An insider’s guide to Lake Garda
Nicola, our Italian campsite specialist, lives in Italy and spends much of her summer visiting our Italian campsites. We asked her to give us some insider tips on Lake Garda.
They all have something different to offer, so it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. I love Camping Butterfly, which is very friendly and just a short walk from the small medieval town of Peschiera with lots of lovely bars and restaurants. I love going for a wander here and soaking up the atmosphere.
But, if I had to name one absolute favourite site it has to be Camping Eden as it has the most stupendous views. The only drawback is once I’m in one of our emplacements with a view it’s hard to get moving again!
Top ‘must see’s’?
By far the most popular attractions are Gardaland, Italy’s largest theme park, and the Canevaworld Resort which has the Movieland theme park and a huge water park, Aquaparadise. There is also an excellent zoo with safari park near to Lazise. More adventurous families enjoy the Jungle Adventure Park, an obstacle course suspended from the trees.
What about for couples?
Walking over the medieval drawbridge and through the town walls into the pedestrianized centre of Sirmione is always special. If you enjoy a little bit of pampering Sirmione is also a spa town with two thermal spas – Terme di Catullo and Vergil.
Wine buffs will find plenty to do, with wine routes for the most famous local producers such as Bardolino and Lugana. The routes link vineyards and wine shops where you can sample and buy the produce.
Verona is beautiful. A night at the Arena watching the opera is definitely an unforgettable experience. Venice is around a two hour drive away, and Milan is about 90 minutes away. Lake Garda also has good rail connections so if you’re not too keen on driving; it’s easy to get around by train.
When you get time off, what do you like to do in the area?
I’m a little bit lazy on my time off! I enjoy relaxing and enjoying the café culture. One of my favourite places to sit and take in the views of the lake is at one of the bars along the long promenade at Salò. I also love the drive along the west shore from Salò up to Riva on the northernmost tip of the lake, stopping off at the pretty town of Limone. The views are stunning – the mountains just seem to drop right down into the lake.
Tell us about the regional specialities…
The local specialities are based on the available local produce. This means there are lots of freshwater fish dishes on the menu – grilled trout, sardines and perch in white wine sauce. The northwest of the lake, known as the ‘Riviera dei Limoni’, is a lemon growing area. You’ll find lemons in many of the dishes here, as well as the local liquor Limoncino.
You’ll also find locally produced extra virgin olive oils, wine, truffles, chestnuts and cheeses. And obviously an Italian menu would not be complete without a choice of at some of the 500 different pastas available, and last but not least, pizza.
What type of holidaymaker do you think Lake Garda holds the most appeal for?
The region honestly has something for everyone and so much to offer. You could keep coming back for years and still find new things to do and places to visit.
Being a lake the obvious activities are water sports, especially windsurfing. There’s a lot of hiking and walking for all levels. Monte Baldo is a popular spot – if you don’t fancy walking the 1600m up, take the cable car for stunning views of the lake. For cycling enthusiasts there’s everything from gentle lakeside paths to serious mountain biking trails. Bike can easily be hired from some of our campsites or local suppliers.
I’d say locally produced objects such as ceramics and terracotta. Or Limoncino!
Sum up the region in five words
Stunning, picturesque, breath-taking, charming and enjoyable.
Canvas Holidays has 10 campsites around the banks of Lake Garda, find out more here.