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Discover Lake Garda, Lombardy and the South Tyrol
With the crowds of Summer gone and Autumnal colours providing a magnificent backdrop, this is the best time to visit Lake Garda. This tour allows for time aplenty for people-watching from lakeside trattorias, boating on its waters or strolling along the shores of what is one the world's great lakes, but also the chance to explore the delights of Lombardy and beyond. From your base in Desenzano Del Garda you will travel to the charming Alpine spa town of Merano in the heart of Italy's South Tyrol, tastes the famed wines of the Valtenesi region, as well as explore historic towns including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mantua and the medieval town of Cremona, the home of the Stradivarius violin - fitting for a trip that hits all the right notes.
The best of Lombardy
South Tyrol tour
- Return British Airways flights from London Gatwick to Verona
- A 23kg baggage allowance
- Seven nights' accommodation at Hotel Europa
- Daily breakfast, two lunches, and five evening meals
- Visits to Mantua, Salo, Valtenesi, Cremona, Merano, Desenzano and more
- Guided tours with English-speaking guides
- Boat trip on Lake Garda
- Wine tastings, excursions and entrance fees
- All transport and services of a Prestige Holidays Tour Manager
You will be met on arrival in Verona and transferred to Hotel Europa in the attractive lakeside town of Desenzano del Garda. This family-run hotel offers superb service and will be the ideal base for the next seven nights.
You have the afteernoon and evening to relax, with Prestige guide on hand to to make suggstions with dinner included.
"This small, family-run hotel with its cream-coloured building and wooden shutters is attractive but it warm welcome provided by the Albiero family that's the real draw."
Kiki Deere, Times travel writer
Day2San Martino della BattagliaDesenzano del Garda, Italy
Following a leisurely breakfast, you will take a morning guided walk around Desenzano del Garda. Located on the southern tip of Lake Garda, Desenzano's pastel-colurd houses, cobbled streets and pedestrainised piazzas and buzzing cafes and shops make it the perfect base.
Late morning, you will depart by coach for San Martino della Battagliainto in the countryside behind the lake where the 1860's Wars of Independence took place between the Italians and Austrians. Enjoy a long leisurely lunch at a superb local trattoria before returning to Desenzano for an evening at lesiure
Today you visit atmopsheric Mantua, a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to architectural treasures and artefeacts, palaces and medievel and Renaissance architecture. One of the highlights is the beautiful Ducal Palace of the Gonzagas, one of Italy's most important Renaissance families.
Tonight, your evening meal will be at a local trattoria in Desenzano.
Day4Salo - ValtenesiSalo , Italy
This morning you will visit the charming lakeside town of Salo, once the seat of Mussolini's fascist government. Today, it boasts a smart pedestrianised lakefront promenade lined with attractive cafes and shops. From here you will head to Valtenesi, known as the 'Tuscany of Lake Garda' and fames for its wine and olive oil. You will get to taste both on a visit to a beautiful private family estate, enjoying a wine-tasting and leisurely lunch.
Tonight you wull dine at a local trattoria in Desenzano.
Day5Desenzano del GardaDesenzano del Garda, Italy
Today will be at leisure. Enjoy the charms of Desenzano itself, take a boat trip take on the lake or visit some of the quaint towns dotted around its shores. Or opt to jump on a train to Verona, Vicenza, Padova, Venice, or even Milan.
Today you visit the beautiful Roman city of Cremona, which boasts some of the finest Romanesque and medieval architecture centred on the lovely Piazza del Comune. Visit the Duomo, the impressive bell tower, and the Museo del Violino, which celebrates the city's unique tradition of violin making. After all, this is the home of Stradivarius.
Return to Desenzano for an evening meal at a local trattoria.
Day7Merano - Lake CalderoMerano, Italy
Today you head to the historic spa town of Merano, nestled in a South Tyrol and flanked by the mighty Dolomites. Enjoy a guided tour around this former Hapsburg stronghold as well as plenty of time at leisure. In the afternoon, you wl lenjoy a scenic drive along the'Strada del Vino' and its with pretty little villages and rolling vineyards before arriving at Lake Caldaro - the centre of the South Tyrol's wine production - and enjoy a tasting of its famed wines.
Dinner tonight will be at a local trattoria in Desenzano.
Day8Return homeVerona, Italy
After breakfast, you will bid farewell to Desenzano and head back to nearby Verona airport for our return BA flight home.
The rooms at this small family-run hotel are plain and simple, but it's the warm welcome provided by the Albiero family that's the real draw. Located on the lakefront, the hotel is in Desenzano del Garda, an attractive town on the southern shore of Lake Garda. Boat services to towns around the lake leave from the nearby port, making it ideal to explore the lake's many points of interest, including beautiful Isola del Garda and the vineyards of Bardolino on the eastern shore. Affable staff provide friendly service, and can organize all manner of activities from tailor-made bike tours to wine tasting sessions. It's geared up for cyclists, providing bike storage facilities and a workshop equipped with maintenance and repair tools.
It's in Desenzano del Garda, an attractive lakefront town with pretty pastel-coloured buildings and a couple of lovely waterfront squares. Facing the water (nip across the road to the little beach to enjoy a refreshing swim), the hotel is a five-minute stroll along the lakefront promenade to reach the historical centre. Don't miss Desenzano's Roman Villa, one of Northern Italy's best examples of a great late Roman villa. For panoramic lake views, head up to the castle that looms over town.
Look & Feel
It's set in an attractive cream-coloured building with wooden shutters. Interiors are simply furnished, with wicker seating in the TV lounge and banquet-style chairs in the breakfast area. It's plain but cheerful, making up for its lack of frills with friendly welcoming service.
Service & Facilities
Service is without a doubt the hotel's main draw. The Albiero family took over the property in 1985, and have been running it since. Guests are given a warm welcome by siblings Anna, Alessandro and Andrea who man the front desk. They're knowledgeable about the area, and can organise all manner of excursions - from bike tours and boat trips to vineyard tours and trips to Venice. Cyclists will be delighted with the secure storage facilities and well-equipped workshop. City bikes and electric bikes allow guests to explore the lakefront and surrounding vineyards.
● Room service
Spread out over three floors, the 37 rooms are simply furnished with laminated floors and durmast oak-wood furnishings. They're rather spartan: you'll find white faux-leather headboards, wooden wardrobes, and a desk and chair. Orange and purple bedspreads add a splash of colour. Bathrooms are rather compact with bathtubs or showers. Opt for a lakefront room if you can (three have small balconies with lovely views and a pleasant lake breeze).
Food & Drink
The buffet spread includes a selection of cereals, hams and pastries, along with a selection of hot dishes. You'll find ready-made pancakes, sausages, bacon and scrambled eggs; guests can boil their own eggs. There's no on site restaurant, although you'll find scores of restaurants and cafes a short walk away in the centre of town. The hotel hosts lively wine tasting sessions and the bar serves coffees and alcoholic drinks and during the warmer months of the year, there are a handful of tables on the pavement outside.
Value for money
Prices are very reasonable and include breakfast and free Wi-Fi. The complimentary parking is an added bonus as many hotels in the area don't offer parking, and those that do charge a fee.