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The 5 best places to visit on Lake Garda

08 February 2019

Have you ever thought of going on a trip to explore Lake Garda?
If so, have you ever wondered what the most beautiful things to visit are?

In this article, we've decided to continue focusing on experiences and choose some that are really worth living.

We've narrowed it down to 5, which we consider to be the most sensational to try on Lake Garda.




1 • Heller Garden - Website





WHAT IS HELLER GARDEN?

Heller Garden is an extraordinary 10000 m2 garden home to botanic species from all parts of the world.


HISTORY

Around 1901, Arturo Hruska (dentist and doctor to the tsars, naturalist and botanist) moved from Austria to Gardone Riviera and immediately fell in love with its incredible beauty, so much so that he purchased a 15,000 m2 plot of land on the Lavino mountainside.

And this is where Hruska started to create his botanic garden.

A. Hruska's garden was the predecessor of the André Heller Botanic Garden Foundation, which has gone by this name since 1989 and which currently houses approximately 3,000 plant species.


WHAT MAKES THIS PLACE SPECIAL?

“A garden where different environments meet, but what binds everything together here is a love for nature and for the landscape.”
Quote

This place renews and transforms itself year upon year, and every season it offers new colours and shades which move even the more rational and rigid of visitors.

It is a display of natural love which seems to permeate the soul of anyone who walks in here.

Andrè Heller's garden is a "collection of plant samples from all the regions in the world".

The different groups of plants are connected to one another along paths which converge and are complemented by corners where visitors can stop.

The environment surrounding the garden and which characterises Lake Garda is rich in lush Mediterranean vegetation which merges perfectly with the blue water of the lake, giving life to one of the most beautiful spectacles of central Europe.


USEFUL INFORMATION AND TRIVIA


✸ Something that impressed us was that, throughout the years, the garden has managed to integrate plants from all over the world in the botanic garden. And it begs the question: "How is this possible, Andrè?" He said he was helped by the climate he says possesses "lucky air" and which enabled him to transform the garden into the masterpiece it is now.

✸ Here is where the Botanic Garden is on the map.
👉🏻 Heller Garden - Maps

✸ The Garden is open to the public from March to October, everyday from 9am to 7pm.
👉🏻 Heller Garden - Prices and Times




2 • Il Vittoriale degli italiani - Website





WHAT IS THE VITTORIALE DEGLI ITALIANI?

The Vittoriale degli Italiani is a villa, or better, a huge house-cum-museum dedicated to the achievements of Gabriele D'Annunzio and the "Italian people" during the First World War.

It most definitely is not a boring old historic masterpiece to visit; on the contrary, it's a place that has an incredible vibe and lots to reveal.

You can breathe in the history, hidden in every statue and precious historic artefact. You can soak up the past and learn many interesting facts.


HOW WAS THE VITTORIALE CREATED?

The Vittoriale is the brainchild of Gabriele D'Annunzio, the famous Italian poet and soldier who wanted to celebrate his "inimitable life". The Vittoriale gathers many mementos from his life and much more in one single place.

When the Vittoriale was donated to the State, it was awarded funding to expand and enrich the villa with new monuments and historic artefacts used by D'Annunzio during the military endeavours he took part in.


WHAT MAKES THIS PLACE SPECIAL?

What makes this place truly special is the amount of mementos it houses, the impressiveness of its architecture and its rich history.
There's an amphitheatre, a mausoleum, a submarine and even a military ship!

You'll also find the infamous "citadel".
Gabriele D'Annunzio's Citadel is surrounded by the green of well-kept gardens and parks open to the public which extend over a 11 hectare surface and preserve the image of the locus amoenus loved by the Poet.

We were shell-shocked when we first saw Gabriele D'Annunzio's house.
The enchantment of its old façade leaves you breathless; you'll feel a tingling sensation run across your skin as you wander through the many rooms decorated with symbols and hidden meanings which aim to highlight the sacredness of that space.


Outside the house is Nave Puglia, the imposing stone and iron ship with its bow facing the Adriatic, the Auditorium, the Mas and the Mausoleum, inspired by the Roman and Etruscan funerary mounds and Saint Mark's Tower.


USEFUL INFORMATION AND TRIVIA


✸ Can we share a little secret with you?
At the monumental entry of the Vittoriale, there's an inscription that says: "Collect roses, but avoid the thorns".
The theme of this message is not linked to gardening; rather, the author is inviting us to enjoy the best bits of a romantic relationship, but to avoid getting married!

✸ The Vittoriale degli Italiani is always open.
Except on Mondays in November, December and January, 24th and 25th December, and 1st January.
👉🏻 Vittoriale degli Italiani - Buy your ticket (i'm sorry, but is just in italian for the moment)

✸ A visit to D'Annunzio house is well worth it. Booking is required as all visits are guided and limited in terms of the numbers per visit.
👉🏻 Vittoriale degli Italiani - Prices and times (i'm sorry, but is just in italian for the moment)

✸ Here is where the Vittoriale degli Italiani is on the map.
👉🏻 Vittoriale degli Italiani - Maps




3 • Cascata del Varone - Webiste





WHAT ARE CASCATE DEL VARONE?

Cascate del Varone (the Varone waterfalls) is one of the main natural attractions in Alto Garda.

An underwater river, created by the spectacular Lake Tenno, meets the soft sedimentary rock, creating an impressive water fall against the rock walls. 73 metres of free-falling water, to be precise.

It is considered to be one of the most original waterfalls of Trentino.


WHAT MAKES THIS PLACE SPECIAL?

The breath-taking sceneries visible from multiple strategic points along the trail are, without a doubt, something that people should put on the bucket list of places to see before they die.

