I recently spent an amazing 48hrs in the Brescia region of Lake Garda Italy, experiencing some of what it had to offer. If you’ve never been to Lake Garda, Italy before, you are in for a treat with stunning architectural villas and hotels that line the shores. As well as great local family restaurants, wineries, rich history and friendly people.
Table of Contents
- What can you do in Lake Garda
- 1. Take walk around Vittoriale degli Italiani
- 2. Wander around the Andre Heller Botanical Garden
- 3. Take a boat ride around Lake Garda, stopping at Sirmione
- 4. Wine Tour
- 5. Where to Eat
- 6. Where to Stay in Lake Garda
- 7. Where Lake Garda is located and how to get there
- 8. Take a virtual Boat Ride Around Lake Garda Italy
- 9. Top Tips for Lake Garda
- 10. Discover more of Italy And Europe
Not to mention the breathtaking landscape and mountains as your backdrop that makes for picture perfect postcards. I can easily see why it is one of the most popular holiday locations in northern Italy.
What can you do in Lake Garda
Brescia is a city and comune (also know as a municipality) in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, along Lake Garda and at the foot of the Alps. Apart from being the largest lake in Italy, Lake Garda is also in a prime position with it being only just over an hour from Verona International airport, making it ideal for a weekend getaway or holiday.
If you’ve only a day or two in Lake Garda Italy, make sure you try the following:
1. Take walk around Vittoriale degli Italiani
You can’t go past visiting Vittoriale degli Italiani, the house-museum of the Poet and Italian writer Gabriele D’Annunzio. It is considered to be one of the most visited museums in Italy and from the moment that you arrive, you can see why.
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It is not just the house that makes this place fascinating but also the objects and contraptions that he has all throughout the gardens. Outside you have the bow of a cruiser (Yes a real ship) nestled in the promontory among the greenery, an open-air theatre (which is still being used). As well as the many sculptures that line the stunning gardens.
Apart from the thousands of whacky items Inside the Prioria the name Gabriele given to his house and the ‘D’Annunzio the Hero’ Museum. He had both a MAS 96 anti-submarine boat and an Ansaldo SVA plane used in 1918 for his propaganda flight over Vienna.
Have you ever visited so fascinating and beautiful but strangely weird at the same time? That is the best way to explain my visit to Vittoriale degli Italiani. I was taken back by the whole place and I could have spent hours there exploring all the different areas. Definitely, a place that I would go back too.
- Route A (All areas complete with a guided tour of the Casa di d’Annunzio)
Full price: – € 16 per Adult And
Reduced price – Start from € 13 (Students & Children)
- Route B (Park + Musei D’Annunzio segreto + L’Automobile è femmina without Guided Tour)
Full price: – € 10 per Adult
Reduced price: Start from € 8 (Students & Children)
- Free – For children under 6years old.
- Opened – All year round except for 1 Jan, 24 and 25 Dec and Mondays of Nov, Dec and Jan
- From – Last Sunday of March to 15 October: 9am – 8pm
- From – 16 October to the last Saturday of March: 9am – 5pm
- Last admission one hour before the closing time
- It gets very busy here and not the type of place you want to deal with crowds. We went late in the afternoon, just before dinner which was the perfect time.
2. Wander around the Andre Heller Botanical Garden
You do not have to be a lover of gardens to enjoy the beautiful Andre Heller Botanical Garden, known as the Garden of Eden. The gardens were created by Andre Heller and hosts plants from all over the world, combining both art and nature as one. He opened them to the public, so everyone could enjoy.
The gardens are spread across 15000 square meters on the slopes of Mount Lavino and are certainly unusual with their layout, sculptures and the wide variety of plants. It should only take you roughly about 30mins to an hour to get around the whole grounds and appreciate their beauty.
- Open – Everyday from March to October
- The walk from the Lake Garda to Gardens is up hill but not steep and should take around 5-10mins.
- Dogs allowed on a leash and well behaved.
- Due to the ponds placed around the gardens, there are loads of Mosquitoes, make sure you have insect repellent.
