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An Italian Lake Paradise

The quiet side of Lake Garda
 
The charming little town of Gargnano makes an ideal base for a leisurely, single-centre walking holiday. It’s home to the excellent, family-run Hotel Gardenia, and is situated on Lake Garda’s quiet, western shores – away from the bustle but with easy access to many inviting walking and sightseeing options.
An Italian Lake Paradise. 7 nights
An Italian Lake Paradise. 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A single-centre walking holiday on Lake Garda

It was as beautiful as paradise,” wrote D.H. Lawrence, as he gazed onto Lake Garda from the terraced hillsides above Gargnano, the small waterfront town that would be his creative haven from 1912 to 1913.

Over a century later, Gargnano remains an inspiring place to stay, with historic villas, handsome churches and twisty medieval passageways that wind down to a pretty harbour. It is one of the lake’s most authentic destinations, separated from the busier shores and home to hundreds of ancient lemon ‘houses’: unique structures which once sheltered Garda’s precious citrus fruit, before production drifted south to Amalfi following the unification of Italy in the mid-19th century.
Despite its quiet location, Gargnano makes an excellent base for exploring: there is a good choice of leisurely walking trails nearby – leading through atmospheric valleys, unspoiled villages and to the elegant Gardone Riviera – and the frequent ferries that criss-cross Garda’s vast waters make harbour-hopping a real pleasure (included in your stay is a guest card entitling you to discounted local travel).

Each shoreline has something different to offer: sophisticated Riva del Garda awaits in the fjord-like north, while the south is mellow and Mediterranean, home to the luxuriant isle of Isola del Garda. You’ll have ample time to linger over all the lake’s treasures on this relaxed break, before retreating at the end of each day to the calm of Gargnano, where you stay by the water’s edge at the characterful, family-run Hotel Gardenia.
 

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Our flexible booking arrangements, commitment to safety and financial protection mean that you can book with confidence, despite the travel restrictions in place currently.

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Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights. There’s no fixed itinerary, so take your pick of our suggested walking routes and sightseeing options as the mood takes you.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    The best time for flowers and butterflies is May and June.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 5 8 13 17 22 26 28 27 24 18 10 5
    mm 54 49 59 67 89 87 72 95 69 84 90 49
  • An introduction
    Lake Garda’s quiet western shores offer an excellent variety of relaxed walking routes. We provide notes for four trails close to Gargnano, as well as the classic Monte Baldo route on the opposite shore. We also suggest a number of rewarding sightseeing tours, including to the celebrated towns of Riva del Garda and Sirmione. You should pay locally for all transport and visits, using your included guest card for discounts where applicable.
  • Choice of routes: 6.5km to 11km

    Gargnano town (grade 1): 9km, 2.5hrs; ascent/descent 195m
    The quiet charm of your unspoiled lakeside base convinced D.H. Lawrence to upgrade his day trip to a stay of seven months’ duration; you won’t need quite that long to tour the main sights, but there’s certainly more to Gargnano than first appears. Highlights of our route include visits to Limonaia La Malora – a centuries-old lemon ‘house’ which uses traditional cultivation methods and is the last of its kind in the area – and to Villa Bettoni, the imposing Neoclassical mansion noted for its monumental gardens and resemblance to Vienna’s vast Schönbrunn Palace. We also take in the former convent of St. Francis with its ancient carvings and Roman relics; pass the Palazzo Feltrinelli, used by Mussolini as his headquarters during the last two years of World War II; and explore Gargnano’s pretty marina with its impressive town hall and tight cluster of pastel-hued buildings, several of whose façades still hold the cannonballs fired during the Austrian bombardments of 1886.

    Toscana del Lago (grade 1): 9km, 3hrs; ascent/descent 270m
    Beginning from the door of your hotel, this easy-going route explores the gentle foothills to the south of Gargnano. After progressing through idyllic scenery to Cecina, a small medieval village of narrow, winding alleyways, you loop back to the lake via the tiny waterside hamlet of Bogliaco, known as the starting point of the Centomiglia – Italy’s longest-running sailing race, held every September.

    Toscolano Maderno & Gardone Riviera (grade 1-2): 11km, 4hrs; ascent/descent 365m
    Catch the local bus to nearby Toscolano to begin this route through the Valle delle Cartiere, for centuries the hub of Italy’s thriving paper industry but today a lush and peaceful valley dotted with ruined mills. Continue across the verdant slopes, walking between laurels, olives and holm oaks to reach Gardone, one of the most beautiful villages on the lake with its Art Nouveau architecture and abundant greenery. Once here, we highly recommend visiting Il Vittoriale, the sprawling and eccentric estate of poet Gabriele d’Annunzio, or the village’s superb botanical gardens. Return by boat to Gargnano.

