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Italian Lakes

People have been holidaying at the Italian Lakes since Roman times and it certainly hasn’t got less popular. The sights are magical: mountains, lake shores, islands, stately villas and baroque palaces.
In Italy the freewheeling experience becomes more challenging with driving on the right hand side of the road. Don’t be put off, roads and autobahns are well surfaced and clearly signposted. Most major roads do have tolls so it is often cheaper and more scenic to stay on the secondary roads. 

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Venice – Verona – Sirmione, Lake Garda (166km)
Stop in Verona to check out the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, including ‘Juliet’s balcony’. Verona has many impressive archaeological sites. Drive through rolling vineyard country to Lake Garda.

Day 2: Lake Garda
Sirmione is built on a narrow peninsula jutting into Italy’s largest lake with an imposing castle and Roman ruins.

Day 3: Lake Garda – Bergamo – Bellagio, Lake Como (150km)
Bellagio sits at the junction of the lakes two arms with fabulous panoramas over the lake with an Alpine backdrop.

Day 4: Lake Como
Roads around the lakes are narrow and take you through small villages and many tunnels. This is a good reason to get a small car and a GPS, but you will feel like a film star driving along the lake shore of Lake Como.

Day 5: Lake Como – Lugano – Stresa, Lake Maggiore (160km)
Follow the shores of Lake Como to Como, head north and cross the border to Lugano in Switzerland, then drop back into Italy to Lake Maggiore where you can follow the shore to Stresa.

Day 6: Lake Maggiore
The delightful town of Stresa is a former fishing village that grew to the wealthy haven it is today. Visit the islands opposite.

Day 7: Lake Maggiore – Milan (90km)
In Milan shop along Vittorio Emanuele II, stroll through Piazza del Duomo and visit the museums in the iconic red-brick castle of Sforza.

Customise this itinerary to travel at your own pace.

Highlights worth seeing along the way
The best way to see Venice is by foot – Wander over the Rialto Bridge, through St Mark’s Square to see Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Basilica.
Stop at the small fishing village of Peschiera del Garda –
This historic fortified town has a moated castle.
Sirmione –
Lunch at a traditional trattoria overlooking the lake.
Discover magical Lake Garda – Cruise on the lake visiting Castello Scaligero, Grottoes of Catullus and the Rocca di Manerba.
Walk around delightful Bellagio –
This picture perfect town on Lake Como has a medieval layout of winding streets, cobbled stairways and grand historic buildings, as well as 19th century villas on the shoreline.
Explore Lake Como by ferry –
The boats take you to Tremezzo and Lenno and the medieval towns of Varenna and Bellano.
Take the Funicular up to Bergamo Alta –
Visit the Piazza del Duomo in this fortified village to explore the ornate church and the Colleoni Chapel.
Catch the Cable car in Stresa –
Take in the fabulous views of the Alps and Lake Maggiore.
Stroll in the Parco di Villa Pallavicino –
This English garden has pelicans and llamas as well as tropical plants.
Cruise to the Borromean Islands –
Explore these three tiny settlements.

Our favourite places to stay:
• Hotel Gardenia, Sirmione, Lake Garda
• Miralago B&B & Apartments, Bellagio, Lake Como
• Regina Palace, Stresa, Lake Maggiore

Choosing your Rental Car
Take into consideration the size of the vehicle you require. We strongly recommend a compact size car for two adults. If the vehicle is to be used for day touring from a central base and not for transporting your luggage, a smaller vehicle may be adequate. We suggest you book your car before leaving home as this will save money and ensure you get the car of your choice.

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