Lake Orta to Lake Maggiore

Green slopes & shimmering waters
 

Holiday Highlights

Walking to Orta San Giulio | For its lush silence, sacred mountain and frescoed chapels.
The enchanting gardens | Of the Borromean islands on Lake Maggiore. A heady mix of rare plants and formal beauty.
Natural bounty | Enjoy fresh lake fish, mountain cheeses, truffles and Piedmont’s renowned wines.
Cannero | Its lakeside location, lovely hotel and walks to surrounding medieval villages.
Lake Orta to Lake Maggiore. 7 nights
Lake Orta to Lake Maggiore. 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday to Lake Maggiore

Marvel at the dramatic fusion of mountains and lakes, as you walk self-guided from hotel to hotel from the shores of little-known Lake Orta to magnificent Lake Maggiore. Your luggage is transported ahead as you walk, leaving you free to focus on the far-reaching views.
Romantic, picturesque and enjoying a mild climate, Maggiore and its smaller neighbour, Orta, embody the very essence of the Italian Lakes. Pretty medieval villages and elegant resorts are dotted along the shores, behind which rise slopes clad in olive groves and peaceful chestnut and beech woods. This is a landscape dominated by blues and greens, enhanced by the pinks, yellows and oranges of mimosa, azaleas, camellias, citrus fruit and brightly painted villas.

Although the two lakes are just a spectacular day’s walk apart, they could not be more different: charming Orta is small and little-known, while famous Maggiore is five times longer, forging its way through ever more mountainous scenery as it stretches across the border into Switzerland. Both offer excellent walking, with ever-changing panoramas, but this holiday is about more than just walking – there is also time to explore the lakeside towns and villages in which you stay, to visit luxuriant gardens and Baroque palaces, to travel by ferry across the lake, and to sample Piedmont's renowned wines, including Barolo and Barbera d’Alba.
 
Gallery

 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 5 7 11 15 19 23 26 25 21 16 10 6
    mm 64 70 91 117 148 132 105 129 111 121 109 60
  • Arrival in Pettenasco
    Night 1: at Hotel Ristorante Giardinetto (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Linear walk to Orta San Giulio (return by boat/train): 9km, 3.5hrs; ascent / descent 370m
    This wonderful introductory walk explores the picturesque hillside villages to the east of Pettenasco – including Legro, where many murals by contemporary artists decorate the village walls – as it leads you to the charming lakeside village of Orta San Giulio. Take time to explore the medieval centre, where picturesque cobbled streets are lined with villas dating from the 16th to 18th centuries, before returning to Pettenasco by boat or train.
    Linear walk to Orta San Giulio (return by boat/train): 9km
    Orta San Giulio
  • Pettenasco to Stresa via Gignese: 8km, 3hrs; ascent 200m / descent 680m
    Today’s route entails a real sense of journey and adventure as you set off towards Lake Maggiore. First you are transferred along the Agogna Valley to Gignese, a panoramic village set between the two lakes, then from here you walk north towards the Giardino Alpinia in Alpino. Take your time to explore this botanical garden and to enjoy the spectacular views over Lake Maggiore before making your descent towards Stresa via a string of tiny hillside hamlets. In Stresa, you stay two nights at either Hotel Flora or Hotel La Luna Nel Porto.
    Pettenasco to Stresa: 8km
    Approaching Stresa
  • Linear walk to Belgirate: 7km, 3hrs; ascent / descent 360m
    We provide notes for a half-day walk through the foothills to the neighbouring village of Belgirate where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch before returning by ferry.

    However, you may prefer to spend the day in Stresa, which is an intriguing place to explore. You can easily while away a couple of hours in the grounds of the Villa Pallavicino, with their flower-lined avenues, ancient trees and exotic birds which roam freely across the estate.

