The Garden Town and its Sacro Monte (green and culture)

Distance: 18 km by car • Time: 1 day • Easy

Varese is also known as the Garden Town, because it is surrounded by green and nature and because there are a lot of super green parks in town. If you are passing by, and you have just one day to spend here, there are three places immersed in green that you cannot miss: Sacro Monte, the old townPalazzo and its Giardini Estensi and Lago di Varese

  • Spend the morning exploring the most famous and important UNESCO heritage of the Province: the Sacred Mount of Varese. You can decide to walk through a guided tour, the Via Sacra and listen to all the secrets hidden behind the fourteen chapels that lead to the Sanctuary. Once at the top, stop to taste the bitter "Elixir al Borducan" a particular digestive typical of the place, made today according to an ancient and secret recipe. Alternatively you can choose to climb up to the heart of the small village, thanks to the ancient funicular starting from Piazzale Montanari.


@uliseppiana and @msubirats

  • Lose yourself between the tiny streets framed by historical buildings and old shops and visit one of the main two local museums: Baroffio Museum, with its panoramic terrace over the land of the lakes or the Pogliaghi House Museum, a little treasure that was the old studio of the artist and also the place where he used to collect its favorite pieces of art.  
  • The small village of Santa Maria del Monte is home to so many beauties that it will not take you half a day to discover them all. Not only museums to see and naturalistic views from which to be enchanted, but also incredible experiences to live: imagine spending a night in the ancient heart of a medieval village, from which to observe the lights of the whole province from above and beyond: if you sharpen the view well, there at the bottom, the Madonnina d'oro on top of the cathedral of Milan.


@mr_duroy and @orax_music

  • When you will be ready to leave, drive back to Varese. Then head towards Varese. Once you have reached the historic centre, continue on foot: walking with an expert guide, you can admire the architectural traces of the old agglomeration, once the hub of the life of the town and get to know all the secrets and old traditions of the city. Do not miss the square of the Podestà with the monument to the Garibaldi, the Praetorian Palace and Biumi Palace ("Broletto"), the Basilica of San Vittore with the Bell Tower and the Baptistery. At the end of the pedestrian course is the Cloister of Sant'Antonino. The old town is also the perfect place for a break: you will find several places to have lunch and recharge your energy for the afternoon.



  • Before leaving the city and going to the lake, visit Palazzo Estense, currently headquarters of the town hall. It was the summer-autumn and court of Francesco III d’Este, duce of Modena and Lord of Varese. It was realized following the schemes of the architect Bianchi in the second half of the ‘700. Noteworthy is also the “Estense Hall” with a big chimney of polychrome murmles. Behind the Palace,  Estensi Gardens develop themselves, one of the most beautiful public parks in the Italian style, built in a similar way of the Schônbrunn. (Vienna) Gardens and done in 1787.


@vdave8 and @arcned

  • Then move to Lago di Varese. The best way to explore its shores and to visit all the surrounding points of interest is riding a bike. Lago di Varese infact is surrounded by a 28 km cycling path that allow you to see many beautiful glimpses among which the Isolino Virginia, pearl of the lake and Unesco World Heritage, that you can easily reach taking a boat from Biandronno. 
  • If instead of cycling along the whole cycle path that embraces the lake, you prefer to dedicate all your time to Isolino Virginia and its history, you can book a guided tour through which you will discover the origins and curiosities related to the oldest pile-dwelling settlement in the Alpine Arc, included in the list "Prehistoric pile-dwelling sites of the Alps" of the UNESCO World Heritage.



Where to stay: Horizon Resort, Vecchia Riva Hotel

What to do: a dinner at Restaurant Tana d'Orso, an aperitivo at Chiosco of Mustonate 

Do you want to be accompanied on this tour? Request a licensed tour guide. Contact us!

Plan your stay and your experience in the land of the lakes.

    Lago Maggiore Meeting Industry
    Provincia di Varese
    Consorzio Qualità Miele Varesino