Lake Garda 

You sometimes read or hear about a place being incredibly beautiful and wonder if it can really be as great as it’s claimed to be. Lake Garda is one of those places, and we were fortunate enough to visit it last week. From what we saw, the reports didn’t do it justice! 

It is a place of staggering beauty – bordered by tree-covered hills with distant mountains towards the north, filled with glittering blue water that is unbelievably clear and clean, especially given the number of boats sailing on it. Everywhere you look, there is a photo opportunity. 

The lake is dotted with towns and villages, each looking appealing from a distance with their red-tiled roofs and bell towers visible above the trees. And they are easy to get to, despite the narrow, twisting roads. These roads take you up into the hills, providing ever more spectacular views. Photos can’t do it justice!

We visited the bustling town of Sirmione at the southern end of the lake. It is a stunning old town with narrow lanes jammed with people and – incredibly – cars! It would take a brave person to try to drive there! The place is packed with restaurants and ice cream shops, and the ice cream (as everywhere else in Italy) is sensational. There are some exclusive-looking hotels in Sirmione, along with plenty lovely stretches where you can swim (or, more realistically, paddle) in the lake – it’s very, very shallow where the tourist beaches are. The water is beautiful and warm, giving the sense of being in the world’s most spectacular bath! 

From there, we went up the west shore of Lake Garda to the area around Manerba del Garda and yet more beautiful little towns and villages. Having dinner by the lake (with lightning flashing over the distant mountains) was a fabulous experience. 

We only had a little over a day at Lake Garda, and it really wasn’t enough. It’s the sort of place you could plan an entire trip around, either as a complete switch-off in one of the resort towns or (probably even better) travelling right round the lake to experience the full range of views and geography of the area. 

Whatever you read, hear or see about Lake Garda, multiply it by ten and you might get close to understanding how spectacular and beautiful it is! 

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