WHERE TO STAY IN LAKE GARDA FOR AN INCREDIBLE HOLIDAY

Where to stay in Lake Garda? Best places to stay in Lake Garda

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN LAKE GARDA – GREAT HOTELS FOR ALL BUDGETS

If you are planning a trip to Lake Garda, you have already made a great decision. Now there is probably the question about where to stay in Lake Garda?!

So while finding reasons to visit this area is actually a no-brainer, finding the perfect accommodation and the best place to stay in Lake Garda is indeed a bit more difficult.

Lаkе Gаrdа is thе lаrgеѕt lake in Italy – and it iѕ аlѕо оnе оf thе mоѕt beautiful ones. Surrounded by ruggеd hills and luѕh vegetation, the lake features a fjord-like fоrmаtiоn with its ѕоuthеrn part wider than itѕ northern part. Thе lаkе аrеа аlѕо еnjоуѕ thе mild and comfortable Mеditеrrаnеаn сlimаtе.

Viѕiting the lake also mеаnѕ being еxроѕеd to a spectacular luѕсiоuѕ environment fillеd with a variety оf trееѕ like palms, cypresses, оrаngе, and lеmоn groves. You will еаѕilу be captivated by the vibrant bluе соlоr оf thе lаkе’ѕ сlеаr water.

There are plenty of unique and unusual things to do in Lake Garda. The vicinity аrоund Lake Garda оffеrѕ a boatload of орроrtunitiеѕ for fun, rеlаxаtiоn, and recreation. But it is not only about nature – the lakeshore is оссuрiеd with several charming hаrbоr tоwnѕ.Malcesine and things to do in Lake Garda

Things to Know Before Booking Your Place in Lake Garda

Here are some general tips when it comes to booking a hotel in Lake Garda, as well as the best towns to stay in when you’re at Lake Garda. 

Personally, Lake Garda won my heart in a second, and I think it should be on any Northern Italy itinerary. It just took a few moments to forget about my prejudices. For the longest time, I thought it was a boring place and a good destination for families (with younger kids) and camping fans.

After visiting, I think it is a great destination in Italy – with activities, towns, and villages for everyone’s taste.

Whether you are a family (younger kids, older kids, or no kids at all), a couple, friends, or a solo traveler, Lake Garda makes a great Italian holiday.

Here are my best tips on where to stay, Lake Garda.Lake Garda Instagrammability

As mentioned above, Lake Garda is camping-friendly. You will also find luxury hotels, very family-friendly hotels, and more.

Not only the hotel category is important when choosing your Lake Garda accommodations. It is also crucial to pick the best location for your stay.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

Things to Consider About Places to Stay in Lake Garda

There are many things you should be taking into consideration when choosing your Lake Garda accommodation. There is an overwhelming amount of places to stay on Lake Garda, so you can afford to be a little picky. Here are a few things to consider. 

Getting Around Lake Garda 

Lake Garda is Italy’s biggest lake, with a shore length of almost 160 kilometers. While it’s great that Lake Garda is large, it also means that getting from one attraction (or town) to another can be very time-consuming. 

  • Public transportation is not great in and around Lake Garda. You can not rely on public transportation if you want to visit many towns along the lake. Buses do not bring you everywhere, they not necessarily run often, and also it takes a lot of time getting from a to b.
  • Driving can be nerve-wracking (to some). The mountain streets are very narrow and Italians tend to drive…let´s say a bit crazy. Also, petrol is ridiculously expensive in Lake Garda (Italy has one of the highest petrol prices in all of Europe; Lake Garda is even more expensive than other areas). One liter of petrol often costs 1.75€ – or more. There is no toll when driving Lake Garda’s shores, but getting to other cities or attractions, like Verona, costs extra when you use the motorways (about 8 to 9 € for 100 km).

While I still love Lake Garda, you should keep distances in mind when booking your Lake Garda hotel.

Tax For Staying Overnight Around Lake Garda

  • Each area charges an extra tourist tax. The amount depends on the area and hotel category. While it varies greatly, you can calculate roughly 1€ per night (per person) that has to be paid to the hotel.
  • If you book a hotel, it normally does not show on the price offer.

Where to Stay in Lake Garda: Southern or Northern Shore? 

Each area has its own charm and advantages.

  • The southern area tends to be warmer. If you stay on the southern shores, it is quicker for you to get to cities like Verona and Venice.
  • The north and northeast areas are better places to stay in Lake Garda for water sports loversHere you have better day trip options to the Dolomites if you stay on the northern shore.

For each of my top recommendations, I also mention for whom this town/village is the perfect place and why.

More Tips For Your Hotel in Lake Garda

  • If you stay in Lake Garda for more than 4 days, I suggest splitting your trip. Choose two different locations for your trip. Stay a few days on the southern shoes before you move up north (or the other way around).
  • Yes, it sounds stressful to some of you. But if you stay a few days in totally different Lake Garda areas, you will see a lot more, and getting around is much easier.

Best Towns to Stay in Lake Garda

We will talk about these 5 places for your stay at Lake Garda.

  • SIRMIONE
  • RIVA DEL GARDA
  • DESENZANO DEL GARDA
  • MALCESINE
  • LIMONE SUL GARDA

Top Areas and Hotels to Stay in Lake garda

Let’s get started with the best areas and hotels in Lake Garda.

SIRMIONE

Sirmione is one of the most popular places for tourists. It sits on a peninsula jutting out into the lake on the southern shore.Instagram places in Lake Garda

If staying in Sirmione, you have some of the best-known sights in Lake Garda around the corner.

The resort town is known for its thermal baths and Rocca Scaligera, a medieval castle overlooking the lake, making it one of the most popular tourist sights and is worth a visit. 

With its winding little alleys and beautiful houses, the old town makes it a perfect place to stay in Lake Garda. There are small public beaches right in the old town though they are not the best places to chill.

The Archaeological Site of Grotte di Catullo encompasses a Roman villa, a museum, and olive trees, and you will also find the ruins in the rocky Jamaica Beach just below it.  

And you can do shorter, and longer boat rides from Sirmione, so you can leave your car and get to see more of the area.

There is no shortage of attractions in Lake Garda, and there is no shortage of beautiful hotels.

