Stresa, like many of the other towns which reside on the lakes, is a typical tourist trap, but is good if you are short of time and fancy some mountain biking or walking (skiing in the winter). You can hire bikes from the cable car at Stresa for €10, put the bike in the cable car to Mottarone and bike down. The routes are clearly signposted and there are free route maps. If you take route L1, one third of the route is on road (not so fun!) but there are other routes you can take.
Stresa has it's own train station. You take the train from Milan Centrale towards Domodossola, the journey takes 1 hour 10 minutes.
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