Lake Garda (Italy)

Tour Highlights

The beautiful surroundings of the Italian Lakes region have inspired artists and writers for centuries. 
This area enjoys a unique and glorious microclimate more   similar to temperatures in Southern Italy. Lake Garda is Italy’s largest lake, cradled in a deep basin beneath the Dolomite Mountains. The shores of the lake are dotted with picturesque promenades, pebble beaches, marinas, open-air cafés and shops, all in the midst of cypress, olive and citrus trees, as well as vineyards. A number of fascinating historical sites surround the lake, including classical style churches and grand houses, and we will enjoy several excursions to surrounding villages and towns, including a number of opportunities for wine tasting.

We will stay in the town of Desenzano del Garda, a popular holiday destination owing to its beautiful view of the Alps, beaches and ideal climate. The town has a Mediterranean flavour and unhurried pace of life, perfect for a relaxing and rejuvenating stay. It is easy to explore the region from here, as the local ferries docked in the harbour are waiting to whisk us to any port on the lake. At the heart of the city are a series of interconnected piazza’s with numerous open-air cafés, assorted shops, ice-cream parlours and an ancient fortress in the historical centre. On leisure days, with so many delightful sites to experience and charming lakeside towns to discover, it’s easy to fill every moment, or you may prefer to just relax in a café, enjoy the spectacular views and watch the passing parade of locals and visitors stroll by. 

Our hotel in Desenzano del Garda will be the charming Piccola Vela, a 4-star property with the ideal combination of a relaxed atmosphere and attentive service. Perfectly situated, the hotel is less than a 10 minute walk to the town centre with its variety of shops and restaurants, as well as the harbour and ferries that go to all parts of the lake.  Amenities of the hotel include an elegant lobby bar with grand piano, putting green, large tropical garden and outdoor swimming pool with plenty of seating. All guest rooms are comfortably furnished and there is complimentary WiFi throughout the hotel.

* Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Tentative Itinerary

We first visit Verona - a city of Roman ruins, medieval buildings, Italian culture and the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Our guided tour will show us Juliet’s balcony and Verona’s great Roman Arena - still used as an open-air opera house. There will be free to time to explore on your own. From Verona we continue to the nearby Valpolicella wine producing region for a wine tasting and talk about the region’s wine production.
 We take the train, and then a boat transfer, to the fabulous city of Venice. Our tour begins at St. Mark’s Square - widely considered one of the most beautiful city squares in the world. Our walking tour of the city will take us around the narrow winding streets and small squares to visit some of Venice’s main sights. There will be time at leisure in the afternoon to explore Venice on your own.
 Roman treasures and Renaissance splendour live side by side in the streets and squares of the Alpine capital of Trento. Our guided tour will show us many architectural wonders, including the frescoed facades of the 16th century palazzi, the noble palaces and the castle that dominates the city. During our free time we will discover that Trento is a regional handicraft centre. Later we proceed to Mezzocorona to visit a local winery to taste the excellent Trentino wines.
Today we explore nearby Lake Iseo, where we will cruise the islands and enjoy some free time in one of the towns. From here we proceed to the Franciacorta wine region, a charming area of vineyards on picturesque hills. A visit of a local winery is included.
A short ferry ride takes us across the lake to picturesque Sirmione. The town is situated on a thin peninsula jutting into the lake, and has narrow winding lanes and lovely pedestrian-only piazzas. Our walking tour will show us the castle surrounded by a large water-filled moat that dominates the Old Quarter of town and offers beautiful views over the lake from the ramparts.

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