Lake Orta: how to get there, what to see and where to eat

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Joel Fulleda

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Considered one of the most romantic lakes in Italy, the Lake Orta it is a quiet place, full of history and breathtaking views. If you want to find some peace and spend a few hours or a weekend in total relaxation, this is the place! Perhaps it is a little known lake compared to its neighbors Lake Maggiore and Como, but it has nothing to envy, on the contrary ... the secret of its charm lies in being surrounded by nature, in a spectacular scenery that has as a "final" pearl the picturesque San Giulio island, which rises in its waters. Less chaotic than the more famous nearby lakes, Lake Orta is ideal for those looking for a magical and less "touristy" atmosphere.


  1. How to reach us
  2. What to see: villages and places of interest
  3. The most beautiful beaches in Lake Orta
  4. Where to eat: the best restaurants
  5. Accomodation
  6. User questions and comments

How to reach us

Il Lake Orta or Cusio is located in Piedmont, west of Lake Maggiore. It is the one located to the west of the pre-alpine lakes of northern Italy, with an area of ​​about 18 sq km. L'The reference airport is Malpensa (which is 42 km away), while by means of transport such as car, train or bus you have these possibilities to reach it:

  • By car: You can reach Lake Orta via the A26 motorway (Genova Voltri / Gravellona Toce) with the Gravellona Toce exit (towards Omegna - km 18) or with the Borgomanero exit (towards Borgomanero - km 16). Or via the A8 / A26 motorway (Milan lakes / Gravellona Toce) with the Arona exit, towards Borgomanero, km 12. Get directions
  • By train: Domodossola - Novara line (connections from Milan and Turin):
    Orta San Giulio station fr. Legro / Omegna Station, via Vaemenia / Crusinallo Station.
    From Como it is 3 hours (2 - 3 changes) with a cost of € 12,00.
    From Milan there are 2 hours (1 change) with tickets starting from € 9,00.
    From Turin the journey time is 2 hours and 20 minutes, always with a change, for € 10,00
  • By bus: Comazzi bus services: Arona - Borgomanero - Omegna / Fontaneto section: Stresa - Armeno - Orta section and Stresa - Gignese - Orta section. From Como the journey time by bus is one hour for 83 km. From Turin it is 126 km for an hour and twenty. From Milan 84 Km for an hour.

What to see: villages and places of interest

Between nature reserves, ancient Romanesque basilicas, panoramic balconies and particular villages that are a corollary, certainly there is no shortage of things to see on Lake Orta! Here, then, is all the information you need to better organize your trip to Lake Orta.

1 - Orta San Giulio

Considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, it is an unmissable stop on your visit to the lake. Appreciate it by strolling through its characteristic streets and observing its own palaces, elegant arcades and villas, shops and local taverns.

His heart is Motta square, full of restaurants and shops, from which ferries leave for the island of San Giulio. Don't miss the Church of Santa Maria Assunta with the numerous frescoes and Villa Bossi, from which you can enjoy a spectacular scenery.

  • from the Orta-Miasino railway station, the center is 700 meters away on foot. If you arrive by car, you can leave it in one of the many car parks and continue on foot. Directions
  • Information: admission to the Church of Santa Maria Assunta is free - Hours: 9.00 - 18.00

2 - Sacro Monte d'Orta

Located in the hilly area overlooking Orta San Giulio, the Sacro Monte d'Orta is dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi. Here you can embark on a path - almost spiritual - that it provides 20 frescoed chapels with episodes from the life of San Francesco and leading to the final chapel, San Nicola di Mira. From this mountain you can enjoy an amazing view of the lake and of Orta San Giulio.

  • from Piazza Motta in Orta you can take via Palma. The journey is 1,5 km for about 26 minutes on foot.

3 - Island of San Giulio

L'San Giulio Island it is located in front of Orta and is the jewel of the lake: a small and enchanting island that houses the Abbey of the cloistered nuns and the Basilica of San Giulio. Once you arrive, you will be greeted by a staircase and a single perimeter road that you can take, the "way of path and meditation": perfect union between spirituality and architecture, it is a peaceful corner full of houses, courtyards and glimpses.

  • the landing stage of Orta San Giulio is located in Piazza Motta (Get directions). While from the west shore of the lake you can take the ferry from Pella, San Filiberto or Lagna.
  • Information: € 3,15 round trip with a travel time of 5 minutes. The ferries operate from 10.00 to 19.00.

4 - Basilica San Giulio

La Basilica of San Giulio it is a pearl that is worth seeing. In Romanesque style, its façade and staircase overlook directly the lake, creating beautiful reflections. Under Ottone I it suffered serious damage and, to date, some Romanesque elements and the original presbytery have survived. Only theAmbo in black Oira marble and the crypt where the remains of San Giulio.

  • it is located in the center of the island and since there is only one road, it will be easy to find it.
  • Information: Free admission, opening hours: 09.30-12.15 / 14.00 - 19.00

5 - Omegna

Omegna, a small village north of Orta San Giulio and founded by the Romans, is crossed by the Nigoglia canal along which you can take a walk up to the Park of the Fantasy, a space designed for children in honor of Rodari, who spent his first years of life here. Don't miss the Church of San Gaudenzio, the collegiate church of Sant'ambrogio of the tenth century and the Porta Romana.

