We were invited to spend a weekend in northern Italy as Nico’s father was celebrating his birthday, at lake Garda. I always wondered why every year his parents go there. I don’t know why, but I always thought it’s just a little lake and you can walk through the entire little city in 10 minutes and that’s it. Of course, I was wrong 😀
After we arrived, I just said: ” aaaaaah, now, I totally understand.” At the lake of Garda, Italy presents itself from its most beautiful side. We drove from Germany by car and it took us around 9 hours to get to Italian Salo. We decided to drive through Switzerland and I am happy we did as we had many beautiful views. We stopped at this lake Lucerne in Switzerland near by the resort Brunnen.
About Lake Garda
As I was completely wrong, with a length of 51.6 km (32.1 mi) lake Garda is definitely not a little, boring lake. In fact, Lago di Garda (Itl.) is the biggest lake in Italy. It is a very popular holiday location for many tourists. Germans really looooooove to go there 😀 Lake Garda is located between Milan and Venice. You can fly to Bergamo airport and from there you can rent a car. And if you have a few days extra, you can definitely visit beautiful cities like Milan, Venice or Verona as well. The name Garda is the evolution of the German word “warda” which means “place of guard”. This beautiful lake is surrounded by mountains, the majority of which belong to the Gruppo del Baldo. Impressive blue mountain heights and gentle, green hills chains characterize the coastal regions of Lake Garda. The landscape in the north of Italy has a lot to offer. If you are nature lover, you will be blown away by olive and lemon groves, poplar trees and vineyards. For beach addicted people, there are many sandy or stony beaches along the lake with beautiful bays to enjoy.
A trip to Santuario di Montecastello
On our first day we decided to drive to the monastery, Santuario di Montecastello to enjoy the view and admire this amazing place from above. It took us an hour to get there from Salo due to many narrow streets and a lot of traffic. However, we didn’t mind even one bit. The view was so wonderful and we literally wanted to stop every 5 minutes to take a picture of the beautiful scenery. The monastery is on a hill and we had to hike around 15 minutes in order to get there (as we didn’t know that there is parking lot directly at the monastery). However, after sitting 9 hours in the car the day before, we found it pleasant. The view was absolutely marvelous. It actually looks more like the sea and not like a lake.
A day at Gargnano beach
After we came down from the monastery, we drove to a beach in town called Gargnano. The best part of this beach was an olive park which provided us with plenty of shade. Absolutely wonderful. Recently, I was asked by someone, “how can you survive on the sun all the time?” well, i can’t, I guess no one can and it is also dangerous. That’s why I always try to look for shade, go to water and spend there as much as I like and then, go back to the shade.
Little tip: As you can see, most of the beaches around the lake are stony, so having special shoes or shoe socks is super helpful and make your life getting into water easier without stones hurting your feet. And, I am loving mines 🙂 I got those for my birthday and they are from the brand Skinners (not sponsored, I genuinely like this product).
If you are hungry you need to kind of think ahead or make sure to bring snacks with you. There is one bigger restaurant which is not open the whole day. We wanted to have lunch but when we came at 15.00 and they said that they have siesta until 18.00. However, next to that restaurant was a smaller coffee shop and they also served some snacks and Bruschetta. So, we were lucky 🙂
Enjoy the evening at the promenade
The lake Garda has pretty stunning sunsets. At the evening we were having dinner and additionally celebrating my birthday with that view 🙂 Not bad, right? Dining around Lake Garda is definitely an experience. There are plenty of restaurants at the promenade, so you can enjoy a view like this.
Visiting towns and villages on the lake
There are many beautiful towns and little villages on the lake. We were staying at the little town Salo. And I would like to show our beautiful hotel booked via booking.com with this amazing view.
The best way to commute in the region of Lake Garda and fight with narrow streets is to rent a car or a scooter. We were able to drive to a really beautiful, ancient, fortified town called Sirmione which is located on the southern part of the lake. The city is famous for the picturesque Scaliger castle which was built in the 13th century. This city can get really busy and loud due to numerous restaurants, bars and stores and also with plenty of tourists around. So I am really glad we stayed in calm Salo. However, there are so many beautiful towns that you need a few weeks to explore all of them. And that’s why I will be definitely coming back to visit.
You can do a lot of water sports at Lake Garda
Except of chilling at the pool, going to enjoy the day at cute beaches and bays or exploring pretty towns, you can do a lot of water sports. Water skiers, windsurfers and sailors will find just as good conditions as para-gliders.