    Or why not take a boat to Isola Bella? Just a stone’s throw away across the water, this lovely isle is dominated by an elaborate Baroque palace set amid glorious terraced gardens planted with a wide variety of flowers and dotted with fountains and statues.
    Linear walk to Belgirate: 7km
    Gardens on Isola Bella, reached by boat from Stresa
  • Explore Stresa, then take the boat to Cannero
    You have the morning to further explore Stresa. You then travel across the water to your final base, Cannero, on the dramatic northern shores of Maggiore, enjoying a new perspective of the lake and surrounding mountains. On most days, you can catch a direct afternoon service, but on Wednesdays and right at the very start and end of the season you need to take a shorter ferry ride and continue by taxi. However you arrive, you are warmly welcomed at the Hotel Cannero, which is located right on the waterfront.
    View from the boat en route to Cannero
  • Choice of walks around Cannero: 7km or 9km

    Cannero to Cannobio: 7km, 3hrs; ascent / descent 505m
    Well-maintained paths on the hillsides immediately behind the town lead to Carmine Superiore, a beautifully preserved village of medieval origin, accessible only on foot. You continue north across the slopes to reach Molineggi, and then on to the lakeside town of Cannobio. The return to Cannero by boat makes a fitting end (please check latest timetable locally).

    Ancient rural villages of Upper Cannero: 7km, 3hrs; ascent / descent 445m
    From Cannero, you ascend directly into the hills behind the town to reach two characteristic mountain villages perched on panoramic slopes overlooking the lake.

    Across the border to Ticino: 9km, 4hrs; ascent / descent 640m
    After an initial bus journey over the border to Brissago in Switzerland – remember to take your passports! – you follow a delightfully relaxed route across panoramic and fragrant hillsides to reach the elegant town of Ascona. Return to Cannero down the lake by boat changing at Cannobio (the return boat to be checked locally before departure especially low season).
    Cannero to Cannobio: 7km
    Ancient rural villages of Upper Cannero: 7km
    Views across Cannero
    Across the border to Ticino: 9km
 

Accommodation

Two hotels are located right on the shores of the lakes, while the other is very close by.

In Stresa, we work with more than one hotel, as shown below. All are hand-picked by us and, unless there is a price implication (in which case we will contact you to discuss your options), we will tell you which one we have booked for you on your booking confirmation.

Whichever hotel you stay at, we recommend extra nights in Stresa to enjoy a boat trip to the lovely isle of Isola Bella, where you can visit the fabulous gardens.
 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 7 nights: 01 April 2024 - 31 July 2024, 20 August 2024 - 20 October 2024, 01 April 2025 - 31 July 2025 & 19 August 2025 - 19 October 2025

    Start any day* | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 Apr 2024 £1190 £455
    1 - 31 May 2024 £1370 £520
    1 - 30 Jun 2024 £1455 £560
    1 - 31 Jul 2024 £1470 £565
    20 Aug - 30 Sep 2024 £1435 £555
    1 - 12 Oct 2024 £1205 £460
    1 - 30 Apr 2025 £1245 £475
    1 - 31 May 2025 £1430 £545
    1 - 30 Jun 2025 £1515 £585
    1 - 31 Jul 2025 £1535 £590
    20 Aug - 30 Sep 2025 £1490 £575
    1 - 12 Oct 2025 £1250 £480
    3rd & 4th person discount -£80
    Single traveller supplement £80

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    *Start dates: you can start any day, but be aware that at the very start and end of the season there is no direct boat service to Cannero on Day 4 (a shorter boat and taxi operates instead)

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel Ristorante Giardinetto, Pettenasco
    Superior with lake view and balcony: 01 Apr - 31 Jul 2024 £13
    Superior with lake view and balcony: 20 Aug - 20 Oct 2024 £13
    Superior with lake view and balcony: 01 Apr - 31 Jul 2025 £14
    Superior with lake view and balcony: 19 Aug - 19 Oct 2025 £14
    Hotel Cannero, Cannero
    'King' with balcony & partial lake view: 01 Apr - 31 Jul 2024 £22
    'King' with balcony & partial lake view: 20 Aug - 20 Oct 2024 £22
    'King' with balcony & partial lake view: 01 Apr - 31 Jul 2025 £23
    'King' with balcony & partial lake view: 19 Aug - 19 Oct 2025 £23
    'Queen' with balcony & pool or garden view: 01 Apr - 31 Jul 2024 £22
    'Queen' with balcony & pool or garden view: 20 Aug - 20 Oct 2024 £22
    'Queen' with balcony & pool or garden view: 01 Apr - 31 Jul 2025 £23
    'Queen' with balcony & pool or garden view: 19 Aug - 19 Oct 2025 £23
    Superior with lake view: 01 Apr - 31 Jul 2024 £37
    Superior with lake view: 20 Aug - 20 Oct 2024 £37
    Superior with lake view: 01 Apr - 31 Jul 2025 £38
    Superior with lake view: 19 Aug - 19 Oct 2025 £38

