What to do in Lake Garda

Short Break Recommendations | Lake Garda

Author: Lauren Coleman

The other half and I have been on the look out for a European short break destination for a while. Due to a variety of reasons we can’t manage a week away this year and so we’ve been scouting for potential locations for a long weekend. I was all up for a civilised break in Palma or perhaps a sun-drenched trip to Seville and then I wrote a Rock My Style post about Prosecco.
As always, you lovely RMS readers had some fab comments to make not only on your favourite fizz but also where you like to drink it. There was a rather large bias pointing towards Italy and more specifically the largest of the Italian Lakes, Lake Garda.
I don’t want you think I succumb easily to peer pressure but after the not-so-subliminal messages about how great a trip to Lake Garda would be, I was well and truly hooked.

Several hours of research later and the flights to Verona were booked and I was planning my holiday wardrobe. We’re going next month so I don’t have high hopes for hot weather; thin jumpers and some form of fancy patterned trouser are currently on my list.
The main things, getting there and the accommodation, are booked.

Flights

After noticing that the early morning EasyJet flight times weren’t going to offer us the best use of of four day trip, I was pleasantly surprised to find that BA flights offered far more convenient flight times and were cheaper too!
One of the most exciting things about flying British Airways is that I get to put my luggage in the hold AND take on TWO pieces of hand luggage. I apologise for the capital letters but I am used to battling with my carry-on suitcase and miniature toiletries. I regularly fear that my entire make-up bag will be confiscated by airport security as I desperately try to cram the contents into a plastic pouch.

Accommodation

I quickly realised that getting a lakeside hotel was out of the question. Erm, how much?!
Instead we’ve booked a jolly nice hotel up in the hills of Bardolino that came highly recommended through Booking.com. Even though it’s quite some distance away, our room has a view of the Lake.
We’re no strangers to lengthy drives, so the plan is to use the hotel as a base and then hire a car to explore the area. As glam as it would be to hire a convertible Fiat 500, we’re more likely to end up with a Fiat Panda.

What to do

With the hotel and transport sorted I would love to hear about your suggestions about places to visit. I’ve heard great things about Salò and also Malcesine too. We would love to squeeze in a trip to Venice but with only four days it might be a bit unrealistic.

Has anyone visited Lake Garda and would like to recommend a village or town to visit? Where would you suggest to eat and drink? What were your favourite lakeside resorts to visit? Any ferry trips or water sports? I’m all ears!

Image source : Malcesine

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23 thoughts on “Short Break Recommendations | Lake Garda

  1. I’m sorry Lauren I have nothing of value to contribute to your itinerary, but just wanted to express my jealous! Italy is high up on my list of places to go! Shameful as it is, most of my Italian must-do’s are centred around food: eat spaghetti, eat pizza, eat gelato, drink wine etc etc. You’ll have to update us on any particularly delicious spots that you come across on your travels!

  2. I’ve nothing useful to add (although Italy is one of my fave places) but was hoping you might do a mini break post on Croatia before the end of May…..!

    1. Hello Victoria! Where are you off to in Croatia? I went last year to Zadar. If you love Italy, you’ll love Croatia – so many italian influences x

  3. Awww Lauren, a little bit jel over here too! 😉
    Italy, and the Lake Garda region in particular is in our holiday wish list. (In fact it was even on the honeymoon shortlist!) When we do go (hopefully in a year or two), I fully intend to head to Venice and Verona (I can’t possibly be that close and not see Juliet’s balcony!!!). I also want to have some nice walks around the lakes – I have seen pics from my friend’s holiday there and it looked incredible. Such beautiful scenery. So beautiful that my friends even got engaged there!
    xx

    1. Ahhh, how romantic!
      Sorry for making you jealous. We’re only going for three nights if it’s any consolation! Pop a few Lake Garda pics on your vision board and then hopefully you’ll feel inspired to book too 🙂 x

  4. We visited Lake Garda in the summer and stayed on a campsite at the waters edge in Sirmione which is a really nice place, we didn’t get to see much as we were only there foe a few hours. Although we did get engaged after an early morning swim while we were there!

    1. Congratulations Lucy!
      Have just taken a look at the Scaliger Castle. What an incredible place. Definitely one to add to the list.

  5. Lauren, we’ve been to Lake Garda several times and love it.Verona is so beautiful to visit (the buildings, Arena, and,oh, the shops!) and very easy by public transport – buses direct from Garda and trains from Brescia. Venice is fine too, about at the limit for a day trip but maybe not on a four day visit. Make sure you go on a boat trip the full length of the lake. Some fantastic food – pasta with lobster?

    1. Thanks Jackie. Lobster sounds divine!
      Fab idea on the boat trip the whole length of the lake. I will add to the must-do list x

  6. It’s been 6 years since I went to Bardolino but it remains one of my favourite holidays! Apart from the obvious amazing italian food, one thing I really enjoyed was going to an open air opera in Verona. Although (I’ll be honest!) I didn’t completely understand what was happening the whole time, it was amazing to watch, and the atmosphere was incredible!

  7. We loved Lake Garda… So much to see and do! Malcesine is stunning and from there you can get can get a cable car to the top of Monte Baldo which gives you great views of the lake. Sirmione and Riva del Garda are also very pretty spots. It’s so easy to drive and explore all that side of the lake, stopping off at all the towns and villages for gelato! We also did a day trip to Verona from Garda which we’d highly recommend. Enjoy!

  8. Visit Verona if you possibly can. I went some years ago and it was beautiful. I am going to Italy this summer and looking forward to sampling some of this prosecco I keep hearing about!

    1. Thanks Rebecca. We fly into Verona so are thinking of making a day of it. Have a fab trip to Italy x

  9. We got married in Malcesine so it is a place very close to my heart. We returned last summer (after 6 years) and it is still a beautiful place to wander. Check out when Market day is in the various villages. Verona is well worth a day trip, lovely small city. Malcesine is beautiful and the mountainous north end of the lake is very different to the flat land around Bardolino. If you are active, hiring mountain bikes and going up the cable car onto Mount Baldo and doing a (mostly) downhill bike to the lake is fun. Also you can take a coach trip (or work our a driving itinerary) and go into the Dolomites and Trento/ Bolzano area. (but maybe too much in your 4 days)

  10. Oooo, we went to Lake Garda a few years ago, we camped along the shore – was amazing. Quite touristy but you could soon get away from that. Malcesine is amazing, hire bikes, go hiking and visit the North of the lake. In fact one of our fav places was Lago de Ledro – such a gorgeous colour!

  11. We had a week in Malcesine for a friends wedding a few years ago and it was absolutely amazing, I would go back in a heart beat if I could! It is so picturesque and I would definitely recommend a hiring a speed boat as it is a great way to view other parts of the lake. Enjoy! xxx

  12. I love Lake Garda! But I’m very biased as that’s where my family is from and I was born in Desenzano (South of the lake). My favourite thing to do is eat a ton of gelato (from the famous Vivaldi gelateria) and do some serious people watching in Piazza Malvezzi <3

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