Holidays to Baveno, in the Borromean Bay on the western shore of Lake Maggiore, are bursting with grand architecture, palaces and palm tree-filled gardens.
Taking it easy
Life in Baveno is rather laid-back and relaxed, a little more so than the neighbouring town of Stresa, which is just 2km down the western coast. If you plan on soaking up the Italian sunshine, there’s a small lakeside lido just outside of the village that stays open late in the summer, playing music into the evening.
Charming medieval centre
Lazy Baveno days centre around strolling along the lakefront promenade, and stopping for a coffee or spritz in one of the many cafés and bars dotted around the narrow cobbled streets. Be sure to wander through the granite-stoned town square, fronted by a simple Romanesque church that's home to a series of stunning religious frescoes.
Exploring further afield
The nearby train station has direct links to Milan and the other towns along the western coast of Lake Maggiore, making it even easier to get around. Baveno has a ferry port too, if you prefer to get out onto the lake during your holiday – especially over to the Borromean Islands.
Out and about
• Boat trips
• Botanical gardens
• Mountain lifts nearby
• Piazzas and local history
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Things to See and Do in Baveno
Lido Beach Club Baveno
Located 500m from the resort centre is the Lido Beach Club Baveno. The lido has a wide sandy beach, equipped with sun loungers, day beds, parasols, showers and changing rooms. Additionally, there are lots of activities available, including wake boarding, boat rental and water-skiing. You’ll find a bar and restaurant on site, with reasonably priced drinks, food and ice cream. Even better, entry is free, though there is a rental fee for the beds.
Make the most of the hotel facilities
Lake bathing in this area of Lake Maggiore is not common, and public beaches can often be rocky and narrow. All hotels available in Baveno either have an outdoor pool or a private beach on the lakefront – ideal for relaxing in the sun and taking refreshing dips in the water.
Fun for families at Aqualake
While not on the lakefront, the nearby Aqualake is great for families, with a wide choice of activities and sandy areas with loungers for relaxing, too. The park is located 2.2km from the resort centre, and if you’re heading there with children, we recommended combining it with a trip to the Adventure Park close by. The centre includes three waterslides, along with three pools and two beach areas with loungers and parasols.
Baveno’s weekly market arrives in the town every Monday from around 8.30am to 12.30pm. Located along Via 17 Martiri, you’ll find stalls offering a range of products and holiday bargains. There are many souvenirs and imported goods, but don’t miss the few stalls offering items from local craftsmen and artists. This is also the place to find artisan food from the area and produce from local farms.
Baveno doesn’t have much in the way of shops, other than a few local stores offering clothing, gifts and souvenirs. There are two large shopping centres located in Gravellona Toce – approximately 8km from Baveno. The centres are opposite each and have shops that sell jewellery, electronics, clothing, sportswear and much more. Gravellona Toce also has several large supermarkets.
Some shops and boutiques in the area sell a few designer products. However, if you’re looking to really splash the cash, take a trip to the fashion capital of Europe – Milan. It’s just a 2-hour train journey from Baveno train station. Brands such as Gucci, Prada and Versace are just the start of what’s on offer, lining the glamourous shopping streets of the city.
Baveno is a relaxed town with a lovely promenade along the waterfront. Stop off at L’Angolo Del Gelato in the town centre for an ice cream to go, and stroll along the lakefront. If you fancy a drink, La Baia bar on the promenade is ideal for drinks and snacks with stunning views.
Baveno is not known for it’s lively evenings, but there are some lovely places to go if you want to venture out into the town. One of the most popular bars, with a great evening atmosphere, is Miralago. This stylish bar sits on the main road in Baveno, with a terrace overlooking the lake, and serves great cocktails.
Baveno’s lakeside promenade is lined with bars and cafés, which have wonderful views of the Borromean Islands. However, you’ll find cheaper and more traditional restaurants if you head into the backstreets and piazzas. Definitely try some mussiltini – lake fish often served with pasta – if you want to eat like a local.
Lively and charming at La Baia
On the lakefront is La Baia, a charming restaurant that hosts live music and transforms into a place to party when the sun goes down. Try pizza, pasta, fish and salad, with stunning views over the water. Even if you just stop for a drink, you’ll get a delicious aperitivo platter.
Something special at Ristorante Sottosopra
On the lakefront in Baveno, try Ristorante Sottosopra. It offers exciting and inventive meals made with rare, high-end ingredients – dishes you certainly wouldn’t find at home. You can enjoy your meal in the spacious restaurant or in the tranquil gardens.
Feel like a local at Ristorante Posta
With a wide selection of regional dishes and friendly service, Ristorante Posta is a great place to mix in with the locals. Situated in the main square, opposite the ferry port, be sure to pop in and make a reservation, as it can get extremely busy.
Baveno has a lovely lakeside promenade, ideal for a relaxed stroll and getting around. For a more challenging walk, head up the cable car to Monte Mottarone. The views are incredible and you'll find several hours of walks along the peaks.
Ferries run from Baveno to each of the neighbouring towns, the Borromean Islands, and across the lake to other towns like Verbania. Daily Rover tickets can save you money if you’re island-hopping, and fast services are more expensive. Over 65s get discount from Monday to Friday with ID.
Baveno, along with each of the towns down the west of Lake Maggiore has a railway station, which runs a local service around the lake. From Baveno, you can also catch the train straight to the cosmopolitan city of Milan (1-2 hours).
The main bus stop is opposite the ferry port in Baveno. Buses run through each town, heading south to Arona, and north to Verbania. Services are limited on Sundays and bank holidays.
The cable car from Stresa to the peak of Monte Mottarone was restored and re-opened in August 2016. Consisting of two cable cars and a final chairlift to the summit, the views from the top are spectacular. Going up on a clear day, you’ll see seven lakes, surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery.
Baveno has an attractive cobbled lakefront, perfect for gentle strolls along the promenade. The town is made up of narrow cobbled streets and open piazzas. If pottering around is your idea of a great day, it's just 4km down the western coast to the livelier town of Stresa. For something a little more challenging, there are walks for all levels up and around Monte Mottarone – the mountain backdrop to Stresa and Baveno. The Stresa-Mottarone lifts take you up above the lake, with incredible panoramic views, shaded woodland walks and the opportunity to spot seven surrounding lakes on a clear day.
Alpino to Baveno
For a shorter but relatively challenging walk, take the cable car to the Alpino mid-station. From here, you’ll get spectacular views over Lake Maggiore and it’s downhill all the way, passing through the village of Campino as you go. The walk back to Baveno takes around two hours and wearing sturdy footwear is recommended. You’ll be walking through shaded woods, so there are not many places to buy food or a drink - why not pack a picnic for the trip?
If your idea of a perfect day involves strolling along a sunny lakeside promenade, then you'll certainly be happy here - Maggiore has some of Italy’s prettiest lakefront strolls. Just 4km down the coast is Stresa, a little livelier than Baveno and with a promenade lined with grand villas and ornate hotels. A stop for a well-deserved drink in the Hotel La Palma's Sky Bar is a must.
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