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The Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore in the north of Italy are a true earthly paradise where nature, culture and art come together to perfection.

  • Historical interest 100% 100%
  • Fun 80% 80%
  • Activity Level 100% 100%

The Borromean Islands tour are an half day guided tour in an archipelago of three islands in the picturesque waters of Lake Maggiore, in Italy.

“The archipelago of the Borromean Islands” is located in the middle of “Lake Maggiore”, near “Como” in “Italy”. This part of the lake washes the three main tourist towns in the area: Stresa, Verbania and Baveno. They exactly located in the “Borromean Gulf”, between Stresa and Pallanza, these islands are the perfect destination for weekend getaways, but also for long-term holidays....

 “Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori” are the three main ones, but there are also Isolino di San Giovanni and Scoglio della Malghera. Among the most beautiful villas not to be missed are “Villa Taranto, Villa Ducale and Villa Pallavicino”, which together with the other buildings typical of the gulf, make this place unique in the world. Since the 18th century and for centuries to come, “Lake Maggiore” has been the favorite holiday destination of the great families of the Lombardy aristocracy (in particular “the Borromeo and Visconti” families), who came here to spend their holidays and built sumptuous residences.It was the “Borromeo” family, a prestigious family originally from Florence”, who initiated their transformation, building villas with elaborate gardens when they became owners in the 14th century. 

“Isola Madre” is the largest island of all, where you can admire an 18-hectare garden with exotic plants and rare species. As soon as you arrive, you can admire the regal “Palazzo Borromeo”, a noble residence of the “Borromeo” family, where you can admire period furniture, portraits, porcelain, the spectacular Salone Veneziano, with trompe l’oeil decorations and finally, the very special puppet theater. In the English botanical park, on the other hand, you can admire over 2000 species of flowers from all over the world, and to crown this charming atmosphere, there are white peacocks that roam freely in the park.

“Isola Bella” also has its own “Palazzo Borromeo”: a veritable treasure trove of Baroque art with over 20 rooms of marble, tapestries, stucco and paintings. Don’t miss the “Berthier Gallery” with works by “Titian, Guido Reni, Correggio and Raphael”, as well as the Grottoes, perfect for cooling off from the summer heat. The name “Isola Bella” comes from “Isabella”, wife of “Carlo III Borromeo”, who turned this uninhabited rock into an elegant and prestigious island. If on “Isola Madre” the garden is English, on “Isola Bella” you can admire a splendid Italian garden culminating in an amphitheater and an imposing structure standing out over the lake.

“Isola dei Pescatori” is also known as Isola Superiore and is the only inhabited island of the “Borromean Islands”. The old village was once home to fishermen and still retains the original architectural structure, on which fish was left to dry. The island also boasts excellent trattorias, a market and every year it celebrates the folklore of the traditional Ferragosto and Carnival.

Finally, there is another small “island of San Giovanni” and the 17th-century “Palazzo Borromeo”, for many years the residence of the famous conductor Arturo Toscanini, are private and cannot be visited. 

Small worlds and enchanting landscapes, but also history and art, enrich these lands and make the lake a magical place, so much so that the French poet Montesquieu called it “the most beautiful place in the world”.

Enjoy our half day guided tour around these lovely islands near Lake Maggiore!


Highlights and what's included
  • Accessible: Visit Accessible website
  • Duration: Half Day
  • Places of interest: MAGGIORE LAKE
    • Isola Bella
    • Isola Madre
    • Isola dei Pescatori
    • Isolino di San Giovanni
  • Exclusivity: All our tours are PRIVATE, not sharing with other guests
  • Languages: All languages available on request


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