Umbrellas and deck chairs in unexpected places
Sitting on the beach listening to the gentle rhythm of the waves, children building sand castles, cheerful chatter, kids playing beach volleyball and endless sunshine.
Camps Bay in South Africa or the white sandy beaches and turquoise sea of Sardinia are not unique: who said, in fact, that delicious sundowners can only be enjoyed at the seaside?
The more than 1500 lakes scattered along the Italian peninsula are equally enchanting – and unexpectedly trendy – places where beach life comes alive. The province of Novara offers a wide choice, with numerous rivers and two exceptional lakes as a backdrop for some unforgettable days.
Lake Maggiore – a triumph of nature and beauty
Lake Maggiore maintains the charm of la Belle Epoque and many of its treasures use natural resources as a central element.
There is an inexhaustible array of churches overlooking the sea, as well as splendid rainbow coloured gardens, charming old fashioned islands and grand palaces. Going often unnoticed are numerous quiet beaches, which are areas of tranquility, dotted around the coast.
Thus it is not surprising that three of the four Blue Flag beaches in Piedmont are right here. This is a prestigious recognition conferred by the FEE(Foundation for Environmental Education) that not only rewards clean water, but also high standards and a whole range of services, including lifeguards, a wide range of facilities on offer and at least five environmental education activities which must be proposed and promoted every year.
Alongside the protection of marine and lake habitats, levels of water purity must be respected on these beaches and sustainable means of transport must be promoted. The protection of the environment is of enormous importance and every little effort can help save the planet. Arona in the province of Novara, Cannero and Cannobio in the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, have become symbols of the on-going efforts made to safeguard the lake territory.
BLUE FLAG BEACHES IN PIEDMONT
- Lido di Gozzano
- Rocchette-Lido Nautica di Arona
- Riviera Lido di Cannero
- Lido di Cannobio
Arona, formerly an Orange Flag village of the Italian Touring Club, includes the Rocchette-Lido Nautica beach, which has received a Blue Flag, is free to use and allows access to four legged friends if on a leash.
At the Lido di Meina, further north, the beach has an excellent sports center with various swimming pools for both adults and children, tennis courts and lots of fun – there is also a disco for those who want to dance the night away. More intimate, the Scivolo Galli is a small beach with fabulous views of the lake, equipped with bar, sun-umbrellas and sunbeds. On the main road there is also a beach which allows dogs.
Lesa offers three public and free beaches, Madonna di Campagna, Castellaccio and Foce dell’Erno. For four-legged friends, all the municipal beaches of Arona and Meina have free access. Castelletto Ticino is home to the Cicognola sandy beach, equipped with sun loungers and restrooms, while Dormelletto has two beaches: Pirolino, with a beach volleyball court, umbrellas and bar – and free access for dogs – and La Rotta, with a jetty, a promenade and sun-umbrellas.
The list continues, moving further north and also on the other side of the Lake in Lombardy, with excellent beaches as far as the eye can see; some of the best known are the beaches of the Villa Pallavicino Park, the Lido di Zenna, Leggiuno, Brezzo di Bedero, Angera and many more. To prove, once again, that a holiday on Lake Maggiore is always a fabulous experience.
PET FRIENDLY BEACHES
All the municipal beaches of Arona and Meina offer free access to our four-legged friends.
A gem nestled amongst the mountains – Lake Orta
Lake Orta is both beautiful and dramatic, nestled at the foot of the mountains which are reflected in its crystal clear waters, sparkling with a myriad colours. Visit a thousand art treasures, the spectacular chapels of the Sacro Monte and an island that is nothing short of enchanted, and then take a dip in the crystal-clear lake, or relax on one of the many beaches.
Among these, the Lido di Gozzano obtained the Blue Flag in 2020, thanks to a lifeguard who “treats and cultivates the beach like a flower”. Miami beach, in the hamlet of Corconio, near Orta San Giulio, is very pleasant: here the water slopes down gently and is ideal for children. There is also a beach-hut with pedalòs and umbrellas for rent.
The other two beaches of Bagnera and Ortello, also in Orta, are a mixture of grass and sand with gravel: relaxation and excellent views are guaranteed. Pettenasco offers two free beaches, the Approdo and Riva Pisola, both with restrooms and restaurants. Omegna hosts a sports center at the Lido di Bagnella, with swimming pool, sun lounger rental and assistance. In Pella, on the west coast of the lake, you will find the Rialaccio beach, made of gravel and sand, while Nonio, not far away, has its own beach in Oira. The municipal beaches of Orta San Giulio, the mouth of the Pescone stream in Pettenasco, the Boschina beach in Omegna and the beach in Roncallo in Pella are all pet friendly.
A dip in the river
Crossed by two important rivers, the Sesia and the Ticino, the Province of Novara offers a wide range of ideas and opportunities for every type of activity, including walking and cycling tours as well as historical-artistic itineraries.
But why not just relax on one of the various beaches that populate the two rivers. Swimming in rivers can present pitfalls, due to eddies, strong hidden currents and often slippery stones, just be sure to use common sense. The strong and impetuous currents of the Sesia in the Upper Valsesia, a river that springs from Monte Rosa and crosses various provinces, are replaced by calmer waters in the Novara area.
Romagnano Sesia, Ghemme and Prato Sesia all have beaches where it is possible to relax and appreciate the gentle breeze – without forgetting to pop into the nearby wine bars to taste the excellent local wine.
Let us not forget the river Ticino. The main tributary of the Po river, it originates in Switzerland, in the Canton of Ticino, and crosses two countries and two Italian regions. Nicknamed “the Blue River”, it contains the largest river park in Europe and its “Ticino Val Grande Verbano” Biosphere Reserve is part of the UNESCO heritage.
The favourite beaches in the Province of Novara, since time immemorial a destination for tourists escaping from the torrid heat of the city, are in Oleggio – a beach with a mixture of sand and stones, and many trees which provide shelter from the sun – and between Galliate and Turbigo. Relaxation and tranquility to be found in a province that contains many astonishing corners.
BEACHES BETWEEN THE RIVERS SESIA AND TICINO
- Romagnano Sesia
- Prato Sesia