Relaxed Touring with a Local

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Lake Garda Revealed: Tour Itinerary

Day One

We pick you up today at Verona's airport or central train station (or hotel if centrally located) in our minibus, and take a short trip into the historic city of Verona where we include a walking tour with a local professional guide. You will have time afterwards for gelato at one of the many ice cream shops and also free time to explore the area. Our next stop will be in the Valpolicella region north-west of Verona, famous for wine making since Roman times. We drive to a typical small, family-run "Cantina" where you will learn about the techniques used and taste some of the varieties produced. We then head to our hotel in the Malcesine area, your home for the next seven nights. Dinner is included tonight to get acquainted with your fellow travellers.  

Day Two

After breakfast we drive up to the San Michele station of the Monte Baldo cable car. A smooth, scenic trip up in the revolving cabin brings us to the top at almost 1800m.a.s.l. Here you can take in the stupendous views over the lake and the snow-capped Alps, watch paragliders launch themselves off the slopes and relax over lunch in a mountain restaurant. A couple of hours up here to take it all in and then we return to the town below. The rest of the day and night are at your leisure.

Day Three

We travel to the western side of the lake today. The "gallerias" carved through the cliffs and the winding roads perched high above the lake that we take are all part of Mussolini's road building legacy. We drive inland through the Tremosine area and have lunch in a local restaurant set in spectacular scenery. We continue south until we reach Gardone and "Il Vittoriale degli Italiani". This fascinating complex showcases the life, times and possessions of one of Italy's most fascinating and complex men. Gabriele D'Annunzio was a poet, aviator, lover, writer, politician, freedom fighter and self-promoter. A vehicle ferry will take us back across the lake to Torri del Benaco, where we have a few hours to wander the shops and have a waterfront dinner.

Day Four

A change of pace today... We go to the Brenzone area and wander through some of the hillside villages. Houses here are literally stacked on top of each other, with narrow pebble stone pathways and terraced olive groves scattered amongst them; it is a very picturesque area. We then visit the medieval village of Campo which is a place time has forgotten. Back to Malcesine this afternoon and the rest of the day is at your leisure.

Day Five

A relaxed start this morning as it is only a short drive to Riva at the head of the lake. An orientation walk into the town centre will give you a variety of options for the next few hours. Afterwards we drive north-east of Riva into the Adige Valley where we explore Castel Beseno, the largest of many historic castles scattered along this ancient trading route linking Italy and Northern Europe. We then visit the Bell of Peace, a very moving exhibition/war memorial with the world's largest ringing bell.

Day Six

We travel along the Riviera of Olives, as the eastern side of the lake is known, and then turn inland to visit Madonna della Corona. This religious pilgrimage site clings precariously to a vertical mountain side over 750m above the valley floor. Fact and fiction are intermingled in the legend of the "Pieta" which is venerated here. Our lunch stop afterwards is very authentic and rustic; a traditional "baita" where they make their own cheeses and salami - "zero food miles" at it's best!

Day Seven

Today we go to the southern end of Lake Garda and take our time exploring Sirmione, a very beautiful peninsula extending into the lake. Its main attraction is the famous Grotte di Catullo, the excavated remains of an enormous 1C BC Roman villa. Afterwards you have time to wander the narrow streets of this quaint spa town and have lunch at one of the many cafes. On the return trip to Malcesine we stop at Bardolino, a vibrant village with some lovely boutiques and lakeside cafes. This evening we go out somewhere special for our farewell dinner.

Day Eight

Pack up and say "Arrivederci" to Lake Garda before making our way to Borghetto sul Mincio, which sits on the river connecting Lake Garda to the Po, Italy's longest river. This tiny settlement is rated in the top 50 of "Italy's most beautiful villages", so it's an opportunity for some great photos and a scenic lunch. We then return to Verona dropping you at the airport, train station or hotel, depending on your onward travel. We bid you farewell and leave you with some great memories of one of the most beautiful areas of Italy.