Isole Borromee

Isole Borromee, Lake Maggiore: Address, Phone Number, Isole Borromee Reviews: 4.5/5

Isole Borromee
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639 reviews
Very good

Monza, Italy144 contributions
Sep 2020
Fantastic sunday trip to lago Maggiore and its small islands just in front of Stresa. We decided to purchase the tickets on line the day before in order to avoid queues once arriving at the islands. If yuo travel by car, there is a major car park just in front of the peir (piazza Maggiore) . Tickets for the boats can be purchased just from the guys helping to park cars (they look like sailors but they are actually promoting the boat company they work for). I suggest to buy a combined ticket for 2 island (isola Madre and isola Bella) at the cost of 24€/person. The boat ticket should be betwen 15 to 20€, depending on the company. In this case it's always convenient to buy the one forall islands, including isola dei pescatori, which is mainly covered by restaurants, but still worth a stroll. Isola Bella is magnificent, the palace and it's interiors are really impressive, as well as the garden and the terraces looking at Stresa. A unique place indead, with plants, trees, statues...truly fantastic. Isola Madre is much smaller, the main palace is not as decorated as the one on Isola Bella, but stillvery fascinating. The botanic garden has some very rare trees, and white swans go around among the visitors. If it happens to visit the north of Italy, this is a fantasti destination, even for a day trip out of Milan...
Written September 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rodrigo P
Maastricht, The Netherlands467 contributions
Jul 2021
Great experience.

Important tips:
-It is very very very large so be prepared to spend there 5-6 hours. A quick view will be around 3 hours. So pace yourself, make a pit stop by the garden where you can have a drink and snack, dont try to power it through.
-If you see staff ask them about the room you are in waht is the most impressive thing there, they are super knowledgeable and are really eager to talk and explain
Written October 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Elma K
Milan, Italy174 contributions
Jul 2020 • Friends
There are 3 islands which are Isola Madre,Isola Bella & Isola Pescatori wherein you can do when you're in STRESA.It's just an hour or two(depending on your choice of train) from Milan.They are one of the famous boat tours you'll find.I like the 3 islands.You will see their stunning flowers in the Garden,Museum but i love the most Isola Pescatori as it very refreshing to the eyes & you'll find the most irresistable restos by the lake.They showcase every single cravings you'll have.From pizza,pasta,seafoods,cocktails,desserts & ice cream of course on a hot day.Also the best place to buy your souvenirs.If you visit Milan,This is a must to visit.You'll love the boat ride transfering from 1 island to another.I recommend the tour.
Written August 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Melrose, UK268 contributions
Aug 2013 • Family
Three islands with different character. Madre has the wonderful gardens and, for us, is the best. Bella has the castle & gardens - pretty good. Pescatori - well, hmm - the ugly sister!

We caught the public ferry from Stressa at 9:30am and our plan was to visit all three islands in the day. There's a good size car park right by the pier, although by the time we returned it looked like it had been very busy so arrive early(ish). It's pay & display, the machines take coins and notes but not cards. From memory I think it was about 1€ per hour, or thereabouts.

You are greeted upon arrival in the car park by the 'private' boat captains! They spot your tourist car (number plate) and are waiting for you as soon as you open the car door. They're expensive and other websites warn you to stick to the public ferry. Maybe if you had a big group it might make sense but I don't know how the times work as you will want to shuttle between islands. The ferry is scheduled, frequent and much cheaper. So buy your tickets from the ferry building at the main pier. The lady spoke Engish and they take cards as payment. For the three of us (all adults) the 'hop-on, hop-off' tickets & the tickets to access all Madre & Bella attractions it came to 104€ (about 34€ each). We asked for the 'super-saver' ferry tickets but the lady didn't seem to understand and sold us the more flexible options instead - a shame but we don't speak any Italian so we just accepted the situation. It's still a whole lot cheaper than the private boats and not bad value for three folk all day long. And if you buy your tickets for the attractions here you save a bit compared to purchasing them on the spot when you arrive at each island. The public ferry website is in English and includes a lookup for times and fares -

Isola Madre is the island furthest away from Stressa, about 30mins or so. We did this first and it's the prettiest and best, in our opinion. Almost the whole island is covered by the beautiful gardens and the residence so you'd be mad not to buy the ticket for access. You wander around and enjoy it - the views, the scent, the experience. The residence is interesting to see and we took a morning coffee by the house at the cafe. The quality is good and the layout calm (see picture). It's not cheap but worth it. We then headed for the boat (about 11:30am) for Pescatori because that's where we planned on having lunch.

As you exit the gardens of Isola Madre to wait for the boat you pass by some outside restaurants with terraces by the Lake. On balance and with hindsight we now realise that this would have been the better option for lunch and that's what we would recommend to you. Have an early lunch on Isola Madre.

Isola Pescatori (or Superiore) is not so good, quite dissppointing really with cheap souvenir shops everywhere. We ate lunch by the side of the Lake on the side opposite the pier. It was ok but nothing memorable. You could skip this island and you would not really be missing anything.

