Enveloped by thick, dark-green woodlands, tranquil Lake Orta (aka Lake Cusio) could make a perfect elopers’ getaway. Measuring 13.4km long by 2.5km wide, it’s separated from its bigger and better-known eastern neighbour, Lake Maggiore, by Monte Mottarone. The focal point of the lake is the captivating medieval village of Orta San Giulio, often referred to simply as Orta.
If it’s romance you want, come during the week and you’ll have the place largely to yourself. On spring and summer weekends, good-natured groups of day trippers from Milan and beyond descend on the place, creating plenty of atmosphere, but crowding the town. You can’t blame them: it’s perfect for a day out and a long Sunday lunch.