Question: a typical holiday destination? Answer: Lago di Garda. Hesitation: what? Why? Answer: it has been a holiday destination ever since Roman times – Roman senators had their holiday homes there. Well, not really homes. Villas. Luxurious, located on hills and with stunning views. They even had spas. Seriously. Even today in Sirmione you can take a stinky, beautifying sulfide bath.
So what was after the Roman times? It’s belived that Saint Francis of Assisi established an hermitage on Isola del Garda. Now, you’ll find a private villa there. Once a week its doors open for average citizens to take a tour around it. In Sirmione, Maria Callas had her house. In Salò Mussolini established a Republic and than he was killed (but it happened near Lago di Como). Gardone Riviera was a popular holiday destination during belle epoque. Lago di Garda was a place to be for poets, writers, actors, politicians, EVERYONE. And I understand why…
In the 13th century monks from Genua came to Lago di Garda and they brought lemons. Temperate climate was surprisingly good for lemon trees, but to make them feel (and grow) even better, people started building limonaie – greenhouses made of stone, wood and, of course, glass. You can see limonaie even today. Some of them are in a good condition, some are in worse, there’s no glass anymore, but in Limone sul Garda you can visit a limonaie for 2 EUR. And it’s a cool place.
Speaking of Limone sul Garda… Apparently the inhabitants have a mutation of one of the proteins in their blood which causes a surprisingly high level of a good cholesterol, a surprisingly small amount cardiovascular diseases cases and surprisingly big population of people over 100.
Beautiful views, good climate, longevity, isn’t it all too good? Despite crowds of tourists and one more thing… There’s just one road around the lake. It’s not a groundbreaking discovery, but you have to keep in mind that’s impossible to see everything around the lake in just one day, especially in the high season. You’re mostly stuck in a traffic. But it’s not that bad to be stuck in a traffic somewhere by Lago di Garda…
How to get there: by car, but remember about vignette in Austria, a toll in Brenner Pass (9,5 EUR) and toll roads in Italy. By plane – go to Verona or Milano
How to get around: by car! It’s the easiest way. There are some buses, but to be honest I haven’t seen any. And if you’re fit enough – by bike. There are plenty of roads.
Where to park: try googling parcheggio libero – free parking. Sometimes they’re free on weekdays, sometimes always, sometimes they require a bit of walking. In Peschiera del Garda there’s one called Campo Sportivo. On average, parking costs 1,5 EUR per hour.
Where to sleep: campings! Our Eurocamp was a great choice, even though it wasn’t exactly by the lake. You can find many campings by the lake, just make sure to book in advance.
Where to eat: everywhere! We haven’t found a place which didn’t have a good food. If you need a quick snack, grab a calzone.