A Boat Trip to The Brissago Islands Ticino
One of the most beautiful places to visit whilst visiting Ticino is without doubt the beautiful Brissago Islands. Located on Lake Maggiore which borders both Switzerland and Italy, these two islands are individually named Isola Piccola or St. Apollinaire, and Isola Grande or St. Pancrazio. In order to visit the larger island, you can take a scenic boat trip, and boats run from a number of locations along the lake.
The small island is closed to the public and grows natural vegetation and the large island houses Ticino’s botanical park. Opened to the public in 1950, it has a rich and diverse mix of subtropical plants from all over the world – from both the northern and southern hemisphere.
Baroness Antoinette Saint Leger transformed the islands in 1885 and the large island became an exotic garden. It also housed a residence for the arts – a place for painters, sculptors, musicians and writers to meet.
Then in 1927 a new owner, businessman Max Emden from Hamburg, built the Roman bath, the palazzo, the dock and increased number of exotic plants grown on the island.
The gardens are beautiful all year round and are open to the public from late March to Mid October.
The island boasts Azaleas, rhododendrons, Japanese palm trees, camellias, Japanese banana, bamboo, Ginkgo, large-flowered magnolia, agaves, cypress, yucca, California poppies, sage, rosemary, cork, palms from the Canaries, as well as many other exquisite plant varieties.
The islands appeal to old and young alike and there is a hotel (so you can actually stay the night on the island) and a lovely restaurant which serves a variety of hot and cold dishes with fabulous views across the gardens and the lake beyond. Children can go on a scavenger hunt by picking up a treasure map at the entrance which will help them explore the gardens and have fun at the same time.
The Brissago Islands are part of the Gardens of Switzerland which is an association of the most beautiful gardens of Switzerland.
The Brissago Islands
Address: 6614 Brissago e isole, Ticino, Switzerland
Tel: +41 91 791 43 61
Open: From March to October.
Visit the Ticino Tourism website here
Visit the Brissago Islands website here
How to Get There
There are public boats taking people from a variety of destinations along Lake Maggiore, including Ascona and Locarno directly to the Islands and it makes for a vey pleasant boat trip. Furthermore, some of the hotels, like the Eden Roc Hotel charter private boats to take you there.
Top Tip: Do wear sunscreen or a hat on the boat as you can really catch the sun on the boat ride!
Click here for the boat timetable.
Where to Stay
There are lots of hotels in the region and we can recommend both the 5 star Eden Roc Hotel in Ascona and the 4 Star Superior Hotel Belvedere, in Locarno.
See Google Maps showing the Brissago Islands on Lake Maggiore below:
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