When you think of Italy’s great lakes, it’s common to associate this destination with the likes of George Clooney, Richard Branson and Gianni Versace. Breath taking scenery and panoramic views have made destinations such as Lake Garda a playground for the rich and famous, with some of the world’s most well-known names owning houses (it’s probably more appropriate to call them mansions) on the shores of these stunning lakes.
With this reputation in mind, it seems that Italy’s lakes are an unattainable dream for the traveller with a limited a budget. Contrary to the A-list reputation that this destination is world famous for, you don’t need pots of money to makes dreams of travelling to Lake Garda a reality.
Make your own way
It may take some of the stress out of planning a trip, but booking a package deal is going to dramatically increase the price of your holiday. Booking everything separately is a great move when you’re travelling on a budget and is guaranteed to give you a more authentic travelling experience.
The beauty of travelling independently to Lake Garda is that it’s relatively easy to do. Flights to Verona from the UK are inexpensive, with easyJet offering a summer service from London Gatwick to Verona from as little as £35.99. After that, the lake is a mere 15 miles from the centre of Verona. It’s a popular journey, meaning that buses are frequent and affordable – so you’re laughing.
Like all things in Italy, don’t be concerned if buses don’t run to schedule. But, if you’re travelling independently, don’t feel you have to rush anywhere. Relax and enjoy the sights of Verona for a few hours before taking the bus to the lake. Verona’s highlights include Juliet’s balcony (a must for anyone travelling as a couple) and the Roman Arena, which dates back to the 1st Century and is still used for opera performances.
When you arrive at Lake Garda, the bus will drop you off at the town of Garda on the Southern shores of the lake. After that, it’s up to you whether you continue your journey by road or water to the town you’ve chosen to spend your trip in. The bus is slightly faster and more comfortable, but opting to take a slow boat as it picks it way from one end of the 31 mile lake to the other, will introduce you the lake’s stunning beauty and each of the unique towns dotted along its shores.
This journey may be accomplished with relative ease, but it goes without saying that dragging a heavy suitcase along with you is going to be a bit of a challenge. Ideally, keep things light, including the suitcase that you’re carrying your things in. Companies such as UK based Luggage Superstore stock a range of lightweight luggage that can be wheeled along, which will make your journey much easier.
When you’re visiting Lake Garda, the most difficult decision you’ll have to make is which of the beautiful towns you want to dedicate your trip to. Each town is unique, with its own character and appeal. Limone, on the western shore, is one of the smaller and quieter towns, famed for its lemon groves. Until the 1940s, this town was only accessible from the lake or the mountains, and it still retains a sleepy feel. Malcesine, on the eastern shore, lies at the foot of Mount Baldo (the cable car to the 5741 ft. summit is a massive attraction of the town) and is recognisable from the lake by the 13th century castle which guards the towns harbour. These are just two examples of the numerous destinations on Lake Garda.
Whichever town you choose, opting to rent an apartment is perfect for travellers with a limited budget. Take a look here, for some great examples of holiday lets in Lake Garda. Renting an apartment also gives you the opportunity to cook for yourself – buying wonderful fresh produce from the open-air market which makes its way around the lake every week, will guarantee a truly authentic Italian experience and let you live as the locals do.
And with a meal for two at a local restaurant costing around €30 (including wine), dining out isn’t restricting to the likes of Mr Clooney and his celebrity friends.
It may attract some of the world’s richest people, but the natural beauty and splendour of Italy’s Lake Garda can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of budget.
photo by marjoleinknuit