Located on the lake Maggiore, near Milan, the three islands: Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori, form a perfect trio, which can not only be the best place for relaxation and refuge from the crowded cities, but also an ideal reminder of the beauty of nature. And this is not all, when traveling to these beautiful islands, you can also admire the palaces located on Isola Bella and Isola Madre, which are true pieces of art. In my opinion, there is no better way than visiting these beautiful islands by boat: it is very easy, fast and extremely pleasant. Thus you will not only be able to explore the islands themselves, but also enjoy the amazing sights from the boat.
Explore the beautiful palace and its gardens on Isola Bella
The first island that you’ll notice already from afar will be Isola Bella, translated “The Beautiful Island”, and indeed its majestic views can astonish even the most picky travelers. Right from the boat you will have a breathtaking view of the wonderful gardens, which are arranged on ten terraces, reaching a height of 37 meters. The island itself is mainly occupied by the palace and its gardens, but you can also find here some souvenir shops and restaurants.
Experience the immense beauty of the Isola Bella palace interior
Undoubtedly, when the aristocratic Borromeo family - the owners of these beautiful islands, were planning the construction of the palace, they certainly had in mind one very important aspect: to amaze the viewer once he/she enters it. And I can assure you, that they succeeded. The baroque style interiors adorned with fascinating furniture, chandeliers, sculptures, vases and paintings emanate luxury and wealth. It’s an entire museum, where everything that surrounds you is an art piece.
Take a stroll inside the paradise garden of Isola Bella
And here the museum doesn’t finish: it prolongs into a not less beautiful garden made in the typical Italian style. It is exotic, full of flowers and has some very rare plants, as well as statues and fountains. The whole garden is designed to create a scenic effect, its masterpiece being the “Theatre”. This construction, which you can see above in the picture, consists of fountains and various sculptures, the main one being the statue of a Unicorn, the heraldic emblem of the Borromeo family, which is flanked by statues representing Nature and Art.
The palace and gardens are open to the public every day from 9:00 AM to 17:30 PM. The ticket includes visiting both: the palace and gardens and costs 15.00 EUR (approximately 17 USD) for adults, and 8.50 EUR for juniors from 6 to 15 years old (approximately 9 USD). For children under 6 years old the admission is free.
Enjoy a delicious traditional meal on Isola dei Pescatori
If you feel hungry and wish to enjoy a traditional Italian meal, then it’s time to get off the boat to the second island, called Isola dei Pescatori, which means “Fishermen’s Island”. The best description for this island would be “a perfect stopover for a glass of wine and some delicious local meal”, as it mainly consists of restaurants and cafés. Of course, you can also find here some souvenir shops, but its main purpose is to relax and sate the hungry tourists after their tiring travel.
Discover the nature’s majesty and the palace’s charm on Isola Madre
The last island the boat will take you to is called Isola Madre, or “the Mother Island”, and this time you will totally immerse into the beauty of the island’s nature, as once you get off the boat, you’ll enter its garden. Walking through it you will see how rich it is in exotic plants and colorful flowers, and also admire peacocks and pheasants proudly striding, as if they are the masters of the island. Here you can imagine, at least for a moment, how Heaven on Earth would look like.
While walking through the garden, its maze structure will lead you directly to its center, where the palace is located. The palace is open to the public since 1978, and since then it lures its visitors into a historical trip through its rooms, filled with XVI and XVII century furniture and paintings. And, of course, you can’t miss the little marionettes theater of the Borromeo house, which displays all members of the family since the middle of XVII century, friends and servants included.
The palace and gardens are open to the public every day from 9:00 AM to 17:30 PM. The ticket price, as on Isola Bella, includes both the garden and palace and is 12.00 EUR (approximately 13 USD) for adult, and 6.50 EUR for juniors from 6 to 15 years old (approximately 7 USD). For children under 6 years old the admission is free.
Make it cheaper!
In case you are interested to visit both islands: Isola Bella and Isola Madre in the same day, you can buy a combo ticket, which is cheaper. With the boats from the Navigazione Lago Maggiore, you can visit the islands from different starting points. Prices depend on the port of departure and the number of islands you visit. The tree islands on lake Maggiore are certainly the place to visit not only because of the marvellous palaces located there, or paradise gardens, but also because you’ll take the boat to reach them, which will make the trip even more pleasant.
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