So in May this year, me and my partner went on a holiday to Lake Garda and we loved it! So much so that I want to give you guys a quick rundown on the things to do in Lake Garda, how to get around & what to eat on a plant-based diet. Hope you enjoy!
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Booking the Holiday
We booked to stay at a Camping park through the Sun newspaper holidays. We’ve done Sun holidays in the UK before but never abroad and we were very impressed. The cost is the same, except you have to book flights or whatever other travel to get there, although they do offer discounted ferry crossings. Definitely check them out when they’re running their promotions as we saved A LOT of money this way!
Where we stayed
So we stayed in Camping Bella Italia which is in the town of Peschiera Del Garda on the southeast tip of the lake. We decided to stay here as it was easy to get to from the airport. Verona airport is the closest and all you need to do is get the Aerobus from the airport to the train station (€6 each) and then a train to Peschiera del Garda (€3.40 each).
Be warned that the self-serve ticket machines are operated by different train providers, so if you can’t find your destination on one, try a different looking machine.
It then took us about 40ish minutes to walk from the station to the camping park (we only had small bags so this wasn’t an issue, but you could get a taxi).
Things to do in…
Peschiera Del Garda
What was so great about this location is that the camping park was positioned right by the lake and the 20-30 minute stroll into town took you straight along the edge past the small beaches. The town itself is full of history and has the ancient walls from defence used long ago (my history is terrible, so this might be something you want to Google if you’re interested). The town itself has amazing architecture, nothing like in the UK that’s for sure.
In the town, there is a tourist office in which they are very helpful. There are lots of restaurants, gelaterias and clothing shops. There is also the main bus stop outside the tourist office as well.
You can also pay for water taxis and guided boat tours around the walls, which looked great, although not something we did. The market day for this town is on Mondays and I’d definitely recommend going and having a look around and maybe even a barter if you fancy.
We also spent nearly 2 hours paddle boarding on the lake and around the walls of the town which was super fun. We have had a SUP lesson before in the UK so felt pretty comfortable renting them and going off on our own, but you can organise lessons and tours. The place we rented them from is called ‘Garda SUP Zone’ so if this sounds up your street definitely check them out if you visit.
Verona was only a short train journey away and we visited here one evening and then on the final day before catching our flight. If we were to go back (which we would love to) I think we would spend a whole luggage free day here as there’s so much to do.
I’m not going to list everything that’s in Verona, but it is one of the most incredible cities I’ve ever visited. It’s so full of historical places with their beautiful architecture, yet a city blends in around it, with designer shops filling the small streets.
We actually used an open top city bus tour map as out walking map as it highlighted the main attractions. Although, the bus tour looked like a great idea. The Colosseum like arena is definitely worth a visit and from there you can explore the cobbled lanes where you’ll find impressive cathedrals and locations where Romeo & Juliet was based.
I’d recommend just taking a whole day and just taking it all it. Verona is definitely somewhere which will get your step count up!
This is near the top of the lake and is somewhere we visited only briefly. There are cable cars here which take you up to Mt. Baldo where you can see the whole of the lake on a clear day supposedly. It wasn’t clear enough when we went, so we decided to save our money. The town itself is quite cute, with lanes and small shops.
The town of garda is a place filled with restaurants overlooking the lakes and some shops behind all this. We stopped here to grab some lunch and had a quick wander.
Here we found lots more shops and restaurants and it seemed like a great location if you enjoy being near a harbour soaking up the sun whilst enjoy a drink or two. It definitely wasn’t like a typical party holiday destination, but leant more towards nightlife than other places we visited.
If you look at the South of the lake, Sirmione is where there’s a bit of land that juts into it. We visited here to visit the thermal spa which was very fancy. It cost us €39 each for 5 hours access which included a robe, towel, swimming cap and 2 small sachets of body moisturiser. This was definitely the fanciest place I’ve ever been to in my life!
