Lake Maggiore, Lake Mergozzo, Lake Orta: the landscape beauty of our territory
The romantic atmosphere of the lakes, the grandeur of the surrounding alpine peaks, the ancient rural history and the excellence of top quality food and wine products typical of the regional cuisine contribute to make the “Distretto Turistico dei Laghi Monti e Valli“ in Northern Piedmont, an area directly bordering with Switzerland and located within a short distance from the two important metropolitan centers of Milan and Turin, a perfect destination for a top quality relaxing vacation.
A variety of landscapes, so different but so closely connected and easy to reach! From Lake Maggiore, with the fascinating Borromeo Islands, to the peaceful and charming Lake Mergozzo, all the way up to the bewitching scenario of Lake Orta with the suggestive Island of St. Jules: Nature, art and historical jewels contribute to make this one of the most beautiful tourist areas in the world. Here, surrounded by the seemingly never-ending Alpine range, mountain lovers can explore and enjoy the Ossola Valleys with their extensive forests, alpine lakes, imposing mountain tops and breathtaking parks.
The succession of lakes and mountains offers endless opportunities to…
practice summer and winter sports, stop at typical restaurants to savor the traditional regional cuisine and discover mouth watering menus inspired by both tradition and innovation, visit interesting museums and enjoy the comfort of thermal resorts, take part to international events without forgetting to stop at some of the many craftsmen shops to take a look at, and possibly take home as souvenirs, the many skillfully handcrafted items, houseware and clothing exposed in the windows… All of the above contributes to make this a territory to be enjoyed all year round.
An ideal destination for every age and passion. A truly unique vacation of fun on the beach, outdoor activities, luxurious mansions and parks, trendy clubs and restaurants along the lake... And everything within easy reach!
Lake Maggiore extends for 66 kilometers at 194 m a.s.l. between Italy and Switzerland, from the Po Valley to the alpine chains of Ossola and Ticino. Maximum depth is 380 m. near the Cannero Riviera. Its main affluent rivers are Ticino and Toce. In Roman times it was called “Lacus Maximus” since it is larger than other lakes of fluvioglacial origin. It is also known as “Verbano” a name derived from a combination of two Celtic words. The western bank is in Piedmont (provinces of Novara and Verbano Cusio Ossola) and the eastern in Lombardy (province of Varese), while the most northerly section extends for 13 kilometers up to Ascona and Locarno in Canton Ticino. The Piedmontese bank has a more ancient tourist tradition than Lombardy where such development is rather recent. Thanks to the strategic position between two nations, the opening of Napoleon’s Route in 1805 and in 1906 of the international Simplon railway line, Lake Maggiore has become through the centuries an important and very efficient tourist destination. Between the XV and XVIII centuries Lake Maggiore was governed as feudal property by the Borromeo Family and became their traditional holiday destination and representative seat. Breathtaking scenarios created by magnificent mansions and luscious parks and gardens, such as the ones on Isola Bella and Isola Madre, became in the XIX and early XX centuries famous the world over and were greatly appreciated by European writers and musicians (i.e. Stendhal, Byron, Dumas senior, Flaubert, Ruskin, Dickens, Nietzsche, Dostoevskij, Hemingway, Mendelssohn, Listz, Wagner) in the XIX and early XX century, who chose Lake Maggiore as intermediate stop of their Grand Tour.
Boat cruises: up and down Lake Maggiore on board the historical ferry…
Explore the wonders of Lake Maggiore on a daily ferry cruise by “Navigazione Lago Maggiore”, a public boat company whose ferries cover the entire basin from Italy to Switzerland and back in addition to the car ferry line from Verbania (Intra) in Piedmont to Laveno Mombello (Lombardy).
Lago Maggiore Express: a successful tour to visit the lake and the mountains... in just one day!
Lago Maggiore Express offers the opportunity to enjoy an unforgettable trip by train and ferry from spring to autumn. First take the train (“Trenitalia” from Lake Maggiore to Domodossola, then the “Vigezzina”/”Centovalli” from Domodossola to Locarno) and finally the “Navigazione Lago Maggiore” ferry (from Locarno back to the town of departure) or vice versa. Discover the wonders of the mountains and lake in just one day!
A small, intimate and romantic lake where art and mysticism blend together against a background of luxuriant vegetation.
Lake Orta, a water expanse of fluvial glacial origin, is 12.5 Km long and 2.5 Km wide and is located at an altitude of 193 m. above sea level. It is in Northern Italy, West of Lake Maggiore to which it is linked through the Nigoglia stream and the Strona and Toce rivers. The name takes origin from its most famous town, Orta San Giulio, while the alternative name “Cusio” derives from Usii, the people of Celtic origin who lived there before the arrival of the Roman legions. Nature, art, history are just a few of the things one can discover on this lake. Here many illustrious artists and people of culture spent their holidays and celebrated it and business men established an industrial district (the Southern side of Lake Orta is a “tap industry district”, while the Northern side specializes in the production of houseware). Here again is the birthplace of many important “chefs de cuisine” who were later to become very famous around the world.
Boat tours: admire the lake panorama by boat or by motorboat… It is all up to you!
On Lake Orta the public boats “Navigazione Lago d’Orta” offer many line routes covering the entire basin as well as special proposals, like daily cruises or trips for special events. The Island of San Giulio and the surroundings of Orta are also reachable by Orta San Giulio private motorboats.
A tiny jewel surrounded by gigantic mountains. Crystal-clear waters that as a result of the ban on motor navigation has been transformed into a nature paradise with beaches suitable for the entire family…
A peaceful corner with crystal clear waters very near to the point where the Toce river flows into Lake Maggiore, basin from which the Lake Mergozzo originates. In ancient times, this tiny lake was in fact a gulf of Lake Maggiore. Now it is one of the cleanest lakes in Italy, since the use of motor boats was forbidden many years ago. Consequently at present the lake is considered a paradise for water sports. It is 2.5 Km long and maximum 74 m deep. Prehistoric findings just above Mergozzo date human presence back to at least 5000 years ago.
Everything is Distretto Turistico dei Laghi Monti e Valli… take your lake time!
Visit the official website www.distrettolaghi.it and take a look at the...
- “Ebook” section (after rapid subscription in homepage - “User login” space – user name + password required): tourist maps, guides and brochures (resorts, attractions, accommodation, sport, gastronomy, IAT Tourist Offices and their contacts, etc.) to read on line, download or print.
- “Lakes”, “Parks”, “Mountains” sections in homepage: general information about places and destinations (Lake Maggiore/Lake Orta/Lake Mergozzo; nature parks and reserves; Ossola Valleys).
- “Places to go” section in homepage: detailed description of tourist attractions (categories: nature, history, art, folklore, faith and culture).