Time Zone: GMT+1/UTC
Tipping: Service charges are generally added to the bill automatically, however it is standard to simply round up the bill by a few euros to make a round amount. If you have received excellent service, a larger tip would of course be appreciated!
When visiting the Italian Lakes, you cannot fail to be impressed by Lake Garda with its colourfully painted hotels dotted about the shoreline. Lake Garda is the largest and most popular Italian Lake to be found on Italy coach holidays which is why so many people choose to escape to the sunnier Mediterranean climes of cheap holidays to Lake Garda. Another draw for visitors on tours of Lake Garda is the multitude of cuisines available from delectable wines to mouth-watering meals and more. Ensure you visit Bardolino and sample its name-sake red wine. Torbole is full to the brim of shops, restaurants and stunning lakeside beaches all waiting to be explored.
The area surrounding Lake Garda is as diverse as they come with its high hills, olive groves and sometimes mountainous backdrops all adding to the perfect picture-postcard Italian holiday. Due to the location of Lake Garda, you'll have the opportunity to visit neighbouring towns such as Riva del Garda, Limone, Desenzano and Sirmione by boat or hydrofoil available from the shoreline. One visit that has to be done is to Sirmione which is one of the oldest towns upon the Lake and will take you on a gigantic leap back in time. Sirmione is famous for its medieval centre where you'll find a moated fortress, roman villa and plenty of piazzas to explore.
Looking for a bargain? Visit the open-air antique markets open on a Sunday or Wednesday where you could come home with a bargain or two. If you love the great outdoors, visit Arboreto di Arco, an arboretum that has a large collection of conifers to admire among other fabulous feats of nature. If you are travelling with a family, the south eastern corner of Lake Garda is for you as it is home to two amusement parks which are sure to entertain all ages.
Visit Malcesine on your coach tour of Lake Garda and visit the town's beautiful castle which juts out upon the shoreline. You can also explore the cobweb of cobbled streets or take to the rotating cable car to the very top of Monte Baldo and enjoy the views below. A visit to The Dolomites won't disappoint either if you're looking for fabulous mountainous scenery and it's all on your doorstep!
Holidays to Lake Garda start from £279 tend to include; return travel throughout whether by air or coach, hotel accommodation in a good standard hotel, meals and a variety of included or optional excursions so you can really see the best of the resort you're visiting.
To help you have an enjoyable holiday in Lake Garda, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Local Laws and Customs
Health and Travel Insurance
When visiting Italy you should always obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) prior to departing from the UK. The EHIC isn't a substitute for medical and travel insurance, however it entitles you to state provided medical treatment should it become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is given on the same terms as Italian nationals. The EHIC does not cover medical repatriation, on-going treatments or non-urgent medical treatment, so in addition to having an EHIC you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance and accessible funds which will cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation.
Crime levels are generally low in Italy but there are increased levels of petty crime in the larger City Centres. Take care when riding on public transport and when visiting crowded areas in Rome, especially close to the main railway station 'Termini' and when riding the number 64 bus, which goes to St Peter's Square and back. Be vigilant if getting the train to or from the major airports in Italy (especially Fiumicino airport) and also be careful when unloading your luggage from coaches and trains. Thieves have been known to rob sleeping passengers on overnight trains, so take necessary precautions.
Alcoholic beverages served overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. Never leave food or drink unattended at any time. Victims who have had their drinks spiked have been robbed or even assaulted in the past.
If you hire or drive your own car to Italy be aware that rest stops and motorway service stations are ideal targets for robbers. Be cautious of any offers for help with flat tyres, particularly on the motorway which stretches between Naples and Salerno. Make sure you always lock your vehicle, avoid leaving valuables on display and never leave luggage in your car for any length of time.
European police forces have issued warnings about counterfeit Euro notes being in circulation. Ensure notes received from sources other than banks are genuine.
Local Laws and Customs
Italian Law states that you must be able to show identification at all times. It is sensible to carry a photocopy of the data page from your passport, but be aware you might be asked to collect the original document to show to the police officers or you may be asked to produce it within twelve hours. If you are stopped by Police whilst driving, you will most likely be asked to present your full passport.
In Rome and the surrounding area, restaurants have to display a menu outside, only if the customer specifically requests it can they charge for bread and they must inform the customer of the prices that are being charged when he/she orders it. They must also give a proper receipt and must not make any cover charge (coperto).
In Venice and Florence, you may be fined should you drop litter. In Florence, in the vicinity of the main public buildings and churches it is an offence to eat and drink or to sit on steps/courtyards.
Illegal traders often operate on the streets of major Italian cities, particularly Florence and Rome. Do not purchase anything from illegal street traders, you may be stopped by the local police and fined.
British nationals don't need a visa to visit Italy. Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay when under three months. Italy does not insist on your passport having an additional period of validity beyond this.
Any other nationality looking to visit Italy must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
For further information about Lake Garda you can visit the official tourist board website at gardatrentino.it
Lake Garda is a beautiful place to visit at any time of year so make the most of your holiday here by checking out these places:
This delightful resort is a medieval lakeside village and is one of Lake Garda's most scenic spots. Exploring this village is a delight with a myriad of pretty alleyways selling Italian delights such as gelato (ice-cream) is a pleasure. The Scaligerian Castle looms overhead adding to the medieval feeling with its square architecture and perfectly formed turrets.
Located close to Sermione on the Southern shore of the Lake, Desenzano is a popular holiday destination for tourists from across the world. The town has three large beaches which open out onto the Lake, when visiting this bustling destination be sure to visit the Cathedral of St Mary Magdalene, The Tower of St Martin, The House of St Angela and the Archaeological Museum.
Limone sul Garda
Situated on the North West edge of Lake Garda, this lakeside town is popular with day-trippers and holiday-makers staying in the area. The town's name derives from its links with the Lemon growing industry of times gone by, today you will find old lemon houses dotted across the town. Spend the day by the lake front or explore the lemon groves in the centre of the town.
Isola del Garda
The biggest Island found in Lake Garda, the Isola del Garda is recognisable from postcards of Lake Garda. The manor on the island was built at the beginning of the 20th century and uses influences of Venetian architecture. The island has supposedly been inhabited since the Roman period, and still has a family living there today.