Sirmione is also great if you want to stay in a busy tourist hotspot, close to Gardaland, Garda, or Verona (even Venice as a day trip would be possible).

However, Sirmione is also one of the busiest places. If you cannot tolerate crowds very well, Sirmione is probably not the best place to stay in Lake Garda.

Accommodation in Sirmione

  • Luxury – For a luxurious experience, stay at the Grand Hotel Terme, which offers great amenities and a full English buffet.
  • Mid-Range – If you are looking for a mid-range option, the Champagne Rooms would be a great choice, with helpful staff and a nice location. They also offer family suites, perfect if you’re traveling with your family.
  • Budget-friendly – Located right by Lake Garda’s shore, the lovely Hotel Porto Azzurro makes a good budget option. 
  • CampingCamping Tiglio is a great place for lakeside camping, offering clean facilities and nice amenities.

RIVA DEL GARDA

At the very northern shores of Lake Garda is Riva del Garda.  View from the tower in Riva del Garda, Lake Garda

It is another gorgeous village with a bustling old town, a lovely waterfront, a clock tower with great views (it is just 165 steps to get to the top), and colorful old buildings.

Riva del Garda is one of the bigger towns at the lake and is great for shoppers, museum lovers, and anyone who does not like it too quiet.

It is also a popular place for watersports lovers – like kite surfing, windsurfing, or canoeing. 

From Riva del Garda, you can “easily” get to places like Sirmione, Malcesine, and Limone by boat (or car) – you can also visit South Tyrol ́s attractions from there (like Lago di Braies as a day trip) which probably makes it one of the best towns to stay in Lake Garda.

Let’s face it, the Dolomites in South Tyrol are just breathtaking, and this way, you can combine mountains and the “city” life easily.

It is close to Nago-Torbole, Limone, Malcesine, and Mount Baldo, as well as places like Trento and the Dolomites.

Accommodation in Riva del Garda

  • Luxury – The Rivacentro is a popular, luxurious apartment hotel that has helpful staff, modern rooms, and great amenities.
  • Mid-Range – For a mid-range hotel, you could stay at the Parc Hotel Flora, which offers spa access, views, and breakfast.

DESENZANO DEL GARDA

Desenzano del Garda is a resort town on the southern shore of Lake Garda. The town is the biggest at Lake Garda – so, there are quite some attractions and places to visit.

Desenzano del Garda, Lake Garda where to stay

There is also a lovely water promenade, and many shops and stores. The little harbor, with its colorful buildings, makes it also pretty picturesque. 

The vibrant Piazza Matteotti and Piazza Malvezzi are some of the best places to see, but some more ancient sights like Desenzano’s Castle. This is the town where you can party the best – so if you are a night owl, then this is the best town to stay in Lake Garda.

To be honest, it would not be my first pick to stay in Lake Garda – though staying here comes with some perks.

It is close to Sirmione, which makes it a good place if you want to focus on Lake Garda’s shorthorn shores. It is also a good base for a day trip to Bergamo and Milan (or even a day trip to Lake Como).

Also, given that Desenzano del Garda does have a train station, it is great for those who arrive via train.

Accommodation in Desenzano del Garda

  • LuxuryPark Hotel offers a luxury experience, daily breakfast, and a rooftop pool. Also great for families.
  • Mid-Range – You can stay at the Villa Rosa Hotel Desenzano for a modern hotel experience close to the town center and beach. 
  • Budget-friendly – For a budget option, try the B&B Desenzano Paradise, which offers a buffet breakfast, free bicycles, and a lovely terrace. Favored by solo travelers.
  • Camping – A good camping option near the lake would be Camping Village San Francesco, offering a pool, restaurant, and games.

MALCESINE

When you think about where to stay in Lake Garda, you should also consider Malcesine for your Lake Garda vacation.

Malcesine in Lake Garda

This busy little town is located at the foot of Mount Baldo, making it a great base if you’d like to enjoy a day in the mountains (either by hiking up or using the cable car).

It is also one of the best choices if you enjoy watersports.

The old town and the harbor make it a lovely base for people who enjoy relaxing and strolling, too.

From here, you can also quite easily reach Limone and Riva del Garda by boat.

So Malcesine, though smaller than some of the other towns mentioned here, is actually a great place for those who enjoy some busier places that also offer quick getaways.

By the way, when I visited the castle and enjoyed the views (better views than from the Sirmione castle), I saw that the rooftop is also a wedding venue. The venue was absolutely stunning and romantic. So, if you are in the mood to get married…then Malcesine is definitely the best place to stay.

It is also close to Riva del Garda, Trento, and Rovereto and perfect for Northern Italy trips. Check out my detailed Malcesine post. 

Accommodation in Malcesine

  • LuxuryLa Loggia del Capitano is a great luxury option, with spacious apartments and terraces with great views. 
  • Mid-Range – Spacious apartments at a mid-level price can be found at Appartamento Morena, which has a nice lounge and amenities. Good for families and groups.
  • Budget-friendlyGarda Family House is not located directly in Malcesine but offers continental breakfast at a budget-friendly price, just outside of Malcesine proper.

LIMONE SUL GARDA

One of the cutest towns in Europe is also one of the best places to stay in Lake Garda. As my base when I visited Lake Garda, I totally adored Limone.

Limone best places to visit

Strolling through the old town, walking the cycle path, and watching the sunset on the promenade… despite its very small size, it is full of beauty and charm.

You can’t go wrong with choosing Limone as your base (here are my recommendations for things to do in Limone, btw). Staying here also makes it pretty comfortable to explore this pretty town early in the morning or in the evening when all the crowds are gone. Limone might be tiny, but the crowds come.

So, whether you want to walk the cyclopath or stroll the narrow streets – there is no better than the early mornings or later evenings, and if you stay somewhere else, it might not be possible. 

It is easy to get to Malcesine and Riva del Garda (by boat), but it takes some time to get to other areas that are further away.

So, my tip for where to stay in Lake Garda is Limone. Though getting to different places is time-consuming, and there aren’t tons of activities offered, it is my personal favorite.

