Lake Orta and lake Maggiore guided tours

In this page you'll find some suggestions on different tours you could be taking in this area; some of them are already tried and tested programs, greatly appreciated by our clients.

Should you have any kind of doubts, You can contact Ortaeoltre and we'll be pleased to help you find the perfect tour for you!

Our most requested guided tours

Classic Tour of Orta

when: from March to end October
duration: half day (full day if combined with other visits)

This tour is the most requested one by travellers and tourists for its beauty and importance.
You’ll enjoy gorgeous views, ancient and precious works of art, historical buildings, and a short but fascinating boat-trip on Lake Orta.
This tour takes in the Sacro Monte di Orta (UNESCO 2003), the ancient, charming little town of Orta San Giulio - with its historical buildings, interesting shops and typical cafés - and the Island of S. Giulio, with the splendid medieval church and the imposing Benedictine monastery.

According to Your needs this tour can last both half day and full day.
In case of a half day, in the afternoon You might visit other beautiful sites located around the lake.


The Sacro Monte at Varallo Sesia - UNESCO

when: from March to end October
duration: half day (full day if combined with other visits)

Ortaeoltre suggests a half-day guided visit to the amazing Sacro Monte at Varallo Sesia, around an hour's drive westwards from Lake Orta.
If you have a full day to spend we’ll also visit the enchanting Church of Madonna delle Grazie and take a stroll through the picturesque town centre, bisected by the Mastallone stream. The Sacro Monte is quickly accessed by a scenic cablecar (ticket charge).

Restrooms, bar, restaurant and souvenir-shop are at your disposal.


Lake Orta from above: the Balcony of Lake Orta

when: from March to end October
duration: half day (full day if combined with other visits)

This half-day program on Lake Orta is definitely breathtaking!
In less than half-an-hour we’ll climb the western hills above Pella, on the little tourist train “Trenino di Pella” reaching for the most scenic site of Lake Orta, no wonder it is called “the balcony of the Lake”. The view of the Lake and its surrounding hills is simply amazing from up there, and in very clear days you can even spot Milan in the far distance with its towering modern buildings!

On top of the white granite crag - a renowned quarry in the old days - stands an elegant 18th-century sanctuary dedicated to the “Virgin of the Rock” (Madonna del Sasso) whose beautiful interiors are lavishly decorated. At the end of the visit we’ll reach the lakeshore again on our Trenino, getting off just in the picturesque square of Pella. Here you can relax for a while, have something to drink or get one of the best gelatos ever, while enjoying a fabulous view of the Island San Giulio.

Possibility of transforming a HD tour in a FD tour by simply adding a guided visit to the Island of S. Giulio, and/or to the old village of Orta (opposite shore), or to other sites around here, like the little medieval chapel of the Madonna di Luzzara.


Orta and its surrounding hills

when: from March to end October
duration: half day (full day if combined with other visits)

This section includes more than one tour to choose from.
All tours are perfect for those who already know Orta and its lake, but want to go back and discover something new or to have on hand a Tour Guide who can bring the landscape and art works to life: the choice is rich and full of surprises.
Above all art lovers cannot miss a visit to some of the places here suggested.
Only a few miles separate all the following locations : Armeno - Ameno - Vacciago - Miasino - Gozzano - Pella - Briga NovareseParuzzaro, Massino Visconti, and so on.
We’ll suggest the best combinations depending on Your taste and whether or not You would like to walk a little bit (max 25 min.).

*** Also suggested: a guided visit to one of the best producers of organic honey in the region (with offered tasting).


Lake Maggiore and its beauties

when: from March to end October
duration: half day (full day if combined with other visits)

Although some areas of Lake Maggiore are very well known, almost "overblown", the area offers places of undeniable beauty and great historical importance.
We will visit a territory inhabited since ancient times, rich in archaeological finds and historic buildings, such as the Fortress or Castle of Angera - with its extraordinary view over the Lake Maggiore, or the beautifully painted medieval churches of Gemonio and Brebbia, or the unforgettable ancient Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso, right opposite the town of Stresa.
You can make a half-day tour (HD) or full day (FD), which takes in more than three or four of the locations listed below. Arona - Angera - Santa Caterina del Sasso - Brebbia - Gemonio - Sesto Calende - Arsago Seprio.

Example of a Full Day guided tour. In the morning the town of Angera and the spectacular mediaeval Castle Rocca d’Angera still belonging to the Borromeo family (admission ticket): guided tour of the garden and the numerous rooms of the castle, some of which host the charming “Toy and doll Museum”. In the afternoon guided visit of the romantic Hermitage of S. Caterina del Sasso with its astonishing view over the Lago Maggiore, Stresa and the Borromeo’s Islands.

TOUR TO BORROMEO’S ISLANDS (Full Day): You can also decide to visit Lake Maggiore’s west coast with its gorgeous three islands facing Stresa, the Isole Borromee (Borromean Islands), with the Isola Bella and its enchanting Palazzo Borromeo, and the Isola Madre with its Villa and interesting botanical garden. Then, of course, the romantic Isola dei Pescatori with its picturesque corners where you can enjoy your lunch!


Unforgettable Lake Maggiore: the fortress “Rocca di Angera” and the Hermitage of S. Caterina del Sasso

when: from March to end October
duration: full day

This full-day tour to the Fortress of Angera and the Hermitage of S.ta Caterina del Sasso has always been among the most requested ones on Lake Maggiore. Both sites are located on the eastern coast of the Lake, in the thriving Lombardy region.

The tour will start around 9:00am in Angera with the visit of the medieval Fortress with its rich artistic heritage - a sumptuous private property of the Borromeos -, followed by the astonishing Museum of Dolls and Toys and a relaxed stroll in its picturesque, well-kept medieval gardens.

After lunch we’ll reach in less than thirty minutes the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso, built as an ex-voto in late 12th century: besides its engaging history and its important wall paintings, you’ll certainly appreciate the stunning views over the lake surrounded by verdant hills, with the famous Borromeo Islands almost in the middle.


Novara and its surroundings

when: from March to end October
duration: full day

Half day visit to the beautiful and ancient city of Novara, with the possibility of extending the route to nearby locations such as San Nazzaro Sesia (wonderfully painted church and cloister), just a few kilometres from Vicolungo Outlet and its colourful shops!

*** Possibility of tasting, walking and guided tour through the rice fields.


The jewels of the Seprio historical area (south of Varese)

when: from March to end October
duration: full day

Guided tours of one the absolute gems of Lombardy like Castiglione Olona, the archaeological park of Castelseprio with the little church of Santa Maria Foris Portas (and its unique byzantine frescoes), the Lombard Monastery of Torba or the ancient Monastery of Cairate.


Tour of three Sacri Monti

when: from March to end October
duration: three days

This tour (at least 3 full days) takes in the three most beautiful and scenic Sacri Monti, erected in Varese, Orta and Varallo: we could first reach the most ancient one – Varallo – started at the end of the 15th century, with a perfect reproduction of some of the sacred sites in Holy Land, then make our way to Orta San Giulio (Sacro Monte di San Francesco), with great view of the lake, and complete at last our tour in one of the most romantic sites in Lombardy, the village of Santa Maria del Monte dominating the town and the lake of Varese. With clear sky you can even see Milano in the far distance! For those who love imposing views and unique architectures and works of art (mural paintings and hundreds of sculptures!) Duration: 3 days.

Possibility of adding other sites, a wine tasting, a cooking class, ...