Hiking on Lake Maggiore is an experience you’ll have to live once in a lifetime, especially in the summertime, when the mountain emerald green color mirrors in the blue cobalt of the lake water. Rose-hued panoramic peaks, larch groves, fairy tales paths and idyllic rivers: Ossola and Cannobina Valley are waiting for you! But remember, mountain trails are better to be tackled always with expert mountain guides, who can give you practical advice and historical information, but especially ensure your safety.
Let’s discover together 5 best guided hiking tours on Lake Maggiore, which are suitable for all levels, age and expectations.
1# Hiking Lake Maggiore: Macugnaga (Monte Rosa) – Lago delle Fate – Borca
Fairy-tale paths, idyllic ponds and rocky walls which reflect the pink hue of Monte Rosa: Macugnaga is a lovely mountain destination. It’s close to the mountain range Monte Rosa, between Val d’Ossola and Val Anzasca, in Piedmont. Here, famous mountain climbers such as Matthias Zurbriggen, Ettore Zapparoli, Hermann Buhl, Kurt Diemberger ventured out on these rocky walls back in history.
From here you can start different hiking trails: we recommend the trail which heads to Val Quarazza till the breathtaking Lago delle Fate (the fairies’ lake), a real natural wonder. Its legend tells that the gnomes sealed an agreement with the fairies: they handed gold in exchange for jam, which was used by the fairies to sew their dresses and produce their magic dust. Along the path you can admire woods of mulberry and blueberry and experience first-hand this mythological jam story. From this magical place you can go on and in 20 minutes you can reach Crocette, also known as “città morta”, literally the dead city, an ancient miner’s settlement which is now totally empty. In Borca, the tours ends with the interesting visit to the gold mine “Miniera d’Oro della Guia” where you can deepen the attempts of gold diggers in search of fortune.
Another incredible trail you can choose from is Belvedere trail, a huge glacier area which can be reached by chairlift: from the top we will escort you through the nature and panoramic trail to the Zamboni mountain shelter. Here you can have lunch while admiring the wonderful vegetation of rhododendrons and catch sight of shy chamois.
2# Hiking Lake Maggiore: Alpe Devero – Crampiolo
This easy-level yet superb hiking trail will lead you to the heart of Alpe Devero and Alpe Veglia Natural Park, situated in two dells at the head of Devero Valley, in Ossola area. Alpe Devero, with its great variety of landscapes and larch groves edged by amazing mountains, is a real heaven for its rich flora and fauna. Go up winding roads and admire the landscape changing with the height and reach a mountain huts’ settlement on a wide plateau.
From this plateau take the brushwood trail and between rhododendrons and blueberries, and then arrive at Crampiolo. This rural village is surrounded by beautiful mountains and covered by larches and red fir trees, at more than 2000 meters above the sea level. On the background, the high white-rocked mountains overlook proudly the valley. Discover Devero lake, this little artificial water body, where orange and yellow colors mirror in the cobalt waters. A feast for the eyes!
3# Hiking Lake Maggiore: Linea Cadorna – Monte Morissolo and Spalavera
The so-called Linea Cadorna was a fortyfied system ideated by the Commander of the Italian Army during First World War in order to protect the Po Valley with tunnels and trenches in the Lombard and Piedmont Prealps and Alps. It was actually never fully exploited since Switzerland always remained neutral. The system was not dismantled to prevent any possible attacks by the Austrian Empire. The line built in the mountains of Lake Maggiore and precisely on Monte Morissolo entails Lake Maggiore shoreline till Locarno. It was a strategical military post because it housed cannons able to shoot bullets at a distance of 14 km.
The hiking excursion to Morissolo and Spalavera leads you to an overwhelming panoramic point of view, and covers an outstanding ring circuit. Starting from Piancavallo you will be delighted by amazing views of Lake Maggiore. After the first stretch, you’ll reach the tunnels and trenches of Linea Cadorna. Passing through them is like reliving its history! Little windows overhanging the valley and the lake were used to scan the horizon. A unique mix of nature and history!
4# Hiking Lake Maggiore: Sentiero Azzurro Mergozzo – Montorfano
The medieval alleys of the charming hamlet of Mergozzo open up the way to Ossola Valley. This hiking trail called “Sentiero Azzurro” leads you along an ancient mule track till the amazing Romanesque church of San Giovanni in Montorfano. The hiking path goes along the northern side of Montorfano mountain, where you can admire its main peculiarity: this huge granite block is home to different caves which were hollowed out to provide marble even for the church San Paolo Fuori le Mura in Rome!
Once you arrive in Montorfano you’ll be enchanted by this ancient rocky village where a particular church stands out: the architectural complex dedicated to Saint John the Baptist boasts impressive fresco fragments in the apse and a Baroque altar piece.
5# Hiking Lake Maggiore: Villadossola – Sacro Monte Calvario – Via dei Torchi e Mulini
Via dei Torchi e dei Mulini, in English the Road of Presses and Mills, is a hiking route which winds up from Villadossola to Sacro Monte Calvario in Domodossola, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and then continues to Bognanco Terme. It’s a journey through the ancient pebbled roads which aims at promoting ancient rural presses, mills and old ovens.
The highlight of the tour is Sacro Monte Calvary, an historical and natural site which stands on the Mattarella Hill overlooking the Toce valley and the city of Domodossola, a real haven of peace, art and nature which was declared a Special Nature Reserve in Piedmont Region.