It has been a busy few months and it’s been eerily quiet here of late. What better way to get back into the swing of things than with a travel blog. This one has been a long time coming and I am so very excited for it.
If you follow me on my Instagram (which, I may be so bold as to say, you should) you will know that we visited Lake Garda in Italy a while back. And what a trip it has been! It is, without a doubt, one of my favorite places, the epitome of natural beauty and the optimum weekend getaway. From the food, to the weather, to the perpetually beautiful view, Lake Garda will always hold a special place in my heart.
Lake Garda is the epitome of natural beauty and the optimum weekend getaway.
We went there to escape the crazy that was our daily life in amidst exams and work and it is safe to say that the goal was well achieved. The four days we spent there were some of the best this year, visiting some of the most charming little towns on the banks of the north of the lake. However, in retrospect, there are a few (extremely) minor things I would have done differently and this is what this blog will be about; The best way to travel Northern Lake Garda.
To begin with, consider yourself warned that the northern part of the lake (which, if you are looking for a ‘getaway’, is where you should be headed) is quite a trek to get to. Whether you arrive at the Milan or Verona airport, the journey north will take approximately 3 hours by both buses and train. Do spare yourself though and take the train (or rent a car if you can) and pack a good book or iPod. If you’re starting to feel a strong aversion after the last two statements please do stay and let me reassure you that it is not as bad as it sounds. With the view of the lake, the comfort of the seats and the excitement of the trip, the time pass much quicker than one might think.
There are many ways of getting about the place in Lake Garda. It is the sort of location where everything is close but far enough that you need some method of transport. Various such methods will be mentioned throughout, however, I encourage you to do some of your own research as some of these may require booking in advance or be unavailable depending on what time of year you travel.
WHERE TO STAY
The town we stayed in is about as North as it gets. Torbole is a small but colorful and, most of all, peaceful little town. It is filled with some great places to wine and dine and the pizza is not to be missed, after all it is Italia. The Hotel Torbole where we stayed at was amazing. It is located a mere 5 minute walk from the town’s main center meaning it is quiet but also very close. Each room is very big and spacious with all the necessities as well as a kitchen and, my personal favorite, double french doors leading to a balcony overlooking the most beautiful panoramic view of the lake, mountains as well as the town.
After a long day of travel the one thing to do is, after an amazing dinner, to take a nice long walk through the town by the lake side. And yes, one evening is enough to walk the entirety of the town. In what we assumed was the main square, there is an Austrian Custom House that is open to the public. Located in a little harbor housing multiple small boats, it is enriched in history and a most romantic find.
This is when the fun starts. If you have a car dump it and go rent a bike! Having tried and failed to rent a vespa (if you do want to rent one for the day make sure you get there before the crowds do as they go pretty quickly) we opted for the next best option which is an e-bike, obviously. We rented ours from Mandelli Bike for a fair price and great customer service. And so our adventure begins! We headed from Torbole to Riva via the mountain road and by God the view is astounding! Riva is also a beautiful town enriched in history! The Catena Square is a great place to grab a bite to eat, and the Torre Apponale, being a medieval tower, is ideal for a panoramic view of the city from above. There are also numerous museums and exhibitions and other interesting things to do if you choose to spend the day there.
Following that you want to take the bike lane higher North to the little town of Arco. The fact that it is known as a ‘natural clinic’ speaks volumes. The place is a safe haven. The old town, I hear, is beautiful with natural as well as architectural wonders to be seen and explored. A must visit, however, is without a doubt the symbol of the town- the tower ruins of “Torre di Arco”, a grande medieval castle set at a height of 273m which can only be reached by a hike or cycle on a narrow mountain path. The panoramic view of the town and surrounding landscape is worth every drop of sweat.
On day 3 it is time to take the ferry. These are a fairly regular, inexpensive, quick and fun way to get to and from the surrounding towns. The first and, in my personal opinion, best town to see is Limone sul Garda. If you haven’t figured it out from the name, this is a town completely overrun with LEMONS! The smell, the freshness, the downright beauty of this place is breathtaking. Each twist and turn in the narrow cobbled streets will lead you to either a beautiful old Cathedral, a sweet cafe, an olive or lemon tree grove or a lemon, in one form or another. This place is literally a lemon lover’s paradise.
Malcesine is the next and last stop of this ferry excursion and I advise you visit it on a nice sunny, clear-sky’ed day. The town, as all the rest, is simply beautiful and offers countless activities, from sports to family days out. If you are interested in a general overview of the town, the Scaliger Castle of Malcesine is a wonderfully preserved fortress which allows you to experience a full history of the town, complete with a panoramic 360 degrees view you will never forget.
And if you don’t get enough of the view there, the Cable Car Malcesine Monte Baldo offers a more extensive view of the town and consists of 3 different stations. The bottom one is in Malcesine located in Navene Vecchia road 12. The middle one is in San Michele at about 580 meters of height. The top one is on Monte Baldo at 1780 meters of height. You can stop at each of the stations for photos, a snack or a walk. The station at Monte Baldo in particular offers a most stunning view of Lake Garda, a refreshment point and walk/biking trails to keep the sport enthusiasts occupied for the day.
So, would I return? Without a doubt in my mind!
Should you visit Northern Lake Garda? Absolutely, yes!