    Tignale & Upper Garda Park (grade 1-2): 7km, 3.5hrs; ascent 400m/descent 335m
    Backed by lofty peaks and gazing down onto the glistening lake waters, the rural plateau of Tignale – located within the protected environment of the Upper Garda Park – makes a scenic starting point for this route. After a short bus journey up onto the plateau, you ascend through meadows, fields and pastures to the Sanctuary of Montecastello, which overlooks the lake from its spectacular cliff-top position. Your route then passes through several tiny villages where it’s well worth pausing for a traditional lunch before descending back to Gargnano by bus. For a more challenging finale, opt to return on foot – this longer route slopes slowly back to the lake across panoramic hillsides.

    Malcesine & Monte Baldo (grade 1-2): 6.5km, 3hrs; ascent/descent 250m
    This is a classic Garda walking route which involves catching a ferry or hydrofoil across the lake to Malcesine, and then taking the revolving cable car to the summit of Monte Baldo (1,780 metres). Monte Baldo has earned the name ‘Garden of Europe’ and this is particularly apt in springtime, when the slopes are covered in peonies, anemones and lilies. From the top of the cable car station, a thrilling path leads through crags and above the treeline, affording a 360-degree panorama of the lake and surrounding peaks. Towards the end of the route, you strike out along a wide-open and grassy saddle to enjoy further and far-reaching views – including of the often snow-capped Alpine peaks – before catching the cable car back down to the lakeside.
    Magnificent views from Monte Baldo
    Quiet paths around Gargnano
    Walk above the lake
    Gargnano town: 9km
    Toscana del Lago: 9km
    Toscolano Maderno and Gardone Riviera: 11km
    Tignale and Upper Garda Park: 7km
    Malcesine and Monte Baldo: 6.5km
  • Riva del Garda, Sirmione & more

    Limone & Riva del Garda
    Once the border between Italy and Austria, the lake’s northern shores are dazzling and dramatic, with narrow, fjord-like waters edged by steep-sided cliffs. From Gargnano, regular boats and buses depart north for Limone, a pretty cobbled town surrounded by citrus groves. A walk along the ‘floating’ footpath here is a must – suspended above the lake, this offers exhilarating views – before you continue north to Riva del Garda, snug beneath its amphitheatre of mountains. Riva first blossomed as a resort during the days of Austrian rule (1813-1918) and it remains a prosperous and sophisticated town, with an elegant lakefront promenade and wide array of waterside cafés. Return to Gargnano by bus or boat.

    Isola del Garda
    To the south of Gargnano lies Salò, seat of Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic during the later years of World War II. Today, the town is better known for the beautiful island anchored just off its shore: Isola del Garda. This privately-owned paradise is the home of the Borghese Cavazza family, who welcome visitors to the island – but only in guided groups so it’s vital to plan ahead and secure your place (reservations can be made here). Once on the island, you will be led around the untamed and luxuriant parkland, through the English and Italian formal gardens and – fleetingly – inside the magnificent, Venetian-style villa itself.

    Sirmione & Desenzano
    We often hear how Gargnano delighted D.H. Lawrence, but almost 2,000 years earlier another writer was drawn to the southernmost end of the lake, where the spa town of Sirmione extends spectacularly into the waters on a narrow, two-mile-long promontory. Taking the hydrofoil from Gargnano, you will arrive in the town’s bustling harbour, guarded by the picture-book, 13th-century Scaligero Castle. From here, follow the mazy medieval streets north to the quiet of the headland, where, amid a grassy olive grove, lies the most important Roman site in northern Italy: a grand, ruined villa believed to have belonged to the lyric poet Catullus. After taking the time to look around, we recommend continuing by boat to neighbouring Desenzano, which, despite being one of the largest of the lake towns, still retains plenty of historic charm and offers a good choice of restaurants. Enjoy a late lunch by the waterside before leaving the popular southern shores behind to return by bus to tranquil Gargnano.
    Salò
    Sirmione ©Brescia Tourism
 

Accommodation

Stay by the water’s edge in charming Gargnano and enjoy the best of both worlds – a peaceful base within easy reach of all of Lake Garda’s must-see sights.
Hotel Gardenia al Lago

Bedrooms

 

Extend your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 7 nights: 01 April 2021 - 18 July 2021 & 21 August 2021 - 31 October 2021

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 Apr 2021 £720 £295
    1 - 20 May 2021 £740 £305
    21 May - 11 Jul 2021 £760 £315
    21 Aug - 30 Sep 2021 £760 £315
    1 - 24 Oct 2021 £740 £305
    3rd & 4th person discount £0
    Single traveller supplement £0

