Starting from the 23rd of March, after the winter break, our wonderful Borromeo Islands are open to the public. Because our hotel is really close to many piers on the Lake Maggiore, it is a perfect start point if you want to visit the islands. Below the experience of our receptionist Alice, who last year in a sunny Sunday decided to visit the islands with her mother. This is a practical example leaving from Leggiuno, but there are many other piers close to our Hotel: Angera, Arona, Ispra… you can choose the one that best fits on you, and we are here to give you all the suggestions you need!
“We left from Cadrezzate at 9.00 with our car, directed to the pier of Santa Caterina del Sasso in Leggiuno. After about 25 minutes we reached the destination, we bought the tickets for the boat trip (€6,10 each, round-trip tickets) and we had the time to enjoy the view of the hermitage and all the lake because the ferry’s departure time was 10.05.
The ferry took 15 minutes to get to Stresa, and we got there because the ferries for the islands leave from there. The three islands are called Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola Superiore (or Isola dei Pescatori). Once we got to Stresa we bought the tickets for the islands’ tour (€14,50 each). Those tickets allowed us to travel between the islands as we wanted, at any time. The only thing we had to pay attention to was that the last ferry from the islands to Stresa leaves at 18.00. Our plan was to visit the Isola Bella first, then have lunch at the Isola dei Pescatori and last visit the Isola Madre in the afternoon; so we left for the Isola Bella and we got there in about 10 minutes. We had a walk in the small alleys which are very suggestive and characteristic, with small pathways that bring you in the middle of the island letting you parade between lots of small shops, stalls and many restaurants that propose lake fish. The main attraction is the Borromeo Palace, with its wonderful Garden and the Picture Gallery (the ticket to visit them costs €16,00). The palace is a fairy and sumptuous building, built during the centuries since 1632 for Carlo Borromeo III’s will. The first part of the Palace is dedicated to the picture gallery, then the numerous rooms succeed one another: ballrooms, living rooms, bedrooms.. they are all very well described by small paragraphs that tell us their history and funny anecdotes. The tour ends at the entrance of the garden, which shows exotic plants and animals, statues and fountains, with an impeccable care and cleaning. I don’t need to specify that the lake view from the garden is amazing. When we finished visiting the Palace we noticed that it was pretty late, so we went to the pier and took the ferry to go to the next stop: Isola dei Pescatori (or Isola Superiore). The trip was really short: it took us less then 5 minutes to reach the island. Isola Superiore is the smallest of the 3 islands, and it’s mainly known for its few (but great) restaurants. Looking at the reviews that we found on the internet we decided to have lunch at the restaurant L’Imbarcadero, which has got a terrace on the lake, and rooms on the inside divided on more than one floor. The waiter gave us a table inside near a window, so we enjoyed the amazing lake view. We decided to share a starter, and then we ate a first plate, a dessert and a coffee. The staff of the restaurant was super nice and kind, and they also offered us some homemade limoncello (a typical italian lemon liquor). The food was delicious and they definitely deserve the promotion I made with all my relatives and friends. Since we definitely took our time to have lunch and after all our talking and laughing it was late, we didn’t have enough time to visit the last island (Isola Madre), so we had a small tour of the island we were in, had an icecream an waited for the ferry that brought us back to Stresa, and lastly to Leggiuno”.