Back on the ferry to Isola Bella. The main attraction here is the palace and associated gardens. The palace was interesting as were the gardens, although not as beautiful as Madre's gardens. Bella is worth visiting if you've not done it before and is recommended. Even at the end of the day when we were fading slightly the island and palace is still a great experience.

Back to the ferry for the short return trip to Stressa. The boats are well maintained but get busy on a sunny August afternoon. There's the usual queue jumping and some folk jostle as if this is the last boat from a 'burning platform' - why do people behave like that? But everyone gets aboard and it's just ten minutes between islands so, even if you are standing, it all fine and the views are great. Keep calm and lead by example!

Overall we thought the two major islands are lovely, especially Madre. Of course, you need to appreciate botanical gardens otherwise perhaps this isn't your thing. It took us the whole day. Next time we'll probably just catch the ferry from Baveno to Isola Madre for the gardens which costs just 6€ each (return) per adult. Madre would be worth a visit next year, Bella is something you do once and Pescatori is best skipped!

Written August 17, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tracey M
Ingatestone, UK439 contributions
Sep 2012 • Couples
I liked the frequency of the boat services, we used the 'official' boats which are much larger and run to a timetable, rather than the little, privately run shuttle boats whose salesmen are somewhat pushy. The 3 islands (Madre, Bella and Pescatori Superiore) are different from each other and I would recommend visiting all 3. Madre is the tranquil restful one with it's relatively modest palace set in informal gardens so leave that until later in the day when the others are crowded and hot. Pescatori is a warren of narrow streets with dozens of restaurants so try to do this when you're hungry as there is nothing else to see. Bella has a grand palace, an even grander Italian formal garden, with shops and restaurants squeezed in but suffers from overcrowding at busy times so my advise would be to do this one early.
Written October 1, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

East Sussex500 contributions
Oct 2017 • Couples
There are three islands, all different in many ways. You can buy a ticket that incudes the boat to all three and entry to the palaces on Isola Bells and Isola Madre. They are well worth visiting.
Written October 11, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Llandudno, UK45 contributions
May 2012 • Friends
This is an extremely busy place and swarming with tourists which somewhat detracts from the visit experience.
You have to visit both villa and gardens as you go through one to the other so allow for plenty of time. Organized coach tours mean you have to rush which again detracts fro the visit experience. It is pricey to enter and you need time.
The Villa is interesting and you can take time to wander through. The shell rooms are fascinating.
The gardens are OTT and unique. Beware the peacocks! They are white and give wonderful displays.
Top tip - go on your own and not with a tour.
The cafeteria is good.
Written June 8, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

St Ives, UK500 contributions
Jun 2017 • Couples
This is the number 1 must do. Ignore the boat “captains” at Stresa ( and the official looking cubicle outside of the main ferry terminal) and other locations who tell you that they are the ones to take you around. The main ferry company (large boats!) do a shuttle around the islands every 30 mins at a good price. Do buy the tickets to visit the palaces and make a day of it. Three totally different islands . Madre with beautiful tree filled gardens and a lovely palace. Bella with the sumptuous palace, lovely garden and a nice outdoor cafe area and Isola Superiore which have various shops, lots of restaurants and is totally different. All the islands have super vantage points over the lake and mountains.
Written July 8, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Brisbane, Australia41 contributions
Jun 2014 • Family
Beautiful character-filled islands! Different to anything I have seen I think and each are different to each other.

Isola madre was probably my favourite. It was rather tranquil compared to the other two and you could imagine how the family spent their summers there. In the avary, they have baby peacocks which I have never seen before. The puppets are intriguing!

Isola superiore is... well, not superior at all. Complete tourist trap! I think if you got the ferry past it to isola bella then you wouldn't be missing out! All there is there is over-priced restaurants and shops selling tourist tack. Rather pointless and you'd do better to have lunch in Stresa - its much prettier!

Isola bella is... something else. The wealth of the family to create this must have been immense. (and probably still is from the amount they charge for ticket prices!!!) Though the grandeur is utterly tasteless in most places, it really is a sight to see. We were in the gardens in the heat of mid-day and we struggled a little with the heat - we were clinging to the shadows! Something to bear in mind I suppose.

All in all, worth a visit. But don't bother with Isola superiore.
Written July 4, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Graham w
Mims, FL1,081 contributions
Aug 2014 • Couples
I studied dozens of guide books before this trip to Italy, and many recommended Isola Bella for the gardens, which are indeed fabulous, but none mentioned the Palace of the Borromeos which was a complete surprise for us. Magnificent ceilngs , rooms, paintings, priceless Tapestries, a grotto, unique children's toys/puppets, so much to see before enjoying the many levelled gardens. The boat ride to and from island is fun a s well, we hired a boat to ourselves for 60 euros for 4 just as cheap as going on the big ships. Do not miss this island and the palace and gardens. 13 euros entrance.
Written August 20, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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