Stresa: Villas, Islands, and a Beautiful Lakeside Promenade




Stresa, on the shores of the large Lake Maggiore, is a quick, easy, and beautiful weekend getaway from Milan. With a train journey of about an hour, Stresa could even be the destination of a day trip from the fashion capital.

We conversed with garden lizards and Amherst pheasants at the beautiful Isola Madre, strolled along Stresa’s lovely lakeside promenade, sighed over the views from the public park, and petted farm animals in the gardens at the Villa Pallavicino.


Explore the Borromean Islands: Isola Madre, Stresa

The Borromean Islands (Isola Bella, Isola Madre, and Isola dei Pescatori) are accessible by ferry from Stresa.

Our weekend in Stresa got off to a great start at one of the islands, Isola Madre. We followed the walking trail, stopping to gaze at the pretty views and the tall trees every now and then, while Junior paused often to chat with the lizards and other garden inhabitants. An encounter with Amherst pheasants and peacocks had Junior jumping with joy, and the sight of a quaint island cafe with the loveliest view made my day!


Walk the Walk: Lakeside Promenade, Stresa

A pleasant evening stroll along Stresa’s beautiful lakeside promenade brought us to a public garden with a kids’ play area. Junior rushed to join the enthusiastic kids prancing around. For his parents, the park was a perfect location to unwind at the end of a great day. The calm waters of the lake, the towering mountains in the distance, the snow-capped peaks beyond, and the occasional boat entering the landscape made the picture more than perfect.


Sunday Fun at Villa Pallavicino

A morning walk through the narrow streets of Stresa revealed the many charms of the small town.

Later, we boarded the treno turistico (tourist train) to the entrance of the Villa Pallavicino park. This green oasis also houses a small zoological park. Junior was thrilled to pet the goats and deer but we were wary of the llamas. When hunger pangs struck, a restaurant in the same premises came to our rescue. The long walk through the garden offers picturesque views of the lake and snow-capped mountains. When it was time to leave, I had to tear myself away from several such locations.

However, as a reward to ourselves, we managed a last walk (slightly hurried, but lovely, nevertheless) along the lakeside promenade before heading to the train station.


Do visit Stresa! 🙂


Useful information:

Ferry timetable:

Where we stayed: Hotel Primavera, Stresa


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