Brissago Islands - Ticino

Stunning subtropical gardens in an idyllic setting

Brissago botanical garden, view to the lake
About Brissago Islands

Available: April-October.

Example travel costs

Swiss Travel Pass: FREE travel to the Islands. Gardens entry 10 Sfrs

Half Fare Card: 50% discount to the Islands.  Gardens entry 10 Sfrs

Ticino Ticket: 20% discount to the Islands. Gardens entry 8 Sfr

Over 2,000 species of plants grow in the wonderful botanical gardens of the Brissago Islands. This makes for a magical day out - a cruise to the islands, lunch in a beautiful setting and the chance to immerse yourself in this subtropical paradise with stunning blooms.

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Contact us to book your holiday

Call us on 0800 619 1200 or email us at


Botanical Garden

In 1885 the baroness Antoinette Saint Leger transformed the islands into a residence where painters, sculptors, musicians and writers could meet.

The smaller island (Isola Piccola or St. Apollinaire) is covered with indigenous vegetation and is kept in its natural state. The big island (Isola Grande or St. Pancrazio) features the botanical garden which was opened to the public in 1950. It features a wonderful array of subtropical plants including azaleas, rhododendrons, palm trees, camellias, magnolia, agaves, cacti, poppies, banana trees, cypress and many more. The park spreads out over 25,000 square metres with more than 2,000 species. Planting has been divided into 5 themed areas - Far East, South Africa, Americas, Australasia and the Mediterranean but there are further delights to discover such as a bamboo forest, a bayou with plants growing in the lake water, a tropical greenhouse, a scents terrace and a eucalyptus lawn. Another highlight is the Roman bath, around which are arranged plants from which we harvest our favourite herbs and spices.

The view from the lookout point over the lake is simply beautiful. 

Guided tours are available and should be pre-booked.

Lunch on the island

The elegant restaurant set in the 1930s neoclassical villa has an attractive terrace set amongst the lush subtropical vegetation and with a view over the lake. Both the atmosphere and the menu have a wonderful Mediterranean influence and you will find dishes on offer made with fresh local ingredients.

If you prefer a more informal lunch, there are plenty of picnic spots around the island.

After your meal you can browse in the gift shop which offers delightful souvenirs including plenty of Ticino products such as mountain herbs and chestnut biscuits. 

Children's treasure hunt

Children will enjoy exploring the island on this treasure hunt.

Ask for a map at the entrance and follow the trail with clues taking you through mysterious locations in amongst the exotic plants. There is also a small beach for playing, and a magic garden filled with plants used in myths and fairy tales. 


You can board a lake boat at the Locarno or Ascona pier for the short journey to the Brissago Islands. Around 40-60 minutes from Locarno, 15 minutes from Ascona.

Please check before travel for maintenance closures. 


Request your holiday quotation

Call us on 0800 619 1200 or email us at

Brissago Islands, Lake Maggiore

More excursions in the region

The Ticino has a distinct Italian influence and it is a joy to cruise to an idyllic village for a lakeside lunch. As well as any number of cruises, there's subtropical gardens and an array of funiculars and cable cars to take you up to mountains which offer panoramic views over the region.

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The Italian speaking canton of Ticino occupies the balmy lakelands of the southern foothills of the Alps. There are a choice of lakeside resorts such as Ascona, Lugano, Locarno, all offering cruises, mountain visits, walking opportunities and excellent cuisine.

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