(Paul and Ruth on Lago d'Orta). Lake Orta is a must, Orta San Giulio is also worth seeing. We didn't take a boat to the island but the village itself is lovely. A very good beach is right down at the southern tip of the lake- 6 euros for adults but worth it for safe access to swimming/diving/changing rooms and shower. 
A different way to get there and a lovely drive to the south of Lake Orta is through Meina then cutting across, though we got lost a couple of times due to inconsistent road signs, which seem a common feature! A sat nav would be very useful, otherwise through Baveno and bypassing Omegna is fine but there is slow traffic all the way up to the turning for Gravellona Toce.

(Paul and Ruth on Angera) Visiting Angera is a very nice half day out. By boat from Arona takes only 5 minutes and saves driving all the way round the lake. You can walk from the boat terminal to the castle, it's uphill but not too far.  Angera also has a nice childrens playground.

(Paul and Ruth on Giardini Botanici Villa Taranto) The Villa Taranto Botanical gardens are really beautiful; you could spend a whole day there if you wanted. Eating there is not particularly good though, and relatively expensive (eg, salads).


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