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Leave Milan for a day and head to one of Italy's most tranquil swaths of land: Lake Maggiore. The shores are sprinkled with charming towns and villages and there's plenty of nature to marvel at. Spend a big part of the day cruising on a boat, gawking at the elegant villas and Mediterranean gardens. Take some free time on Isola dei Pescatori and then get a guided tour of Isola Bella to see the Baroque-bedecked Borromeo Palace. Finish the tour with a stop in the charming town of Stresa.

Highlights

  • Day trip to Lake Maggiore from Milan
  • Travel by train to the beautiful Lake Maggiore, the second-largest lake in Italy
  • Enjoy a scenic boat cruise to the Borromean Islands
  • Dock on Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Bella for free time and a guided tour
  • Visit Borromeo Palace to admire its baroque architecture and terraced gardens
  • Learn about the history of the region from a guide

What You Can Expect

Lake Maggiore Day Trip by Train from Milan Including Cruise to Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori

Admire Isola Bella in this trip from Milan

Head to Cadorna railway station in Milan to meet your guide in the morning. After getting on the train, relax for 90 minutes, enjoying the scenery out the window and learning about the history of the region around Lake Maggiore from your guide. 
Arrive in Laveno-Mombello, a port town on the lake, and then hop on a boat for a fun ride around the lake. Lake Maggiore, the second-largest lake in Italy, is the border between two regions in Italy: Lombardy and Piedmont, and readers of classic literature may recognize the lake as a setting in Ernest Hemingway's novel, A Farewell to Arms
With your guide pointing out landmarks and points of interest, enjoy the cruise around the large lake. Gawk at islands, such as the verdant Isola Madre (Mother Island), and then pull up to Isola dei Pescatori, the Island of the Fishermen. Take some time to explore the island at your own leisure, strolling down the narrow streets or sitting down to enjoy a coffee at a cafe. 
Once you're back on the boat, head to Isola Bella (Beautiful Island), where you'll find the Borromeo Palace, a beautiful Baroque structure from the 17th century. Explore the gardens and study the ornate facade or perhaps wander around town and do some shopping. 
Back on the boat again, head to the last stop: the lakeside town of Stresa, home to many artists and writers in the 19th century. Even Hemingway spent some time here in the 20th century. After some free time exploring, hop back on the train for an early-evening arrival in Milan.

Customer Reviews

Hisham AbulHawa Canada

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2014

I received a royal treatment since I was the only person on this tour, the tour guide was very friendly, knowledgeable and answered all my questions. Isola Bella is out of this world, highly recommended!!!

Tammie P USA

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2014

My mother and I got extremely lucky to go on a private tour of Lake Maggiore with Fabio, a great and wonderful guide. There was only another young couple with us, so it was a lot of fun with just the 5 of us! Fabio had great storytelling demeanor and told us a brief history of Milan. We took the train, so that's why we met at the Caldorna train station, where Fabio found us on time. We took very short boat rides to Lake Maggiore and another small island I can't remember the name of at the moment, had time for a delicious lunch and shopping. And sightseeing of course. We met at our designated areas pretty much on time, and had a full fun day with Fabio. Thank you!

Marie S

4 star rating: Recommended October 2015

Tour started out a little shaky-on the wrong train so we had to retrace steps back to Milan but our guide was very personable and we enjoyed the rest of the trip. Maggiore is beautiful.

Janice L

3 star rating: Worth doing September 2015

Long day, would have liked more time to explore the islands

Lynda

1 star rating: I do not recommend this October 2015

The guide was more interested in self promoting. She treated the tour as a day out and a chance to talk about herself and what she had done previously. When we arrived at Isola Bella she pulled a couple of sheets of paper with text downloaded from Wikipedia and read a paragraph to our group then claimed that it was boring so for us to just go and explore. She had with her headsets in order to give commentary however these remained in her bag all day. We did not learn anything at all from this woman which we were very disappointed about. Our opinion of small group tours are that they have poor quality guides and that the bigger groups are better value

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