The cable-car trip up Monte Mottarone (1491m) from the northwestern end of Stresa will for sure impress you with the views over Lake Maggiore, including Isola Bella and Isola Superiore. From the summit on a clear day you can see Lake Orta, several other smaller lakes and Monte Rosa, the Alpine border with Switzerland and second highest mountain of the Alps.
The 20-minute cable-car journey on the Funivia Stresa–Mottarone takes you to the Mottarone station at 1385m, from where it’s a 15-minute walk or free chairlift (when it’s working) up to the summit.
For the more active, there are plenty of good mountain-biking and hiking trails on the mountain. Bicicò rents out mountain bikes at the lower Stresa cable-car station. Walkers can ask at the cable-car station or the tourist office for a free copy of Trekking on the Slopes of Mount Mottarone, which outlines a two-hour walk from Stresa to the Giardino Botanico Alpinia and a four-hour walk to the top of Mottarone.
Skiing Mottarone’s gentle slopes is limited to five green and two blue runs, making it good for beginners. Also possible from the summit is Alpyland a 1200m-long bobsled descent with adjustable speeds that makes it ideal for families.