Boats on Lago Maggiore
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Boats crisscross the Swiss shores of the exceptionally beautiful Lago Maggiore, as well as running way down the lake into Italy (all boats run April–Oct only). Service is provided by the NLM, with their main Swiss office at the Locarno landing stage (091/751 18 65, www.navlaghi.it). Note that Maggiore is the only major lake in the country to be excluded from the Swiss Pass and European train passes.

For fare purposes, the Swiss basin of the lake is divided into two: a day pass for the area either north or south of Ascona is Fr.11, or for the whole Swiss basin is Fr.20 (seven days Fr.50). Otherwise a Lago Maggiore Holiday Card gives free transport on the whole of Lago Maggiore and half-price on Lago di Lugano; one/three/seven days cost Fr.33/54/72. Rapid hydrofoils, which run on routes into Italy, command a Fr.3 each-way reservation fee. You’ll need your passport if you’re catching boats into Italy.

The Lago Maggiore Express train and boat journey, can also run in reverse: a 9.15am boat from Locarno (not Wed) meanders down two-thirds of the lake to the Italian resort of Stresa, from where trains connect to Domodossola for the Centovalli line back to Locarno, arriving at 5.15pm (Fr.42). Various other excursion tickets take in visits to the Italian islands of Isole Madre and Isole Bella.

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