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Stresa Holidays

Holidays in Stresa take you to one of the prettiest locations in the Italian Lakes, with the elegant town perched on the western shore of Lake Maggiore where soaring mountains form a photogenic backdrop.

Stresa has been here for at least a thousand years and the town is peppered with historic buildings, from medieval churches to Renaissance villas. Its cobbled streets are full of pavement cafés and boutique shops, while the surrounding area is renowned for its opulent lakeside palaces and ornamental gardens.

The town is a handy hopping-on point for many ferries and boat trips which sail up and down Lake Maggiore, offering a relaxing way to enjoy the scenery and visit the other towns and villages around this 65km-long lake. For panoramic views of Lake Maggiore and the mountain peaks beyond, Stresa’s cable car climbs from the lakeside to the top of Mount Mottarone, taking you nearly 1,300 metres above the town.

Explore Stresa like no other

Stresa is a sedate place, especially in the evenings, when compared to some of the larger and busier resorts around Lake Maggiore. It’s ideal for enjoying lakeside strolls, relaxing pre-dinner aperitivos and a generally slower pace of life.

This area is nirvana for horticulturists, with several famous gardens nearby including the Alpine gardens at 800 metres above sea level – you can stop off to visit them when the Mount Mottarone cable car reaches its mid-way point. And then there are the Borromean Islands, often described as “the jewels of Lake Maggiore”. Regular boat services run back and forth between Stresa and the three main islands, where you’ll find enchanting ornamental gardens on Isola Madre and Isola Bella, while Isola dei Pescatori is home to an idyllic little village where you can eat at one of several restaurants overlooking the lake.

For music lovers the Stresa Festival runs from mid July to early September, when you can enjoy live classical and jazz performances at several venues around town, as well as some concerts that are held on the Borromean Islands.

Excursions and experiences in and around Stresa

Experience more of Italy by adding an excursion to your holiday. To pre-book one of our specially selected excursions, please call our Italy Experts on 01293 762410*.

Handpicked Hotels in Stresa
Discover the real Stresa while staying in one of our carefully selected hotels

Things to do in Stresa

Stresa’s lakefront promenade is lined with palm trees and splendid old hotels, which make for a delightful evening stroll. The palatial Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees is famous as a one-time favourite of the American writer Ernest Hemingway, who used it as a setting in his novel A Farewell To Arms. Nowadays it’s considered the most exclusive hotel on Lake Maggiore, but even if you’re not staying here you can eat in the opulent, high-class restaurant or treat yourself to a little pampering in the hotel spa.

The streets behind the promenade in Stresa offer a fantastic range of bars, trattorias and restaurants – more than enough for you to eat in a different place on every day of your holiday..
Flight Information

The closest airport to Lake Maggiore is Milan Malpensa (MXP). Direct flights to Milan are available from Birmingham, Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted and Manchester and take approximately 2 hours.

Direct flights to Milan Bergamo (BGY) depart from London Stansted, Bristol, Manchester, East Midlands and Belfast and take approximately 2 hours.

When to go

Lake Maggiore is a summer destination, with the season generally running from April to October. The best time to visit is in the springtime, when the temperature is warm but not too hot and all the wild flowers are out in bloom. May, June and September are ideal months to visit. Temperatures are at their hottest in July and August and this is when the lake is at its busiest.

Visa Information

At the current time, British citizens do not require a visa to visit Italy.

Tipping

You don’t have to leave a tip in Italy – most Italians don’t tip for restaurant meals, bar drinks, taxi rides or hair and beauty treatments. However if you do leave a tip, you might receive quicker service.

Introduction to languages

Listen to our Learn Italian podcast, where we cover everything from basic to intermediate phrases.

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