On Thursday, June 8, our good friends got married in a little village next to Bergamo. This merry occasion was a great chance to prolong the weekend and to go on a road trip around the Lake Garda. Garda is stunning, and the short trip was absolutely worth it! Breathtaking views, clear water, cozy towns and delicious food: you will find all this around the lake. In this post, you will find some useful tips on what to see, where to stay and what to eat if you stay in the North of Italy for a weekend.
Our route looked like that:
Lago d’Iseo – Piramidi di Zone
As we started our road trip in Bergamo, on our way to Garda we couldn’t miss the well-rated natural monument Piramidi di Zone next to the Lago d’Iseo. Dozen meters high, the imposing structures defy the laws of balance carrying large heavy rocks on the top stand out amongst the rich vegetation surrounding them.
Unfortunately, those giant “mushrooms” look less impressive than on the pictures we have seen on the Internet. The reason for that is the self-destructive nature of those “species”. At the moment the stone crowning the stem of the figure falls down (wind?), the “body” gets sensitive to the rain and the erosion accelerates. We have seen only several figures, which survived. So if you want to see them, hurry up!
You can take a pleasant (gratis) walk through the forest to get the jungle feeling – just follow the circular itinerary starting and ending at the information point. Make sure to wear the shoes, which are suitable for the constant down- and then uphill.
The first night we spent in Salò in an amazing two-level apartment. I can definitely recommend it to you if you once take a similar trip. Antiche Rive Holiday Apartments (www.anticherive.it) – very clean, modernly equipped, quiet rooms with a view to the lake, an inner yard with a swimming pool for attractive price. The hosts, brothers Paolo and Stefano work in the local cheese and meet specialties shop downstairs.
Salò is stretched along the shore of the lake for several kilometers. After spending some time sitting in the car, you can reward yourself with a relaxed stroll.
The dinner was (of course) outside, with a view at the lake at the restaurant “Papillon” (www.ristorantepapillon.it). The best choice was definitely a seafood risotto! The pizza was delicious as well. Think about making a reservation, as in the evening, people were sometimes waiting to be seated.
Limone sul Garda
We went to the beach in Limone, but the water was breathtakingly cold, so we only shoot couple of nice photos with the background of clear turquoise water and snow-white swans.
After Limone, we made a planned short stop in Malcesine.
It is a charming city, full of flowers, colorful houses and sweet touristic shops selling olive oil and soap, limoncello, wine and, of course, tons of gelato (ice-cream).
To enjoy the lunch, we went higher to the mountains and settled down at the restaurant Al Tomàs (via A.Volta 86 25010 Tremosine (BS)). If you sit on the terrace overlooking the lake, it can even get chilly and windy, though the temperatures outside are hot! Try home-made tortelloni with wild mushrooms and local sausage meet, it’s savory! The tiramisu was delightful as well…
Brenzone sul Garda
The second night we spent in Brenzone sul Garda in an (almost) camping van at Camping Denis. The bonus of this accommodation is indeed the price and proximity to the water. We spent an awesome evening at the pier-bar of the camping, laying on the inflatable mattresses, drinking Aperol Spritz and light-heartedly chatting.
Peschiera del Garda
On the way to the South of Garda, our only stop was at Peschiera del Garda. This city slightly reminded us of Venice… We explored its fortifications and enjoyed the view to the lake.
Sirmione and it’s Jamaica beach was our last stop on this trip and it justifiably became one of our highlights! Crystal clear and – wait for it – warm water was absolutely enjoyable. However, this place is loved by the locals and it was not easy to quickly find a spot in the shadow.
The city itself is beautiful, as any other city on the lake. However, it is overflown by the tourists and sometimes we had to stand in a “people-jam”. In our opinion, Sirmione is the unbeaten Garda-champion in ice-cream. So many gelato shops we haven’t seen anywhere. They were literally at every step. Some of them sold gigantic gelato, in size of a newborn’s head!
Were three days enough to see Garda? Yes, and we enjoyed it. Would I come back to this charmingly beautiful lake? Absolutely yes, there are plenty of little cities and local wineries left unexplored. A new road trip is definitely to be anticipated!
- How many days to plan: three
- Closest airports: Bergamo, Verona
- Time spent on the road: 7,5 hours
- Fuel costs: 37€
- Toll-highways (Bergamo – Garda – Bergamo): total 9,4€
- Parking: about 2€/h
- Beaches: little sharp stones, usually for free
- Best beach: Jamaica beach in Sirmione
- Best eating experience: Villa Tomàs
- Drinks: Limoncello, local wine, Aperol Spritz
- Be aware: the restaurants close between 14 and 19
- Be careful: the bicyclists drive directly on the road as there are no bicycle tracks