If you stay for more than 2 or 3 nights at Lake Garda, then it might get boring, but since Limone also has a beach, you can’t really go wrong with booking your accommodation here for a few days.

Accommodations in Limone Sul Garda

  • LuxuryHotel Splendid Palace is a lovely accommodation that offers many amenities and beautiful views from its rooftop pool.
  • Mid-RangeGarni Gianmartin provides a savory buffet and lovely lake views. A favorite among solo travelers.
  • Budget-friendlyHotel Cristina has a nice location and offers lake views, a pool, and friendly staff. 

Read more:

CONCLUSION: WHERE TO STAY IN LAKE GARDA

Sо, whеthеr you’re looking for a rеlаxing winter brеаk complete with luxurious surroundings and plenty оf thingѕ tо ѕее and dо no matter what the weather or you’re looking tо bооk уоur Italian summer hоlidауѕ in аdvаnсе, Lаkе Gаrdа iѕ a dеѕtinаtiоn definitely wоrth соnѕidеring.

And now, you also have ideas on the best hotels in Lake Garda.

Hopefully, this post has helped you find the best places to stay in Lake Garda. The choices are endless, but the above-mentioned areas are my personal favorite tips for where to stay in Lake Garda. 

Safe Travels, Arzo

BEST THINGS TO DO IN MALCESINE, LAKE GARDA, ITALY

Things to do in Malcesine, Lake Garda, Italy Arzo Travels

WHAT TO DO IN MALCESINE IN ONE DAY + AND TRAVEL TIPS

During my trip to Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, I spent one day discovering the top things to do in Malcesine: the picturesque medieval atmosphere of the old town, the pretty panorama of the lake and the mountains from the harbor, the most beautiful view of Lake Garda from Scaliger Castle, and much more.

This beautiful town, located on the northeastern shore of Lake Garda, is a great base to visit other highlights of Lake Garda, such as Limone sul Garda and Riva del Garda. 

In this post, you will learn some facts, why you should visit Malcesine, what to see in Malcesine, and more useful tips for your trip to Malcesine and Lake Garda.

  • Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

MALCESINE TRAVEL TIPS

Get ready for your trip to Malcesine with this useful information.

FACTS

  • The town of Malcesine (pronounced mal-che-see-nay, with the accent on “che”) is located in the northern part of Lake Garda, on the eastern shore, south of Riva del Garda and opposite Limone sul Garda. 
  • It forms part of the province of Verona, in the region of Veneto: Verona is approximately 40 km to the South-East, and Venice is approximately 120 km to the South-East. The city of Trento is also quite close, approximately 65 km to the North.
  • This small comune of approximately 3500 inhabitants is nestled between Lake Garda and the slopes of Mount Baldo: the iconic Scaliger Castle overlooks the lake from the top of a hill. 

HOW TO GET TO MALCESINE

  • Plane: The closest airport to Malcesine is in Verona; however, take a look also at Milano Bergamo Airport, Venice Airport and Treviso Airport, which are bases for low-cost airlines in Europe such as Ryanair and Wizzair. Slightly farther away are Milano Malpensa Airport and Bologna Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take public transportation.
  • Public transportation: Unfortunately there is no train station in Malcesine; the closest stations in large cities are Verona to the South and Rovereto to the North. Buses run along the coasts of Lake Garda; bus connections can take a while to travel in this area. During July and August there may be extra connections between Riva del Garda and Venice, or between Verona and the Lake towns to bring Opera-goers back to their accommodations. During the rest of the year, some connections may be cancelled. The main public transportation company is called ATV Verona.
  • Car: The scenery of Lake Garda and the surrounding hills and mountains is beautiful from the road to Malcesine. However, it is a local road which crosses many towns and holiday destinations, so there could be traffic. 
  • Boat: There are ferries connecting Malcesine to towns all around Lake Garda. The ferries leave from Peschiera or Desenzano to the South, or from Riva to the North. Many ferries are managed by this company..
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HOW TO GET AROUND MALCESINE

  • Malcesine is a very walkable town: wear comfortable shoes and enjoy the picturesque cobble-stoned streets. 
  • You can easily explore the whole city center. The Scaliger Castle is located on top of a hill, but it’s not hard to reach. 
  • You don’t need a car to get around Malcesine, plus there aren’t many parking lots. If you travel by car, or you want to use it for day trips, make sure you check with your accommodation if they have space for it. 
  • There is a tourist bus during the summer, but the schedule may change, so be sure to check it. 

BEST TIME TO VISIT MALCESINE

Lake Garda is a very popular summer destination. Even though Lake Garda might not be that popular with US-Americans, it is extremely popular with European – especially German – visitors. Malcesine and the nearby towns can get very, very crowded in July and August, which are also the hottest months. Prices for accommodations rise and it can become pretty expensive.

I recommend visiting Malcesine in April or May, or in late September and early October. In these periods the weather can be nice, destinations are less busy (but there is still a lot going on and it can be partly crowded), and accommodation prices are a little lower. It is much more pleasant to visit the best attractions of Malcesine in these conditions. 

During the rest of the year, many tourism establishments may be closed.

WHERE TO STAY IN MALCESINE

Even though I didn’t stay overnight in Malcesine, here are a few accommodation possibilities. Note that many hotels state an “adults only” policy which may come in handy for those looking for a children-free stay.

  • Luxury: Guesthouse Grand View is perfect if you are looking to enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Garda and the mountains while swimming in the outdoor pool. It is located on the slopes of Monte Baldo close to the center of Malcesine.
  • Mid-range: Enjoy the old town from Hotel Malcesine, located in the heart of the city center, close to the harbor. The terrace with sun chairs overlooking Lake Garda is a beautiful place to relax.
  • Budget-friendly: Guests at the apartments of Residence Le Palme can admire Lake Garda from the balcony, as well as rent the bikes available. 

If you plan to stay in another village around Lake Garda, check out my accommodation guide with tips on the best accommodation around Lake Garda.

MALCESINE – RANDOM INFORMATION

  • In Italian restaurants, leaving a tip is not required, but appreciated. 
  • At restaurants where you sit at a table, the bill will include a “coperto”. It is a fee between 1-3 EUR per person that covers the cost of the tablecloth, cutlery, bread, and sometimes a jar of tap water. 
  • Take good care of your feet by wearing comfortable shoes.
  • Be prepared for mosquitos in the summer months.
  • Cheaper supermarkets are located by the main road, Via Gardesana SR249.

