Already planning your summer holiday for next year? Our top destinations for 2020 include northern Italy’s Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore, and the medieval Austrian town of Kitzbühel. Find out more about some of our favourite places to go next summer.
The ever-popular town of Garda is found on the eastern shore of the lake. It’s made up of lively traffic-free streets with pavement cafés and lakefront restaurants, and surrounded by hills dotted with age-old cypress trees. Take a relaxing wander along the tree-lined promenade – at 7km, it’s the longest on the lake and stretches all the way to the towns of Bardolino and Lazise. And an after-dinner stroll along the front is the perfect way to end the day.
Garda’s also one of the largest towns on the lake, so there’s plenty going on throughout the summer – from firework displays and street-food celebrations to wine festivals in neighbouring Bardolino.
A holiday in Garda also means you’re in one of the best locations for getting out and seeing the beauty of northern Italy – an excellent ferry service makes trips to nearby lakeside towns, or you can hop on the local bus and spend a day in Verona seeing Juliet’s balcony and the Roman amphitheatre.
Waterfront villas and elegant hotels line the promenade of Stresa. From there, you can stroll off into the maze of pedestrianised streets and pretty squares away from the lake. Or head to the bustling open-air market to sample the local meats, cheeses and wines.
But the highlight of the lake is the three Borromean Islands. Hop on a boat to Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola Pescatori to tour grand palaces and exotic gardens filled with plants and birds from around the world. And for a little adventure, take the Mottarone cable car up to the top of the mountain to gaze out over seven lakes and even into neighbouring Switzerland. Round off your day with a drink in the chic rooftop SkyBar at the Hotel La Palma – it’s got beautiful, uninterrupted views over the lake and islands.
At the foot of the Monte Baldo mountain, medieval Malcesine is full of narrow cobbled streets that wind down to the ancient harbour. It’s famous for the Scaliger castle that’s perched on the rocks in the centre of town, where you can explore the warren of rooms inside and climb the tower for unspoiled views across the lake. And don’t miss a ride on the Monte Baldo cable car, which rotates 360 degrees on the way up. At the top, head off on a walking trail or grab a drink at the summit café and admire the lake below.
After the sun has set, wander between little boutiques – the shops stay open late here – or sit outside a lakefront bar and watch the twinkling lights reflected in the water. Look out for events throughout the summer too – the castle hosts opera performances and festivals with market stalls, games and fireworks.
Getting out and exploring the region is easy from Malcesine too. There are ferries to nearby Riva and Limone and buses to must-see cities like Verona and Venice.
St Katherine’s church stands proudly at the centre of this historic town, surrounded by cobbled streets and original town walls. Fondly known as Glitzy Kitz, there’s very much a cosmopolitan vibe here, with stylish shops, bars and restaurants. Typical of Austria, there’s also a thriving café culture – find a street-side spot and watch the world go by with a drink in hand. And several evenings each week, the centre of town buzzes with live bands and music concerts.
Each day, there’s somewhere new to explore in and around Kitzbühel. Join one of the free guided walks or take the summer lifts up the mountains for panoramic views and scenic hiking trails. For something more laid back, you can wander through the Alpine flower garden on the Kitzbüheler Horn or spend the day at Schwarzsee lake, swimming in the cool water and sunbathing on the banks.
The Gardaland theme park is packed with thrills to get your heart racing and adrenaline pumping. You’ll be laughing and squealing on log flumes, rapids and rollercoasters. And there are lots of marine wonders at the Sea Life centre too. Stay close to the action at the Gardaland Hotel Resort and the Gardaland Adventure Hotel – the themed rooms are great for families and regular shuttle services take you over to the parks.
If you manage to draw yourself away from the theme park, the pretty harbour towns of Lazise and Peschiera, and the Sirmione peninsula are just a ferry ride away. And cities like Venice, Verona and Milan are reachable by train from Peschiera.
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