Lake Orta and lake Maggiore guided tours
Our most requested guided tours:
Lake Orta from above: the Balcony of Lake Orta
Tour HD. It can be combined with other visits for a FD tour. (April- October only)
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.
To the west of Orta: The Sacro Monte at Varallo Sesia: (HD – FD)
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.
Classic Tour of Orta (HD or also FD)
(ideal for first-time visitors but also for all those who want to visit these wonderful sites accompanied by a knowledgeable guide)
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 (see next programme).
Orta and its surrounding hills (different tours of HD and FD)
(for those who want to explore the romantic hills surrounding Lake Orta)
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 Novarese – Paruzzaro, 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).
To the south-west of Orta (HD)
(...if you love art and good wines!)
Besides Lake Orta we propose some areas of interest lying between the south of the Lake and the town of Novara, this last still unknown to many tourists and really charming! The hills of Cusio give way to a vast territory which has remained largely unchanged, many little towns and villages still resembling postcards of yesteryear. They are places of great charm, especially suited to a tourist who appreciates fine art and fine wine.
*** Possibility of tastings at small producers of excellent wine d.o.c. or d.o.c.g.
To the east: from Lake Maggiore to the Ticino (HD or FD)
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!
Novara and its surroundings (HD or FD)
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) (FD)
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 (3D)
(Unesco World Heritage sites, 2003) with stunning, unforgettable views!
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, ...