Things to do in Malcesine

I really enjoyed my day-trip to Malcesine. As you know, Limone is my favourite town on Lake Garda, but Malcesine is also very pretty, and a bit larger. Plus, the view from the Scaliger Castle is stunning.

Here are the top things to do in Malcesine.

Explore the Old Town

The first thing to see in Malcesine is the medieval old town. Walking in the center of Malcesine, between the lake and the main road, is very pleasant and relaxing. 

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The narrow alleys have a very special atmosphere made of colorful buildings, cute shops, and cafés, with pretty squares suddenly opening up to the sun, some bordered by orange trees and palms. As Malcesine is between the lake and the slopes of Mount Baldo, most streets are uphill.

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Malcesine’s history dates back to Roman times. Afterwards, this area was dominated by Goths and Lombards, by the Scaligeri family of Verona, by Venetians and Austrians, before finally becoming part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1866. The old town retained its medieval structure around the fortress of Scaliger Castle. 

  • Italian tip: if you are looking to enjoy some local wine, look for the Italian words “osteria”, “vineria” or “enoteca”.

Walk by the Harbor

When considering what to do in Malcesine, the answer is as easy as walking along the harbor. 

The small harbor is another beautiful place in Malcesine, bustling with travelers and locals, ferries, and fishing boats. It is perfect to relax and do some people-watching.

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In the courtyard of Palazzo del Capitano, one of the top attractions of Malcesine, you can sit on a bench with a gelato while you enjoy the wonderful view of the Lake and the mountains. 

Visit Scaliger Castle

The Scaliger Castle is a must-visit in Malcesine: You will learn a bit about Malcesine´s history and it offers the best view at Lake Garda. The rooftops of red shingles below, the Lake in front of you, mountains all around: it was my favorite view!

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Also known as the Malcesine Castle (Castello di Malcesine in Italian), this medieval castle sits on a promontory overlooking Lake Garda. Even though the first castle here was built around the year 500, it takes the name of the family that ruled in Verona, Della Scala, who took over in 1277 and rebuilt it. It was declared National Monument in 1902.

If you have only one day in Malcesine, make sure you visit the castle to experience the view and learn about the local culture. 

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The Scaliger Castle houses the small Museum of Natural History about the flora and fauna of Lake Garda and Mount Baldo, as well as an exhibition of drawings made by Goethe; another museum of local history is being created.

From the various courtyards and balconies on different floors you can enjoy wonderful views. Make sure you climb the tower and admire the picturesque view 70 meters above Lake Garda. 

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The Scaliger Castle is also a very romantic venue: the Rivellino courtyard is used to celebrate weddings. 

  • Price: the ticket to Scaliger Castle in Malcesine costs 6 EUR.
  • Opening hours: Scaliger Castle is open every day, but hours change seasonally and on weekends, so make sure you check online. 
  • Top tip: enjoy a wonderful view of Scaliger Castle rising above Malcesine and Lake Garda from the ferry to/from Limone, the town on the other side of the lake.

Visit Captain’s Palace

You will certainly notice this beautiful palace near the harbour: it is one of the key historical attractions in Malcesine. 

This historic building was constructed by the Scaliger family over Roman and Romanesque ruins in the 1200s and 1300s; it was later remodeled in Venetian style in the following centuries, with sumptuous decorations worthy of the residence of the Captain of the Lake.

The most recent renovation started in 2007 and gave the palace back its original splendour.

You can walk through the main hall, admire the frescoes on the ceiling, and enjoy the wonderful view of the lake and the garden through the back gate. It is a very Instagrammable spot in Malcesine, especially when the flowers are blooming.

  • Price: admission is free. Only the ground floor and the garden are open to the public.
  • Events: the first floor is used for concerts, conferences or wedding ceremonies.

Admire the View From Mount Baldo

Monte Baldo is certainly a top destination around Lake Garda, especially for day trips. It is popular to visit Malcesine just to reach the top of Monte Baldo and admire the view. 

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I took the cable car to reach the top. The first station of “Funivia Malcesine-Monte Baldo” is close to the city center, approximately 10 minutes on foot from the harbor. In just a few minutes, it takes you up to 1800 meters of altitude.

After the mid-station, the rotating cabins make this experience even more unique! The view of Lake Garda and the surrounding mountains makes it worth traveling to Malcesine. I would say this is definitely a place to visit in Malcesine in one day.

Animal lovers should check out the cute “Elalpaca” alpaca farm on the top of Mount Baldo, near the cableway arrival.

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  • Price: A return ticket costs 25 EUR when purchased online. 
  • Opening hours: The cable car is open approximately from May to October, from 9 AM to 5 PM, depending on the year. Make sure you check it in advance
  • Practical tip: Get there in advance in high season, as the queue could be long. Getting there early as possible is the best option, as well as buying the ticket online.
  • Clothing tip: On top of Monte Baldo, it can feel significantly colder than in Malcesine, so consider bringing a light jacket. Of course, check the weather before you head there, as clouds could block the view.

It is also possible to hike from Malcesine to Monte Baldo. The trail is 11 km long but the altitude difference is 1815 meters! I can recommend this very steep trail only to trained hikers. Even hiking downhill can hurt your knees.

Paragliding at Mount Baldo

Those of you looking for a thrill should definitely consider paragliding from Mount Baldo to Malcesine! Thanks to the thermals rising from Lake Garda (the flows of air going upwards), after taking off from the top of Monte Baldo, you can reach up to 3000 meters! The landing is all the way down in Malcesine, close to the lake. It looks very exciting.

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Many companies offer a tandem paragliding flight in Malcesine, where you sit on the paraglider together with an instructor. You just have to wear comfortable clothing, and they take care of the rest. Many packages also include pictures and a video of this amazing experience.

  • Top tip: paragliding is a very popular activity, so make sure you book in advance.

