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The largest, most varied and stunningly beautiful of the Italian Lakes, Garda really does offer something for everyone. Covering 160kms in circumference and spanning over three counties (Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino) this majestic lake ranges from a Mediterranean climate and vegetation in the south to a dramatic and mountainous aspect in the north. Due to its location being the most southerly of the lakes, Garda enjoys a long season with an exceptional micro climate and mild winters. The main stylish centres of Desenzano in the south and Riva in the north are linked by a myriad of very pretty and charming lakeside resorts boasting Scaligerian castles, lovely views, attractive shops and cosy pavement cafes in which to relax and watch the world go by.
The novelist, DH Lawrence, described the views over Lake Garda as follows: “the mountains are dark blue… the sky glistens … the light burns gold” and “the exquisite scent of lemon flowers” is intoxicating. The climate, mountain scenery, abundance of picturesque harbours, medieval villages and the proximity of fir and pine forests to olive and lemon groves in a stunning, watery setting make this the ideal holiday destination.
Saturday We collect you from home to join your coach to travel to Folkestone for a journey through the Eurotunnel to Calais and on to our overnight hotel near Metz in France.
Sunday We continue through France and Switzerland and into Italy and check into Parc Hotel Gritti in Bardolino for the next six nights.
Monday A morning at leisure in the beautiful lakeside resort of Bardolino. For those of you who wish to join us this afternoon we travel to the monumental tower of San Martino della Battaglia (a small entrance fee payable locally) where a 400-metre spiral ramp leads up to the terrace at the top of the Tower, providing panaoramic views of the Southern end of Lake Garda. It is here on 24th June 1859, the Piedmontese army, undrer King Victor Emmanuel II, clashed with the right wing of the Austrian army, led by General Von Benedek. The museum, on ground level comprimises of three large rooms containing relics, weapons and uniforms from the battle. Inside the Ossuary Chapel are the skeletal remains of thousands of soldiers who fought in the Piedmontese and Austrian armies.
Tuesday to Friday - During your stay in Bardolino the following excursions are included:
• This morning we will travel to the romantic city of Verona, home to Shakespeare’s protagonists in his famous play, ‘Romeo & Juliet’. You will have time to explore and may wish to take the tourist train, visit the Roman Amphitheatre and perhaps have lunch in one of the many cafes.
• Our excursion today takes us to Venice one of the iconic European Cities, with many well-known landmarks such as The Rialto Bridge, St. Marks Square & Bridge of Sighs. On arrival in Venice we will take a private taxi boat from the Tronchetto parking area to St.Marks Square, where you will have around three hours to explore, before returning by private taxi boat to the coach.
• Today’s excursion takes us north along the lake shores to Riva del Garda and where we board a boat to the picturesque lakeside town of Limone, whilst on the return we have time in Riva del Garda, perhaps treat yourself to one of the fabulous Italian ice creams.
• A full day at leisure in Bardolino. You could visit the local market a bustling, noisy and colourful place, where a cocktail of sumptuous food aromas attack the senses and make your mouth water or simply take a stroll along the lake. A chance for you to explore the historic centre dominated by the bell tower of the church of San Severo with its characteristic houses and streets where you can admire masterpieces of art and local history.
Saturday Sadly we leave Italy and travel back to our overnight hotel near Metz in France. Dinner on arrival.
Sunday We continue north to Calais for our return Eurotunnel journey to Folkestone and our onward journey home.
Parc Hotel Gritti, Bardolino, Lake Garda
This outstanding 4 star lakeside hotel is surrounded by beautiful grounds, gardens & is a 10 minute walk from the old centre of Bardolino. The Parc Hotel Gritti has a modern style and the feel and facilities of a first class self-contained holiday resort. All rooms have mini bar, hairdryer, TV, air-conditioning. A large outdoor swimming pool with sun terrace, indoor swimming pool, gym & fitness centre. The restaurant overlooks the gardens.
» Platinum Coach Travel with extra leg room
» Home pick up & Hostess Service
» Return Eurotunnel crossings
» 8 nights Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
» Excursions and visits as stated
» Venice boat transfers