(Paul and Ruth on Stresa) Parking in Stresa is a nightmare. The train station is free but spaces are limited. Catching the train to Milan is better from Stresa though, as there are a wider choice of trains than from Belgirate, and faster. There is a really nice shop in Stresa called Ferri Cristina in one of the back streets behind Bar Gigi area, selling a huge range of pottery as well as earings and glass, a v nice owner and her daughter run it. The best gelati in Stresa, and in the whole area we found, is Riva Est SNC on Principessa Margherita. Wonderful quality and amazing range, you will never want English ice cream again!!!

(Paul and Ruth on Arona) Arona has lots of character, and trendy shops, however all are quite expensive.  

(Paul and Ruth on the first three islands). It's much cheaper to book to visit the 3 islands by boat via the official tourist office and not from one of the private companies selling on the street. Also 3 children go free with 2 adult tickets.  Be  aware though that you have to also pay  to tour round the 2 main islands, and here children have to pay.

(Paul and Ruth on Baveno) The Baveno adventure park is very good for the climbing and rope harness activities, the pool is quite small though. Signposting there is strangely non existent. Go straight on at the Conad shopping centre roundabout on the other side of Baveno, but after 200m take the ramp up following the Milano signs. Turn left, through a short tunnel, then first right and it's signposted.

(Paul and Ruth on Angera) Visiting Angera is a very nice half day out. By boat from Arona takes only 5 minutes and saves driving all the way round the lake. You can walk from the boat terminal to the castle, it's uphill but not too far.  Angera also has a nice childrens playground.

(Paul and Ruth on Giardini Botanici Villa Taranto) The Villa Taranto Botanical gardens are really beautiful; you could spend a whole day there if you wanted. Eating there is not particularly good though, and relatively expensive (eg, salads).

(Paul and Ruth on Milan) Catching the train to Milan is better from Stresa though, as there is wider choice of trains than from Belgirate, and faster. Rather than catching the metro to Il Duomo it's quite easily walkable, going through the main public park on the way, and you obviously see a lot more.

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