Bespoke Private Tours of the Borromean Islands with a local tour guide

Experience a private Borromean islands tour guided by Micaela, a professional local private guide. This sightseeing tour is available for families, couples, groups, individuals. 


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Every tour is customizable: Borromean islands tours from Stresa, Baveno, Verbania, Pallanza, lake Orta and Orta San Giulio, lake Como and Milan

Micaela's Borromean Islands Private Tour 


This tour can leave from Stresa, Baveno, Verbania Pallanza or Intra main piers as well as from some hotels' private piers, and the best meeting point will be decided together. This is a private tour so start time can be agreed and tailored to your needs, considering that for the tour of all three islands departure can be as late as noon. (Should you be interested in visiting just one or two islands, time needed will be between 2 and 4 hours). 

After meeting we will sail towards Isola Bella where I will guide you through 17th-century rooms discovering the sumptuous Borromeo Mansion - Palazzo Borromeo. Then we will stroll through the gardens where we will admire this incredible architecture (ten terraces going down to the level of the lake). We will then move to Isola Pescatori for a guided stroll and for a lunch stop before making our way to Isola Madre, a little paradise on earth, where we will visit the renaissance villa as well as the gorgeous English park.


This guided tour is available every day from 16th March 2023 until 5th November 2023

The rest of the year it is possible to tour the islands by boat, visiting isola Bella and isola Pescatori without entering palaces and gardens but discovering the pretty villages on the islands.

This is NOT a shared tour.  If you are not part of a large group or small group, individual tours are available 

Group Tours Borromean Islands: only possible for ready-made groups.

Whether touring as a ready-made group, a family, an individual, a couple, or a small group of friends, this will be a private tour of the Borromean islands just for you and your party.

This tour can start in the morning or in the afternoon at the time that is most convenient for you. 

Lengtht of visit: full day. A half-day version of the tour is possible too

Meeting point: your hotel lobby or landing stage in Stresa, Baveno or Verbania

Get a tailor-made itinerary and quote. 

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Description of the islands

The Borromean Islands - Isole Borromee - are a group of three islands located in lake Maggiore, in the Stresa Gulf. A forth island - Pescatori - is usually included in the tour.

Their name comes from the Borromeo family, Italian aristocrats whose ancestors  acquired these islands centuries ago and conceived the architecture, the grand  villas and the botanical wonders that can still be admired today.

The three privately-owned islands are Isola Bella and Isola Madre - both open to visitors - and Isolino San Giovanni - the little island of St. John - also known as the isle of Toscanini. Being situated very close to the mainland town of Pallanza, the isle of St. John is unknown to most travellers who are not based on the northern shore of the Stresa Gulf. The other reason for being little known is that it cannot be accessed by tourists. Arturo Toscanini used the villa on this island as his summer retreat for many years.

The fourth island in the Stresa Gulf is Isola dei Pescatori - the Fishermen's Island - that is not private property, even though it is often referred to as one of the Borromean islands being positioned in the Borromeo Gulf like the others.

The Borromeo islands are must-see sights in Stresa and in the Italian lake District and definetely deserve a visit as do other destinations described in this website.   

Isola Bella Beautiful Island

Its name reveals the unrivalled beauty that travellers find on this  island.

The huge Borromeo palace is a baroque structure built in the 17th century. It dominates the island and it is well worth a visit. A tour in the palace enable tourists to discover this historical building while walking through its elegant rooms that house remarquable paintings, Murano glass chandeliers and amazing grottoes. The Italian-style garden occupies another large portion of isola Bella and is a true delight to the eye. A striking  amphitheatre, an amazing architecture, flowers and citrus trees, box hedges, statues,  white peacocks, obelisks and balustrades make this garden one of the most beautiful formal gardens in Italy. The imposing mansion and multi-level gardens seem to be overlooking the tiny and picturesque village that was built on the remaining strip of land where a small number of local people live.  

Isola dei Pescatori     (The Fishermen's or Fishers' Island)

This picturesque island was a fishing village and the traditional houses are still visible. The island's year-round population consists of a few local families who share their island with tourists. A mediterranean atmosphere with snow-capped mountains as 

a backdrop is one of the reasons why this island is so enjoyable and charming. The Fishermen's island is a good place to stop for lunch as it offers a wide variety of local venues from elegant  restaurants to bars and takeaways.  

Isola Madre  Mother Island

The first island to be acquired by the Borromeo's ancestors was Isola Madre, the largest one. With its sober but, nevertheless, fascinating architecture, this island is in contrast with the extravagant isola Bella. It houses a lush English-style garden where visitors can stroll along pathways immersed in a tranquil atmosphere surrounded by exotic and Mediterranean plants, citrus fruits, palms, hibiscus, magnolias, rhododendrons, camellias... Peacocks and pheasants are part of this lovely natural setting. The other attraction on isola Madre is a Renaissance villa that was conceived in the 16th century as the family's country house. The mansion is filled with nice paintings,  marionnettes, Murano glass chandeliers and furniture.


Quote of the page       Gustave Flaubert            

"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world"