If you’re looking for some inspiration for your 2012 holidays, why not consider Lake Garda in Italy? A popular holiday destination, it also holds the distinction of being the biggest of the Italian lakes. Not only is the water itself an attraction, but Lake Garda is also surrounded by a bunch of towns and other sights that appeal to visitors.
Lake Garda enjoys plenty of warm weather, but can get pretty hot in the height of summer. Many visitors find that Lake Garda is overly hot in July, while August is best avoided as the area gets especially crowded.
Instead, tourists may want to head to the Lake either side of summer, in April or September, for example.
Around the Lake, a highlight is the general scenery itself. Garda is surrounded by burgeoning vegetation such as magnolias and lemon trees, while beyond are vineyards and picturesque villages. The Lake lies beneath the Alps, which create a dramatic backdrop.
As well as enjoying the sight of Lake Garda, visitors can take a boat trip across it. Hikers will find plenty to do in the area, too. For example, visitors can walk between the many villages surrounding Lake Garda, or for a more adventurous hike, head up to dizzying heights in the nearby mountains.
Tired hikers will no doubt appreciate the chance to enter a vineyard and perhaps sample some of the local wine.
Lake Garda is ringed with towns that hold many sights that’ll be of interest to visitors. Take Limone, for example. This town can be found below the formidable Dosso di Roveri cliffs and is known for the citrus trees that overlook the Lake itself.
Visitors can explore the network of lanes that make up the town’s old centre or head out for a stroll around the nearby olive groves.
In Moniga, meanwhile, the most eye-catching sight is surely the town’s castle. Built in the 13th century, this fortress guards the entrance to the village. Other highlights in Moniga include the Chiaretto wine produced in the area, which attracts wine lovers in their droves.
An array of sporting activities are available on or around Lake Garda. These include water sports such as windsurfing, with the necessary conditions for this activity created by the rising and falling winds in the nearby mountains. Travellers hoping to windsurf should head to the resorts of Riva or Torbole. Those interested in kite surfing, meanwhile, are best advised to go to Brenzone or Malcesine.
Keen bikers can venture up to the mountains and head onto one of the trails found there. These trails can be accessed in locations around much of the Lake except the south, as well as in the hills located in the area.
Climbers, too, are provided for at Lake Garda. Adequate cliff climbs are available at the village of Marciaga in the south-east, while Arco is the centre for many sport climbing enthusiasts.
The immediate area around Lake Garda houses some intriguing ruins, with others accessible further beyond. In ancient times, Roman citizens came to the town of Sirmione to enjoy the thermal waters that rose from the lake. These thermal waters are still available to enjoy in this town today and provide a highlight of a visit to Sirmione.
The town also boasts other remains of the ancient Roman civilisation, such as a villa near to the Lake itself, constructed in the first century B.C. Another villa can be found at Desenzano. This Roman construction dates from the third century and contains fascinating and well-preserved mosaics.
Castles are another feature Lake Garda and its environs can offer. Interesting castles can be found at Sirmione, entered only by its drawbridge, as well as at Peschiera and Torri del Benarco.
History fans can also head a little further away to Verona, a town that’s popular with tourists and boasts a huge Roman arena.