Explore Lake Maggiore by boat - our tips

Lake Maggiore boat trip

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A boat departs from the Isola di Brissago in the Lago Maggiore (Lake Maggiore).

Lake Maggiore boat trips

Explore southern Switzerland and northern Italy by boat. Enjoy the green mountains, palm trees, wonderful villages and pleasant Mediterranean climate.

TICKETS

About boat tickets and prices.

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ROUTE

How to reach the boat docks.

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  • Attraction type: natural site, lake;
    scenic trip, by boat
  • Escort: independent (no guide)
  • Region: Lake Maggiore (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less

Lake Maggiore cruises

The Lake Maggiore region has a Mediterranean climate which is very inviting for boat trips, especially on hot summer days. About 20% of Lake Maggiore (Lago Maggiore), the northern part, is in Switzerland. The rest of it is in Italy. This allows for interesting international day trips.

In Switzerland, Locarno and Ascona are the biggest towns on the lake and good starting points for day trips. There are many towns and villages along the lake though, so you can board there as well. Do check the timetable as boat schedules on some routes are limited.

The boats offer 2nd and 1st class sections. You can buy snacks and drinks on board, and there's a restaurant to have lunch.

Routes and activities

A Lake Maggiore boat trip can be combined with various other activities. Here are a few examples:

  • Very short boat trip: take a boat from Locarno to Tenero NLM. Pass the camp ground and then walk back to Locarno along the lake;
  • Very short boat trip: you can explore Locarno on foot, then take a boat ride to Ascona and explore the town. Take the bus back to Locarno;
  • Short boat trip: combine a boat trip with a visit to the Brissago Islands;
  • Short boat trip: take a boat to the village of Brissago to do a short hike there;
  • Medium boat trip: a visit to the Italian town of Cannobio, with its pretty lake front and historical town center;
  • Medium boat trip: take a boat to Luino, Italy, and travel back by train;
  • Long boat trip: a boat trip on Lake Maggiore is part of the Lago Maggiore Express day trip: a circular tour from Locarno via the scenic Centovalli Railway to Domodossola, then the regular train to Stresa or Arona, and finally back by boat to Locarno. There are several variants of this trip. The majority of this tour takes place in Italy.

Preparation

Although sunny clear weather is great for a boat trip, it's still worth it if it's cloudy or drizzling. Take sun glasses and an extra layer of clothing as it can be windy on the lake. Check the timetable in advance to see what trip suits you best and how to combine it with another attraction.

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