In Britain the pedestrian is king and queen (in theory). Bicycles and cars should know their place but in Riva the pedestrian is not even 3rd class. Expressionless cyclists will try to ride over the top of you. The humourless join in an onslaught on the good guys. Watch for it!
With Garda as a base you can take a day/evening trip to nearby Verona to see the Opera in the incredible open air amphitheatre.
It's advisable to organise this in advance, though you can be lucky to get seats on the night.
I'll write a more detailed opera tip on my Verona page - the reason I posted it first here is because I saw the opera on a day trip from Garda.
The weather in Garda wasn't great, so we decided to abandon our sunloungers and hop on a ferry around the lake. What a wonderful experience!
The ferries travel around lake Garda in a constant circuit, stopping at each little port along the way. If you buy a ticket for a round trip, you can hop on and off at whichever stops you wish.
My favourite hop-off point was at Riva, where the Dolomite mountains seem to slip into the lake.
I recall a perfect moment as I sat at a lakeside cafe sipping wine. In the distance I could see the snow-powdered peaks of the mountains reach for the sky, while I sat in thirty degrees of heat watching the sun fragment the surface of the lake into a million glittering diamonds.
Gardaland is a very popular amusement park near Peschiera del Garda, with your typical rides and shows (the Blue Tornado appeared to be the show-piece). Great for kids and grown-ups alike to spend a day.
One show that was a bit different was the Medieval show with horses, a princess, etc. There was also a dolphin show which we enjoyed.
As you drive along the banks of Lake Garda, you will go past the Museo dell'Olio di Oliva at Cisano on the south-eastern shore of the lake. This place is not so much a MUSEUM as a great place to buy anything related to olive oil made by the company, as well as honey, wines, vinegar, etc. But there is a display of olive oil processing - a big olive press.
I bought some olive oil face cream for my mum who loved it so much, I need to order through their website!
Garda has one of the most beautiful lakeside promenades on the lake. Plenty of cafes, restaurants, gelaterie ... always with great views of the lake.
Especially the little square in front of Palazzo dei Capitani is very romantic.
A comment on the picture: The Rocca di Garda is a hill which rises about 190 m above the lake. A nice walking path leads you up there, where you can find a few remains of a medieval castle.
Garda's old town is charming with old houses, narrow cobbled alleys, nice shops and restaurants - typical Italian flair.
It is quite often crowded, so I recommend the quieter times in the morning for exploration. Also, it is touristy and prices are obviously made for visitors.
Anyway, it is nice to stroll around. Don't miss the old clock tower and Palazzo Fregoso (venetian style Palazzo, northern city gate).