HIKING IN MALCESINE

There are plenty of hiking trails in Malcesine that lead up the slopes of Monte Baldo. Some are easy and suitable also for families with children, such as the ring trail from Malcesine to San Michele (the mid-stop of the cablecar ride); others are quite challenging and more scenic, like the hike to the top of Mount Baldo and the treks on the peaks, where there are even WWI trenches.

Make sure you do your research, choose a trek suitable to your capabilities, and bring the necessary equipment.

WATERSPORTS IN MALCESINE

Another cool thing to do in Malcesine is spending time by the shore of Lake Garda! 

The water sports that you can do in Malcesine are windsurfing and kitesurfing. Winds blow on Lake Garda all day long: the strong Pelér wind blows in the morning, and the lighter Ora wind blows in the afternoon. 

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As long as you have basic swimming skills, you can book with the local providers and have some fun!

There are also options for sail boats and for SUP – stand up paddling. 

If you’d rather relax, make sure you check out the beach north of the city centre called Paina Beach, or the lovely Val di Sogno beach, approximately 30 minutes on foot south of Malcesine. Everywhere, the water is clear and very inviting for a swim.

It is also fun to rent a motorboat to enjoy the view of the mountains from the lake.

  • Price: Most are free, in some you can rent a sun chair.
  • What to expect: the beaches are made of pebbles!
  • Food: There are restaurants and kiosks around the beach areas.
  • Italian tip: The Italian words for “beach” are spiaggia and lido

DISCOVER THE MARKETS OF MALCESINE

A traditional market takes place in Malcesine every Saturday morning, from 8 AM to 2 PM. You can find fresh produce, local food, and traditional crafts. This area is famous especially for olive oil and wine. 

The atmosphere in the alleys and squares of the city centre is super Italian. It’s the perfect place to find cute souvenirs.

  • Practical tip: because of the market, on Saturdays it’s even harder to find place to park your car. 

OLIVE GROWERS CONSORTIUM OF MALCESINE

I have to admit that I hate olives. Here, I said it. I hate olives. Olive oil is okay if the scent is not very strong. So, I had to pass on this Malcesine attraction.

Foodies will enjoy visiting the Consortium of Olive Growers. Olives are a speciality in Malcesine: the shop of the Consortium is located in the centre of Malcesine, while the Olive Mill is 30 minutes away on foot on Via Panoramica.

Locals are proud of producing an excellent extra-virgin olive oil thanks to the mild climate of Lake Garda, which is ideal for growing olives. Olive trees are able to grow easily in this stony and exposed soil. It is quite amazing, since just south of Lake Garda is the foggy plain Pianura Padana, and just north are snowy mountains.

The Consortium was founded in 1946, but olive trees have grown in the area since Roman times.  Olive oil is so precious that it is called “yellow gold”. More than 500 small olive producers from Malcesine and the nearby towns are part of the Consortium, which ensures high-quality processing of the olives through strict policies. It is possible to buy Malcesine Olive Oil only in Malcesine! 

  • How to visit: You can visit the Consortium with a guided tour on Fridays, to learn about olive trees with a video and to taste wine and olive oil on bread. Make sure you book until one day before.

DAY TRIPS FROM MALCESINE

Malcesine is the perfect location to take day trips around Lake Garda and even beyond.

LIMONE SUL GARDA

My favorite day trip from Malcesine is Limone sul Garda, the town on the opposite shore of the lake. I loved the atmosphere in the cute alleys of Limone, the colorful flowers, the view of Lake Garda. Furthermore, from the ferry, you can enjoy an extra special view of Malcesine Castle. Check out my Limone post for more info on Lake Garda´s cutest village.

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Riva del Garda

It is also very easy to visit Riva del Garda from Malcesine. Riva del Garda is the town on the northern tip of Lake Garda. The beautiful city center features colorful houses, the impressive Torre Apponale stone tower, and an interesting Museum of Lake Garda concerning archaeology and history from Roman times until the WWII resistance. The mountains are very close, so the beach and the trails nearby are very scenic. 

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VERONA

The interesting cities nearby are Verona, with its pretty center, the Roman Arena, and the Romeo and Juliet balcony; Rovereto, home to the stunning Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art “MART”; and Trento, with a very authentic old town and the massive Buonconsiglio Castle. 

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If you want to have some fun, head to the amusement park Gardaland! Fresh water rides, exciting roller coasters, but also family-friendly rides and shows await you on the southern side of Lake Garda.

FINAL WORDS ON THE BEST ATTRACTIONS IN MALCESINE

Without a doubt, Malcesine is one of the prettiest villages around Lake Garda. It is worth going there on a day trip, but it is also a perfect base for multiple days. I hope with my post you will be able to enjoy the top things to do in Malcesine.

If you are planning a trip to Lake Garda, here is my 1-7 Lake Garda itinerary.

BEST TRAVEL TIPS FOR ITALY

What to know as American before traveling to Italy, travel tips for Italy

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE TRAVELING TO ITALY

So, most likely, you are planning your first trip to this gorgeous country and are now wondering about the best travel tips for Italy?! First of all, visiting Italy is always a great idea. Second, I hope this post answers all your questions about Italy travel tips.

There is a lot to love about Italy, and many reasons that it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Understandably, it gets lots of visitors. This post will tell you what you need to know before going to Italy and important Italy travel tips if this is your first time.

Rome tourists points with Arzo Travels
Rome with a view of Vatican City and Rome, Italy

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

TRAVEL TIP FOR ITALY: LANGUAGE

The main language of Italy is, obviously, Italian. English is not spoken very well in many parts of the country, but the locals try their best to understand you when you use it. However, don’t worry, most of the hospitality and tourism staff speak English well.

Don’t be surprised if you hear many people speaking German in the northern part of the country or French in Valle d’Aosta region.

It’s best to try to master some basic Italian words to make your visit easier, such as

  • grazie (thank you)
  • ciao (informal hello)
  • buongiorno (good morning)
  • scusi (polite excuse me and sorry)
  • bello (beautiful)
  • buono (tasty)

TIP FOR VISITING ITALY: PEOPLE

Before starting your Italy trip, you should know that the people here are incredibly open and warm-hearted. Don’t be surprised if people come up to you to touch and compliment your children or pets (if you’re traveling with some). Italians are loud, passionate, and exuberant people, much more so than others (like German or French people). Personally, I love it, but some might have to get used to that.

