Borromean Islands in Italy : by Ferry on Lake Maggiore

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The Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore are perfect for a weekend getaway where the prerogative is to seek tranquility! Most of the times when you think of a trip you fantasize about distant countries, destinations that are hours and hours away by plane…because the more hours there are the more your head thinks about getting away from the nagging daily routine, instead the Borromean Islands represent the ideal solution and the right compromise to unplug not having to travel too far.

In fact, a trip can often also be a simple rejuvenating short break just a stone’s throw from home; we live in a country so diverse in terms of tourist interest that simply turning a corner would be enough to “be on the road” In Italy we have some fantastic places that deserve to be seen and Lake Maggiore with Stresa and its beautiful Borromean Islands is precisely one of these beautiful places.

The Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore

For those who live in central northern Italy it is only a few hours driveaway and absolutely worth it, the Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore are definitely fascinating and I absolutely recommend them among the places to visit on Lake Maggiore!

I had the pleasure of visiting this Italian gem as I had to use one of the classic travel boxes that are often given as gifts on birthdays; the ones that lie for months on end who knows where and then resurface from the chaos of the drawers only when they are close to expiring, those are the ones!

I want to recommend a two-day hit-and-run itinerary. The first day you dedicate to Arona, its Rocca and Orta San Giulio, treat yourself to a nice dinner with some good local specialties. The next day you enjoy the Borromean Islands by reaching them with the ferries that leave from Stresa.

Tip: Try to plan your visit to the Borromean Islands in such a way that you see them in the morning and thus avoid the tourist masses.

Ferries to the Borromean Islands: prices and information

I recommend that you leave your car in the paid parking lot in Piazza Guglielmo Marconi. Here there are people appointed by the lake’s associated motorboat consortium who sell tickets directly for the Borromean islands, namely Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Madre.

The full tour includes a visit to each of the Borromean islands, but you can also more simply visit just one rather than visit Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori. Let’s get into specifics; here are the prices:

  • Isola Bella (Beautiful Island): 6 euros
  • Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen’s Island): 8 euros
  • Isola Madre (Mother Island): 11 euros
  • Isola Bella + Isola dei Pescatori: 10 euros
  • Isola Bella + Isola Madre + Isola dei Pescatori: 15 euros

TIP: I suggest that you buy your ticket HERE so that you don’t have to waste time once on site. Plan to visit all three islands.

I did only the Isola Bella + Isola dei Pescatori tour for a very specific reason: I had my two small and tender dogs with me and, unfortunately, with dogs it is not allowed to go to Isola Madre. Consequently keep this limitation in mind.

Fishermen’s Island (Isola dei Pescatori)

By purchasing the 10-euro ticket, the first among the Borromean Islands that you can visit is the Fishermen’s Island. It is a very small picturesque fishing village full of narrow streets and alleys that allow you to go back in time a bit.

Let me do the comparison: it is a bit like taking Capalbio and putting it on a lake. The side of Isola dei Pescatori that turns to Stresa has a beautiful, colorful lakefront with classic souvenir stores where it is always nice to spend some time.


Once you disembark, keeping the stores to the right you can go around Fishermen’s Island (you can of course do it the other way around as well). This island has a remarkable romantic aspect; there are numerous restaurants that overlook the lake with terraces that allow you to enjoy the whole landscape.

If you are hungry, this is the place to stop, prices are quite in the normal range. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to appreciate the goodness as well, but I assure you that the smells coming from the kitchens were exaggerated.

Beautiful Island (Isola Bella)

Once you have finished your tour at the Isola dei Pescatori you can head to the Isola Bella.

To get there simply wait for the boat at the pier from which you will have disembarked. Isola Bella is the last stop on the tour, it is definitely larger than Isola dei Pescatori, by the way it is the most famous; it too has a nice lakefront, wider than Isola dei Pescatori.

On Isola Bella you can therefore get lost inside the alleys as I like it, or for 15 euros you have the opportunity to visit the Borromeo Palace and gardens. I, also having two dogs in tow, preferred to explore the island to be able to see even the most hidden corners that, often, turn out to be pleasant discoveries.

Of the two Borromean islands that I was able to visit, the one that I liked the most was definitely Isola dei Pescatori. I really like the typical narrow streets of these villages. They give you warmth and protection, it almost seems as if time has stopped there. The buildings still exude the history of past centuries and that’s the way it should be, that’s the way it should stay, you have to preserve these places and make sure that tourism doesn’t change their conformation too much.

It is very nice to immerse oneself in these places and forget for a moment about the modern society that changes every day So…if you are overburdened by stressful daily life, why not take a trip to the Borromean Islands! This place could also be counted among the #digitaldetox!


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