May 2, 2019

Garda, Italy - A little known slice of heaven

As summer approaches, most of us probably have the next few months mapped out. Vacations booked. Summer camps signed up for. Concert tickets purchased. But in case you are still looking for that magical summer vacation or if you are planning for next year, I thought I'd give you some scoop on a town in Italy that you've probably never even heard of. 
Garda, Italy.
{one of Lake Garda's gorgeous lakeside towns, seen from the boat}

Two summers ago we were headed to Europe for a month for my husband's sabbatical. We had 4 magical weeks to do... anything we wanted. We had honeymooned in Italy {a long time ago}. And of course fell in love with it, as everyone does. On our honeymoon we visited Sorrento (with day trips to Positano, Amalfi, Capri, Pompeii), Rome, and Florence (with a day trip to the Tuscan country side and Sienna). 

We wanted to eat insane amounts of gelato visit somewhere new in Italy and of course thought of famous Lake Como. But the more I researched it, the more it sounded like a bit of a pain to get to and could be uncomfortably crowded. Then I read about Garda. Garda is the largest lake in Italy (and also the name of the town we based ourselves in). Only a 30 minute drive from Verona airport, Lake Garda has little towns all around the lake. 

All the towns have these charming waterfronts filled with restaurants and cafes. 
There are also many spots to hop in the water and swim for a bit.

We stayed at the incredible Regina Adelaide hotel which is lakeside with easy access to everything. This was their very large pool that was perfect as we had quite hot weather when we visited in July. If you want to experience the most amazing Italian linens or are honeymooning in Garda, I highly recommend this hotel. 

The hotel had the cutest little bar, dark and cozy, that we fell in love with. We stopped there every night for a cocktail before heading to dinner. 

When visiting Lake Garda, you base yourself in a town and then take boats to visit the other lakeside towns. Malcesine is one of the more famous towns and you can see here a round trip boat ticket is 33 euro each. 

One reason for its popularity is that you can visit Monte Baldo (a mountain range in the Italian Alps) from here. You take a 360 degree rotating cable car up 7,000 feet and you are rewarded with breathtaking views of the alps and the lake. 

Cows roam around up here with their bells and you feel like you must be on a movie set.

Hang gliding is very popular here too which is fun to sit and watch.  

Then you'll want to take a boat to Sirmione to visit Scaligero Castle. Located directly on the water, with incredible views, this castle is a must do. 

And no trip to Garda (with children) would be complete without visiting Garda Land. Garda Land is the largest amusement park in Italy and we had an absolute blast there. It reminded us a lot of Universal Studios Orlando and you can easily spend a whole day here. 

With its public water wells and cafe lined streets, Italy is a dream destination. If you are like us and have visited some of Italy's most loved cities, I'd put Garda on your list next. It is a true beauty. We spent 5 days here and wished we'd had more. There are so many towns to visit around the lake and we probably only visited 4. We met many Europeans who visit Garda yearly. It just has that perfect summer vacation quality.  Until next time Italy!