Security is very good here, you put all your belongings in a clothes bag and they have an electronic wardrobe that is activated by the tag they give you on arrival. This tag also lets you purchase things at their cafe so you don’t take money in with you, then they bill you on exit, very clever!
There is a gym to use which we went to first which is pretty decent, although there are not loads of weights. The spa itself though was the most impressive. The had a selection of pools, including a sulphur water pool (if you ever go, you definitely won’t be able to miss the smell of this eggy water). There is also a whole walkthrough sauna/steam room/shower experience which is very relaxing. Outside you can chill on the sun loungers on the deck overlooking the lake. I’ll link the website here so you can take a look.
Okay so there are definitely things to do in Lake Garda, but how did we get around? It was actually super easy. I suppose you could hire a car, but it was easy enough to get by without it, provided you are prepared to walk.
- Walking: this is a great way to get around locally. We would walk into the town (which took 20-30mins depending on our pace) and to the train station (about 40 mins) from our camping park. The views were so nice and the weather was great that we loved getting out and about by foot.
- Trains: the train station is on a line which runs services to both Verona and Milan. We didn’t go to Milan ourselves, but we did go to Verona and this only took around 15 mins by train.
- Bus: the ATV bus service runs a good service on the east side of the lake and to Verona. You can pick up timetables and route maps from tourist offices. It’s also cheaper to buy tickets at newsagents rather than on the buses themselves. You can also buy passes from the tourist offices. We actually bought day passes (€10 each) to explore up the lake and visit all the other lakeside towns mentioned above (except Sirmione as this is not on the ATV line). In fact, if you want to go on the cable cars at Malcesine you can buy a ticket which combines the trip up to Mt Baldo plus a day’s bus pass for €22 which is a saving of €10!!!
- Ferry: there are ferries that operate on the lake. These are quite pricey from Peschiera though, but we did take the ferry back from Sirmione as the ATV bus service doesn’t run from here (it’s a different bus service) and we were unsure of where to catch the bus back from.
- Other: the camping park we stayed at ran a small train service from the park to the town if you don’t feel like walking. You can also take a water taxi across the lake, but I’m unsure of the cost of this as it’s not something we did personally.
I always thought Italy wouldn’t be the most SFV place, but it turns out I was so wrong. It’s actually well known there and the word for vegan in Italian is vegano!
- Supermarkets: we walked for ages (like literally hours) to get to a supermarket to realise it was only around a 15/20 minute walk away! However, we were so pleased we did as the Lidl we went to was wayyy fancier than they are over here. They even had a free from refrigerator section with vegan cheese etc.
- Peschiera: there was a gelateria (called ‘La Gelateria HomeMade di Peschiera del Garda’) here which had a great selection of vegan gelato flavours, including pistachio (my fave)!!!! We went here at least 4 times over the week so would definitely recommend visiting. There is also a restaurant near the camping park called ‘Vecchio Mulino Beach’ which has a vegan section of their menu and also sells some vegan gelato too!
- Garda: we stopped off here after I noticed a restaurant near the main bus stop which said they had vegan options, but they were closed by the time we got there. However, we went to another restaurant that was incredibly frog themed called ‘Il Giardino delle Rane’ (which now I google it apparently means ‘The frog’s garden’ which explains all the frogs…). They had a vegan menu here including pizza with vegan cheese!
- Verona: I had already googled restaurants/cafes that would be suitable beforehand and knew that we wouldn’t be short of options. We went to a restaurant called ‘La Lanterna’ which was fully vegan and has a great selection including pasta dishes, pizza and even tempeh! We also went to a cafe called ‘Dulcamara’ which, again, was fully vegan. Here we had wedges, a bagel and burger and everything was super tasty, I would definitely go back here.
- Sirmione: I thought I’d quickly mention that some gelaterias here have vegan ice cream and we got a scoop each of chocolate and vanilla which were made from rice milk!
So there you have it! If you’re going to visit, I hope that this guide will be of some use to you and has given you some ideas of things to do in Lake Garda!
If you’ve visited let me know your travel tips below in the comments!