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A Weekend In Lake Garda

I don't know what it is but there is something about Italy that I just love. The manic nature of its people, the culture, the food and the landscapes all roll up into a package that is almost perfect. I always joke that when I retire, you'll find me sipping white wine and eating gelato somewhere in Italy, living the dream in glorious sunshine. Lake Garda has been on the hit-list for some time so with a weekend spare in May, I booked flights and accomdation and headed off to check it out.


One of the most beautiful communes I've ever had the privalege of strolling through lies at the north eastern end of Lake Garda. Malcesine is a sleepy, picturesque town nestled at the foot of a medieval, lakeside castle and it comes alive during the day with those operating the various lake boats, tourists and local residents. I chose Malcesine as the place to base my visit to Lago di Garda, spending two nights in a nearby hotel. Saturday was overcast, clammy and stupidly warm but it didn't stop me from spending the day in full exploration mode and taking an evening trip on the Monte Baldo gondola into the peaks of the lower Italian Alps.

Cassone di Malcesine

On Sunday afternoon, travelling from Malcesine south towards Sirmione, I stopped for a coffee in the tiny village of Cassone di Malcesine. A simply stunning little district of Lake Garda, with many wooden sailing boats coming and going.


On the southern banks of Lake Garda lies Sirmione, a famous medieval town filled with twisting streets and narrow waterways. Crossing a foot bridge under the gates of Scaliger Castle, the town becomes entirely pedestrianised aside from those wealthy enough to own a residence here. As you walk further into the district, you leave the buildings and cobbled streets behind for sprawling lawns and olive tree plantations before reaching a beach bustling with people. My time in Sirmione was spent navigating the crazy numbers of tourists, which slightly ruined the experience but with good coffee and food in almost every restaurant, it was easy to overlook how busy this place gets.

Garda & Desenzano del Garda

Travelling back towards a flight from Bergamo, I was able to stop in the towns of Garda and Desenzano, both found at the south end of Lake Garda. Neither of these towns did it for me, local culture replaced with a commericalised version often found in towns geared towards tourism. Having said that, Lake Garda is definitely one of the most beautiful areas of Italy I've visited and my time there has only made me keen to explore more of my favourite country in the world.


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