- Full price: – € 11 per Adult And
- Children Price: – €5 (Age 5 -11 years old)
- There is a charming little cafe at the end of the gardens, which sells homemade ice-cream and local products. Definitely a nice spot for a short break for coffee or a drink.
3. Take a boat ride around Lake Garda, stopping at Sirmione
You can not come all the way to Lake Garda, Italy and not go on a boat tour or take a ferry. Being Italy’s largest lake, it will be no surprise to you that there loads of companies that offer boat tours. Your options are limitless, you can go on a shared boat, private boat or even hire your own boat.
It really depends on your budget, time and what attractions you would like to see and if you want to stop anywhere. I went with Sirmione Boats who took us around such sites as The island of Garda (known as ‘Isola Borghese’) and Grotte di Catullo before making a stop in Sirmione to marvel at Scaliger castle and ending our boat tour in Salo for lunch.
- Duration – from 25mins onwards
- Groups – You can go on a shared group or book a private boat
- Full price: – € 10 per Adult And
- Children Price: – €5 (Age 5 -11 years old)
4. Wine Tour
They say that you leave the best to last and I could not agree more, what a way to end the trip than at a local winery and an olive oil family run business in Italy. Two of my favorites things. We went to the Avanzi Wine Cellar and Olive Oil Mill, located just south-west from Lake Garda, Italy.
Avanzi is a family run vineyard that produces wine, olive oil and now brews their own beer. The business was started in 1931 by Giovanni Avanzi and it is now run by his sons and his grandchildren, who are continuing with the tradition. They recently received not one, but several wine awards in Europe and the UK.
If you take a winery tour you will learn about Avnanzi’s vineyards, how wines are made, take a tour of the wine cellar tunnels and then finish off with a wine tasting session of some of their popular wines. These tours roughly take about an hour and you can explore the shop before and afterward.
The only downside was that after I visited the shop, my bags were super heavy from all the wine and oil I bought.
Tours & Wine tastings
- Summer 2018. Every week (From June to September)
- Held every week on Friday at 15:00
- Be there 15 minutes before
- Friday tours are held in English
- I understand their tours get really busy, so to save disappointment book it in advance.
5. Where to Eat
Lake Garda Italy is a foodie’s dream and while classics like Pizza and Risotto never go out of fashion, there are plenty of other dishes here to tempt your appetite. Here are a few of my recommendations for either dinner or lunch around Lake Garda Italy.
Locanda Agli Angeli
Situated between the Botanic Gardens and Vittoriale degli Italiani is the charming family run restaurant Locanda Agli Angeli. Considered to be a hidden gem of the area and I can definitely see why. The portion sizes are generous, the staff is friendly and you have pretty views of Lake Garda, Italy.
We had a selection of cold starts while we enjoyed our Aperitif and then I had a really yummy Pizza that hit the spot, washed down with some local sparkling wine. Your only problem is to decide what local dishes you are going to try, I suggest starting with Pizza!
- This is a great place to eat or have a drink when you are visiting Vittoriale degli Italiani
Locanda del Benaco – Salo
There is no doubt that if you are staying in Salo, Italy, or just visiting that you stop at Locanda del Benaco, for lunch or dinner. It is an Italian restaurant that serves fresh Seafood and Mediterranean style dishes, and is situated right on the lakefront promenade.
This would have been one of the nicest lunches that I have had in a while and I went away feeling totally satisfied. We had 5 courses which consisted of local fresh products like local fish tartar and my favorite pasta with fish flavours. The chef himself even came out and gave us a visit a couple of times, to make sure everything was okay.
You can enjoy your delicious meal with a cold glass of Italian wine while watching the people pass by. Which to me is the perfect way to spend your day.
- My understanding is that this place is also vegetarian friendly
Ristorante Al Porto
Situated right on Lake Garda and near the Monig Porto Nautica is Ristorante Al Porto, an Italian seafood restaurant that is vegetarian friendly. The view across the Lake is a great backdrop while you enjoy your meal.
I had a lovely meal that comprised of crab tartare, paired with some local sparkling wine that hit the spot. It a great way to end the day of exploring and wine tasting.
