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Lake Garda - have you been?

(45 Posts)
turnipvontrapp Sat 29-Dec-12 23:28:57

We want to drive down from Innsbruck for a week so fancy something on the east of the Lake, have been looking at Garda, Lazise, Peschiera.

Would love to hear your recommendations for places to stay? Either apartment or caravan, don't mind but just not too pricey. Would like a pool.

Thanks smile

BooCanary Sat 29-Dec-12 23:38:17

Its lovely - well worth a visit. I prefer the mountainous northern end of lake - Malcesine and Limone are particularly nice IMO. Good boat links too, lots of water sports, and fabulous views. Malcesine is north east of lake.

I would avoid the middle part iyswim ( not the actual middle obv wink!!)as in my experience the boat links are not so good.

Southern end is more touristy - lovely but much flatter.

We have struggled to find good caravan parks in the northern end though. Have you tried Inghams - they often do good deals on Lake Garda hotels?

turnipvontrapp Sun 30-Dec-12 00:28:56

Ha ha, yes will avoid booking a dinghy grin. Thanks for the tips, Boo, will look at Inghams.

My plans seem to change by the minute, now looking at flying into Venice and doing 5 nights there and 5 nights in garda. But only problem is we love Innsbruck and Austria.

Too many choices and DH just says he doesn't mind wherever I choose.

scrumpkin Sun 30-Dec-12 00:49:20

It's wonderful! I prefer the southern end ie: Garda, bardolino, Lazise....
It's a beautiful place smile

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 30-Dec-12 00:52:57

Yes yes to Venice, and Garda.

Have you been to Innsbruck before? There is not that much there, except Maximillian's roof, but the Austrian countryside is beautiful and so clean!

unitarian Sun 30-Dec-12 01:03:24

Salo is nice and less touristy than the southern part of the lake.

We like the little towns on the Italian side of the Brenner before you get to Garda. Chiusa/Klausen is lovely.

Binfullofgibletsonthe26th Sun 30-Dec-12 01:29:10

Hi, Garda is about a 3,5 hour drive for us, so we visit quite a bit.

For caravans there are a lot of sites, but be warned, they cater to the Italian/German/Swiss German tourist, so in peak seasons prepare for organized entertainment galore, Birdy songs and Scnipp,schnapp Snappi - das Kleine Krokodil on repeat.

We stayed in the Altomincino Family Park at the bottom of the Lake in 2011, it's not on he water front, but it's easy together to Sirmione, which is a must do when you visit - the walled island is lovely to explore. The Gelateria and restaurant were great,pools were lovely but you couldn't park by your van.

We have stayed in one park in a static caravan €200 euros for the week with a Lake View in Camping Piantelle. There was a lovely walk lakeside to Padenghi together the ferry. It had a basic restaurant, shop, pool and of course the entertainment. You could park by your van.

Both were very good standards of cleanliness. We booked both through There are hundreds of parks around the lake to choose from. They get busy through July and August due to Swiss and Italian holidays.

If you want hotels there are lots to choose from at many different prices. In Salo, we stayed at the Il Duomo, right on the Lake front, it had a hot tub and rooms were really nice for 110 a night and breakfast.

We are currently looking for a property there in the Salo region, it's my favorite town. travelling up to Limone is beautiful too. A day can be spent hopping on and off the ferry/cat.

There are some theme parks Gardaland,Movieland and an aqua park attached. I didn't rate it much but ds loved it.

Binfullofgibletsonthe26th Sun 30-Dec-12 01:31:17

Not together - to get the. Sorry!

roughtyping Sun 30-Dec-12 01:51:14

Ohhh I love Lake Garda. Stayed at Camping Bella Italia in Peschiera last time - easy walk into town, lots of activities on site, right on the lake... Gardaland isn't far away, train to Verona was approx €10 return for 2 adults and 1 child. Have also stayed in Riva, at the other end of the lake, which is stunning. Always loved Malcesine, although have only visited for the day.

turnipvontrapp Sun 30-Dec-12 17:00:08

Wow, all these replies, thanks everyone! Will look at all the places mentioned. Been looking at the sites thru thomson, keycamp etc but the prices are extortionate. Found a website casamundo (or something like that) that does similar places but cheaper. Anyone used it?

