The Brissago Islands - Botanical garden

Brissago e isole

The Brissago Islands are the Canton Ticino's botanical park. The little island (Isola Piccola or St. Apollinaire) is covered with spontaneous vegetation, mostly from the Insubrica region, kept in its natural state. On the big island (Isola Grande or St. Pancrazio), which was opened to the public in 1950, mostly subtropical plants with origins from the northern and southern hemisphere are grown.

In 1885 the baroness Antoinette Saint Leger transformed the islands into a residence where painters, sculptors, musicians and writers could meet. The big island became an exotic garden. In 1927 the new owner, the businessman Max Emden from Hamburg, had the actual palazzo, the dock and Roman bath built and increased the cultivation of exotic plants.

The botanic park offers impressions of exotic subtropical countries. Azaleas, rhododendrons, Japanese palm trees, numerous camellias, Japanese banana, bamboo, the Ginkgo transport the visitor to the Far East. The group of South African plants surprises with. The Central America zone offers a completely different scenario with large-flowered magnolia, agaves, cypress (present from the 30s with the typical roots sticking out from the water), yucca, California poppies, sage from New Zealand transport the visitor to other continents.
Sage, rosemary, cork, palm of the Canaries, represent the Mediterranean countryside.

The Brissago Islands are part of the Gardens of Switzerland network, which brings together the most beautiful gardens of Switzerland.

Closed during the winter: the park is open from April to November.

SPECIAL FOR CHILDREN - Scavenger hunt!
Are you dreaming of exploring an Island? A fun adventure for children: help Baroness Antoinette find her most precious flowers while exploring Isola Grande and discovering the abundant nature and beautiful landscapes of the botanical gardens.
Ask for the map at the entrance and follow the clues. Set off on an adventure!

New on the Brissago Islands!
Isole di Brissago al buio o quasi (The Brissago Islands in the dark or almost) is the name of the new exciting guided tours through the Botanical Garden, for people with visual difficulties and blind people. Experience the beauty and richness of the islands with your senses and discover the wonderful world of plants. A unique experience in the Mediterranean climate of Lake Maggiore. An initiative born thanks to the collaboration between the Department of Construction, Environment and Transport and Unitas (Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Italian Switzerland). If you are interested, book your guided tour at!



  • Suitable for families


  • Botanical gardens