Holidays in Baveno

Baveno is a beautiful, relaxed base for exploring Lake Maggiore, the Borromean Islands and the panoramic footpaths of Piedmont

Baveno stretches along the western shore of Lake Maggiore, welcoming wanderers with its mountain-view waterfront. Here, Venetian villas and castle-like hotels have hosted VIP's for centuries. They’re an elegant backdrop to the lakeside promenade, where boats bound for the nearby Borromean Islands leave the harbour. Back in town, the parks and villa gardens of Baveno are made for walking, while more challenging paths climb into the Alps behind. See some bald patches on the slopes? They’re the famous quarries that have supplied pink granite to the churches and opera houses of Paris, Milan and Rome.

Exploring Baveno

There’s plenty to peruse while exploring Baveno. The round, Romanesque Church of San Gervasio and Protasio with its characteristic rotunda sits on the Piazza della Chiesa, filled with frescoes and a quarry museum. Some of the villas come with grand public gardens. And the cafés that line the waterfront between the port and harbour are a great place to pause… preferably for a board of mortadella salami and herby alpine cheese. As for the best ice cream – duck into the cobbled streets of the old town for a scoop of pistachio gelato or sorbet-like granita.

Boats to the Borromean Islands

The Borromean Islands lie just across the water, best reached by the ferries – or, if you fancy travelling off-schedule, the water taxis – that depart from Baveno’s harbour. Each island has its own speciality. Isola Bella and Isola Madre lay out palaces with extravagant gardens (keep an eye out for the wandering peacocks). Isola dei Pescatori is home to the last remaining fishing boats on the islands, plus restaurants serving fresh lake fish dishes.

Walking through history

Baveno is truly a beloved resort town, and the countryside around it hints at its peaceful past. Walking routes zig-zag uphill through hamlets and past chestnut forests, and along old mule tracks once used by fishermen. Simpler strolls stick to the lakeside promenade, heading north to the ancient port and village of Feriolo. Remember to stop by the monument dedicated to the “picasass” stonemasons en route. These workers have long toiled in the quarries above Baveno, carving out the building blocks for some of the loveliest opera houses, churches and arcades in Europe.

All about adventure: from Maggiore to Milan

Treetop walks, suspension bridges, climbing walls, pools and a cyclocross course will keep you busy at Lake Maggiore Aquadventure Park - particularly if you have teenagers with you! If watersports are more your speed, there are wakeboarding and boating centres on the lake too. And you don’t need a car for a day trip. Stresa is only a few minutes away by train – or you can embark on a mini-adventure to Milan, which is less than two hours away on the historic Simplon railway line.

Why book a summer holiday in Baveno with Inghams?

At Inghams, we do walking holidays differently. With no fixed itinerary, you have more time in your destination and the freedom to walk as much or as little as you like, discovering some of Baveno's best activities at your own pace.

Plus, we've included two optional guided walks every week in Baveno. Join a professional mountain guide and really get to know the area (see more details in the ‘walking’ tab below).

With over 85 years of outdoor travel experience, our holiday packages to Baveno include flights, transfers, and accommodation, so you can relax and leave the small details to us. Our experts can help you choose the best holiday for you, and our team in resort can give you the inside scoop on how to spend your time away with us.

Added value

Inghams rep based in resort

Flights and transfers included

Exclusive to Inghams: Join up to two included walks with a professional, local guide (limited availability, pre-booking is essential)

Walking in and around Baveno

On an Inghams walking holiday, you have the freedom to explore the area at your own pace. Make each day a new adventure, with as much or as little walking as you like.

Why we love walking in Baveno

Who knew that Lake Maggiore had so many fantastic opportunities for walking. Come to Baveno and experience it in a new way, discover quaint villages and trails filled with history and culture. Walking around Mount Mottarone gives you a completely different perspective of the surrounding area and it's easy to stumble across hidden gems if you go out exploring!

Guided walks

Don't forget, you have the option to join two included Inghams guided walks per week, with a local, professional guide. Get to know our favourite walking trails with insider knowledge and the company of other guests. Pre-booking is essential - check out the Guided Walks section below for more information.

Getting Around


The hydro-foil ferries in Lake Maggiore are extremely useful and more eco-friendly than your average ferry! They're perfect for hopping over to the Borromean islands for a day trip. Check out those sparkling waters as you drift along the lake. Many of our hotels are close to ferry landing points, so you won't have far to go.

Buses & trains

Baveno's bus network is really useful for exploring towns like Stresa which takes around eight minutes on the bus. You can usually buy tickets in a nearby tabaccheria or on the bus itself. You can also get the train to nearby towns such as Belgirate, with its little Romanesque church of St Mary dating back to the 11th Century. This journey only takes about 10 minutes direct.


