If you want to uncover the secrets of a sleepy hamlet, 13km south of Stresa on the western shore of Lake Maggiore, then one of our holidays to Meina might be for you.
There are two sides to Meina - the winding, interlinking streets that create a maze of narrow, Italian townhouses; and the Village of Villas, situated along the lakefront with a huddle of grand dwellings overlooking the lake. Take a stroll to explore, and don't forget to take a camera to capture the views across the lake.
If you want to relax in the village, there are several lakefront restaurants, as well as a lakeside beach where you can spend your days sunbathing. Looking to get active? The surrounding hills and mountains offer ample opportunities for walking and hiking.
Meina is a great base forom which to explore the local area. There’s a train station with direct trains to Milan, and regular ferries to nearby towns around the lake, including Stresa and the Borromean Islands.
Out and about
• Boat trips
• Botanical gardens
Things to See and Do in Meina
The private beach
While Meina does not have a free public beach, the Hotel Villa Paradiso has a private beach area and jetty on the lakefront - a mix of shingle and grass areas with free sun loungers and parasols. For comfort when getting in and out of the water, we recommended taking lake shoes with you.
Relax at Lido di Meina
Just 230m from the Hotel Villa Paradiso, you’ll find the Lido di Meina - a peaceful and relaxing area in the sunshine. Rent sun loungers and parasols with great access into the lake, or lounge next to the large outdoor pool. The beach is shingle, so taking lake shoes with you is recommended. During peak summer, it’s best to reserve your sun loungers.
The sandy Erno Beach
If you’re looking to try somewhere new during your holiday, further up the coast is Spiaggia dell’ Erno, or Erno Beach. Approximately 4km from Meina, towards Stresa, this recently developed ma-made beach has sand and even palm trees. Sun lounger and parasol rental is available, and snacks and drinks can be purchased from the bar on site. Facilities include toilets and changing rooms.
There's no market in this litte village. However, just down the road in Arona, there’s a market every Tuesday morning from around 8.30am until 1pm. Arona is just 4km south of Meina and accessible by public bus. At the market, you’ll find many imported products and souvenirs, as well as pieces by local craftsmen and artists.
Meina's cobbled streets make for a nice stroll, but there’s not much in the way of shopping. While there are a few local stores selling traditional Italian products in the back streets, it’s best to travel to a nearby town for more variety. Arona has more shops and boutiques selling both national and a few international brands. Also in Arona, there are several larger shops and discount stores, many stocking Italian brands and products.
If you’re looking to treat yourself to something a little pricier, take a trip to the fashion capital of Europe – Milan. It’s just 1 hour 30 minutes by train from Meina, with a change in Stresa. Brands such as Gucci, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana line the glamourous city streets.
For a peaceful and relaxing evening, the Hotel Villa Paradiso has a bar and panoramic terrace overlooking Lake Maggiore. Sit back with a drink and read a book or play a game of cards, or just admire the views. Meina doesn’t have a promenade, but you can take a wander down to the lakefront if you want to venture out of the hotel.
For a lively evening, many people head down to Arona, just 4km away, for the La Rocca nightclub. A little closer to town is the Meina Beach Club – just 1km from the Hotel Villa Paradiso, the beach club has a range of refreshing cocktails and drinks available, and views over the lake. They often have live music or a DJ to add to the social atmosphere.
Tiny Meina is a charming village with a few cafés, bars and restaurants, which generally serve authentic, home-cooked dishes. If you want greater choice, you may want to venture to Stresa or Arona.
Fish with a view at Bella Vista
As the name would suggest, Ristorante Bella Vista will certainly impress with the views from its lakefront location. On the menu, you’ll find a variety of fresh fish dishes, and an extensive wine list to complement each of them, all at a very reasonable price.
Contemporary cocktails at the Meina Beach Club
If you’re looking for a slightly more contemporary and livelier atmosphere, the Meina Beach Club is one to check out. It's great for an evening drink and bite to eat, or just for cocktails with a great view. It can get busy so booking is recommended, especially when there’s the occasional live music, too.
Quiet tradition at Locanda dei Fiori
If you're looking for an authentic experience, with friendly service and a traditional atmosphere, Locanda dei Fiori is worth a visit. The restaurant is located in the quieter back streets of Meina, close to the train station. It's a reasonably priced family restaurant, offering tasty local cuisine from the Italian menu.
Meina is a small and quiet commune, so it's ideal for a relaxed stroll around the village. For a more challenging walk, head up the western shore to Stresa and take the cable car up to Monte Mottarone, for incredible views and several hours of walks along the peaks.
Ferries to and from Meina operate from 1st June to 18th September, on a limited service each day - there are just a few morning departures and one evening return. 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.
Meina, 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 Meina, you can also catch the train to the cosmopolitan city of Milan in under two hours.
The main bus stop is near the Hotel Villa Paradiso in Meina. Buses run through each town, heading south to Arona and north to Verbania. Services are limited on Sundays and bank holidays.
Traditional stone archways and authentic Italian townhouses line the narrow cobbled streets of Meina. While the commune doesn’t have a lakefront promenade, the maze-like village, with its peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, is great for a stroll - and it’s often in the shade so it's a little cooler. For something a little more challenging, you can pick up information on nature walks and treks from the tourist offices. There are walks for all levels up and around the Mottarone Mountain above Stresa and Baveno.
The Chestnut Route
Head up the hillside between Stresa and Belgirate, a trek that's mostly through the shaded trees, with views out across the lake. The well-signposted route can be completed in either direction, and then it’s just a ferry or a bus trip back to Meina. The 11km loop takes around three hours, and it’s a moderate walk with a few steeper sections, so walking footwear is recommended. Take a picnic to keep you going.
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