At a glance
Take the cable car for panoramic views of Lake Maggiore
Visit the opulent Borromeo Palace on Isola Bella
Marvel at 2,000 types of plants in Madre's botanical gardens
Destinations in Stresa
Top things to See and Do in Stresa
The beach club
La Baia Rosa is Stresa’s public pool and beach club. There’s a small free beach area, where you can take your own towel and chair, and another with an entrance fee for the use of sun loungers, parasols, hot showers and changing cabins. There’s also a pool area, which you can pay an additional fee to use. Close by, there’s a snack bar and two restaurants where you can grab refreshments throughout the day.
In the centre of Stresa, opposite the Hotel Astoria and Hotel Regina Palace, there’s a small pebble beach that's free to the public. In some areas, sun loungers and parasols are available to rent, and roped-off swimming areas are clearly marked. Nearby, there’s the Lido Blu and Caffe Bar Verbanella where you can get refreshments through the day.
The sandy shores of Feriolo
If you’re looking for a new beach to explore during your holiday, head to Feriolo. It’s two villages north of Stresa and has a large, peaceful sand beach. Sun loungers are not available to rent, so you’ll need to take something to lie on. The tiny town has several charming restaurants along the lakefront, too, for an afternoon wander and a spritz.
The Stresa market is not to be missed. It runs every Friday until 1pm, in Piazza Capucci in the centre of the town. You’ll find everything from clothing and souvenirs, to leather goods and local art and crafts. The market moves from town to town around the lake each day, so if Friday isn’t good for you, try a nearby town on another day.
Stresa has many boutiques as well as chain stores, too. You can buy clothing, jewellery and books, and visit the deli shops to try meats and cheeses. In Gravellona Toce, 8km from Stresa, there are two large shopping centres. The centres are opposite one another and have shops selling jewellery, electronics, clothing, sportswear and much more. Gravellona Toce also has several large supermarkets.
Some shops and boutiques in the area sell some designer products, but if you’re really looking to treat yourself, take a trip to the fashion capital of Europe – Milan. It’s just 1 hour 10 minutes by train from Stresa train station. Brands such as Gucci, Prada and Versace are just the start of what’s on offer, lining the city’s glitzy shopping streets.
For a more relaxed evening, make your way to one of the best panoramic viewpoints of Stresa – the rooftop Sky Bar in Hotel La Palma. Grab a drink, sit back and admire the stunning views. If you prefer your feet on the ground, treat yourself to an ice cream from L'Angolo del Gelato in the main piazza and take a stroll along the promenade.
Every Thursday and Saturday from June onwards, head to the lakefront restaurant Verbanella for evening entertainment. From around 8pm, people from all around come to watch live jazz and blues music. Free concerts and events take place throughout the summer, sometimes with firework displays out on the lake, too.
Stresa’s lakeside promenade is lined with bars and cafés, which have wonderful views of the Borromean Islands. However, you’ll find cheaper and more traditional restaurants if you head into the backstreets and piazzas. Definitely try some mussiltini – lake fish often served with pasta – if you want to eat like a local.
Pizza with a personal twist at Mamma Mia
In the backstreets of Stresa, you’ll find Ristorante Pizzeria Mamma Mia, serving Italian cuisine at pretty reasonable prices. The staff are really attentive and, if your favourite pizza isn’t on the menu, they’re happy to accommodate your own choice of toppings.
Quieter fine-dining at Il Vicoletto
For a fine dining experience, Il Vicoletto should be on your list. You'll find it in the quieter streets of Stresa, set back off the main road. This restaurant is highly regarded for its extensive menu, helpful staff and freshly prepared dishes. It's a little pricier but worth it, and we recommend you book in advance.
A family touch at Caffé Torino
Serving food in Stresa since 1904, Caffé Torino is perfectly placed in the centre of town. It has a large outdoor seating area and a great selection of typical Italian cuisine, including pizzas, pastas, meat, fish and vegetarian dishes.