Relaxing on Lake Garda

With 3 weeks of school under my belt, I was definitely feeling ready for some serious r&r.  Luckily I had it lined up to head North to Lake Garda, where I was hoping to be greeted by some sunshine, warm waters and a big glass of wine.

After two trains, two buses, and a 30 minute walk in 90º heat, I arrived at my hotel, and I’m pretty sure that I was a sight for sore eyes; but nothing that a little air conditioning and some pool time couldn’t fix.

But in true Katie fashion, I had planned a lot for my few days on Lake Garda.  I was going to take the ferry to some of the other lake towns two of the days, I planned to tour the local sites in Sirmione (where I was staying), and then I also wanted to squeeze in a little bit of relax time.  As it turned out, not all of my plans came to fruition; but in the end it was all for the better.

I woke up on Saturday feeling refreshed from a great night’s sleep, and I decided that I wanted to do absolutely nothing.  I was going to lay by the pool, take a sauna, swim in the lake and drink some wine.  Just a whole lotta nothing.  But when I checked the weather forecast, I was disappointed to see that it was going to be overcast all day.  Wah woh.  Well, a change of plans was clearly in order.  I decided to revert back to my original original plan, and take the boat to some of the neighboring lake towns.

After breakfast, I walked myself down to the port and hopped aboard the ferry to Garda.  My day was going to be simple – tour Garda, walk the lake path to Bardolino, have lunch in Bardolino and tour the town, then take the ferry to Lazise, tour that, then ferry home.  Well, like a lot of things on my travels lately, things didn’t go exactly as planned.

it was a very hazy and overcast day, but it was still beautiful

I arrived in Garda and slowly toured the whole town…in about 30 minutes.  And I kind of thought to myself, “huh, I wasn’t expecting the town to be so small.”

arriving in Garda

But the show must go on, so I kept to the plan and walked the lake path to Bardolino.

When I arrived in Bardolino, which was an equally small town, I luckily immediately had the foresight to check the ferry schedule.  And I found that my options were either to spend about an hour in Bardolino, or spend four hours (those Italians love to take their lunch breaks).  Hmmmm….four hours in a little town with mostly tourist traps for restaurants…that did not exactly call to me.

So, I postponed lunch (it was already 1:45 p.m.), toured the town and decided that I would catch the next boat to Lazise, where I was sure that I would find lunch.  Right?

arriving in Lazise

Well, wrong again.  Why?  I found myself hit with the same boat predicament.  So, I decided to postpone lunch once again.  I toured Lazise and kept my fingers crossed that I would find a cute little sandwich shop where I could pick up something quick, but it just wasn’t in the cards.  With a growling tummy, I caught the 4:45 p.m. ferry back home to Sirmione.

the main piazza in Lazise

arriving back in Sirmione

Finally back in town (and quite starved), I knew exactly where I would go for a very late lunch.  And when I got there?  Closed.  I seriously just had to laugh.  So instead of lunch, I did what any sane person would do at that point, I got a gelato.

my childhood favorite, blue moon

Feeling much better post-gelato, I walked back to my hotel, picked up a glass of wine and really felt like I needed to relax for a little bit.

the beautiful view from my terrace

Sometimes life just throws you “one of those days,” and you just have to roll with it.  But, as an aside, I can see why so many people rent cars to tour Lake Garda.  Although the boat system is very well connected, the timing of the boats is a little tricky and can provide you with more than you bargained for.

After my adventure of a day, it was decided – the next few days would be spent solely relaxing at my hotel and touring the adorable little town of Sirmione (which I actually think was the cutest of all of the towns that I visited).

And for the most part, everything worked out as planned.  I got in the most relaxing I have in a long time, and I really enjoyed exploring Sirmione (except for Monday when all of the main tourist sites were closed).  It is such a cute little resort town – colorful buildings, endless gelato shops and live music almost nightly.  Palm trees, swans and a castle, what more could you ask for?


Going to Lake Garda was the perfect little stopover after finishing class.  Aside from my unplanned travel adventures, it really gave me the chance to get away from the crazy tourist scene of Florence, relax, and enjoy that beautiful lake life.

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