Beautiful Lake Garda

Wednesday September 25

Many years ago I worked for IBM, who leased Mussolini’s summer villa in Desenzano del Garda, as an education centre. It was there, for many weeks, I learned how beautiful this lake, and the lakeside towns, are.

What I never saw though was the northern end of Lake Garda. Desenzano is at the wider, southern, shore, whilst Riva us at the very northern most tip.

Riva del Garda, looking south.

We took a chance on “Camping Bavaria” and it paid off. The site is behind the restaurant of the same name, right on the high street.

It’s small, tightly packed and expensive (€31) but, and this is a big but, it’s worth it. It’s all about the Lake and access to Riva.

A 50 metre stroll to the most perfect views.
Riva del Garda, from the ferry.

Plenty of campers took their chairs out to the Lake shore, to lie in the sun, and take in the views. The lake shore has pedestrian paths and cycle paths, past bars and restaurants, all the way to Riva just a 20 minute stroll away.

It’s a perfect setting for a perfect looking town. Bars, restaurants, good shopping and a constant buzz at all times of the day.

Excellent ferry service from Riva to all the main towns on the lake.
Here comes the ferry from nearby Torbole.

We decided to use the ferry to see one of the nearby towns, Malcesine (‘Mal-Chesney’), as it had been a favourite destination for my late father-in-law. The lake is huge, 52km/32miles long, so Desenzano was impractical (it takes around 5 hours I think).

Approaching Malcesine
Malcesine Harbour

Saying that the towns are all quite similar sounds like a complaint, but it’s not. How can perfect towns be a bad thing? However I’m not sure how much there would be to gained by seeing 3, 4 or 5 of these towns. Malcesine took an hour by ferry, we had a great lunch, a lovely walk around medieval back streets, to the castle, before catching the 15:10 back to Riva.

Malcesine Castello
The ferry goes to Torbole en route
..and it goes to Limone
…before arriving back in Riva for aperetifs

For pure location I think it may be my favourite campsite. I loved Riva and it was a wrench leaving. The 25degC temperatures change the mood. It makes al-fresco dining possible all day, and evening. Something that is long passed in the UK in (almost) October.

It was a lovely 4 days there, with views that will linger long in the memory. Angeline finally found the Risotto she’d been craving for her last meal in Riva. We did a fair bit of Piazza people-watching in the evening, with a bottle of Chianti, and finally strolled back along the shores of Lake Garda.


Piazza people-watching
Unforgettable views from the campsite.
Riva (far right) dwarfed by its Dolomite surroundings

That was Lake Garda re-visited. We loved it but Venice was calling, and we have limited time for travelling now the house purchase is progressing. See you in Venice.


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