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Lake Orta (Lago di Orta) Tours

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Lake Orta (Lago di Orta)
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.

The Basics
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
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6 Tours and Activities to Experience Lake Orta (Lago di Orta)

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Lake Orta Day Trip from Stresa with Optional Island CruiseDay Trips

Lake Orta Day Trip from Stresa with Optional Island Cruise

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Leave Stresa to discover Lake Orta, a small yet stunning lake just west of Lake Maggiore. During this day trip by bus, you'll travel to Orta San Giulio, the lake's main village to enjoy free time. Explore the narrow streets and admire the lake's island, Isola San Giulio, which you can visit along with the basilica if you upgrade when you book. The return journey takes in sights of the giant statue of San Carlo Borromeo (Sancarlone) and the Rocca d'Angera fortress. Note that the trip takes place in a group of up to 50 people.
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  • 5 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 43.76 
From  
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  • 5 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Food & Wine Tour on Lake Orta from Milan - Private TourCultural Tours

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Food & Wine Tour on Lake Orta from Milan - Private Tour

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.
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 493.74 
US$ 617.18
US$ 123.44 savings
From  
US$ 493.74 
US$ 617.18
US$ 123.44 savings
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

4-Day Italian Lakes and Verona Tour from MilanMulti-day Tours

4-Day Italian Lakes and Verona Tour from Milan

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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.
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  • 4 days
  • Free Cancellation
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US$ 1,134.49 
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  • 4 days
  • Free Cancellation

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Private Tour of Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta with MicaelaPrivate Sightseeing Tours

Private Tour of Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta with Micaela

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Spend a morning or afternoon at Lake Orta, and see the highlights of its charming village and lake island with your own private guide. After you hear the history of Orta San Giulio’s medieval houses on a stroll, you’ll step aboard a boat to cruise over the serene lake to Isola di San Giulio. Wander the cobblestone streets to the Roman Catholic basilica, then choose to stay on the island to explore more at your own pace or return to Orta San Giulio with your guide.
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  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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US$ 201.99 
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  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Essential North Lakes - 4 days / 3 nightsMulti-day Tours

Essential North Lakes - 4 days / 3 nights

This tour is aimed at those who do not want to travel with many people, it is also possible to organize it for individual customers (minimum 2), we have tried to offer a good compromise in all our choices, from hotels to excursions.
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  • 4 days
From  
US$ 2,421.59 
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  • 4 days

Winery wine tasting + Lake Orta private guided tour, Saint Julius's IslandCultural Tours

Winery wine tasting + Lake Orta private guided tour, Saint Julius's Island

Come to see a local winery in the hills of Novara to taste good red and white wine, then let us go to Lake Orta to 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. Here 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 the marvelous Saint Giulio Island to proceed with this guided tour. Later we will sail back to the harbor of Orta San Giulio town. This is a private guided tour for your group only or only for you if you are a single tourist.
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  • 6 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 213.21 
From  
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  • 6 hours
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  • Free Cancellation


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