Lake Garda and me, that’s a story of memories; about friendship, love and most important: family. Returning to this region is a trip back to the deepest but brightest corners of my childhood. Even though I am always getting a wee nostalgic, it’s basically all about having a fucking blast. And yes, we had a blast! Lake Garda holidays are kinda a safe bet.
I spent a fair amount of time during our vacation planning my future blog post about Lake Garda. Well… to the point of getting a teeny tiny bit maniac about “doing stuff” cause ffs I gotta write about it! After some research I enthusiastically threw in some suggestions of super rad activities and got rewarded with my kids hating me (“whaaat??? but we wanna stay at the pool with our new friends” or: “and then what? We gotta walk through that city? Seriously, Mom, really?”) . So if you ask what to do at Lake Garda, I can tell you: a lot.
It required some strength to fight back my inner urge to “do stuff”. But after all, we successfully managed to identify a core activity that we all could cope with:
We did absolutely nothing useful, we relaxed, hung out, read, slept, went to the pool and performed this activities on repeat. It was fantastic. Despite our laziness I will of course share some Italian impressions on this blog, no trip shall remain undocumented. However, I don’t want to bore you with mediocre stories of our sweet day to day pool and pizza life.
Instead I will provide you with 26 reasons, from A-Z (!!) why you should visit Lake Garda:
Apérol Spritz – to start with the essential; the super refreshing north Italian aperitif: white wine, Aperol and a bit of soda on ice, topped with a slice of orange
Bardolino – that’s not only red wine, it’s as well a nice little town at the lake with a farmer’s market on Thursdays
Caffé/Cappuccino/Caffé Latte – it just tastes better in Italy. Point.
Desenzano – the biggest town on the lake. It has quite some boutiques, a scenic harbour, a market (Tuesdays and an antique market on the 1st Sunday of the month) and a medieval castle right in the center.
Enoteca – this is by far your favorite kind of shop if you are into wine.
Farmer’s Markets – every day in a different town (schedule); you can buy local fruits, veggies, meat, fish, cheese.. but as well clothes, shoes, toys and all sorts of knick-knack
Gardaland – a top notch amusement park that made it into the Trip Advisors top 10 theme parks and that actually is Nr.1 in Italy. Gardaland has also Europe’s longest water ride and is in any case worth a visit. Click here for more info
Hugo – white wine or Prosecco, elderflower syrup, a spash of soda, and some slices of Lime. So 2015 but still yummy
Italian food – the obvious. Pizza, pasta, bruschetta, gnocchi, ice cream .. also tiramisu, panna cotta, antipasti, risotto, panini… you name it.
Julia’s tits – yep, thats right. Verona, very close to Lake Garda is the town of Romeo and Julia and their tragic story. You can visit Julia’s home with their famous balcony, write some lovers oath’s on the walls around and pose for a pic with Julia’s statue with your hand on her right boob, as you do.
Lonato – a city a little bit off the shores of the lake, but with a 1000 years old castle (Rocca di Lonato), a library with about 52.000 ancient books, roman ruins, and a nice view
Monte Baldo – the highest mountain range around the lake. Get up there from Malcesine with a cable car. Usually the ground station is quite busy, but the middle station San Michele, has normally less of a queue.
Notte / Night – there are several things that are making Lake Garda by night special; in summer there are many really good fireworks all around the lake and as well quite some impressive thunderstorms
Olive Oil – obviously
Pedalo/Peschiera – both are equally important. Peschiera because it is a really lovely town that is flown through by the river Mincio, the main outlet of Lake Garda and Pedalo .. well, it’s fun 🙂
Quality – it’s vacation! Everything is better, isn’t it?
Ripasso della Valpolicella – a red wine from the Valpolicella wine region that is processed by using the relatively new ripasso method.
If you like wine, you are in the right area! The region around Lake Garda is well known for their vineries. Profit best from it by taking a wine and food tour and learn about regional specialties – click here for all available tours and tastings!
Sirmione – a peninsula in the center of the south shores of Lake Garda. Besides it’s nice historical old town, narrow streets and shady cafès, you can visit roman ruins and have relax in the park on the headland.
If you have a little more time, I strongly recommend to take a boat trip from Sirmione. It’s a beautiful experience and and opens up an entire new perspective. Click here to see all offers
Touristic convenience – to be honest, that’s a tough on. While following the beaten path is not necessarily the most sexy thing to do… it can become very handy when travelling with little people… and all you need is a little time off rather than traveling outside of your comfort zone.
Utterly stunning landscapes – be it the foothills of the Alps, the large slopes of wine fields or the little towns all around the lake – everything there is just very pretty
Venice and Verona – both are perfect day trip destinations if you feel like needing a change of air. Verona is basically just around the corner and Venice just a 90min train ride away.
Water – the lake is clean according to EU regulations and in summer safe for swimming without freezing
Xtra great grocery shopping – even random supermarkets and discounters are offering an almost unbelievable range on fresh pasta, local cheeses and cold cuts… i’s food heaven
Yoghurt ice cream – if you are -like me- not having too much of a sweet tooth, you should try yoghurt ice cream, it’s perfect – fresh with a slightly sourly touch
Zanzara – the italian word for mosquito (or musticus like my little one still believes is the correct term <3) and there are *some*, be prepared! Good news: they are just annoying but not dangerous; clearly a reason to visit!
We’ll be definitely back there in a couple of years!
do you need more input for your next trip? Check out the 25 most beautiful places in Italy