Yes have been to Innsbruck before, we loved it, love going up into the mountains and hiking and stuff. Presume there are mountains around Garda where you can do this so we can get our mountain fix?

Is the traffic horrendous around the lake? Wondering if 5 nights is enough or whether we need a week. We definitely need multi-centre though, at least I think we do (after an AI experience in Turkey last year, realised that type of holiday just wasn't for us).

Croatia not too far from Venice either - anyone been to Porec or anywhere lovely around there they can recommend? Presume you can take a hire car from Italy to Croatia.

Do fancy Venetian riviera too but not sure if its any good for snorkelling and have heard croatia is great for it.

Where do you live Binfull? Lucky you being so close to it all! Not sure about the sites with entertainment, had enough of all that type of stuff in Turkey, not really our cup of tea. Much prefer a nice meal, a stroll and a play in the park for the kids. Will look at Been looking at

Only got as far as Vipiteno when we popped over for the day from Innsbruck last year, unitarian. Was lovely town from what we saw of it and kids loved the pizza and ice cream there.

turnipvontrapp Sun 30-Dec-12 17:01:06

Anyone know if the lake ferries are expensive?

Binfullofgibletsonthe26th Sun 30-Dec-12 20:09:47

Just google lake Garda ferries and you can get a timetable and price info.

Binfullofgibletsonthe26th Sun 30-Dec-12 20:12:41

I live in Switzerland. There are some beautiful Lakes there, in the Interlaken region. Also Lugano and Ticino.

Then before you get to Garda you have Como?

Lakes aplenty here! smile

ihatethecold Sun 30-Dec-12 20:14:16

Have a look at vacanzesoliel website. They are usually cheaper than canvas etc

LIZS Sun 30-Dec-12 20:15:57

Mountains are at the north/northeast end - Malcesine (cable car), Riva, Torbole, Limone - but it can take a good hour and a half to drive up from Pesciera etc, longer by ferries which aren't that cheap but you can get tickets for several days and combine bus/boat. Watersports better at northern end due to prevailing wind conditions. Verona less than an hour away with a clear journey and easy to park.

Binfullofgibletsonthe26th Sun 30-Dec-12 20:20:06

If you are doing Venice then a nearby beach resort would be Lido di Jesolo?

Or if you want something a little more remote in that area, try Grado near Aquilea. It's an island with one road in/out. It's an Itslian holiday destination and spa town. Very beautiful. You can fly into Trieste.

Just remember if you are travelling to Italy in August most Italians have the month as holiday, as a lot of businesses shut down. A lot of Italians then hit the beach!!

If you stay in the Brescia region around Lake Garda you could explore Milan whilst there, but you could also make it down to Genoa, Portofino, Santa Margherita area for a coastal fix?

To be honest there is plenty around Garda to do.

Are you going to Austria and not exploring Salzburg?

roughtyping Sun 30-Dec-12 20:44:35

Oohh binfull I visited Interlaken with my school when I was a teenager, we stayed in (I think) Wilderswil? Visited Interlaken and the beautiful lake beside it, couldn't believe the colour of it, gorgeous. Such a beautiful country.

Rosa Sun 30-Dec-12 20:57:01

You must advuse the CH comp at the time of booking if you intend to go to Croatia as they have to prepare the insurance papers .

turnipvontrapp Sun 30-Dec-12 21:35:39

Lucky you binfull, am very envious! Would love to do switZerland but think it may be a lot more expensive than Austria or Italy and when there's 5 of us every euro counts.

Done Salzburg a few times, to be honest preferred Innsbruck but maybe that's cos we've had better weather there. Am a sound of music fan so am sure we will go back again one day. Have you been to Zell am See in the summer? Heard that's really busy too.

