We have never been the type or family/couple to book an all-inclusive holiday at a resort and sit relaxing by the pool for a week. We love adventure, and experiencing the culture and architecture in our chosen destinations, that is what a holiday is all about for us. This is why at the end of July last year, we chose to explore the largest of the Italian lakes, Lake Garda.
It was tough deciding which area of the lake to base ourselves in as there as so many beautiful towns to choose from. Eventually, we opted for the pretty little town of Desenzano in the south of the lake, mainly due to easy access to the train station, which has links straight to Bergamo airport.
Desenzano is a lovely little town with a very chilled vibe during the day and a lively atmosphere at night. We used Airbnb to book a modern apartment just 10mins from the harbor and train station.
We spent our days exploring the tiny little streets around the castle, eating lots of Gelato and exploring the little pebble beaches up and down the lakeside.
The main towns of Lake Garda are served by the lake’s ferry service, so you can explore a new area of the lake every day if you wish! Beware though, the ferries don’t run very regularly and run different routes, so it’s definitely a good idea to plan which boats you will be taking there and back before boarding.
The first ferry we took was to Sirmione, a short 20-minute ride from Desenzano. The views are simply stunning as you travel past the neighboring towns on the shore.
Our Airbnb host had recommended we visit Jamaica beach while in Sirmione. It was quite a walk from the harbour but worth it even in the 32-degree heat! The shallow rock beach is extremely slippery though, so I’d advise sporting some sort of waterproof footwear. There is also a pretty cool beach bar where you can chill out in the shade and grab a drink to cool off.
Another area we enjoyed exploring was Lazise on the east shore. We spent a lazy afternoon there, strolling the picturesque squares and narrow alleys of the old town. Lazise is also home to a very popular theme park called ‘Garda Thermal Park’ if you require facilities to entertain the kids and the famous Gardaland is also nearby!
Our final 2 nights were spent on the smaller Lake of Iseo to the west of Garda, which I recommend if you’re looking for a quieter Italian Lake holiday. It takes just under an hour by train from Brescia station in Garda.
If you have any questions about our trip, feel free to get in touch below or via email. I’d also love to hear all of your Italy holiday recommendations, as we cannot wait to plan our next Italian adventure!