Two beautiful green jewels, set amid the waters of Lake Maggiore: the only botanical garden on a Swiss island and one of the region’s most distinctive features.

Thanks to their position, the Brissago Islands enjoy a particularly mild climate. The smaller of the two islands, the Isola di Sant’Apollinare (also known as “Isola dei Conigli”), is covered in pristine natural vegetation and is accessible to the public during special events.

The larger island (the Isola di San Pancrazio) is home to the Botanical Garden of Canton Ticino. In 1885, Baroness Antoinette de Saint-Léger instigated a meticulous programme of selecting and acclimatising plants from all over the world, helping to turn the islands into a place popular with painters, sculptors, musicians and writers. In 1927, the new owner of the islands, the German businessmen Max Emden, had an elegant palace built that is now home to the restaurant, hotel, dock and Roman bath, and continued to develop the cultivation of exotic plants

The enchanting botanical garden, opened in 1950, now offers those who love nature and the wonders of plants countless interesting sights. Displayed in evocative settings, the park is home to around 1,700 grown plant species originating from the main Mediterranean climate areas and the humid subtropical climate of the five continents.

Thanks to this richness and its absolute uniqueness, the Brissago Islands Botanical Garden is part of the Gardens of Switzerland network that brings together the country’s most beautiful parks.

The islands also make the ideal destination for those who want to enjoy a boat trip on the lake, as well as an oasis for families and a popular location for weddings thanks to the picturesque backdrop.

Guided tours are available to help visitors explore the park, while a fun treasure hunt has recently been set up for younger visitors.

Open from March to October, the botanical garden can be reached from Ascona, Porto Ronco and Brissago by Navigazione Lago Maggiore ferries or private boats.