I had the delightful opportunity to visit Lake Garda and saw a whole lot in 24 hours.
Getting there: Take a bus to Salò or drive the 2 hours from Milan. Once there you can either drive to these destinations or take a boat. You can hire a boat that will take you from one place to the other.
Stay: Hotel Bellerive is a gorgeous 4-star hotel in Salò directly on the Southern Shores of Lake Garda. My room looked over the rooftops of this quiet village. The breakfast was incredibly delicious and the servers were there to fulfill your every need. You can leisurely walk along the lake to see the quaint downtown village shops and museums.
Visit: Gardone Riviera and Vittoriale degli Italiani. Gardone Riviera historic waterfront has beautiful villas that line the waterfront among the hotels. But just up the hill was where famed poet Gabriele d’Annunzio made his home his castle, complete with a navy warship embedded into the hills. This place is truly incredible to see and offers spectacular views of the lake. The legendary war hero and poet wanted to surround himself with beauty and that he did. A cross between a quirkier Hearst Castle and a Mediterranean villa; every little detail, the kennels for his dogs, gardens with little lemon houses, the overwhelming amount of art and artifacts in his home, satisfies the curiosity and creates conversation.
Eat: Il Fagiano at The Grand Hotel Fasano. This is a 5-star experience. I was traveling with travel directors from around the globe and many of them said this was in their top five meals of all time. I took two pictures and shared them on my Instagram from this meal and I can remember exactly the taste, divine. I enjoyed every moment of it. You will not be disappointed.
Visit: Sirmione and step back in time. Scaliger Castle and its drawbridge welcomes visitors to this medieval village. Walk along cobblestone streets to see the buildings built from lake stones and sand. Visit the famed thermal spas as you walk past the former home of Opera Diva Maria Callas. Visit the Roman Ruins or stop into Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore. This was really a beautiful church and I actually stopped taking pictures out of respect for the parishioners who were there.
Eat at: La Speranzina Restaurant & Relais in Sirmione. Offering sweeping views of the lake I tried their steak tartare and they had these delicious #gluten-free crackers made from amaranth, fresh perch from the lake and delicious tiramisu.
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