Hello friends! I’m excited to kick off the first in a four part series sharing more about our two week to Europe! We had such a special trip (with highs and lows, which can be expected) and I’m just really grateful for our time together. First up, our trip to Lake Garda, Italy.
Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and known for its turquoise waters – it reminded me a lot of Lake Tahoe, actually! When researching and planning the trip, we heard that Lake Garda was a less crowded, family-friendly version of Lake Como. Knowing we wanted to go to the mountains and then over to Croatia, Lake Garda was a great on-the-way(ish) stop for us after a long travel day. We flew in and out of Venice, Italy and the drive to the Lake Garda area was about 2 hours! We were only staying in Lake Garda for two nights (Wednesday – Friday), which was our shortest stop on our trip. While we would have liked an extra day, we tried to make the most of our time here and explore and enjoy!
Candidly, our first day in Lake Garda / on vacation was one of the roughest of our trip. The lights in our section of the plane were on during our red-eye flight (mechanical issue) which impacted everyone’s ability sleep. We were all feeling jet-lagged and exhausted, but tried to stay awake to get a little more adjusted to the time change. The girls were grumpy, the adults were tense, etc. Later on that day, our stroller wheel broke off while walking home from the grocery store and was completely unusable. Googling ‘where to buy a new stroller’ in a lake area in Italy on the first day of vacation was not ideal. But – we made it through. I think it’s important to normalize that traveling, especially with kids, is not always glamorous and amazing and there are absolutely hard, stressful, trying moments. We tried to find slivers of goodness (playing in the pool! the beautiful sunset! rosé at lunch! the girls loving their gelato!) during a hard day, but were all ready for a fresh start on Thursday! ✨
Read below for where we visited, what we loved, etc!
We stayed in the small town of Bardolino, which was a great, centrally located spot on the eastern side of the lake. There’s a map of Lake Garda at the bottom of the post for reference. There were several beach options in/around Bardolino and plenty of restaurants, cafes, shops, etc. Riding the Ferris wheel during golden hour was for sure a favorite memory.
On our first full day, we spent the morning exploring the adorable village of Sirmione. This is one of the most popular villages in Lake Garda and for good reason! Sirmione is on the southern end of the lake and the town itself is located at the end of a peninsula so the whole town is almost completely surrounded by water. There’s a castle, lots of charming cobblestone streets, several beaches, tons of restaurants, and more. We spent the morning exploring and then hanging out at Jamaica Beach before getting gelato (obviously!). Sirmione is really just so cute and charming – highly recommend visiting here!
Castelletto was another cute town on the eastern side of the lake to visit — we enjoyed coffee while admiring the view! We talked about how if we came back we’d try to stay here!
Our last in Lake Garda was Riva del Garda, a village at the northern end of the lake. We spent the morning here before continuing our adventures to The Dolomites! We visited Spiaggia Sabbioni which was amazing! The beach was super calm and the water was sparkling and the view was just so special. 💫Spiaggia Puni is also nearby and looked beautiful.
The Lake Garda area is also a well known wine region! We did a quick wine tasting one afternoon before dinner. Here’s more about Lake Garda’s wine region.
Lazise and Limone were a few other towns along the lake that we didn’t get to visit, but I’ve heard great things about!