As a woman, you are often approached by men – they just love and appreciate women. So, I don’t read too much into it and you should not do either but don’t be surprised if it happens.

TIPS FOR Best Time to Visit in Italy

If you’re traveling to Italy, you should know that summers can get really hot and crowded. I suggest not visiting in July or August. While Italy is busy all year round, those months are the absolute craziest.

In particular, beware of August 15th and the days around that date: it is a national holiday when most Italian companies close for one or two weeks. Thousands of Italians travel from the cities to the seaside, and even to the mountains and lakes, to escape the heat and enjoy their holidays. This means traffic, high prices, crowds. You may actually get to enjoy really hot, but relatively empty cities.

Fall and spring are a little less crowded, but the weather is also less predictable.Venice Itinerary 2 days

Personally, if you are totally flexible, I suggest visiting in April and May, or in September or early October. Of course, it depends where you want to visit and what you want to do, but this is generally a good rule.

If you enjoy winter sports, then you might want to consider December (it always gets busier around Christmas and New Years Eve), January, or even February. The skiing season usually ends around Easter, especially if it comes early in the year. Hotels, restaurants, and even shops in ski resorts may be closed during the spring and the fall.

TIPS ON WEATHER IN ITALY

If you are going to Italy in the winter, be aware that the temperatures can differ by as much as 20ºC (about 40ºF) from the north to the south. Furthermore, northern Italy is wetter than southern Italy; all the cities in the Pianura Padana plain, like Turin, Milan, Bologna, can have some snow and most definitely some fog. Venice in the winter feels really cold because of the humidity. In the south instead, like in Naples or in Sicily, the winter still feels somewhat like spring.

Milano Duomo, Lombardy itinerary
Milan in summer – hot, hot, hot and sticky

Summer is hot, but there is less weather variation, especially in the cities or on the coast. However, if you plan to travel to the mountains in the summer – for example, to the Dolomites or to Lake Garda – you will still need a jacket in the evenings.

Personally, I never enjoyed the summer times in Italy. July and August are really hot, sticky, and unpleasant – even in Northern Italy. I cannot even imagine how Southern Italy will be like at that time when the temperatures can stay above 30ºC (about 86ºF) even in the evenings!

For a beach vacation, June or September can still be fine. In June the seawater will still be somewhat chilly, while in September it will feel warmer after receiving months of the summer sun. Especially in southern Italy and in the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, it’s pleasant to swim even in early October.

TIPS FOR GETTING AROUND ITALY

Walking is big here, despite the cobblestone streets. After all, this is what you came here for! The medieval atmosphere in the small towns, the grand buildings in the large cities, the long promenades by the sea. The best way to enjoy Italy is by walking.

Limone sul Garda, ItalyWhile the Italians will still wear high heels while walking on these roads, I don’t recommend it. A lot of your Italy trip will require walking, especially in the city centers and old towns, so good shoes are necessary. My tip for your trip is to bring along stylish yet comfortable shoes that you can walk around in all day. You want to avoid thin soles (like ballerinas or sandals): you may feel like you’re in a movie, but your feet will make you regret that choice very quickly.

Tip: pack some plasters in your handbag, in case you get a blister.

TIPS FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN ITALY

One of the things you should know when visiting Italy is that public transportation is excellent. Okay, not everywhere in Italy but in many areas. It is reliable and a great way to get around – much better than in Germany.

The two main railway networks in Italy are Trenitalia and Italotreno; furthermore, there are small local companies that run on specific routes. If you want to travel by train on a longer route with the fast “Freccia” trains, consider booking in advance.

There are a lot of bus companies running up and down the country; in the highly touristic areas, extra lines are activated in the high season. A large and international bus company is FlixBus.

So, take advantage of the buses and trains to save money and the hassle of driving. Just make sure you get to the right station in the cities where there are multiple main stations (e.g. Venice Santa Lucia Train Station is really in Venice, while Venice Mestre Train Station is in the town of Mestre, the last city on the ground before the Venice lagoon).

Tip: If you buy a paper ticket, remember to validate your ticket BEFORE you get on a train, at the machines in the underground tunnels, or on the tracks. You must do this before riding, otherwise, the ticket inspector may fine you.

Driving in Italy

If you are visiting Italy and plan to drive, be aware that this can be a real challenge. You are often not allowed to drive in certain areas called ZTL (like city and town centers), even if your GPS sends you there. Unfortunately, the signs aren’t always super clear, or the areas are off-limits only on specific days or at specific times. If you do drive somewhere you shouldn’t, you will receive a fine at home. Not a nice souvenir of your trip to Italy.

Best places to visit in the Dolomites
Road mountains in the Dolomites

Driving can be fun in Italy, but it can also be a horrible experience. Parking is a pain. Gas is expensive. Traffic can slow you down significantly.

And just the act of driving in Italy can be frustrating and a little nerve-wracking. For instance, in the north, you have to contend with narrow mountain roads where people pass you at high speeds. Fender benders are not uncommon. In the summer, there are often road works, while in the winter the snow makes the roads even more narrow and dangerous.

Also, driving in Southern Italy can be challenging, as the locals seem to be following a different set of rules – I have only driven in Northern Italy, and believe me, that was time-wrecking at times.

Before you decide to road trip Italy, you should know that gas/petrol is costly, as well as parking. Also, there is a toll for many highways, which can get quite expensive. You pay around $8-10 for 100 km (prices vary a bit). You get a ticket when you access the highway (sometimes there are queues at the toll booths) and you pay your fee when you exit, by cash or card.

Of course, you can use toll-free roads, but those usually cross lots of towns, so it might take much longer to get to your destination.

These are all great reasons to use public transportation whenever you can. However, I will drive in Italy again because it is still worth it to me. I love the freedom that comes with driving, the possibility to stop when you want or need to (very useful when I travel with my dog), and the sceneries are just gorgeous.

Style/Fashion in Italy

Italians are the most beautiful people in the world… in my opinion.

They are incredibly fashionable, especially in northern and central Italy. Even if you think you are dressed up, you may still feel frumpy when standing next to an Italian. 

