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Dukey1 Jun 24th, 2017 06:16 AM

Verona to/around Lake Garda: Sights
We will be in Verona for four nights attending the opera festival again this August. We've pretty much "done" Verona itself over the past several years but have yet to visit locations nearby such as Lake Garda.

This year we will spend four nights in Bologna and probably do a couple of day trips from there including the mosaics in Ravenna.

Rather than being so-called "bored" during the day in Verona I am wondering if renting a car for a couple of days might be worthwhile if only to visit locations around the lake. Our hotel has an arrangement with a nearby garage so overnight parking is not an issue.

However, I'm torn right now because we could also simply take the train somewhere but Garda seems like somewhere we should explore further.

Any thoughts will be appreciated and thank you in advance.

frencharmoire Jun 24th, 2017 06:28 AM

Obviously there are lots of positive attractions to Lago di Garda, so maybe hearing about some of the downsides is in order:

One of the most important issues is traffic jams in August, on the lakeside roads and on the big major highways connecting the cities to scenic destinations. Don't forget you take a train north to visit Trento (or Rovereto or Bolzano). Each has different attractions so you might want to read up.

You can also take a train to towns on the south end of the lake and use ferries, but I would expect them to be quite crowded in August, so timing would be important. Also be aware that to reach the most scenic parts of the lake, you'd be in for a fairly long hydrofoil ride starting on the south end of the lake.

There are scenic and cultural destinations reachable by car from Verona that are much less famous than Lago di Garda. However, some of them will be quite crowded too. If you want alternate possibilities, can provide, but if you simply are interested in Lago di Garda, I'm assuming you already know your targets on the lake.

Dukey1 Jun 24th, 2017 06:51 AM

Thank you for your response. I am also thinking we may just take the train to Padua for the day since we have yet to visit that city.

RM67 Jun 24th, 2017 07:15 AM

I don't think you'd regret hiring a car. Lake Garda is a fairly easy drive from Verona - around 45 mins. Not only can you do the obvious thing of flitting from resort to resort along the lake shore, but it's lovely to get up into the mountains that overlook the lake too. One of my favourite travel memories ever is stopping for lunch at a cafe in one of the tiny mountain villages and eating fresh ravioli on their terrace for about 6 euros with fabulous view over the lake a couple of thousand feet below.

Dukey1 Jun 24th, 2017 07:29 AM

RM67: exactly! Sometimes you simply NEED a car to get to some of these spots and I know how we are going to feel IN Verona wanting to go out and do something different.

Yeah, it is a sort of "crap shoot" in many ways but still...

Thanks very much for your reply.

massimop Jun 24th, 2017 09:24 AM

Differences to me between going to Padova and Trento in August would mainly be weather. Normally it is cooler & more dry in Trento than it is in Padova, but you have to look at an immediate forecast to know for sure. Other consideration for me might be that Padova is a major city with multiple important sights, whereas Trento has 2 main sights (the castle & the piazza) and is otherwise pleasant for lunch or cocktails. So if one isn't feeling up for long day of sightseeing, Trento is a nice excursion, with pretty scenery along the way. The food in Trento is also a real change from what you find in Verona or Padova (which have similar cuisines) and the wine is good, so that would be another draw for me. But if you want cultural rewards, Padova has so many more, plus a famous food market.

If you spend some time studying the area you can easily find dozens of places to go instead of the lakeshore if you run into traffic jams. But the traffic jams can get real both going to and from lago di Garda during holidays

Mimar Jun 24th, 2017 09:56 AM

If you want to avoid car traffic but see the more photogenic north end of Lago di Garda, take the train from Verona to Rovereto and then a bus or a taxi to the lakeside town of Riva del Guarda. Caveat: I haven't made this excursion but it's on my list for this fall.

Another option is Vicenza and environs, important for me because I want to see the works of the seminal architect Palladio. YMMV.

And Mantua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which got added to my list after I read the trip report of Fodorite Isabel:

Jean Jun 24th, 2017 10:48 AM

Dukey1, if you end up on the northwestern shore of Garda and you're not phobic about narrow, twisty mountain roads, drive SP38 (loop) between approx. Piovere and Pieve. Strada della Forra. It's one of the most amazing roads we've ever driven. When it opened in 1913, it was called the 'world's most beautiful road.'

Away from the lake (and traffic, although you could train), we enjoyed a short visit to Rovereto. The town has several interesting sights. A castle (housing a WWI museum), several beautiful palazzi (some housing municipal offices), a lovely baroque church (where Mozart once performed), a national contemporary art museum, a campanile on a hill overlooking the town (nice views), etc.

annw Jun 24th, 2017 01:30 PM

When I attended a language class in Verona they had planned a day trip to Sirmione on Lake Garda. I couldn't manage that trip but I took my own via taxi. In addition to the town/castle and gorgeous lake views, the grotto of Catullus was interesting to visit.

Just saying, if you don't want to get a car, you can still get there. (But with a car you could also drive around to see the Palladian architecture elsewhere in the Veneto if that interests you.)

Padua has the Scrovegni Chapel--arrange visit ahead of time--as well as the university and the huge basilica. It didn't quite click for me as a town but maybe I wasn't there long enough. The sights are definitely work a visit.

I stayed over in Vincenza and loved seeing the architecture and Olympic theater.

massimop Jun 24th, 2017 01:36 PM

The issue is not driving, I would think. The travelers seem happy and eager to drive. The issue is traffic, and if you take a taxi or bus to a popular town on Lago di Garda during holidays in August, it will get caught in the same traffic. If one has opera tickets and wants to get back to Verona might be something to factor in when it comes to choosing where to go and on what days.

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