From Milan to Stresa
By car (1h20m, 90 km). Take the A8 motorway towards Laghi-Sesto Calende-Varese, then the A26 motorway towards Gravellona Toce to the Carpugnino exit. At Carpugnino follow the signs for Stresa.
By train* (1h-1h30m, 5-14€). There are 21 trains a day from the two stations in Milan which stop at Stresa. From Milan's Porta Garibaldi station, take one of the 10 regional trains heading for Domodossola (1h30m, 5€). From Milan's Centrale station, take one of the 6 regional trains heading for Domodossola (1h10m, 5€) or one of the 5 international trains heading for Geneva/Basle** (55m, 14€).
By bus (1h15m). From Lampugnano underground station, 2 buses a day go to Stresa.
From Milan's airports to Stresa
Stresa is 45 km from Milan Malpensa (MXP), 110 km from Milan Linate (LIN) and 130 km from Milan Bergamo (BGY).
From Milan Malpensa to Stresa
By train* (1h30m, 4€). There are 8 daily connections to Stresa, but you will need to change trains en route. From the airport's Terminal 1 take the Malpensa Express and get off at Busto Arsizio RFI***. Then take the train going to Domodossola.
By car (50m, 50km). Follow the signs for the A26 Genoa - Gravellona Toce motorway. Take the A26 motorway in the direction of Gravellona Toce. Keep heading towards Gravellona Toce until the Carpugnino exit. At Carpugnino follow the signs for Stresa.
By taxi (50m, 100-150€). The price varies according to the day and time.
By bus (50m, 9€). From April to September take the Alibus shuttle for Stresa. The service has a timetable (6 journeys a day), but you need to book the day before.
From Milan Linate to Stresa
Take the shuttle for Milan's Centrale station (25m, 4€) and carry on by train.
From Milan Orio al Serio to Stresa
Take the shuttle for Milan's Centrale station (1h, 10€) and carry on by train.
From Switzerland to Stresa
Enter Italy on the Brig-Simplon (Sempione) or Gotthard-Locarno roads. From Brig (1h30m, 100km) head towards Milan, join the A26 motorway and exit at Baveno-Stresa. From Locarno (1h10m, 55km) go through Cannobio, then Verbania and on to Stresa.
* Tickets must be bought and validated before boarding the train. There are no discounts for advance purchases or for return tickets. At Stresa the station is near the lakeside and the town centre (5 minutes on foot).
** Some international trains to Switzerland do not stop at Stresa: check before leaving. Booking is necessary for international trains.
*** NOTE: do not get off at Busto Arsizio (2nd stop) but at Busto Arsizio RFI (3rd stop).
Getting around in Stresa and the surrounding area
You do not need to have a car in Stresa. The main attractions can be reached by other means. The Borromean Islands are well connected by boat; Mottarone and the Alpinia garden are served by a cableway while Villa Pallavicino can be reached on foot. The other places around Lake Maggiore are connected to each other by boat. A car is useful if you want to explore inland and you can easily hire one at the airports, at Milan's Centrale station and at Stresa. If you want to hire a car at Stresa it is advisable to book in advance. Some taxis are available at the railway station and the main landing stage.
Stresa is connected to the major tourist resorts on Lake Maggiore by the public service and by private companies. The boats are spacious and often have a bar. You can buy single tickets or daily tickets which allow you to make an unlimited number of stops. At Stresa the main landing stage is in Piazza Marconi, attached to the tourist office. You can get to the Borromean Islands from a second landing stage (Lido di Stresa). If you want personalised services (for example for evening trips), a taxi-boat can be hired from either of the two landing stages in Stresa.
The railway line goes only partly around the lake. You will therefore need to use other means to get to the main tourist destinations. However, we must point out the Lake Maggiore Express which connects Domodossola with Locarno along a panoramic railway through the mountains.