If you'd rather walk, it doesn't take long to walk along the lakeside to picture perfect towns such as Feriolo with its little beaches and quaint harbours. This walk only takes about 50 minutes.

Guided Walks

Guided walks

We’ve included one full-day and one half-day walk per week in Baveno, just for Inghams guests. Join a small group and be led by a professional mountain guide on some of their favourite trails. It’s a great way to get to know the area.

The full-day walk will run every Tuesday and the half-day walk will run every Friday from the 3rd May until 11th October 2024. You can add the walks onto your holiday at the time of booking, through My Booking or by calling us on 01483 319 652.

For a break down of how we grade our guided walks head over to our walking grades page. Routes may vary from week to week but as a guide you can see some of our planned routes below:

Lake Mergozzo 

Lake Mergozzo is a hidden lake in the Ossola Valley. From Mergozzo train station, you'll head to this quiet lakeside village. You'll then walk along the Azur Path, stopping in the medieval village of Montorgano and take in the marvellous views over Lake Maggiore. We guarantee the views will remain etched in your memory!

  • Grade: Easy (a standard fitness level is required)
  • Distance: 5km
  • Duration: Half day (walking time approx. 2 hours)
  • Ascent/Descent: 150m
  • Terrain: Asphalt, dirt tracks, natural trails
  • Useful information: The walk is reached by train, you will take the train from Stresa to Mergozzo on the way to the walk, and back from Verbania-Pallanza to Stresa. There is a local cost for the train which is approx. €4.60 one way. 

Medieval village of Cavandone  

The walk begins in the colourful village of Suna where the path will take you to the medieval village of Cavandone. Along the walk you'll pass a chestnut wood, a medieval tower and of course wonderful views of Lake Maggiore - make sure to pack you camera! Once at Cavandone there's so much history and culture to enjoy including; a 400 year old yew tree, ceramic pottery and a well preserved stone village. The walk ends in Suna, where you can wander along the lakeside promenade.

  • Grade: Moderate (a good fitness level is required)
  • Distance: 8km
  • Duration: Full day (walking time approx. 4 hours)
  • Ascent/Descent: 260m
  • Terrain: Asphalt, dirt tracks, natural trails
  • Useful information: The walk is reached by bus, from Stresa to Verbania-Suna and the return is by bus from Verbania-Pallanza. There is a local cost for the bus which is approx. €8.20 one way. You'll have the opportunity to stop for lunch in Verbania-Pallanza towards the end of the walk (payable locally). 

The Chestnut Route

Staring at Belgirate you'll walk up to the beautiful Romanesque church of Santa Maria, where you can enjoy some fantastic lake views. Continuing uphill to the chestnut forest you'll get a feel for rural life in the terraced fields and mountain huts. You'll get even more fantastic views as you pass by the village of Passera and the gardens of Villa Pallavicino, which are a real highlight! 

  • Grade: Moderate (a good fitness level is required)
  • Distance: 8km
  • Duration: Half day (walking time approx. 3hrs 30 mins)
  • Ascent/Descent: 260m
  • Terrain: Asphalt, dirt tracks, natural trails
  • Useful information: The walk is reached by bus, from Stresa to Belgirate. There is a local cost for the bus which is approx. €3.20 one way.

Domodossola and the Sacred Mount

The walk starts at Domodossola, which is the main town of the Ossola Valley with its quintessential market place, stone houses and a rustic centre. A real highlight of this walk is visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Sacred Mount of Domodossola. On the descent towards Domodossala you'll have the opportunity to visit the town with its arcades, cafés and different shops selling typical products from the region. 

  • Grade: Moderate (a good fitness level is required)
  • Distance: 8km
  • Duration: Full day (walking time approx. 3hrs 30 mins)
  • Ascent/Descent: 340m
  • Terrain: Asphalt, dirt tracks, natural trails
  • Useful information: You'll stop off along the walk to have your lunch in the open air. Make sure you come prepared with a packed lunch and snacks.

For every walk you will need:

Suitable walking shoes with good grip, appropriate clothing, sun cream, sun glasses, rain jacket, rucksack, at least a litre of water, a snack and cash for restaurants/transport. You may find walking poles useful.

Early booking is strongly recommended as spaces are limited. All walks are subject to availability of local guides, weather conditions and maximum numbers. Planned routes are subject to change. Any distances and ascents/descents stated are approximate. Full details of the walks with the meeting points and routes will be provided to you on arrival. In some instances there may be a small charge for local transport that is payable locally. In resorts where the walks run over more than two days, the day of the walk will be allocated to you by your Rep in your welcome meeting. Where we cannot confirm your preferred option in resort, we will endeavour to offer an alternative subject to the above conditions.

