Lake Garda-Week One (The South of the Lake) & Week two (The North end of the Lake)
Accomodation- Apartment at Camping Wien (booked direct on the campsite website) & Hotel Maxi Garni (booked through Booking.com)
Duration- 2 weeks
Activities- week 1-chilling by the pool and lake, hiring a pedalo, sunset walks and sunset swims.
Week 2- chilling by the pool with panoramic views over the lake, driving down to the beach, Canyoning
We had started our European adventure with 2 days at the Reinfalls in Switzerland, before driving through to Italy to the south end of Lake Garda (breaking down on the way just outside the Gotthard tunnel- that garage must make a fortune out of people whose clutch has gone as there is a permanent traffic jam!)
We stayed at Camping Wien, which is the South end of the lake near to the harbour of Perschiera del Garda. It was a smaller style campsite, which meant it was cheaper than some of the larger campsites in the area that have numerous pools, slides and kids clubs. We prefer the quieter campsites as have found the larger ones can sometimes get quite noisy on an evening. We were also meeting my mum and dad here and just wanted some quality chilled out family time.
The accommodation (an apartment) was quite basic, but we always find that at places like this, you spend most of your time outdoors anyway and actually feel more chilled out going back to basics. Living and eating outside, not worrying about doing your hair or getting dressed up and no T.V and electrics is actually really refreshing!
The campsite had everything we needed- a pool (with a small slide), a shop to get essentials including bread and croissants, a take away pizzeria and some entertainment on the evenings.
The main thing that had attracted us to this site was that it was situated right on the lake and had its own beach (and the pool looked out over the lake too which was lovely!). The boy’s grandparents had rented an apartment right next to us and we loved spending leisurely days strolling down for the bread in the morning, chilling by the pool, eating al fresco with salamis and cheeses, wandering down to the lake for a swim and then playing boules, table tennis, ping pong, cards etc on the evenings. We hired a pedalo with a slide one day and had lots of icecreams and sunset swims in the lake.
We also enjoyed a couple of evenings of take away pizzas and frites from the campsite pizzeria.
After our week at Camping Wien, we drove around the left side of Lake Garda to Hotel Maxi Garni, which is set in a tranquil area of Tremosine and offers spectacular views of Lake Garda and the surrounding mountains. The South and North ends are very different, with the south end being flatter and the north end being mountainous. The drive to the hotel was very scenic and a little bit hair raising in parts with sharp bends, steep roads and tunnels!
Hotel Maxi Garni offers the most amazing panoramic views over Lake Garda, which is what had attracted us to it in the first place.
It is situated on a very steep and windy road and is pretty secluded, although you can order your bread and croissants from reception the night before. It has a small swimming pool, a nice reception area and a large car park.
Just 2.5 km from the shores of Lake Garda and the lovely town of Limone sul Garda, we drove down the hill to the beach most days, where we found a car park (pay and display), which was then a short walk down a track to the Lake. This part of the lake is absoloutly stunning! Turqouise waters with the mountains all around. It was like we were in some tropical place. The beach is small stones so river shoes are a good idea, but the boys loved jumping off the rocks and jettys nestled along the shoreline.
Parts of the lake were a bit deeper too, with a wall running alongside which you could jump off. There was a little café further along selling nice ice creams and a windsurfing place to hire boards. There are a number of hotels along this beach, which would have been amazing to stay in, with the lake being a stones throw away. But when we googled them, they were super expensive! We go away for the whole of the summer holidays, and the only way we can afford to do this is by being on a budget. We often stay in apartments and cater for ourselves and also look around for the smaller, off the track cheaper options of accommodation (still nice, but not all frills!). Saying that though, we learnt a valuable lesson from staying here, which is to always ensure you have air conditioning in a hot place! Our room did not have air conditioning, which was horrible! During the day with all of the doors and windows open, it wasn’t too bad, but on an evening it was hideous! There were tonnes of midges so with the windows open early evening, we got covered in bites (even with repellent). We couldn’t leave the windows open all night as the boys bedroom was on street level, so we would take shifts to get up in the middle of the night and have a cold shower and sit with the windows open to let a breeze come through. Such a shame as the actual hotel was lovely, and some rooms do offer air conditioning.
Activities in the surroundings include trekking, horseback riding, windsurfing and fishing, and we had pre booked a day of canyoning.
This was the highlight of Lake Garda for us! Just like the Adventure Park (Reinfalls) at the start of our holiday, this was canyoning on a much grander scale to what we had ever done in the UK.
There were 5 metre rock jumps and 40 metre rock slides! A mini bus picked us up from our hotel and took us to meet the rest of the group. We were a little bit unsure when the rest of our group were young , fit men and the instructor did say that Jake (at 7 years old) was the youngest he would take and that usually children of his age wouldn’t dare do some of the jumps and slides. But Jake was ace and completed it all! The instructor took him under his wing and the rest of the group were fantastic with our children and full of praise for them! One German lad was even kind enough to send me the videos he took on his Go Pro (and he had edited it so it just contained our family!).
Lake Garda was a lovely couple of weeks of chilling, R&R, pools and beaches. But now we were ready for some real exploring, as we moved onto Venice.
Can you recommend anywhere to stay on Lake Garda? Have you ever done any activities or days out whilst staying there? We would love to hear your recommendations.
NEXT- Venice for 3 days!