This lovely lakeside town on Lago Maggiore is called "the garden on the lake". It has a spectacular botanical garden that covers 16 hectares and has 20,000 species of plants from around the world. there is also a lakefront public park, a museum dedicated to landscapes, and a national park at the town's doorstep. Add to that the hanging gardens on the Borromean islands, and you can see why it gets its name.
Located only 91 kilometers from Milan and 40 kilometers from Locarno, Switzerland, Verbania also takes in the hamlets of Pallanza and Intra as part of its municipality. The views of the surrounding Alps across the water are breathtaking, and the town is well-tended. There are opulent villas, museums and water activities to enjoy, as well as horse riding and hiking in the surrounding mountains.
Ferries from Verbania take you to the enchanting little islands known as the Borromean Islands, and across the lake to Laveno. Verbania sits on a promontory point that juts out into the lake, giving it great views up and down the lago. Hire a boat to take you to Stresa across the point to the south, or walk along the shoreline to the neighboring towns. Some of Lake Maggiore's best beaches are in this area, here in Verbania and Ghiffa. The town has sharp cafes, nice restaurants and a laid-back yet affluent-feeling atmosphere. It's a relaxing spot with gorgeous panoramas and outdoors activities aplenty.
A trip to the island of Isola Bella is a must, with its incredible palace and gardens, like a fairy-tale spot on the lake. The old-world fishing island of Isola Pescatori (appropriately named Fishermen's Island) is a quaint place to have a seafood lunch. Villa Remigio is an eclectic but pretty villa built as a lover's hideaway in the 1800s. Villa Giulia is a neoclassic beauty with manicured gardens full of greenery, quiet corners and nice views. It is a park and the villa itself is an upscale restaurant that hosts events and ceremonies.
Villa Taranto was built by a Scottish captain who installed an elaborate English garden, important thousands of species to create a magical place of blooms and tranquility. There is a museum dedicated to landscapes, the Museo del Paessaggio, that is worth a look. But the landscapes themselves will captivate you, from the lake itself to the heights of Mt. Rosso. Looming higher is Monte Zeda to the north in the national park, reaching a peak of 2156 meters above sea level. Despite the lofty elevations, the lakes keep the climate temperate.
Don't miss the Renaissance church of the Madonna di Campagna, the Romanesque Oratorio of San Remigio with 11th century frescoes and a pretty portico; and the museum in Palazzo Dugnani that has Roman era tablets and Lombard frescoes. The Diocesan Museum in Palazzo Biumi-Innocenti shows off religious folk art and devotional votives. The Casa della Resistenza pays homage to the partisans who played a part and paid dearly while resisting fascism during WWII.
This is a good spot for a home base on Lake Maggiore, to enjoy the atmosphere and area's attractions.
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Explore nearby towns
A picturesque town on the shore of Lake Maggiore north of Stresa, Baveno faces the romantic Borromean Islands and backs to the green hills surrounding the lake.
Stresa is a picturesque town on Lake Maggiore, in a nice setting.
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