“In Bici a Pelo d’Acqua,” slow and sustainable tourism in the Novarese area.

The Interreg In Bici a Pelo d’Acqua project was created with the aim of enhancing a vast territory through its bicycle paths, which have the element of water as a common thread.

Along the way we encounter rivers such as the Rhone, Toce, Ticino, Sesia and Agogna, lakes such as Mergozzo and Orta, and an intricate system of canals that irrigate rice fields.

Proh Castle Briona NO ph Antonella Sebastiani
Proh Castle Briona NO ph Antonella Sebastiani

The route passes through Canton Valais, where it follows the Rhone among majestic mountains, and continues through Ossola along the Toce and Cusio on the shores of beautiful Lake Orta, then up into the Novara hills along the Agogna.

These are territories to be discovered calmly, savoring their beauty made up of nature, culture, landscapes, scents and flavors, pedaling quietly to Novara, a city rich in museums, monuments and art, dominated by its imposing Dome that rises above the rice plain.

Here we cycle among canals and irrigation ditches that bring water to the rice fields: in spring the water reflect the rows of poplar trees, historic farmsteads and mountain contours, and are home to several species of birds that nest and feed here. The landscapes and colors of the rice paddies change with the seasons. From the blue of the water to the green of the seedlings to the golden yellow of the rice ready for harvest in autumn.

Pedaling in the Ticino Park, Mulino Vecchio Bellinzago ph.Alessandra Miglio
Pedaling in the Ticino Park, Mulino Vecchio Bellinzago ph.Alessandra Miglio

This bicycle touring route is not intended as the creation of new bicycle paths. In fact, it involves the networking of existing routes or the development of new routes on low-traffic municipal and provincial roads.

You travel by bicycle between the Alps and the Po River, following the official bicycle paths of the Piedmont Region and Canton Valais in Switzerland. You can admire the landscapes, traditions, history and discover the flavors of these lands.

The four routes of the In Bicycling by Water project.

GPX tracks of the four suggested routes for travelers can be found on the In Bici a Pelo d’Acqua project website.

Vigne del Boca NO ph ATL of the Province of Novara
Vigne del Boca NO ph. ATL of the Province of Novara

One route, Via del Mare, begins in the Swiss Valais, in Brig, and runs downhill along Lake Orta. Via del Ticino, runs along the Ticino river from Sesto Calende to the heart of the Ticino Park on the opposite side of Turbigo. Pedemontana starts from Sesto Calende too, but arrives among the vineyards of Gattinara. The Rhone Route crosses the Canton of Valais and partially skirts Lake Geneva.

This project stems from a feasibility study sponsored by the Piedmont Region in 2016 to enhance regional cycling routes. Novara ATL has joined and received the necessary funding. On this basis, work was done to turn the study into a concrete work by participating in calls for proposals that would enable its implementation.