  • by car, Get directions. By train Novara-Domodossola line, Omegna station. By Bus: VCO Trasporti Lines from Verbania, Domodossola, Novara / SAF Solcio Stresa Omegna Line / Strona Valley - Omegna Forno - Omegna Luzzogno - Omegna Germagno lines.
  • Information: Parco della Fantasia hours Saturday 9.30 - 12.30 / 14.30 - 18.00 and Sunday from 9.00 to 18.00. Prices: half day € 8,00 and full day € 13,00

6 - Pella

Located on the opposite bank of Orta San Giulio, P it is a small town that allows you to observe the lake from a magnificent perspective and, from here, you can still take a few moments to admire the island of San Giulio. To see the Rialzo square, enhanced by Church of San Giovanni Battista which includes 4 chapels inside and a single wide nave and the Parish church of Sant'Albino, with a noteworthy mosaic floor and some works by Giovanni Valtorta.

  • by car, Get directions. By train, the station is located in Gozzano (Novara - Domodossola section). Bus: the lines that connect it are by Trasporti Comazzi.

7 - Madonna del Sasso

If you visit Lake Orta you cannot miss the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso, located on a rock overlooking the lake in the territory of Village of Boleto. The shrine boasts a dome frescoed by Lorenzo Peracino, sculptor and painter, as well as a painting by Fermo Stella da Caravaggio, a disciple of Gaudenzio Ferrari, the "Deposition of Christ". However, what will strike you most will be the fact that you can admire the whole basin from up here: for this reason the sanctuary is nicknamed the "Balcony of the Cusio".

  • by car, Get directions. By train, the closest railway station is that of Gozzano (10 km).
  • Information: free entry. Opening hours 07.00 - 12.00 / 15.30 - 20.00

The most beautiful beaches in Lake Orta

  • Ortello: Free and free beach located in Orta, precisely behind Villa Crespi, reachable on foot from the historic center. Get directions
  • Miami beach: also in Orta San Giulio, it is an equipped beach that offers a restaurant, a bar, umbrella and sun lounger rental. Get directions
  • Lido di Gozzano: probably the best equipped beach on the lake, it offers the widest beach and a series of services. It also features the highest lake springboard in Europe. Get directions
  • Rialaccio Municipal Beach: another free beach located in the hamlet of Roncallo sul Lago in Pella. It offers a beautiful view on the island of San Giulio. Get directions
  • Dolphin's beach: is located in Pettenasco, and offers both a free area and an equipped area with restaurant, bathroom, showers and bar. Get directions
  • Pasture beach: another free municipal beach, located near an appreciable kiosk. Get directions
  • Orta Beach - Lights on the lake: it is a private beach located at the Luci sul Lago restaurant, about 1 km from the center of Orta San Giulio. It is equipped with umbrellas, sunbeds and various services, and offers rates from € 15,00 per day. Get directions

Where to eat: the best restaurants

  1. La Tavernella restaurant in Bassilico Carmine: Via Lago, 14, 28891 Nonio VB (get directions) - Phone number 0323 889622. Restaurant overlooking Lake Orta and typical cuisine, with dishes that vary according to the season of the products. Average prices per person € 40,00
  2. Landing stage: Piazza Motta, 28010 Pella NO (get directions) - Telephone number 0322 918003
    Romantic place overlooking the lake, with fish specialties. Average prices per person € 50,00
  3. The Ustaria Cà dal Rat: Via Novara 66, 28016 Orta San Giulio NO (get directions) - Telephone number 0322 066538. Elegant restaurant overlooking the lake that offers refined dishes of land and sea, with fresh and quality products. Average prices per person € 40,00
  4. Villa Crespi: Via Fava, 18, 28016 Orta San Giulio NO, (get directions) - Telephone number 0322 911902
    Restaurant of the Michelin-starred chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo, offering regional haute cuisine dishes. Average prices per person € 90,00
  5. Al Boeuc: Via Bersani, 28, 28016 Orta San Giulio NO (get directions) - Telephone number 339 584 0039
    Small restaurant / wine bar with delicious typical Piedmontese dishes, especially meat. Average prices per person € 35,00


Certainly Orta San Giulio it is the most recommended town to stay, as being in a central point allows you to easily reach the opposite shore of the lake (in 20 minutes). The areas with the lowest prices are those near the station, because prices rise by the lake. For the same reasons, it is a strategic point P, located just in front of Orta. Finally I recommend Omegna, which is a fairly large village (in relation to the others in the area) and therefore offers various accommodation options at affordable prices. I remember that it is located at the extreme north of the lake and to move to the opposite side, for example to Gozzano, it will take about half an hour.

  • Orta San Giulio: Hotel and b & b starting from € 57,00 per room -
  • P: Hotel and b & b starting from € 55,00 per room -
  • Omegna: Hotel and b & b starting from € 54,00 per room -

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