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Lake Orta

Lake Orta, Italy

Day Trip to Tourist-Free Lake Orta

It may not have George Clooney in swim trunks (win, Lake Como) but Lake Orta and the shoreline town of Orta San Giulio does have green mountains, glittering forested shores, and a tourist-free scene of Italians in repose.

Less than an hour drive north of Milan’s Malpensa airport, it’s easily doable as a day trip. Zip up for lunch at one of the exceptional enotecas that line the water, such as Al Bouec, where fine barolos are served in a 500-year-old candlelit cavern.

Or spend a few days in the sun at Villa Crespi (from $700, hotelvillacrespi.it), a 14th-century Moorish compound with a hammam and front-row seats to the real attraction: that lake.

This appeared in the May 2015 issue.