. I am always interested in memorials including animals, so I had a closer look and discovered that it is dedicated to the Alpini, the mountain soldiers. Unfortunately I cannot find out more because I don't understand much...

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  • A small church on the way

    When we walked from the train station to the lakeside, we came across a small church hidden at a little street. Apparently it is not used as a church anymore, but was converted to a family home. I was quite astounded because I had never seen this before - I have often seen churches converted into restaurants, bars or museums, but never into homes!I...

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  • American visitors note 9/11 memorial

    On the main promenade (I think it is near the Grand Hotel of A Farewell to Arms fame) there is a plaque in memory of the victims of 9/11.

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Stresa Favorites

  • Palms and snow

    One of the fascinating things about this lake is its climate, which is very mild for an area that is at the foot of the Alps. Due to this fact, it is possible to enjoy the view of the Alps with their snow caps while basking in the sun amid palm trees.

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  • Useful phone numbers

    The most common European emergency number 112 (following Directive 2002/22/EC: Universal Service Directive) and also standard on GSM mobile phones. 112 is used in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,...

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  • Few words in Italian

    Below few words in Italian that you can use while visiting Italy.Waiter / Waitress! - Cameriere/ Cameriera, per favore!May I have the menu, please? - Potrei avere il menu, per favore?Do you have a set menu / local specialities? - Avete un menu fisso/ delle specialità locali?What do you recommend? - Cosa mi raccomanderebbe?Do you have vegetarian...

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Explore Deeper into Stresa
Stay Upwind if You See This
Warnings and Dangers
Arrival in Stresa from Milan
Transportation
Arriving from Malpensa
Transportation
The Centovalli Railway
Things to Do
Boat taxi to Islands
Things to Do
Funivi up mountain
Things to Do
Malpensa airport
Transportation
Borromean Islands
Things to Do
Walk down the mountain
Things to Do
Follow in Hemingway’s footsteps
Things to Do
The Borromeo Islands
Things to Do
Explore the centre of town
Things to Do
Have a view from the mountain top
Things to Do
Villa Pallavicino and its park
Things to Do
Stresa Daisies
Local Customs
The fleet
Transportation
Mottarone
Things to Do
Mottarone on the Cable Car - to Alpinia Garden
Things to Do
Amazing Stairs in Palace
Things to Do
Marionettes On Display at Palace
Things to Do
Borromeo Family Palace - Isola Bella
Things to Do
Visit to Island of Isola Bella
Things to Do
A View From the Promenade
Things to Do
Traditional Small Boat Harbour
Things to Do
LITTLE SWISS
Things to Do
STRESA
Things to Do
BORROMEAN ISLAND
Things to Do
ISOLA BELLA
Things to Do
ISOLA BELLA
Things to Do
WHITE PEACOCK
Things to Do
ISOLA BELLA
Things to Do
ISOLA BELLA
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ISOLA BELLA
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ISOLA BELLA
Things to Do
ISOLA BELLA
Things to Do
ISOLA BELLA
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ISOLA BELLA
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ISOLA MADRE
Things to Do
ISOLA MADRE
Things to Do
CAMELIAS
Things to Do
Map of Stresa

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