Living only 15 miles from Southampton Airport is brilliant; we parked the car and were through security and sitting having a coffee overlooking the runway in ten minutes.
The flight with Flybe was also good, a lovely small plane with great views from Southampton to Verona. After arriving at Verona airport, we caught the coach to Riva on Lake Garda. The journey was wonderful with tempting glimpses of the lake. The weather was amazing, blue skies and a lovely breeze.
We were not disappointed on arrival. After checking into our hotel, we walked across the road and there in front of us was the lake. It was just so beautiful, covered in sail boats, wind surfers and boats which steam across to small towns. The first thing we did, is change and dive into the water. Yes, it was cold, but wonderful, I have never swam with swans and ducks before, what fun.
We had 7 days in Riva, travelling somewhere different most days. Riva is at the very top of the lake in the mountains, as you travel south the mountains turn into lush green hills. There are various boat trips you can travel on, and this is the best way to see the sights.
One of the best places we visited was Sirmione in the south, quite touristy, but so worth it. We arrived by boat to see a fairy tale castle which looked like it had come straight from a Disney film. The old town is extremely pretty and also very busy, but a few steps outside it became quieter and even more beautiful. There were hot springs that you can paddle through, pebble beaches that you can swim from, and the food was amazing, pasta of course!
Down both sides of the lake are towns and villages that are as beautiful if not more. The west coast being more up market than the east, much quieter and in some ways more beautiful. The east coast has resorts such as Garda and Bardolino, which are the most well-known and popular resorts. The north coast was by far our favourite, being in the mountains just made it very special. Limone where they grew lemons and Malcesine where you can ascend the cable car to Mount Baldo for fantastic views of the northern part of the lake.
However our absolute favourite was Riva del Garda, a lovely town with a moated castle in the centre of the old town. There is a wonderful park on the side of the lake with beaches and platforms for swimming. During our holiday there was a national holiday and the park was full of families having picnics and playing games.
This is a definite return destination; our only regret was that we didn't have longer to spend there.
- For more information about Verona and Lake Garda, visit our destinations pages.