Before you pack for your trip to Italy, consider bringing some dressier clothes to fit in with the locals, especially if you plan dinners in nice restaurants or drinks in the evening. If you are looking to have a more casual holiday, this may not be the best location.

Skip the Lines in Italy

Italy is one of the busiest countries in the world when it comes to visitors and attractions – off-season or on. There are always lines and crowds, even under the sun or in the rain – as you can expect in such a beautiful and popular country. Because of this, skipping the line makes the most sense here.

Venice 2-day Itinerary , best places to see in a weekend
Lines in Venice

When I buy tickets in advance, I mostly use GetYourGuide. I love that I can cancel up to 24 hours without any costs if something else comes up. And if I want to avoid the lines… Just choose skip-the-line tickets for Venice, Rome, Florence. You will find most tours and tickets here.

With that said, Italians are not very reasonable or logical when it comes to queueing. They don’t really form a line when waiting for the train or the bus: they will all rush to the doors when they open. Be patient and try to follow the flow. Also, stay safe by keeping your valuables in closed pockets.

Electricity in Italy

Electricity in Italy is generally reliable throughout the country. In Italy, the standard voltage is 230 V – you can use your electric appliances if the standard voltage in your country is between 220 – 240 V, so you shouldn’t have any trouble plugging in your chargers and curling irons. 

Remember that if you are an American traveling to Italy, you will need to have an adapter since the voltage is different and could fry your electronics. Italy also has some two-pronged outlets (though they are mostly three-pronged these days), so to be on the safe side, buy the adapters with only two prongs.

In general, if you travel with lots of electronics that need charging every night, you may want to bring a multi-plug or power strip. Some hotels, especially old ones, may have just a couple of outlets in their rooms, and sometimes they are behind cabinets or far away from the bedside table.

Water in Italy

Water in Italy is free from the various drinking fountains found throughout the cities and towns.

This water is safe and delicious. To save money on your Italy trip, bring along a reusable water bottle to fill wherever you go.

In many restaurants, you can ask for a jar of tap water, which is usually free.

Northern Italy vs. Southern Italy

These two parts of Italy are significantly different, despite being part of the same country. But they are both charming in their own right.

Before you make your Italy itinerary, you should know that Italy’s northern part is renowned for its spectacular mountains and lakes. Southern Italy is famous for its luxurious beaches (and even better food). But each is stunning and worth visiting. Things to know before visiting ItalyFurthermore, art and history are present in all cities, from the Alps to the tip of Sicily. While you can certainly visit the most famous Italian cities like Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome, and Naples, it is just as wonderful to choose a smaller area, in order to discover one major city and lots of hidden gems.

More contained areas are Florence and the medieval towns in Tuscany; Milan, Turin and the excellent vineyards; the marvelous coast from Naples to Capri; the clear sea waters in Puglia; or the Greek heritage sites in Sicily.

Here are my favorite places in Northern Italy – find out which places blew me away!

Siesta in Italy

If you’re planning your Italy vacation, make sure to account for the daily practice of siesta.

Italians take a siesta every day from 1 – 4 pm approximately. Many restaurants and shops, especially in small towns or in the south, may be closed during this time, so plan to either take a siesta yourself or pack a picnic to enjoy while you wait for things to open up again.

During the hot summer months, it’s very pleasant to relax at the hotel during these hours. It can be really exhausting to visit a city in such hot temperatures.

However, if you visit major cities like Milan, Florence, and Rome, most establishments are open all day long.

Public Restrooms in Italy

Another piece of important Italy travel info is to always have some change on you in Italy. The public restrooms here charge about 1 euro, so always have some cash on hand for when you need it.

Usually, you can access the restroom of a café or restaurant for free when you make a consumption. It is considered rude to walk in and make your way to the restroom without ordering anything.

Credit Cards / Cash in Italy

Speaking of money, an important thing to know when going to Italy is whether credit cards are widely accepted throughout the country, although American Express is less frequently taken than Visa and MasterCard. 

Now, cards in Italy are accepted often, but not always. Sometimes, shops or restaurants will refuse your card if you spend less than 5-10 euros; street food kiosks or establishments in remote places may not accept card payment altogether. For these reasons, I do suggest always having cash on you. It will save you a lot of trouble if you have cash on hand.

The currency in Italy is the euro. Before you travel, make sure you check the fees and commissions for withdrawing euros and for making purchases in euros with your card.

Religious Sites in Italy

Italians take religion very seriously (somehow). With the Vatican located within Rome, there is a heavy Catholic influence on the country and people. 
Churches to visit in Bergamo, ItalyWhen visiting religious sites and churches, make sure to show the proper respect by wearing appropriate clothing: cover your shoulders if you wear a tank top, and cover your legs if you wear shorts or a miniskirt. Keeping a scarf in your handbag may come in handy. Men should wear suitable clothing too.

Observe any rules and customs, and you will have a great time visiting these stunning cultural and historical sights.

Restaurants in Italy

Limone best activities
Limone sul Garda restaurant

Restaurants in Italy have many names. Of course, ristorante is a generic restaurant; a pizzeria is dedicated to pizza; an osteria and a trattoria are usually family-managed and offer traditional local food; a taverna will offer more wine than food.

When dining out at a restaurant in Italy, you will most likely encounter a fee called a “coperto”. This fee literally “covers” the cost of the tablecloth and napkins, plates and cutlery, and usually some bread.

It will depend on where you are dining, but usually, it is between 1 and 3 euros per person. If this is included on your bill, then you don’t need to leave a tip. Sometimes, a service fee is also charged.

The price of the “coperto” depends on where you are dining, but usually, it is between 1 and 3 euros per person. If this is included on your bill, then you don’t need to leave a tip – but the waiters will appreciate it if you leave a few coins or a small banknote on the table. Sometimes, a service fee is also charged.

When it comes to opening hours, restaurants in touristy areas will be open almost all day. The peak hour for Italians in the North is approximately 1 PM for lunch and 8 PM for dinner; in the South, it’s usually a bit later. Avoid the crowd by having lunch and dinner a little earlier than that.

If you behave particularly nicely, or if your total bill is particularly high, the waiters may decide to offer you some grappa or limoncello, the local liqueurs, as a goodbye drink.

