The Siberian American: Quick Trip: 24 Hours in Stresa, Italy

Monday, January 12, 2015

Quick Trip: 24 Hours in Stresa, Italy

With the cold, icy weather outside, I can’t stop thinking about the beautiful day we spent in Stresa, Italy. After two weeks exploring Milan, Florence, Venice, Rome, Naples, Capri, and Cinque Terre, all we wanted to do was relax. With islands to explore and gorgeous views of Lake Maggiore, we couldn’t have picked a better place to cap off our trip to Italy.

How to get there: 
The easiest way to get to Stresa is by train. Stresa is only an hour away from Milan, so we took a train to Milan and hopped on a regional train to get to Stresa. You can also get to Stresa from Switzerland. Trains run daily from Geneva to Milan with a stop in Stresa.

What to do:
As soon as we got off the train, I was eager to explore the area around the lake, luggage and all. Thank goodness for my more practical hubby, who convinced me to drop off our luggage at our hotel before heading to the lakeside promenade. The promenade was lined with palm trees and flowers, with plenty of gelato stands and park benches!
After we enjoyed the park and ate way too much gelato (is there really such a thing as too much gelato?), we took a ferry from Stresa Lido to the Borromean Islands. Isola Bella and Isola Pescatori were by far my favorite parts of our time in Stresa. Isola Bella definitely lives up to its name of “beautiful island.” The island, known for Borromeo Palace and its beautiful gardens, was absolutely gorgeous. We explored the gardens and visited the street vendors. There, I picked up one of my favorite souvenirs from the trip, a potholder with my name embroidered on it.
After Isola Bella, we took the ferry to Isola Pescatori, a small fishing village filled with markets that sell everything from gelato to ceramics. Isola Pescatori is known for its delicious fish, so we decided to split a fish dish (and a giant gelato sundae) on the terrace of a restaurant as we watched the sun set over Lake Maggiore. After weeks of running from one attraction to another, it was lovely to sit back and take in the beauty of Italy.
We arrived in Stresa in the afternoon, so the next day we explored the city (a walking tour can be found here), went shopping (I got a hand-painted bowl from a local artist), and spent more time by the lake before leaving for our next destination.
Have more time?
If we had more time in the area, we would have visited some of the other towns along Lake Maggiore, such as Baveno, Pallanza, Cannobio, and Ascona. I would also love to take the Lake Maggiore Express, a train that takes you through the many villages and valleys of Lake Maggiore.

Where to stay:
We stayed at the Hotel Meeting, which was a nice, basic hotel with a free continental breakfast in a central location: a 10-minute walk from both the train station and Lake Maggiore. We also had dinner at the hotel for a fixed price. My dinner was bacon pasta, trout, and tiramisu, and I thought it tasted good for the price we paid.


  1. Oh it's so beautiful there!! I'd definitely want more than 24 hours...the pictures are gorgeous!! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

  2. oh my gosh this looks amazing! gorgeous pictures, i am so jealous! and i want that gelato sundae lol

  3. Beautiful! I'm always so impressed with your photos - especially when you travel. Do you use a nice camera? And if so how do you carry it without it getting in the way of everything? My iPhone doesn't take good pictures but it's so easy to carry and lightweight. Easily fits in a pocket. My nice camera is so bulky and I hate the case or carrying a really big purse.

  4. Okay. That settles it. My next European adventure is going to have Italy on the itinerary.

  5. Gorrrrrrrgeous!! This just made the top of my vacation destination list, ha ha!

  6. I love all your beautiful travel photos and recaps. i thought I travel a lot but you definitely take the cake haha! Stresa looks beautiful! What port in the US do you typically leave out of on your many cruises?

  7. mmmm I want to go back to Italy one day so badly! LOVELY pictures! xoxo

  8. Wow, this is such a beautiful place. Sounds like it was a really great day. Imagine it would have been nicer to have more time to see more. Great pictures and that gelato! Yum!

  9. I love the photos! Simply stunning. I'd love to visit Italy and if I do, I'm going here!


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