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel Gardenia al Lago, Gargnano
    'Benaco' double with lake view (no twins): 01 Apr - 18 Jul 2021 £40
    'Benaco' double with lake view (no twins): 21 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £40
    'Panorama' with side lake view: 01 Apr - 18 Jul 2021 £15
    'Panorama' with side lake view: 21 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £15

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Hotel Gardenia al Lago, Gargnano (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 18 Jul 2021 £82 £122
    21 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £82 £122
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Verona, Bergamo, Venice, Treviso

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend Venice. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Venice (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Outward route Airline
    Belfast Intl. - Venice Marco Polo easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Venice (via Brussels) Brussels Airlines 
    Birmingham - Venice (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Birmingham - Verona jet2,  Ryanair,  TUI 
    Birmingham - Verona (via Munich) Lufthansa 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Bristol - Treviso Ryanair 
    Bristol - Venice Marco Polo easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Bristol - Verona TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Nottingham East Midlands - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Nottingham East Midlands - Treviso Ryanair 
    Nottingham East Midlands - Verona jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Venice Marco Polo easyJet,  jet2 
    Edinburgh - Verona easyJet,  jet2 
    Edinburgh - Verona (via Paris CDG) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Venice Marco Polo easyJet 
    Glasgow - Verona TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Treviso Ryanair 
    Leeds Bradford - Venice Marco Polo jet2 
    Leeds Bradford - Verona jet2 
    Leeds Bradford - Verona (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Milan Bergamo Blue Air 
    Outward route Airline
    London City - Venice Marco Polo British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Venice Marco Polo British Airways,  easyJet,  TUI 
    Gatwick - Verona British Airways,  easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Venice Marco Polo British Airways 
    Heathrow - Verona British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Venice Marco Polo easyJet 
    Luton - Verona easyJet,  Wizz Air 
    Outward route Airline
    London Southend - Treviso Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Stansted - Treviso Ryanair 
    Stansted - Venice Marco Polo Ryanair 
    Stansted - Verona jet2,  Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Manchester - Venice Marco Polo easyJet,  jet2,  TUI 
    Manchester - Verona easyJet,  jet2,  TUI 
    Manchester - Verona (via Munich) Lufthansa 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Venice Marco Polo (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Newcastle - Venice Marco Polo (via Amsterdam) Air France 
    Newcastle - Verona TUI 
    Newcastle - Verona (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend Venice. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service (£60 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Connecting travel options - via Verona

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Verona airport to hotel (1h30) £65 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Verona airport (1h30) £65 flexible

    Connecting travel options - via Bergamo

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Bergamo airport to hotel (1h30) £75 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Bergamo airport (1h30) £75 flexible

    Connecting travel options - flying via Venice Marco Polo

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Venice Mestre to Desenzano (2h), taxi Desenzano to hotel (1h) £70 1830
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Desenzano (1h), rail Desenzano to Venice Mestre (2h) £70 1400

    Connecting travel options - flying via Venice Treviso

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Venice Mestre to Desenzano (2h), taxi Desenzano to hotel (1h) £70 1830
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Desenzano (1h), rail Desenzano to Venice Mestre (2h) £70 1400
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 2 dinners
    7 breakfasts
  • route notes and maps
  • local area discount card
 
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FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We sincerely hope that your holiday experience will be as enjoyable as it would have been before the pandemic – walking holidays are ideal in these times of social distancing, and we’re not operating holidays if the key highlights can no longer be delivered – but, naturally, there will be some changes to ensure your and other people’s safety.
    Your holiday experience: what to expect >
    Safety measures being taken by hoteliers & others >
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe, there’s a £35 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £60 per person. More information on flights >
  • Absolutely! We are experts in tailored rail travel. Making use of sleeper trains or stopovers in cities along the route, we can get you from London to virtually anywhere in mainland Europe. We can even make arrangements to Mallorca, Sicily and Norway with a combination of ferries and rail. Please contact Abi and Lizzie to discuss your plans.
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to take out our recommended travel insurance policy (if you live outside the UK you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    We'll ask you for the details of your policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Italy, but not a visa. If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). You should also apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your EHIC has expired (if you have a still-valid EHIC, you can use this until it expires).
  • The principal official language is Italian, though some regions have a second official language, such as South Tyrol, where German is widely spoken. The currency is the Euro. Italian time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • If you are planning to take a holiday after 1 January 2021, visit www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021.

    At Inntravel we work in close partnership with our hoteliers, taxi drivers and other local suppliers to provide our self-guided holidays directly to you. We are entirely confident that you will continue to receive the usual warm welcome from them, regardless of what is happening in the European political sphere.
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
Last fetch time is : 1/27/2021 4:47:00 AM