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Hotel Flora, Stresa (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 24 Apr 2024 £84 £108
    25 Apr - 16 May 2024 £93 £126
    17 May - 31 Jul 2024 £149 £229
    20 Aug - 28 Sep 2024 £149 £229
    29 Sep - 11 Oct 2024 £93 £126
    12 Oct - 20 Oct 2024 £84 £108
    01 Apr - 24 Apr 2025 £88 £113
    25 Apr - 16 May 2025 £97 £132
    17 May - 31 Jul 2025 £155 £239
    20 Aug - 28 Sep 2025 £155 £239
    29 Sep - 11 Oct 2025 £97 £132
    12 Oct - 20 Oct 2025 £88 £113
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate or Bergamo
    As an alternative to flying, we can arrange rail travel from London

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Milan Malpensa. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Milan Malpensa (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Milan Malpensa (via Zurich) Swiss 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Bristol - Milan Malpensa easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Nottingham East Midlands - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Milan Malpensa easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Milan Bergamo Blue Air 
    Outward route Airline
    London City - Milan Malpensa British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Milan Bergamo easyJet 
    Gatwick - Milan Linate easyJet 
    Gatwick - Milan Malpensa easyJet,  Wizz Air 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Milan Linate Alitalia,  British Airways 
    Heathrow - Milan Malpensa British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Milan Malpensa easyJet,  Wizz Air 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Stansted - Milan Malpensa Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Manchester - Milan Malpensa easyJet,  Flybe,  Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Milan Malpensa (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Milan Malpensa. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you for any of the options listed above. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service. Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Where a price range is given, the price you pay depends on your date of travel.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Milan Bergamo

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Bergamo to Arona (2h25), taxi Arona to hotel (0h35) £59-£61 1600
    rail Bergamo to Pettenasco (3h15-3h30), taxi Pettenasco to hotel (0h05) £20-£21 1200
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Stresa (1h), rail Stresa to Bergamo (2h45) £73-£76 1400

    Connecting travel options - flying via Milan Linate

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Linate airport to hotel (1h15) £121-£130 flexible
    rail Milan Centrale to Arona (1h10), taxi Arona to hotel (0h35) £55-£57 1600
    rail Milan Centrale to Pettenasco (2h-2h15), taxi Pettenasco to hotel (0h05) £15-£16 1600
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Linate airport (2h) £155-£165 flexible
    taxi hotel to Stresa (1h), rail Stresa to Milan Centrale (1h) £77-£80 1300

    Connecting travel options - flying via Milan Malpensa

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Malpensa airport to hotel (0h50) £84-£87 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Intra (0h20), bus Intra to Malpensa airport (1h30, pay locally) £29-£30 1300
    direct taxi hotel to Malpensa airport (1h30) £101-£105 flexible
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 5 dinners
    7 breakfasts
  • luggage transfers
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • boat Stresa to Cannero
  • transfer on day 2
 
Reviews

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We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from A to B, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • We can book a wide range of routes from the UK with a variety of airlines. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. The fee for this service is £35 per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). More information on flights >
  • Absolutely! We are experts in tailored rail travel. Making use of sleeper trains or stopovers in cities along the route, we can get you from London to virtually anywhere in mainland Europe. We can even make arrangements to Mallorca, Sicily and Norway with a combination of ferries and rail. Please contact us to discuss your plans.
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can incur a five or six-figure bill.

    Many insurers offer travel insurance (you can find details on our insurance page of a policy that you may like to consider if you are a UK resident), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    When you purchase a policy, be sure to check that it covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Italy, but not a visa (please note, however, that a new travel authorisation system is being introduced). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). You should also apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your EHIC has expired (if you have a still-valid EHIC, you can use this until it expires).
  • The principal official language is Italian, though some regions have a second official language, such as South Tyrol, where German is widely spoken. The currency is the Euro. Italian time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • For information on the practicalities of travel now that the UK is no longer part of the European Union, visit www.gov.uk/visit-eu-switzerland-norway-iceland-liechtenstein.
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.

    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
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