 

  • The first spectacular view is from below, through the Lower Cave (Grotta Inferiore).
     
  • The second observation point is 40 metres higher, in the Higher Cave, from which one can look out towards the Varone Waterfall as it plunges into the pool below.

This magnificent spectacle of nature is located in a private natural park which has been kept intact throughout the years thanks to excellent maintenance work and the dedication of those who have taken care of it throughout the years.

Today, thanks to the trails, bridges, balustrades and steps, this wonderful and imposing gift of nature is accessible to all.

The Cascata del Varone cave truly is a geological rarity.


USEFUL INFORMATION AND TRIVIA


✸ The construction of one of the first infrastructures started in 1874.
Before then, there were no trails which allowed to explore and climb up the hill and the waterfall was not accessible.

✸ Are you familiar with the book “The Enchanted Mountain" by Thomas Mann?
The Varone waterfall is Mann's inspiration behind the epic novel.

✸ The Cascate del Varone are open every day, except on 25th December.
👉🏻 Le Cascate del Varone - Prices and Times

✸ Here is where the Cascate del Varone is on the map.
👉🏻 Le Cascate del Varone - Maps




4 • The Garda Cycling trail





WHAT IS THE GARDA CYCLING TRAIL?

It is the most spectacular cycling trail in Europe.
For cycling enthusiasts, who had been waiting for it to open for years, it is the "dream cycling trail".


HOW WAS IT MADE?

The first 2 kilometres of the most spectacular cycling trail in Europe were inaugurated on 14th July 2018.

An extension is foreseen and this will take the cycling path to 12 km and will enable cyclists to enjoy the wonderful scenery from multiple viewpoints along the lake.

The trail is wide and is lit up at night. Visitors will be able to walk and cycle along it, but they'll have to respect the speed limit which is 10km/hour.

The future ambition is to create a single cycling ring around Lake Garda which will, undoubtedly, be one of its kind in the world - a total length of over 140 km of bends and incredible scenic views.

The Garda cycling trail will connect Capo Reamol to Limone, on the border with Trentino Alto Adige, coasting Strada Statale 45bis Gardesana with breathtaking landscapes and a promenade overlooking the lake.


WHAT MAKES THIS PLACE SPECIAL?

"You'll feel like you are 'walking' on a bicycle on the water" are the words of Antonio Martinelli, the Councillor for Public Works.

We can't think of a better description!

What makes this trail unique is undoubtedly the chance to cycle or walk around enjoying a breathtaking view on the lake up to the border with the Trento province.

✸ Take a look for yourselves!
👉🏻 Ciclopista del Garda - Watch the video!


USEFUL INFORMATION AND TRIVIA


✸ If the Limone sul Garda cycling trail is not part of a longer cycling itinerary, visitors can reach it by car. Cars will need to be parked in the multi-story car park located on the Marconi promenade which runs parallel to the lake. From the car park, visitors can go on a 4km walk or cycle.

✸ The cycling path on the Garda is always open.

✸ Of the 4 km trail, only the last 2 are suspended on Lake Garda, so if you prefer to skip the first 2 km, which are still impressive and offer exceptional views, you can use a side-car service which costs € 12.

✸ How much does an electric bike cost to cycle along the entire cycling path?
It costs € 20 for half a day and € 30 for the whole day.

✸ Here is where the Garda cycling path is on the map.
👉🏻 Ciclopista del Garda - Maps




5 • Isola del Garda - Website





WHAT IS ISOLA DEL GARDA?

Isola del Garda (Garda Island) is an island located near the Brescia shore of Lake Garda.

The island is known for its extraordinary Neo-Gothic Venetian villa, designed by architect Luigi Rovelli in the early 1900s.

It is a majestic and harmonious building, rich in minute details.


THE HISTORY OF THE ISLAND

Throughout the centuries, the island of Garda belonged to many powerful families of different ages.

For this reason, it often changed name and its former names are linked to its different owners: Cranie island, the Friar's island, Lechi island, Scotti island, Ferrari island, among others.

Its history is one of the most fascinating aspects of the island in addition, of course, to its splendour which appears before your very eyes.

✸ Here is a link where you can find more details pertaining to the history of the island.
👉🏻 Isola di Garda - Historic details


WHAT MAKES THIS PLACE SPECIAL?

Its extreme complexity and unique style make this palazzo a true Italian gem.

Its façades feature lancet windows and, on the south-western side, there is a tower crowned with stone battlements and embellished with neo-Gothic floral decorations.

The history encapsulated in the soil of this Island almost defies belief.
You'll be amazed by the fights, power shifts and adventures you will learn about on your guided visit.

Here you find terraces and Italian gardens which gently roll down to the lake. The lush vegetation here is made up of local and exotic plants, and transforms this location into an incredible organic rainbow of colours.

You will be blown away by the flowers in all their bright colours... trust us!



USEFUL INFORMATION AND TRIVIA

✸ At present, it is the Cavazza Family who is responsible for the park and the palazzo they live in.

✸ Here is some trivia! The palazzo houses one of the most beautiful pieces by Carlo Carloni which dates back to the late 1700s.

✸ Garda Island is open from Sunday 14th April to Sunday 13th October 2019.
👉🏻 Isola del Garda - Prices and Times

✸ Here is where to find Isola del Garda on the map (although, we're quite confident you don't need our help finding it).
👉🏻 Isola del Garda - Maps




CONCLUSIONS

These are the 5 places we really wanted to share with you.
They are 5 spots on Lake Garda that are really worth visiting.

We hope this little guide was useful for you!

SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS
If you enjoyed reading this article, share it with your friends!


All the best from Gianni, Carlo and Vanessa.
The Lombardini Group.