Lake Orta (Lago di Orta) Tours
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The northern Italian lakes are popular destinations, beloved for their placid waters and mountain scenery. Among these, however, sleepy Lake Orta (Lago di Orta) is one of the least well known. Overshadowed by its famous neighbor, Lake Maggiore, and slightly farther from Milan, Lake Orta attracts visitors who want to get away from it all.
One of the charms of picturesque Lake Orta is the tiny island at its center, Isola San Giulio, home to a centuries-old basilica and monastery. Ferries run to the island from the medieval village of Orta San Giulio, whose historical center and 16th-century town hall are worth exploring; climb the hill above town to visit the Sacro Monte chapels. A few small towns dot the shores of the lake, including Pettenasco and Omegna, but this isn't the tourist-centered experience of Lake Garda or Lake Como.
Lake Orta is a popular excursion from Milan or Stresa, and joining a Lake Orta day trip by coach is an easy way to experience the lake without the hassle of driving. Alternatively, consider taking a private tour of Orta San Giulio and San Giulio Island to get the most out of these out-of-the-way spots.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Day trips may include a boat trip to Isola San Giulio, so wear weather-appropriate clothing for the ferry ride.
- Some boats may be accessible to wheelchairs, but always confirm ahead of time.
- A day trip to the lake is a fun break for kids and can include a dip in the water and walks along the shore.
- Lake Orta and its island and towns are all very picturesque, so be sure to bring your camera.
How to Get There
The lake district in northern Italy is easy to reach from Turin, Milan, and Venice. Lake Orta is about an hour by car from Milan's Malpensa Airport; the train trip from Milan to Orta San Giulio requires a change in Novara and takes between two and three hours.
When to Get There
Italy's northern lakes are especially spectacular in the fall when the surrounding countryside explodes in autumn colors. Lake Orta also hosts the Poetry on the Lake festival each September, honoring the lake's history as a favorite destination for writers such as Lord Byron, Honoré de Balzac, and Robert Browning.
The Sacred Mountain
On the hilltop above the town of Orta San Giulio, the Sacro Monte religious complex comprises 20 chapels built between the 15th and 18th century. The chapels, scattered artfully around a wooded estate, form part of the UNESCO-listed Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy.
Address: Milan, Italy
4 Tours and Activities to Experience Lake Orta (Lago di Orta)
Come to see Lake Orta and the town of Orta San Giulio: we are talking about a picturesque little ancient town on Lake Orta, a quite small morenic lake located in Piedmont region. Starting from Milan, we will go to Lake Orta, we will have a guided tour across the medieval town of Orta then by public boat transportation sailing for a few minutes we will reach Saint Giulio Island to proceed with this guided tour walking around the medieval town center on the island of Orta; later we will sail back to the harbor of Orta San Giulio town where we will walk across the ancient town center to see the most interesting buildings of the little town. This is a private guided tour for your group only or only for you if you are a single tourist.
Head out of Milan on this action-packed 4-day tour of Northern Italy's Lake District. Visit up to four lakes and the striking city of Verona. Explore mountain-encircled Lake Maggiore, chic Lake Como, placid Lake Orta and Italy's largest inland body of water, Lake Garda. Enjoy some free time exploring Verona, strolling the streets and visiting Juliet's House (of Romeo and Juliet fame). Boat rides and four-start accommodation in Como, Verona, and either Brescia or Bergamo are included.
Price varies by group size
Price varies by group size
This small lake to the west of Lago Maggiore is one of the loveliest places I have ever been. Lake Orta called by the Milanese "La Cenerentola" (Cinderella) because they have long considered it the secretly superior sibling to the larger, money-blighted lakes of Como and Maggiore. Orta is absurdly pretty and here the lake is mysterious, ethereal, almost supernatural. There is something for the soul here as well as for the eyes.
With our tour you can discover all the Italian beauties of the north of the country! Its lakes and views have captivated visitors from all over the world for years now. With our expert guide and professional driver you will be accompanied and pampered for 4 consecutive days to admire and photograph the most beautiful places in Italy! The famous Lake Como with its villas and small villages such as the most renowned Bellagio with cobbled streets and true authentic Italian taste. Lake Lugano with its breathtaking views and its Swiss way a few steps from Italy! You will see the beautiful Borromean islands immersed in the lake that create fantastic panoramas especially from the edge of a boat that will take you to see them up close. And then Verona with the famous balcony of Juliet and Venice which with its canals is one of the most visited cities in the world!
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Lake Orta (Lago di Orta)?
The best ways to experience Lake Orta (Lago di Orta) are:
- Lake Orta private guided tour
- 4-Day Italian Lakes and Verona Tour from Milan
- Food & Wine Tour on Lake Orta from Milan - Private Tour
- Essential North Lakes - 4 days / 3 nights
Things to do near Milan
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- Things to do in Ferno
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- Things to do in Bergamo
- Things to do in Lake Como
- Things to do in Lake Maggiore
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