Lake Maggiore, Lake Orta, Lake Mergozzo and Ossola Valleys

Between lakes and mountains, the true slow holiday

distrlaghi Alpe Veglia - ph. Franco Voglino

Alpe Veglia - ph. Franco Voglino

In northern Piedmont, a short distance from the Swiss border, the scenic slopes of the Mottarone and Alto Verbano, the Ossola Valleys and the gently rolling hills of Vergante invite the visitor to practice slow trekking and hiking. The itineraries are truly within everyone’s reach according to different levels of difficulty, for sportspeople and amateurs, for adults and children. Immersed between the romantic atmospheres of the lakes and the majesty of the mountains, this is the ideal destination for a truly slow holiday.

In the area between Cannero Riviera and Oggebbio, in the upper Lake Maggiore, there is a Nordic walking park and a Nordic trekking park. The Linea Cadorna, which runs between Bassa Ossola and the lakes, will take the walker among bunkers, trenches and forts along a war trail which was actually never used, now peaceful roads. Always in the area of Verbania, the Nature Reserve of Canneti di Fondotoce, nesting ground for many species of birds, and the Natural Lagoni Park, with its marshes and archaeological sites, are excellent running grounds. On Lake Orta the star is the Blue Ring, which can be travelled entirely on foot, between glimpses of water and villages which have remained intact over time. The Val Grande National Park, “unique natural European area which fully preserves original environmental characteristics” is accessible only through passes and trails which can be travelled in summer, in the company of a guide; it is also possible to do the legendary crossing in several days overnighting in bivouacs.

In Ossola, Macugnaga is the departure point for hikes on the majestic eastern slope of Monte Rosa, the second mountain of the Alps. In the Natural Alta Valle Antrona Park, agile ibex climb in search of salt on the vertical walls of the Dam of Cingino; the spectacle, unique in the world, is conquered after a walk of almost 4 hours along Strada Antronesca. At hiking level the Bognanco Valley has a lot to offer: Fornalino, Cima Verosso, Cima Gattascosa, three Lakes of Paione; at Passo del Monscera, ancient road used by smugglers, you meet the Swiss groups which come towards Italy. The Natural Veglia Devero Park accounts for more than 60 walks, easy or demanding; the most famous connects the Veglia plain with the alpine meadows of Devero. The majestic Cascata del Toce, Riale and the Lake of Morasco in the Formazza Valle are a spectacular scenario and departure point for hikes to the Passo San Giacomo. In the Vigezzo Valley, the walks for families in the green Pine Forest of Santa Maria Maggiore to the nearby towns alternate with high altitude hikes, such as the highly scenic one which leads to the Lakes of Muino.

There are also plenty of opportunities for cycle tourism, mountain bikes and e-bikes, which from the lakes to the Mottarone or in Ossola can find both asphalt itineraries and routes immersed in greenery. For road bikes, the flat cycle lanes are present along the western bank of Lake Maggiore and, in stretches, along Lake Orta.

Particularly suited to families, on the other hand, is the long Cycle path which departs from the mouth of the Toce, at the point where it flows into Lake Maggiore, to then cross the entire river plain between Bassa and Alta Ossola to arrive at Domodossola among green woods, rivers, spring flowers and characteristic villages. With the "Vigezzo in bici" circuit, the Vigezzo Valley is also ideal for travel by families, thanks to a constant altitude of approx. 800 metres.

The most beautiful road climbs are found between the morainic hills of Vergante descending towards the area of Verbania: one of the best examples is the Stresa – Arona Ring. Also a paradise for trained legs are the curved lines that rise to the 1,492 metres of Mottarone, the "mountain of the two lakes” and, of course, the roads they cross along the seven Ossola Valleys.
The most beautiful routes with a lake view by mountain bike are found in the area of Vergante, which is an area well-known for the production of the "Typical Flowers of Lake Maggiore", but also on the highlands of Montorfano around Lake Mergozzo. A short distance from the town of Verbania, the Slow Panorama itinerary allows to travel the historical Linea Cadorna by mountain bike and admire the overhanging views of Lake Maggiore. Around Lake Orta runs the Blue Ring, which travels the entire perimeter of the Cusio basin in 40 km. The more demanding MTB trails are those descending from Mottarone, those in the Alto Verbano and in the Cannobina Valley and the mountain trails in the Vigezzo Valley and Antigorio-Formazza Valleys.

distrlaghi Vergante - ph.Marco B Cerini

Vergante - ph.Marco B Cerini

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