Escape to Lake Garda for a Fresh Air Getaway

For many of my clients, a holiday is a chance to pause all the hectic stresses of everyday life, inhale a lungful of fresh, clean air and… breathe. When they come to me wanting some back-to-nature escapism, I often recommend a break at Lake Garda in one of Prestige Holiday’s stunning retreats.

The azure waters, lush lakesides and temperate climates of Lake Garda make it a dream destination for those who want to connect with the vista they see from their hotel window, whether walking, cycling, bird-watching or plant-spotting. I have selected my very favourite accommodation in this breathtaking area, offering the perfect experience for nature lovers in this area.

Want to hear about our favourite nature resorts? No problem: check out our portfolio’s fantastic range in this blog post.

Gardone Riviera

Italy’s largest lake has been attracting visitors to its picturesque shores since Roman times, and no wonder! As the area is so large, it is important to choose a location that suits your holiday style. I would recommend Gardone Riviera for budding naturalists – the botanical garden of Lake Garda.

Located on the western shore of the lake, this beautiful resort in Lombardy boasts a fascinating array of plant life, with Mediterranean, Central European and sub-tropical flora in its extensive parks and gardens. I recently had a client who gushed about her morning walks along the waterfront boulevard, watching as the impossibly blue water lapped against the shore.

Along with uncovering the mainland’s natural gems, a visit to Gardone Riviera isn’t complete without taking a short ferry ride to Isola del Garda, whose extensive history and splendour are sure to impress you. The island has been populated since the Roman Age, serving as a burial ground, a monastery and even as a pirate lair over the centuries. Today, the island is home to a residential villa and awe-inspiring gardens, which are open to the public. Why not spend a few hours soaking up its beauty on a serene stroll?

Should you get a bit peckish after exploring the area, you’re in for another treat: the wealth of Italian restaurants in Gardone Riviera – many with waterside tables – will tempt you with one mouth-watering menu after another. From tasty risotto to divine pizza, all served with a side of Italian hospitality, you’ll be spoilt for choice. During my visit, I even found myself taking more walks than intended so that I could continue indulging my taste buds… but I couldn’t have been happier to explore this picturesque lake.

Our Recommended Hotel

While Gardone Riviera’s accommodation is just as impressive as its landscape and gastronomy, one hotel makes the leap from remarkable to downright magnificent. Of course I’m talking about the world-famous Grand Hotel Gardone, which was established in 1884. Over the years it’s hosted its fair share of celebrities, including Winston Churchill. Despite the fact that the Prime Minister was notoriously critical, he had nothing but high praise for this elegant institution, which speaks to its outstanding location and facilities.

Indeed, my clients always praise the hotel’s private lakeside promenade, its piano bar Winnies (which was Churchill’s favourite), swimming pool and hot tub. What’s more, its spacious rooms feature beautiful lakeside views. Your everyday life will feel like it’s thousands of miles away, especially after you’ve indulged your tasted buds at the hotel’s restaurant.

Valtenesi del Garda

If a more secluded holiday strikes your fancy, not to worry: Lake Garda has several secrets up its sleeve. One of our team’s favourites is Valtenesi del Garda, which is affectionately known as the ‘Tuscany of Lake Garda’… by those who know about it. This hidden gem in the south west encompasses several villages, which are nestled between the lake and the rolling hills of the Italian countryside. Along with spotting natural spectacles wherever you look, you’ll start feeling like a local as you integrate yourself in the friendly communities of these villages. Why not brush up on your language skills before your authentic Italian getaway?

When you’re not cruising on the water in a rented boat or eating your way through the local trattorie, it’s worth venturing into the nearby countryside for some active adventures. In addition to horse riding and mountain biking, you can discover the area’s natural troves at a more leisurely pace via its hiking trails. These routes not only guarantee glorious views of the surrounding landscapes, but are also peppered with cultural highlights, such as century-old churches, castles, olive farms and vineyards. While you’re sure to enjoy tasting the Valtenesi’s local produce (did anyone say ‘wine tasting’?), immersing yourself in the area’s history will make it jump off the page for you.

Our Recommended Hotel

Of course, a relaxing getaway in this underexplored area requires the perfect off-the-beaten-path accommodation. For pristine peace and quiet, the rustic Hotel San Filis is the best place for putting your feet up and escaping the chores of everyday life. Situated in the midst of San Felice, this heavenly hideout never fails to charm its guests with its sunny courtyard, elegantly vaulted ceilings and inviting garden. The property only has 25 private rooms, ensuring a homey and blissfully tranquil environment. Our clients frequently comment that eating a homemade breakfast and dinner in the hotel’s courtyard is an ideal way of starting and ending your day, as the intimate ambiance allows you to fully recharge your batteries – and, if you’re feeling social, exchange your insights about the region with other nature and culture enthusiasts.

Along with taking advantage of this haven’s gardens, pool and welcoming sitting rooms, San Felice’s marina is only a skip and a jump away. When you’re not lazing on the gorgeous pebble beach or popping into the cafes and bars, it’s worth renting one of the hotel’s bicycles and/or eco boats to explore the nearby vineyards, villages and more. Rural relaxation, here you come.

Gargnano

Every once in a while, there’s nothing quite as special – and necessary – as being pampered from head to toe. If a getaway that transforms your definition of rest and relaxation is on your bucket list, look no further than Gargnano, an enchanting lakeside village that feels like it’s straight out of a fairytale. While you’re roaming its flower-adorned alleyways, all of your everyday anxieties will simply melt away – after all, your holiday agenda is filled with nothing but the finer things in life, such as gourmet food, swimming and chic shopping. If that doesn’t sound rewarding to you, I don’t know what will!

If you’re like me, your travel itch will motivate you to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime holiday and explore the surrounding area. In fact, while I was staying in Gargnano, one of the locals gave me a sightseeing tip that I’ll always be grateful for: she advised me to visit Lake Valvestino, located just west of Lake Garda in the natural reserve of Alto Garda Bresciano. This picturesque mountain lake is virtually untouched by tourism, making it one of my all-time favourite off-the-beaten-track destinations. It truly doesn’t get better than looking out over the glistening waters, listening to chirping birds and rustling branches and feeling completely at peace. Along with hikers, this uplifting – and even therapeutic – experience is ideal for cyclists. Get ready for both a literal and a figurative breath of fresh air.

Our Recommended Hotel

Apart from fantastic sightseeing, Gargnano is a first-class force on the accommodation front. When returning from my outings, I always looked forward to getting back to my hotel: The Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda. This stylish hotel not only spoils its guests with panoramic views of Lake Garda and trendsetting rooms, but is also home to outstanding Mediterranean restaurants, as well as elegant lounges, gardens and open-air terraces. Most notably, the resort boasts an award-winning spa, which truly takes indulgence to a whole new level. You’ll see what I mean when you lay eyes on the facility’s six saunas, swimming pools, whirlpool, indoor salt lake, fitness centre and more. Just thinking about the spa’s offerings, which range from beauty treatments to revitalising massages, makes me want to book my next holiday to Gargnano today.

If you’re tempted by the luxury of Lake Garda, there is a wealth of options at your fingertips. To find out more about any of these properties or to question our knowledgeable sales team about other options, feel free to contact Prestige Holidays – we can make your holiday dreams a reality.