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The largest, most varied and stunningly beautiful of the Italian Lakes, Garda really does offer something for everyone. Covering 160kms in circumference and spanning over three counties (Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino) this majestic lake ranges from a Mediterranean climate and vegetation in the south to a dramatic and mountainous aspect in the north. Due to its location being the most southerly of the lakes, Garda enjoys a long season with an exceptional micro climate and mild winters. The main stylish centres of Desenzano in the south and Riva in the north are linked by a myriad of very pretty and charming lakeside resorts boasting Scaligerian castles, lovely views, attractive shops and cosy pavement cafes in which to relax and watch the world go by.
The novelist, DH Lawrence, described the views over Lake Garda as follows: “the mountains are dark blue… the sky glistens … the light burns gold” and “the exquisite scent of lemon flowers” is intoxicating. The climate, mountain scenery, abundance of picturesque harbours, medieval villages and the proximity of fir and pine forests to olive and lemon groves in a stunning, watery setting make this the ideal holiday destination.
Saturday We collect you from home to join your coach to travel to Folkestone for a journey through the Eurotunnel to Calais and on to our overnight hotel near Metz in France.
Sunday We continue through France and Switzerland and into Italy and check into Parc Hotel Gritti in Bardolino for the next six nights.
Please note that in common with many destinations in Europe a local Tourist tax will be payable at the hotel, this will be approximately €1.50 per person per night in cash
Monday to Friday - During your stay in Bardolino the following excursions are included:
• After breakfast, we have an included excursion to the second largest city in the Veneto region, Verona. This beautiful Roman city is situated alongside the River Adige and is the setting for William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Verona was a Roman city, and many Roman ruins have been preserved, notably the Arena. Most of the historical sights to see today date from the past 800 years. Verona's military importance has also left city fortifications and an excellent castle. Admire the 1st century Arena, home to the prestigious Verona Opera Festival, which dominates the main square. Verona boasts an abundance of fine palaces, churches and monuments, which adorn its alleyways and squares. You will have time at leisure to browse amongst the shops or take a coffee break in one of the many cafés in Piazza Bra overlooking the Arena.
• Join our included excursion to Venice, the largest city in the Veneto area. Venice is renowned for its beauty, architecture and its artwork. It is the world’s only pedestrian city, which makes it easy to explore on foot. Be sure to see some of the famous sights such as the Doge’s Palace, the symbolic seat of Venetian power and the enclosed Bridge of Sighs. A visit to St. Mark’s Square, the principle public square of Venice, is also a must. It is dominated at its eastern end by the magnificent St. Mark’s Basilica, a superb example of the Romanesque-Byzantine style. Perhaps take a ride on a gondola, with your expert gondolier steering you through the busy waterways of Venice (at own cost) or maybe sit back and relax at Harry’s Bar with one of their famous Bellini cocktails, the choice is yours. On arrival in Venice we will take a private taxi boat from the Tronchetto parking area to St.Marks Square, where you will have around three hours to explore, before returning by private taxi boat to the coach.
• Today’s excursion takes us north along the lake shores to Riva del Garda and where we board a boat to the picturesque lakeside town of Limone, whilst on the return we have time in Riva del Garda, perhaps treat yourself to one of the fabulous Italian ice creams.
• A full day at leisure in Bardolino. You could visit the local market a bustling, noisy and colourful place, where a cocktail of sumptuous food aromas attack the senses and make your mouth water or simply take a stroll along the lake. A chance for you to explore the historic centre dominated by the bell tower of the church of San Severo with its characteristic houses and streets where you can admire masterpieces of art and local history.
• A morning visit to Sirmione with it's thermal springs, a 13th century castle and some of the prettiest beaches on Lake Garda, all on a unique island promontory on the southern lakeshore. This upmarket resort is clustered within the ancient walls of the impressive medieval Scaligeri Castle and moat. Its honey-coloured buildings and maze of tiny pedestrianised streets might appear untouched, but they house the town’s bustling pavement cafés and elegant shops. And a proper visit to the castle is a must – its lake views alone are worth the steps and stairs.
Saturday Sadly we leave Italy and travel back to our overnight hotel near Metz in France. Dinner on arrival.
Sunday We continue north to Calais for our return Eurotunnel journey to Folkestone and our onward journey to Wiltshire where your taxi will be waiting to return you to your home.
Parc Hotel Gritti, Bardolino, Lake Garda
This outstanding 4 star lakeside hotel is surrounded by beautiful grounds, gardens & is a 10 minute walk from the old centre of Bardolino. The Parc Hotel Gritti has a modern style and the feel and facilities of a first class self-contained holiday resort. All rooms have mini bar, hairdryer, TV, air-conditioning. A large outdoor swimming pool with sun terrace, indoor swimming pool, gym & fitness centre. The restaurant overlooks the gardens.
8 nights Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
Platinum coach travel with extra leg room
Home pick up
Excursions and visits
Venice boat transfers