The third installment is all about Lake Garda! Wooooo hooooo! What an incredible place! I feel so lucky to be able to have visited this amazing area of Italy and what better time to do it than on your honeymoon!? Idyllic is one word. Beautiful is another. Breathtaking, stunning, glorious… I could go on all day!
The first glimpse we got of Lake Garda was the northern shore at Riva del Garda. From there we had a short drive along the eastern shore to our first stop: Malcesine, or so we thought! The campsite we’d booked was advertised as being in Malcesine, but we soon realised it was also an “area” and we were miles away from the actual town of Malcesine. We were actually closer to the small town of Navene, with comparatively few bars and restaurants. Luckily it had a beautiful marina!
After a one night stay at Camping Alpino and a meal at Locanda Navene (which was super-delicious and so authentic the waiter didn’t speak a word of English!) we decided to travel down to Sirmione which had been highly recommend by my boss (he’s a Lake Garda nut and has been 10+ times.) I REALLY don’t want to talk about lack of photos on this part of the trip (if you’ve read the previous posts, you already know!) Sorry!
The drive from Malcesine (or Navene!!) to Sirmione is sooo pretty!! (Tip: Just stay on the SR249 and follow the shape of the lake, no need to take the motorway route that Google Maps gives. Weirdos!)
When we arrived at Camping Tiglio in Sirmione we approached the Vacansoleil reception to book a “luxe Navajo tent” for a few nights. It was cheaper than staying in our own tent (!) so, why not! Unfortunately, the grumpy woman at reception had no interest whatsoever in helping us. Big sighs, rolling her eyes and muttering “we’re very busy” as she scuffed her heels to another tent to get her book. I was so surprised by her rudeness I even commented on it (something I would never usually do!) “Well, if it’s too difficult for you, we can just book online…” (We’d already seen online they had spaces but thought it was “easier” to just turn up!) But then… just then, I realised something. How had she pronounced the word busy again??
So, I pulled out my secret weapon: “Bent u Nederlands? We kunnen het in het Nederlands doen, als u wilt.”
YESSSSSSS! Never in our lives have we seen so much of a turnaround in a matter of seconds. When speaking Dutch, this woman came alive, she loved us, we could do no wrong, we even got to choose which tent we wanted! We ended up staying for 4 nights and she was the friendliest, most lovely host you could wish for. In Dutch!
And in case you’re wondering what a “luxe Navajo tent” is, I’ll put you out of your misery now 😉
Yep, in true Dutch stylie… we hired bikes! Without a doubt the easiest way to get around Lake Garda! (Ask at your accommodation / campsite where to rent bikes, there are rental places everywhere.)
While staying in Sirmone, we wanted to do a boat trip so we rode our bikes to the harbour in Peschiera del Garda which we were told had better connections than Sirmione itself. It was also totally pretty – well worth a visit in itself!
And just to prove how popular this area was with the Dutch…
I only took a photo! Promise! Why eat Dutch chips when you can eat Italian food?! 😉
And with the San Marco ready to set sail… off we went!
We hopped off the boat in Garda (town) because the Dutchie’s Mum had been to Lake Garda a few years back (ok, a lot of years back) and that’s where she had stayed.
A gorgeous little town brimming with shops, bars and restaurants. We bought the majority of our souvenirs on this single trip!
If you’re lucky enough to visit Lake Garda, it would be rude not to do a boat trip! It was very reasonably priced, around 16 euros return from Peschiera to Garda. An absolute bargain in my eyes. You get to see so much of the lake this way, perfect for people who don’t have much time!
Or for those who want to spend the majority of their time chilling out…
Well, we had to rest, recuperate and relax before our car journey to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for the San Marino MotoGP!!
Have you been to Lake Garda? Which places did you visit? Did you speak to the lovely Dutch lady at Camping Tiglio?