Please ensure you are comfortable with the grade of walk, planned distance covered and terrain before booking. The decision of the guide on the suitability of the walk for you is final and no compensation will be paid where the guide believes, in their professional opinion, that it is not suitable. Please ensure you are well-equipped for the walk have suitable clothing and footwear. Walks are not recommended for guests under 12 years. Any guests under 18 years will need to be accompanied by an adult.

Our Favourite Walks

The walking in Baveno is so good that every route could be classed as a favourite, but here's a route that we really love:

Il Sentiero Azzurro

Walk up to the Romanesque stone church of St Giovanni in the field - worth having a look to see if it's open. Once you get to the Belvedere viewing point you'll get some incredible views of Lake Maggiore, The Borromean Gulf and the mouth of the River Toce, so it's worth taking a minute and soaking it all in. The trail is signposted for some of the way as the Sentiero Azzurro and if you follow it after the viewpoint, you'll come to a lakeside path with sections shaded by trees. Make sure you take some time to visit the archaeological museum along the lakeside path, and take a moment to sit in one of the relaxing lakeside cafe's for a coffee or a spritz!

To start the walk you can hop on a train to Verbania/Pallanza from Baveno and then you'll walk to Mergozzo town via Montorfano. Don't forget to validate your ticket on the platform before hopping on the train!

Villa Lesa - Monte Alle Croci - Belgirate

Starting in the relaxed town of Lesa this walk gives you a diverse range of things to see along the way. Stroll through the ancient villages of the Upper Vergante, stumble across farmhouses and churches and head into the foothills around Lake Maggiore, passing the Erno stream as well as historic villages, villas and gardens on the way. The walk is about 11.5km long and has about 480 metres of ascent, so requires a very good fitness level. The walk ends in Belgirate, where you can grab a train directly back to Baveno, this is about 11 minutes direct.

Hop on the train from Baveno to Lesa where the walk starts, the journey only takes about 15 minutes direct. 



Useful Information & Guidelines

Recommended equipment

Comfy walking boots, at least a litre of water, waterproofs, rucksacks and walking poles are useful for hiking around Baveno. 

Walking Maps

If you're looking for a paper map to help you get to know the area even better, we'd recommend the Globalmap - Carta Escursionistica - Mottarone - Lago d'Orta - Lago Maggiore (1:25 000).

Hiking guidelines

The mountains and lakes are a natural paradise, with lots to explore and discover. To help them stay that way, and remain enjoyable and safe places for everyone, we recommend following our little list of do's and don'ts:

  • Plan your route well and don't overestimate yourself
  • Check the weather forecast
  • Tell someone where you're planning to walk and what time you're expecting to be back
  • Take all the recommended equipment
  • Make a note of emergency numbers:
    • Italian Emergency Services: 112
  • Don't leave the marked trails without a guide
  • Let nature stay wild by not picking flowers (it's illegal in some places) or getting close to/making contact with wild animals
  • Always leave gates as you found them
  • Leave no trace

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    3.5 Rating

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Hotel Beau Rivage is a fantastic base for walking and for exploring Lake Maggiore. Just a few minutes' walk from the ferry point, you'll never be at a loss for places to visit around the lake. 


Book your excursions in resort with your Inghams representative

Milan from €65 per person (full day)

One of the most stylish cities in the world, Milan is the Italian fashion capital. Make the most of your time in the company of our local guide with a visit to the elegant Vittorio Emanuele Galleries and the Sforza Castle. There's free time to visit La Scala Opera or some of the famous boutiques too. 

Departs on Fridays

Ascona and Cannobio from €44 per person (half day)

Visit the elegant Swiss town of Ascona, a photographer's dream and home to an attractive lakeside promenade and interesting boutiques. After, head to the sleepy Italian village of Cannobio - its picture postcard setting is a favourite with local artists. 

Departs on Thursdays

Macugnana from €47 per person (half day)

In just 90 minutes, you'll go from 260 metres above sea level in Stresa, through the Anzasca Valley where the ancient houses of the Walser people cling to the cliffs, to the foot of the second highest mountain in the Alps - Monte Rosa at over 4600 metres. Stroll through the picturesque alpine village of Macugnaga and enjoy the views across the mountain pastures. For some even more spectacular views take the cable car up to the glacier (payable locally).

