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A holiday to Lake Garda is a little slice of la dolce vitain the north of Italy. Inspiring artists throughout the centuries, this north Italian gem is a beautiful jumble of harbour towns, cobbled piazzas and sun-flecked vineyards, all sandwiched between the lakeshore and the surrounding mountains.
At almost 52km (32 miles) long, Lake Garda is Italy's largest lake. As a result, it's not that surprising that there's a huge difference between Lake Garda's top and tail, with the warm breezes of the south giving way to cooler Alpine winds in the north.
The eclectic landscape is matched by its cultural diversity. Once part of Austria, the northern shore has Germanic-tinged notes, while the south has a more typically Italian flavour, making it an endlessly fascinating place to explore.
Regular ferries make it easy to hop from village to village, which is all part of Lake Garda’s charm. You can breakfast in Limone, lunch in Riva del Garda and be back in Bardolino in time for a glass of red wine at sunset.
Outdoorsy types can benefit from the varying climate too, with windsurfing and sailing in the north and warm days exploring ancient ruins in the south. Hiking and cycling are increasing in popularity in Lake Garda, and the mountains are primed for exploring – Monte Baldo in Malcesine is a favourite, with some of the best sky-high views of the lake.
The rolling hills also make Lake Garda a hotspot for vineyards. The rows and rows of juicy grape vines help create a picturesque setting, while their output (the wine, that is) is a treat for your tastebuds, especially when paired with a freshly caught lake fish dinner. Reds, whites and sparkling wines are all made locally, and the vineyard owners will happily share their process and products with you during an organised tour.
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