Lombardy is a beautiful, diverse and affluent northern region of Italy. The fashion hub Milan is its capital but the area is also home to small historic cities and a beautiful alpine region complete with Italy’s famous lakes, including the beautiful Lake Garda…
I have been a huge fan of the South of Italy for a long time and have always said that Rome is one of my favourite cities in the world but I have to admit, Lake Garda might have now just taken overtaken its position! It’s much more laid back than Italy’s capital and definitely less crowded than the other tourist favourite Venice. Also don’t think this is just any old lake – it’s enormous! It’s 143 square miles across and at its deepest part, it plunges to a whopping 919 feet in depth. It’s flanked by a series of very pretty lake-side communes ranging from a historic town dominated by a medieval castle to a picturesque village brimming with flowers and pastel-colored houses. Here’s why I think you should add Lake Garda to your travel list…
The historical sites
Lake of Garda and its surroundings are very rich in history. Given its strategic importance in the north of the country, it has been the site of countless battles over the years which – although thankfully – it has left its beauty untarnished, it’s left many impressive historic landmarks scattered around the entire region. Beautiful castles adorn its coastline and many museums show the story of the ancient lake that was once called Benaco Lake. In the Lombardy region of Lake Garda head for the spectacular historic commune, Sirmione to find the very special Castello Scaligero (it has fantastic views) and the fairy tale-esque ‘Grotte di Catullo’ which overlooks the lake. You’ll also be reminded of the area’s ancient past many times with the numerous Roman ruins dotted all around the region.
Lake Garda is famous for its wonderful views, either up the top of a commune castle or from just walking back from a lakeside trattoria in the early evening, once you visit you’ll see why – they really are truly wonderful! Even if you’re unlucky enough to get some bad weather (as we were) you will still be amazed about how beautiful this place is.
The local cuisine
Italy is famous for its pizza and pasta but Lake Garda region is known for its delicious, freshly caught lake fish. There are numerous types of fish in the lake but the Garda’s Salmon is unique to the area and I would thoroughly recommend it trying it before you leave! Make sure you try it grilled accompanied with the traditional antipasti and pasta.
Lake Garda life and tourism also revolve around activities which make the most of the naturally beautiful surroundings, whether its tandem paragliding, canyoning, sailing, biking or windsurfing – whenever there’s good weather there are always fun activities to try here.
Spas have been popular since Roman times and Sirmione, located on Lake Garda’s shores are blessed with natural thermal springs. After a hard days sightseeing or windsurfing this is the place to come to relax and unwind. The most famous spa here is Centro Benessere Termale Aquaria which offers a large range of services and is reasonably priced. There is a large focus on holistic wellness in the area and guests can choose from a range of treatments from balneotherapy, aromatherapy, thalassotherapy, body massage, hydro-massage or even choose treatments to help cure various illnesses and ailments. You can even buy some of the water in capsules to take home and use as a face wash, if unopened the capsules can be kept for up to four years!
Enjoy your beautiful Lake Garda trip!