Spotlight on Lake Garda
Crystal clear swimming waters, vineyards, olive groves and snow-capped mountain views…
Lake Garda is not only Italy’s largest lake but also one of the most scenic and action-packed holiday spots in Europe. Take your pick from water sports, Roman ruins, theme parks, and amazing food and wine.
Lake Garda lies in a deep valley in northern Italy between Venice and Milan. The ladle-shaped expanse of water is 50 miles long and 11 miles across it’s widest. The southern part of the lake features rolling hills with olive and citrus groves fringing the shores. Heading north, the hills give way to majestic mountains.
The lake was formed during the last Ice Age by a massive glacier that flowed down from the Dolomites, cutting through and gouging out the valley. Eventually the ice glacier melted, resulting in the freshwater lake of today.
Canvas Holidays has 10 campsites on Lake Garda, all dotted around the sunny southern shores. They make perfect base camps for exploring the region’s rich variety of sights. There are many pretty little villages to explore and lots of fun to be had on the lake.
It’s easy to see why Lake Garda is considered one of Europe’s biggest activity playgrounds, with sailing, kite surfing, windsurfing, mountain biking, hiking, golf, horse-riding, canyoning and climbing among your options. Phew! The north of the Lake is narrow and surrounded by mountains, creating regular breezes, perfect for water sports. Garda also boasts more than 30 miles of beaches and the clear, deep waters are fantastic for swimming.
For the foodies
Garda’s glacial beginnings left the region with rich, fertile soil that combined with the warm climate deliver flavour packed local produce – wine, lemons, olive oil, truffles, cheese and freshwater fish are among the highlights. The famous coregone, a firm pink-fleshed fish rather like trout is definitely worth a try, while olive oil fans shouldn’t miss the Olive Oil museum in Cola’de Lazise. Some of Garda’s lemon gardens can also be visited, such as the limonaia at Porto de Tignale and the 300 year old limonaia at Torri del Benaco.
Theme park lovers are spoiled for choice at Lake Garda. There are two close to Peschiera-del-Garda: Aquapark Altomincio, a fantastic waterpark with swimming pools, slides, canoes and beach volleyball, plus Gardaland, Italy’s biggest theme park.
If you’d like a less hair-raising day out, try Parco Natura Viva, also near Peschiera. This safari park boasts 205 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish and an ‘extinction’ park exhibiting life-size models of dinosaurs. There’s also Parco Delle Cascate near Verona, where you can learn how the waterfalls were carved out of the rock by the great Garda glacier 10,000 years ago.
Lake Garda is close to some of Italy’s most captivating cities, which means your holiday can mix lazy days by the water with some urban adventures. You can take the train to Verona, Milan and Venice from Peschiera-del-Garda, all easy to reach in under two hours.
Closest is Verona, the famous setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This vibrant city is packed with superb Roman remains. The Arena di Verona dates from the 1st century AD and is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world The lively Piazza delle Erbe was once the Roman forum and is now a fruit and vegetable market.
With its warm climate, stunning scenery, history, cuisine and boundless activities, Lake Garda is truly one of the most versatile holiday destinations around.