One of the very definitions of peace and tranquillity can be summed up with a solitary picture of Lake Garda in Northern Italy. So imagine the calming sensations that wash over you when experiencing this stunning rural resort up close and personal by the vast Lake itself?
Garda was very much a break me and my girlfriend were anticipating with great excitement because of its isolation and being a bit different from a typical beach holiday or city break. Our four night trip saw us venturing slightly out of season in early May, where we found a fantastic deal for £300, staying in the wonderful four star rated Hotel Excelsior, located on the northern border of Garda town on the East side of the Lake. The rooms were clean, spacious, and boasted a beautiful view of the Lake, situated less than a hundred metres away. The staff couldn’t do enough, and in true Italian hospitality, free nibbles were served with every drink ordered. The views from the terrace by the bar and pool were incredible whatever the time. The lake glistened in the sunlight during the day, and reflected the moon’s jewelled glow in its stillness at night.
Garda town is arguably the heartbeat of the many villages located up and down the lake, boasting several nook and cranny like walkways with traditional shops and restaurants lurking in every alley way just waiting to be discovered. The food was sensational and was very reasonably priced considering the classy charm the town oozes.
Not being too hot for the time of year we went, we were able to comfortably walk from Garda to the neighbouring town, Bardalino, following the path running alongside the lake, passing several camp sites which cater for the more outdoorsy types of people. Bardalino’s market was hectic and was a chance to immerse ourselves into Italian culture as hundreds of stalls for clothing, food and household goods could be found.
Sitting in one of the many restaurants by the lake, eating authentic Italian cuisine and drinking the local’s favourite tipple, Aperol Spritz, is an ideal way to relax and soak in the splendid and friendly atmosphere and landscape. Troubles seem to be taken away with every ripple of the lake as this beautiful, green environment is a haven to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Bardalino was about as far as we could walk from Garda, so in the following days we took one of the frequent Catamaran’s that ferried you to all the other villages, all ensuring slightly different experiences from each other. Lazise was where we found ourselves, which was a stunning little nugget on the South East corner that resembled an old fort. The village is enclosed within its own walls and most of the people gather on the piazza. Again, the narrow alley ways fire off from here to unearth shops and restaurants within this rabbit warren layout.
On our final night we were fortunate enough to experience a unique event as a storm brewed whilst we were dining in one of the fine restaurants by the lake in Garda itself. The storm knocked the power out and we were plunged into complete darkness. The only light came from the bolts of lightning that consistently fired down, lighting up the lake in extraordinary fashion with every blaze. It was a mind blowing image to behold, and one that cannot be experienced just anywhere or expressed in suitable words.
There’s plenty more to discover in Lake Garda with numerous, quaint villages located up and down the lake. It’s impossible to grasp it all in one short break, meaning there’s always an excuse to come back again and experience something a little different. Malcesine was heralded as being one of the more stunning places, definitely on the agenda for our next visit!
Lake Garda is a truly magnificent place to enjoy a short break, and what us British can enjoy in the Lake District and Lake Windermere is dwarfed by what nature has blessed this part of Italy with. Verona, Venice and The Dolomites are within visiting distance, and numerous tours to all these parts can be booked through various operators in the area.
From enjoying authentic Italian cuisine, walking in the most picturesque and romantic surroundings and sharing a bottle of vintage Italian wine, Lake Garda embraces a variety of activities to cater for everyone’s desires in a setting that brings a paradisiacal setting to the rustic region of Italy.