Departs on Saturdays

Wine Tasting from €52 per person (half day)

Where would Italy be without food and wine? This excursion gives you the chance to try some of the regions finest local produce. You'll travel through the beautiful countryside to the wine cellars of Ricetto, where you’ll learn about the art of wine production in the area. You'll have the chance to enjoy some Piedmont wines and tasty local snacks.

Departs on Sundays

The Three Lakes Tour from €65 per person (full day)

Visit three lakes in one day: Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano and Lake Como. Begin is Stresa and enjoy a scenic drive along the shores of Lake Maggiore before crossing the Swiss boarder to visit Lugano. Explore the chic city – Art lovers should look out for Bernardino Luini’s fresco ‘The Last Supper’ in the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. On Lake Como, you’ll explore Tremezzo’s Villa Carlotta and its beautiful gardens and the city of Como.

Departs on Tuesdays

Lake Orta from €44 per person (half day)

Experience the stunning hidden gem, Lake Orta. You'll head along the lakeside to Arona and will stop at the enormous statue of St Charles Borromeo. Then you'll drive through some fantastic countryside all the way to Orta, an old picturesque village which is full of art and historic architecture. You'll have the option to visit the island of Saint Giulio and its 4th Century Basilica.

Departs on Mondays

Zermatt and the Matterhorn from €89 per person (full day)

Don't miss this opportunity to get a taster of Zermatt and the iconic Matterhorn mountain that dominates the landscape. You'll take a bus over the Simplon road and into the Ossola valley where you'll get some fantastic views of the Simplon pass. Once you reach Zermatt you'll be at about 5,300 feet above sea level. It's known as the “Queen of the Alps” because of it's many surrounding mountains, which are amongst the highest in the Alps. You'll get some time for lunch before heading back to Lake Maggiore (payable locally).

Departs on Mondays

We act at all times as a selling agent for the suppliers. All excursions require minimum numbers to run and are subject to change. Some excursions may not be available to pre-book in low season but may be available to book locally subject to numbers. Prices will be confirmed at the time of booking. Please see our Terms & Conditions.

Things To Do

Learn about local history

If you're into history, the Romanesque church of Baveno San Gervasio e Protasio's a must see. The church dates back to the 14th Century and was consecrated by the Viscount Guglielmo Amidano on 13 May 1343. You could also hop on a ferry and visit the Roman town of Pallanza; home to artefacts dating back to the 1st Century! It's crammed full of colourful period buildings and a Romanesque basilica, the church of Madonna di Campagna, which has architectural features dating back to the 16th Century. 

Go island hopping

A trip to Baveno wouldn't be complete without visiting at least one of the three Borromean Islands. The Isola Bella's the most famous island and was turned into an Italian terraced garden in the 17th Century by the Borromeo family. It's so beautiful that it's inspired writers and poets throughout time. Dickens wrote, "However fanciful and fantastic Isola Bella may be, and is, it is still beautiful". Isola Madre's the biggest island and has peacocks strutting around its' gardens. Check out the villa and its classic Italian style. The third island, Isola dei Pescatori is a lot more down to earth. It's an old fishing island and still is today. This is where Maggiore gets it's delicious fresh fish. It's easy to get to these islands on the ferry (services reduce to weekends only in October) or by water taxi.

Indulge in food & drink

Primi piatti tend to be pasta or risotto dishes (in true Italian style), but for secondi you have to try out the fresh fish straight from the Adriatic Sea. Fish is a staple of the region and a delicious way to enjoy your evening meals. Cheese and cured meats are also fantastic in Lake Maggiore. They have the perfect mountain climate and conditions to raise healthy cattle. Try the local Mortadella dell'Ossola a speciality cured meat and the local Ossolana d'Alpe or Bettelmatt cheeses.

Try out local activities

If you love the water then Baveno has a great lido for swimming or you could do some water sports on the lake. There's loads to do if you want an activity packed holiday! For the sightseeing part of your holiday you can't miss the Villa Fedora public park. Lake Maggiore's known for it's botanical gardens and the 18th Century Pallavicino park's no exception. It's a wildlife park and botanical garden and a great place to walk around and check out the exotic plants and the 50 species of mammals and birds that live there.

Hiking trails: 250km of hiking trails around Baveno, with easy access to other parts of the lake. 

Terrain: flat, paved roads, dirt trails, lakeside promenades, hills, mountains

Best time to go: May - October. Walking in the higher altitude areas is recommended in high summer, as they have a cooler climate.

Recommended for: Experienced walkers, regular walkers, new walkers, nature lovers, sightseeing

Fly into: Milan Malpensa (approx. 2 hours)

Transfer time: approx. 1 hour by coach

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