Busy August does put me off Italy slightly, is end of July as bad? Should have booked half term flights when they came out, too expensive now.

Will def check out all the above places mentioned, so thanks everyone for your tips, an very grateful!

Anyone fancy booking it all for me? grin - too many decisions to make.

unitarian Tue 01-Jan-13 02:54:09

You might like Ca' Savio. It's a caravan site on the other side of the lagoon from Venice (Treporti is the nearest town) with Keycamp and all the rest of the companies offering ready set-up cabins and tents.
There's a ferry to Venice and the other islands as well as a great beach on the Adriatic and pools on site. We had some difficulty persuading DD to tear herself away from all that to go sight-seeing!

Venice is very hot in August. We found it best to go to the city itself in the afternoon and evening.

We have a touring caravan and like to come north by a different route. This has meant we have discovered the lovely Ossiachersee in Carinthia. Watersports, hiking, cycling etc. all on offer there. - and so peaceful after bustling Venice.

Chopstheduck Wed 02-Jan-13 12:33:27

Zell am see is gorgeous in Summer and not actually that busy, and if you get the salzburg card, you can do so much round there on a very limited budget.

Garda is a lot busier in summer, traffic jams galore, try to avoid driving at peak times. We've been twice, stayed at Bella Italia in Peschiera and somewhere around the east side a bit more which was a lot cheaper. Peschiera is particularly busy in summer, gridlock a lot. lots of sites you can walk to the lake for swimming, sun bathing etc. It is stoney and rocky but quite pleasant.

I love Garda though. I quite liked the cheesy music, etc, at the camps it kept the kids entertained in the evenings, while we sat with our wine in the restaurant. The bella Italia restaurants were very good and we watched fireworks over the lake. renting a boat for a day is a must do, swimming in the middle of the lake was amazing. Southern side of the lake is better for Venice and there is more to do. We've also done day trips to Bologna , and Milan, though didn't like either of those much.

Switzerland CAN be done on a budget if you dont mind self catering. We stay in apartments with shared pool just outside Zurich, on the French side and we've done fab day trips from there too, even as far as up Mont Blanc and an amazing thermal spa at Leukerbad. Eating out is horrendously expensive, especially in switzerland. We did a few meals out when we went to the french side back to the apartment.

Mountains are quite far from Garda, if you want mountains, go for Zell am See. The weather would be a bit hit and miss, with the Salzburg schnürlregen (string rain) but if you plan your trip carefully you can do indoor stuff like thermal spas, salt mine on the wet days and mountain exploring on the hot days. The day we went to Salzburg, it was roasting! And the Grossglockner alpine road is amazing.

We actually did a week in austria and then a week in Garda one year so got the best of both worlds, and drove over the dolomites rather than take the motorway into italy. was amazing.

LIZS Wed 02-Jan-13 12:38:16

Alternatively Lake Lugano in Italian Switzerland is smaller and less commercialised than Garda but within easy reach of Milan, Lake Como etc. More nestled in the mountains with a range of cable car rides and attractions nearby. Has a micro climate and is warm form May onwards

Badvoc Wed 02-Jan-13 12:40:57

Zell am see is amazing, as is wilderswil.
Didn't really like lake Garda, sorry! Very touristy and the hotel we stayed in wasn't great...came home with gastroenteritis!
Zell is on the main rail line and so easy to get to Salzburg, Innsbruck, krimml etc we stayed at the tirolerhof with inghams.
In wilderswil we went to murren, to the jungfrau, up the rot horn, grinder wall, wengen, interlaken...was amazing.
What about lake como?

Chopstheduck Wed 02-Jan-13 12:43:26

ooh Krimml is lovely, we climbed about halfway up, saw two of the falls.

I don't like Como, nothing really there though it is quite pretty.

Binfullofgibletsonthe26th Wed 02-Jan-13 12:50:56

The best tip for eating in Switzerland is to go for Italian. Especially pizza. They always tend to be between 15 and 20 chf, which, for the size, generally works out as good value for money.

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