Everything you need to know if you want to visit the Brissago Islands, Switzerland's only botanical park located on an island.
How to get there: The Brissago Islands can be reached by boat from Locarno (boat timetable), San Nazzaro, Ascona, Porto Ronco and Brissago. The crossing from Locarno takes between 40 and 60 minutes, depending on the timetable. From Ascona it is just 15 minutes.
Sightseeing: Once arrived, the tour leads through the botanical park of the larger of the two islands (Isola di San Pancrazio), the only one open to the public. Within a few kilometres, there are five areas to visit that shows species from the five continents in their natural habitat.
The botanical park covers an area of 25000 m2 and houses more than 2000 plant species from areas with a Mediterranean climate - such as the Mediterranean, Chile, South Africa, Australia and California - and with a humid subtropical climate, such as Asia, America and Oceania.
The tour is exciting and takes its guests into another world: the magical forest with its mystical mist, the lookout point at the end of the island, the bamboo forest, the greenhouse, the small beach and the Roman bath are particularly spectacular locations. For children, it is a must to go on a treasure hunt that will take them on a mysterious adventure. Villa Emden is located in the centre of the island. The elegant neoclassical villa, built in the 1930s by Max Emden, contains a restaurant and hotel and offers wonderful conditions for private events.
The Roman baths, the orangery and the dock also date from Emden's time. Previously, the islands belonged to Baroness Antoinette de Saint-Léger, who saved them from neglect to make them a home for artists of all kinds: Famous painters, sculptors, musicians and writers frequented it until 1927. It is to her that we owe the foundations of today's botanical park, which was opened to the public on 2 April 1950. Since then, the Brissago botanical park has been one of the most beautiful gardens in Switzerland thanks to its exceptional biodiversity and is particularly popular with tourists.
Accessibility: The boats are accessible to all persons with disabilities. The Brissago Islands are 50% accessible to people with motor disabilities, ideally with an electric wheelchair.