Lake Garda situated in the North west of Italy, is the largest lake in the country but it is often over shadowed somewhat by Italy’s other famous lake, Lake Como. True, Lake Garda doesn’t have the famous gardens and Villas that have always attracted the rich and famous to holiday there but what it does have will have you wanting to go back time after time once you have discovered this magical
Lake Garda benefits from having two of Italy’s most famous Cities near by, Venice to the East and Milan to the West. It also has a wonderful climate and a diverse landscape. Situated at the foot of The Alps it has numerous small Islands within the Lake, Isola del Garda being the largest.
Lake Garda is very fortunate with its mild climate which means that there is rich vegetation all around the lake so you will see olive groves, palm trees and magnolia’s adding a backdrop of natural beauty to the area. The mild climate also results in another famous feature of the Lake, that being its two winds, the Peler which blows from North to South and the Ora which blows from South to North.
These winds make the Lake an ideal place for sporting activities such as wind surfing, sailing and swimming. Walking and climbing is also very popular in the region as well.
The beauty of the area has been captured by many famous poets and writers such as Ezra Pound and Tennyson who waxed lyrical about the place from the pretty harbour villages that surround the lake, to the ancient ruins that stare the imagination and so it is with these thoughts in mind that we turn our attention to all that can be done when staying in this most wonderful of places.
Places to visit in Lake Garda
Day Trip to Venice.
No trip to Lake Garda would be complete without taking a journey over to Venice. The proximity of this famous city means that a day trip is an easy enough excursion to make. A train journey can be completed in less than two hours and trains depart at regular intervals making it more than achievable.
Whilst in Venice you will find that you have a lot to do and see, the narrow canals and Gothic Palaces make this a city so unlike any where else, its alluring charm means it is viewed as one of the world’s most romantic cities. Here you will find no cars or roads only gondolas snaking through the narrow canals linked by whimsical bridges ,a maze of secret passageways waiting for you to discover something amazing.
Of course be prepared for the fact that Venice is a major tourist attraction and depending on what time of the year you visit you will have to contend with a lot of other tourists. That said there are always areas that you will find some peace and solitude. The main tourist attractions will always draw a large crowd but they are still well worth seeing. Whether you go first thing when you arrive or leave it to last St Mark’s Square is an absolute must. Piazza San Marco as it is known in Venice is the principal square and is dominated by the church of St Mark. This is probably the image of Venice that everybody is familiar with and it certainly gets busy with tourists but if you can get there early in the morning or later in the evening you will have a bit more space to enjoy the beauty of this spot. If you get the chance you must look inside St. Mark’s Basilica. Its opulent design earned it the nick name the church of gold and
it is a remarkable building both inside and out. A trip to the top will offer you some amazing views of Venice.
Connected to St Mark’s is the The Doge’s Palace, a Venetian Gothic style Palace which at one time was the residence of The Doge of Venice but is now a museum. This fascinating building with a rich history is definitely worth a visit when you are in Venice and going after 2 pm will see a lot of the crowds dispersing. The Palace will give you an amazing insight into Venice and its rich history as well as
seeing some amazing works of art and architecture.
A trip on a gondola sums up most tourists visit to this enchanting city. What better way to get a feel of a place than gliding around a network of canals looking up at the beautiful baroque buildings that you pass, whilst being informed of the rich history of this magical city. This is an experience of Venice that you won’t forget in a hurry.
Trip to Isola del Garda.
Isola del Garda is the largest Island in Lake Garda and has been associated with many people with a long a varied history. It has links to St Francis of Assisi around 1220 when a Franciscan monastery was built there. It also gets a mention in Dante’s Inferno.
Over the years the Island has fallen into the hands of many people, in 1797 Napoleon suppressed the monastery and it became the property of the state. 1860 saw the Island given over to the army with the idea of constructing a fortress on it. This idea though was abandoned and so the Island again changed hands when it was auctioned off.
The Island is now owned by the Cavazza family who still live on the Island. Although the Island is private, tours are allowed on and even wedding receptions and ceremonies can take place there. This stunning Island really is quite breath-taking with the view of the imposing neo-gothic style villa that dominates the Island.
The beautiful Italian gardens are really a sight to behold with the rich vegetation and planting. Guided tours take place throughout the Summer season and a trip over to this enchanting Island is well worth the time and money to see this unique piece of Italian history in all of its glory.
Trip to Sirmione.
Sirmione is one of the most popular places on Lake Garda and has a large influx of tourists each year. The images of Sirmione’s Castle and Roman ruins are often some of the most associated images of Lake Garda. It is history that Sirmione is most famed for and although not as popular a place to stay as other destinations on the Lake it certainly brings people in for its historical value.
People are drawn here to see the grotto, the thermal baths and the fortress. Its positioning on the lake means that over the years it has had great military importance. That said the beauty of the region has always drawn people here dating as far back as Roman times and indeed there still stands a Roman villa on the end of the Peninsula.
The major landmark of Sirmione is the castle Scaliger, built around the 12th Century as a defensive network for Verona. The Castle is considered to be one of the best examples of a medieval fortification. The are 150 steps that lead up to the rampart just to be aware of but once inside a visit to the tower will give you some amazing views of Lake Garda.
The thermal baths in Sirmione are also a big tourist draw with water temperatures of 70 degrees the spas are used for health, well being and relaxation purposes. The salsobromoiodic sulphurous water that flows naturally from the lake make this a place that is considered one of Europe’s prime Spa facilities and is certainly a place to go to to unwind and relax.