- Apparently, this place is known for their ice-cream, so I suggest leaving yourself room for some!
Agriturismo Amea Restaurant
Set in a beautiful farmhouse on the outskirts of Lake Garda, Italy is Agriturismo Amea Restaurant. The restaurant has both an outdoor and indoor eating area and had a really relaxing atmosphere about it. I notice there were a lot of families eating here and kids enjoying themselves running around with their dogs.
We had a set lunch of eggplant (Also known as Aubergine) parmesan melanzane alla parmigiana for a starter, which was my favourite and I am going to make it for my husband. Then we had a tasty Risotto for the main and a variety of choices for dessert, I don’t eat sweets but they did look good!
- If you are taking an afternoon flight, this is a great spot to eat on your way to the airport.
6. Where to Stay in Lake Garda
Villa Sofia Hotel
I stayed at the Villa Sofia Hotel a charming hotel set in a 19th-century building located in Gardone Riviera and in walking distance to Lake Garda, the Vittoriale degli Italiani and the Botanical Gardens. If you have a car, the city of Brescia was only 24.9 miles away.
The hotel had an outdoor swimming pool set within the gardens, as well as a restaurant and bar area. There is also a 24-hour reception and the staff was always happy to help whenever I needed something. The WIFI kept dropping off in the rooms the first day, so they called someone in and had it fixed for the rest of the time we were there.
My room was part of a Villa that was located in the gardens of the hotel and overlooked the hotel and the gardens to the side. The room was very spacious and the bed was comfortable, which is always great after a day of exploring. I also had a desk with power points, safe, and big bathroom with complimentary toiletries.
- The pool is a great way to relax after a day of exploring and before dinner.
- If driving, it’s not a problem as the parking on the property is free.
7. Where Lake Garda is located and how to get there
Lake Garda is in northern Italy and about halfway between Brescia and Verona, and on the edge of the stunning Dolomites.
The closest international airports to Lake Garda, Italy are Verona Villafranca Airport (Also known as Valerio Catullo Airport) and then you have Brescia-Montichiari Italy. However, Verona International Airport would be your best option as flights are more frequent and more airline carriers available.
Lake Garda, Italy is easily reached by motorway and most of the roads are highways with tolls and signs. If you do not have a car, I would suggest hiring one at the airport. Then you can use it to get around the amazing wineries, castles, and other attractions around Lake Garda Italy.
When you get out of the airport, turn right and head over to the separate building where all the Car hire companies are based.
8. Take a virtual Boat Ride Around Lake Garda Italy
9. Top Tips for Lake Garda
- If you are eating in one of the restaurants in Sirmione, use the bathroom before you leave, as there is only a public toilet in the park but that is 30cents and if you don’t have the correct change, then you can not go.
- Take the Malcesine cableway to the top of Monte Baldo, for spectacular views over Lake Garda, which reaches an altitude of 1760m.
- A lot of the attractions like Vittoriale degli Italiani can be booked online in advance, to avoid disappointment.
- You need at least an hour or two to explore Sirmione and add on another hour if you want to go to the castle.
10. Discover more of Italy And Europe
If you are interested in discovering more about Italy, feel free to read the following articles. All are great options for groups of friends or family.
- A weekend Ski Trip to Monte Bondone Ski Resort – Dolomites, Italy
- Fun history facts about Ponte Vecchio Bridge – Florence, Italy
- A Val Di Fiemme Ski Resort – Dolomites, Italy
- Tellaro Italy the local Italian secret – Tellaro, Italy
Thank you for reading this article‘48 hours in Brescia Lake Garda, Italy’, I hope it helped you to decide what to do and where to eat while in Lake Garda and the Brescia Region. It is truly a beautiful place to explore, especially for a weekend.
Have you been to Brescia or Lake Garda, Italy before? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below or if you know any other places to see while in Lake Garda?
Here are some amazing activities that you can book while in Brescia, Lake Garda, Italy.
Disclaimer: Even though I was invited by Brescia Tourism and Italian Tourism UK. All views are my own and based on my own experience.