Fondest memory: During the car tour of the lesser known lakes behind Lake Garda on the scenic SS240 not only did we see lakes but also waterfalls - it was very much national park scenery and the roads were fairly quiet too. This waterfall (main pic) was just before a place called STORO.
Being early summer during most of our time the mountains peaks and opposite shore of Lake Garda to where we were were hazy so we didn't always get the best of views - Spring and winter is perhaps better without heat haze - or just after a good old Garda summer thunderstorm!
The northern coastline is more rugged whilst the southern parts the hills are flatter.
A good view point in the north was above Torbole - just before it descended down into the village.
The Gondola of Malcesine whisking you up to Monte Baldo affords fine views over the lake.
Top of Castle of Torri de Benaco - good views over lake too
Favorite thing: One of the last places we visited on the car tour, described in the previous tip was the resort of Tremosine, situated above lake Garda, in the heart of the Alto Garda Bresciano Park. Peace and tranquillity are the order of the day here and the views across to snow capped Mount Baldo on the opposite side of the lake can be enjoyed. The road is quite an adventure - the road runs along the deep ravine of the Brasa River: in some sections it is dug out of the rock while in others it extends over sheer cliffs.
With the luxury of a car for our holiday in Lake Garda we were able to explore the lesser known lakes behind Lake Garda:
We followed a suggested circular car itinerary on the west side of Lake Garda in our Tourist map as follows:
Riva - Lago di Ledro - Lago d'Ampola - Lago d'Idro -Gardone Riviera - Toscalano-Maderno - Tremosine - Limone - Riva. It was a great day out, plenty of stops made en-route at the various places, wonderful scenery and not touristic. There were several options of staying in this area too and if I was returning I would stay on these lakes for their peacefulness. Here's some info:
Lago Ledro: east of Lake Garda, was created by the blocking of a moraine from the ancient glacier of Garda. Molina di Ledro is a peaceful town with an interesting Museum, well known in Europe for the artifacts from a lake village of the Bronze Age.
Lago d'Ampola is quite small, being situated at the valley bottom in the watershed between the Val di Ledro and the Val d'Ampola. Its's quite peaty ad not as pretty as the other 2 lakes.
Lago Idro: highest lakes in Lombardy (368 m) long and narrow at 2 x10 km, set deep between the mountains, joins Trentino to Lombardy, cut by the glacier during millions of years. It is completely surrounded by mountains and its waters are of a beautiful deep blue. The lake's shape and the surrounding mountains make it resemble a Norwegian fiord - had lovely reflections here my camera was clicking away!
Lake Garda in the northern part of Italy is the largest of the Italian lakes - in fact its so large it encompasses 3 regions of Italy and not just Lombardy as categorised in VT database.
The eastern bank is in Veneto, the most northern part in Trentino Alto Adige and the western bank belongs to Lombardy province. Its shoreline covers 162 km, covering a surface area of 370 square km. Its maximum length is 51km, its maximum width 17km and maximum depth 346m This website provides a good interactive map of the Lake Garda - simply click on the resorts and a pop up box appears with snippet of info on that resort.
A pdf file provides full timetable too of lake services.
Should you be fortunate enough to be a passenger on the cable car up this is a small sample (taken from their brochure) of what you might see, unlike myself when, on the last day of operation before they shut for a month, it was so smoggy and foggy that visibility was down to a couple of hundred metres generally and even less in some places.
I actually stayed just to the left of the castle................not that you were probably wondering about that, just thought I'd mention it.
Favorite thing: I think that the landscaping and the architecture of the various themed areas are very well designed all around the park (of course, it's a completely articificial environment where Buddha statues sit next to the Bayon temple at the foot of an active volcano, but in a fantasy world everything is possible :-)). There are also lots of flowers everywhere.
Gardaland is a typical theme park with thrill rides (such as roller coasters, splash rides, free-fall tower, twisting and spinning rides, etc.), themed adventure rides (like the pirate-themed I Corsari or the Egyptian-style Valle dei Re), a lovely Fantasy Kingdom for small children, and all kinds of shows. It's a fun place for a day, especially with kids.
Fondest memory: I really enjoyed the Blue Tornado roller coaster ride - I was screaming so loud that I ran out of breath by the end!
Favorite thing: All over Garda you can find these wooden "houses" over the lake. Most of the time they will be packed with children accompanied by their parents resting on the benches inside. It's a nice spot to relax a bit and enjoy the lake.
Favorite thing: This is one of the central points of Garda town, a cute little square with Venetian-like facades and a spot for the cafe with live music in the evenings, ad well as restaurants. Open air places are probably the only places you'll find people at in the season.
Favorite thing: Entire Italy is exuberant in cheerful colours and happy outlook. Garda lake is no different. These pink facades are in Pescheira, they really lift up the mood! There is nothing more depressive than gray, gloomy city. No way to find that in Italy (well, except in suburbs of Milano, he he :)))
Favorite thing: In Peschiera there is not only the lake pier, but also the river pier, on Mincio river. It's even in the downtown area, and there are some floating restaurants/bars on it. It's quite small and narrow with not so many boats, but still cute enough.
Favorite thing: There are plenty of swans too. Often with younglings, but most probably alone and showing off. They are real dandies, they like to take care of their feathers and look pompous. They're often on the shore, and you can walk by without them running away!
Favorite thing: Palms are everywhere around garda, as well as the other mediterranean or even tropical foliage! If you didn't know it was a lake beneath the Alps, one might think it was a mediterranean seaside coast. The lake is wide and the climate is mild.
Favorite thing: Like on the other two nearby lakes (Magiore & Como), there are some gorgeous villas on Garda as well. Not as many, though, and definitely not as impressive, but still beautiful enough. This one is in the town of Garda.