This summer we went on a memorable vacation to Italy, where we explored the most beautiful cities/towns in Italy and tried to make the most out of it in as little as 8 days. We started our trip in Venice where we spent two full days, then headed to Lake Garda. Lake Garda has been on the list for a while as I heard about it from friends, who told me that it was a very beautiful lake and water sports enthusiasts loved to visit it. I did not know much about it but after hearing about the lake, we decided to include Lake Garda and more specifically Garda Trentino in our Italy plan and spend a few days there.
HOW TO GET TO GARDA TRENTINO
We hired a car on our final day in Venice and headed to Garda Trentino. It was a pleasant drive, especially that we drove along the beautiful lake Garda all the way from the southern part until we arrived in Riva Del Garda north of the lake. No words can describe how beautiful that place is! It took us about 2 and half hours to get there all the way from Venice airport.
TIP: If you’re driving, then be prepared to pay for the toll highways on your way to Garda.
You can also travel to Garda by Verona airport (85 kilometers, and Milan airport (210 kilometres).
RIVA DEL GARDA
Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy. It’s located in Northern Italy, and the lake and the shoreline are divided between 3 provinces (Verona, Brescia and Trentino). We made our way to Garda Trentino/Riva Del Garda and were all ready for our little adventure. I honestly did not know what to expect, but from the pictures that I’ve seen I knew that incredible views were awaiting for us!
Garda Trentino is the northern part of the lake, it’s narrower and surrounded by mountains and breathtaking panoramas. We arrived at our hotel, Astoria Park hotel. It’s a 4 star charming hotel with comfortable rooms, a lovely swimming pool and good food. It was also very convenient for us as they offer on site car park. What’s so special about our room was the balcony, our room overlooked the beautiful park views of the mountains. You have no idea how amazing it is to wake up in the morning to a view like that!
AN OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS PARADISE
While visiting, we learned that Garda really is an outdoor enthusiasts paradise. Garda Trentino with its 2 harbours is well equipped for different water sports such as windsurfing and sailing. It is also perfect for people who enjoy hiking, mountain climbing and mountain hiking. As we drove around, we got to see so many people with their mountain bikes going all the way up to the mountains, and others who were taking a rest of a bench after what seemed like a long enjoyable climb in the mountains.
Garda Trentino is also known for many other sports such as canoeing, diving and windsurfing.
We spent an afternoon in Torbole were we enjoyed a walk around the lake, and ended up sitting by the public beach. It’s a rocky beach, but perfect for swimming as once you step in the water it’s shallow and that changes gradually as you go further. We made sure that we brought out inflatable pink flamingo with us, and enjoyed the water!
We also had an incredible meal at Ristorante La Terrazza, a small fish restaurant. They serve traditional lake fish dishes cooked with a modern twist! We got to try so many fish dishes at this restaurant, and I honestly couldn’t decide which one was my favourite as everything was so delicious! We also had the most incredible fettuccine with mushrooms, and both my partner and I decided that it was the best fettuccine dish that we have ever had. The flavours were just incredible!
The restaurant is designed in a way that allows you to admire the view of lake Garda while you sip your fine Italian wine and enjoy the wonderful food.
Lago di Tenno is definitely one of the most beautiful lakes that I have ever seen in my entire life. The blue colour of the water is incredible, it almost looks artificial as eyes cannot believe that such beauty exists in the world. Lake Tenno is called “the blue lake” because the surrounding alpine forests and the white stones of its bed give it a blue-green hue and beautiful colour.
We visited lake Tenno twice, once in the evening as we drove around the area. Then again on the next day we decided to visit again at midday. But the second time there were more people that were either swimming in the crystal clear waters, or trying to get a tan by the beach. We took a dip in the tranquil lake and thought that this lake was ideal for swimming.
We also went for a little hike in the alpine forests around the lake. The hike was really enjoyable. It was my first time wearing my new Brasher Country Master Walking Boots from Blacks. And you know how shoes can be a bit uncomfortable the first time you wear them? Well my shoes were just perfect and did not hurt my feet at all! If anything, they were nothing but comfortable.
Lake Tenno can be only reached by foot, but it’s only 500 meters walk from a nearby car park where you can safely leave your car and enjoy the day by the lake.
TIP: If you visit Lake Tenno, you should also visit castle of Tenno to enjoy a beautiful view of lake Garda. The castle was built in the twelfth century, and overlooks the ancient village of Frapporta and the little church of San Lorenzo.
Arco is a beautiful village situated in the heart of Garda Trentino. It is located between the lake and the mountains, and has that warm cosy feeling to it. We went there on the second day of our trip and enjoyed a hearty meal at Il Ritratto, an amazing family owned restaurant where the owner is also the chef that works with his brother and lovely daughter. We didn’t ask to see the menu, but instead we asked the owner of the restaurant to choose the dishes for us. The food was beyond delicious, made with the freshest ingredients, and prepared in an incredible way! The place is quite simple, but had that romantic feel to it. The service and the wine were perfect (Vino Santo is to die for!), and portion sizes were generous. If you go to Arco, please make sure to visit this restaurant (and you can thank me later).
We also visited a beautiful church in Arco, you can also visit Arco castle for excellent views. When you visit Arco, make sure that you leave at least half a day to explore Arco if not longer. This village is definitely worth it!
TIP: If you love beautiful sunsets, then Arco castle is an ideal spot! Just take some water with you and climb up to the castle.
GETTING AROUND IN GARDA TRENTINO
The easiest and most convenient way to getting around in Garda Trentino is by car. The place is quite big and if you are interested in seeing a fair part of it, you will need to hire a car. Hiring a car will give you the freedom to move, and explore a bigger part of this piece of Italian paradise!
We hired a car from Venice airport, and it’s really important that you bring your credit card with you if you’re planning on hiring a car in Italy. We forgot to bring our credit card with us on the trip, and it was a bit problematic.I wrote a post about 20 things you need to know before travelling to Italy where I highlighted things that we wished we knew before travelling to Italy. Make sure that you check that post out and I hope that you find it useful.