Follow in the footsteps of Napoleon and Churchill and go and paint at the lush promontory of Punta San Vigilio. Park the car and walk down to the lake through the olive grove where you will be rewarded by a spectacular view. Or walk there along the lake from the town of Garda, on a trail edged with lemon and cypress trees.
If you really want to indulge your artistic, romantic side, you can stay at the hotel there, right on the edge of the lake.
Almost hidden valley, just inland from the village of Toscolano-Maderno on the western shore of Lake Garda is the Valle delle Cartiere. Now a peaceful and green place - not on most tourist agendas - this valley has a history of paper production on a huge scale, making use of the river to power the machinery. The ruins of the old factories litter the valley and some are made visitor friendly with exhibits and information plaques and there is a visitor centre at the start of the trail. Allow a couple of hours to walk to the top and back. Pack reasonable walking shoes for the walk, and swim wear if you want to cool off in the icy stream - good shallow swim area at the top of the valley.
Interesting day out, with a chance to see some different scenery from the lakes - despite being very close.
Driving north on the main road up the lake, take the first left after crossing the small river, follow the road past some houses and then through some tunnels until you come to the car park - you will have to continue on foot after this.
Google map: bit.ly/LJFHMW
A fantastic, super modern, two-stage revolving cable car which whisks you up 1,660m from the olive groves at lake level to a very impressive top station. Great coffee, panoramic views north and west over the blue lake to the high snow-capped mountains of the Adamello and east towards the Adige Valley.
Take the Alta Via di Monte Baldo south along the ridge and climb through flower strewn meadows and along rocky winding paths to the highest point, Cima Valdritta at 2,218m. So many picnic sites it is almost impossible to select just one.
Return to the cable car for the descent. If you have the energy (and a bike) cycle north from Malcesine and take an early evening swim from one of the many pebbly bays. The water is crystal clear. Then eat in a lakeside restaurant. A perfect day.
Malcesine, Provincia di Verona
On eastern shore of Lake Garda.
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