Food in Italy

What more do you need to know about Italy? Well, about the food, of course! Vegetarian food in Italy-2There is a big difference between food in the north and the south of Italy.

The south has the healthier fare, which is more my kind of food. There is more emphasis on meats and cheeses in the north, so not vegetarian-friendly, let alone vegan-friendly. This is more of the stereotypical Italian food we see elsewhere. 

As for pizza, I have heard that it is best in Naples, located in Italy’s southern part. But I have had good pizza in the north, too. For your own safety, do not try to order pizza with pineapple!

Some people consider breakfast the most important meal of the day – but not in Italy. Breakfast is not a big deal here: Italians like their breakfast sweet, which usually means coffee and a croissant or a similar pastry. If you decide to have breakfast at the cute café around the corner from your flat, this is what you will find.

Even if you go to a restaurant (unless it is a big chain), you will only have a few small cakes and sweets for breakfast. Only hotels with international clients will offer something more, like eggs, ham, and vegetables. If this is very important for you, make sure you check before you book your accommodation.

Wine in Italy

Although I don’t drink, Italy is the perfect place to visit if you love wine. Wine tasting at Ruffinio Relais Tuscany estate

As the largest producer of wine globally, there are tons of vineyards for you to visit during your Italian holiday. Some of the best and oldest wines come out of Italy, especially reds. You are absolutely in wine heaven here.

Even without visiting vineyards, you can discover many unique wines during an aperitivo at a nice wine bar. After work and before dinner, from 6 or 7 pm, Italians like to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with olives and snacks; in large towns, bars offer large buffets for aperitivo, at a fixed price. This is the perfect occasion to taste local wines and experience a very Italian tradition.

P.s. I recently stayed at a wine relais in Tuscanycheck out my review here.

Gelato in Italy

Bad gelato supposedly exists in Italy – but I have never had any. My Italy travel advice for you is to try this sweet and indulgent treat while you are exploring this fun and colorful country. 

A famous brand of gelato in Italy is Grom: they source very unique and local ingredients to make delicious gelato. Their gelateria, ice-cream parlors, are usually located in the centers of large towns.

Some traditional Italian gelato flavors that you should try are Sicily pistachio and Piedmont hazelnuts; each region boasts local ingredients and unusual combinations. 

If you are lactose-intolerant or vegan, you should still be able to taste fruit-based gelato, made with water instead of milk.

Coffee in Italy

Good news if you are a coffee drinker – Italians love coffee! It’s a ritual, just like aperitivo.

First of all, coffee is meant to be a quick stop. Many Italians take a short break from work, head to the closest café, order an espresso at the counter, drink it in 2 sips, and that’s it! An espresso is really small and energetic. Of course, you can also sit at a table and rest, but once during your trip to Italy, you should try this Italian coffee ritual.

Eat and drink your way through Italy

On the other hand, if you want to take a longer break, just order a longer coffee: a foamy cappuccino! Cappuccinos are rather cheap in Italy, about 1.50  to 2.50 euros. But it’s important to know that in Italy, they only drink it until 11 am. This is because it contains milk, and milk is considered a morning-only drink. They will look at you weird if you order a cappuccino after lunch.

So, my tip is to have a vegan cappuccino – have a plant-based drink alternative and you can still enjoy a great drink without being weirdly looked at.

Hotels and Accommodations in Italy

You should know before staying in Italy that many hotels charge a city tax. The fee is usually 1-3 euros for each room or a small percentage of the room price, on top of the hotel price. This city tax may not be included in the price of the room when you book, however. It is usually written in small letters, and it has to be paid at Reception instead of online.

Room at Ruffino Relais in Tuscany estate with Arzo Travels

Personally, I almost always book with Booking.com. I prefer them because they allow me to cancel last-minute, most of the time without penalty (yes, flexibility is crucial to me). Click here to check out prices via Booking here.

One very important thing to remember if you travel to Italy in the summer is to check if your accommodation has air conditioning. While it is very common right now to have air conditioning in hotel rooms, some historical buildings may not have it. If it’s very important to you, check in advance.

Another thing to coordinate if you plan to rent a car in Italy is to check the parking availability at your accommodation (and in the cities, you plan to visit). You don’t want to rent a giant SUV which won’t fit in the narrow alley leading to your cute hotel in a medieval town.

If you travel during the winter, 4×4 and snow tires are a must.

Hidden Gems in Italy

While Italy is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe (or probably worldwide), there are a few hidden gems that tourists do not overrun.

Where to go in Trento, Italy and what to do.
Beautiful Trento

One of them is Trento – another one is Bergamo, but no worries, there are many more places which are still underrated and less busy. Check out my favorite hidden gems here

Especially if you plan to visit very popular and crowded cities, consider taking a break with a day-trip or a night in a peaceful Italian town.

Traveling With a Dog in Italy

One of the best news for dog lovers is that Italy loves dogs, so my best Italy travel tips include this tip: Traveling with a dog in Italy is great – at least if you have a smaller dog.

Lago di Braies in the Dolomites
Puppygal in Italy, Dolomites

First of all, Italians love dogs and show their affection. My dog is not always a fan of it (sometimes he is), but I am happy people react so friendly to my dog as a proud dog mommy.

Second, most hotels do not charge extra if you bring a dog. A big, big plus (unlike many other countries where you have to pay up to 20 or even 30€ A NIGHT for bringing your dog).

Third, you can bring your little dog even into some castles or museums – this might not always be the case, but at least quite many places allow it when you have your dog in a bag or if you carry him (this is not common in Switzerland or Germany, etc.). Also, most supermarkets and restaurants will allow small dogs in.

Usually, you can take your dog on boats and cable cars, but you need to bring a muzzle (even the smallest ones need a muzzle in closed places, but this is somehow understandable since the smallest are often the most dangerous).

Just like anywhere else, it is required to clean after your dog

Solo Female Travel in Italy

I have visited Italy many times – sometimes with friends but also with my parents. But I also often visit Italy solo (okay, my doggy is sometimes with me), and I love it. Yes, men are sometimes very flirty, but I never felt uncomfortable and harassed. 

Vineyeards from Ruffinio in Tuscany estate with Arzo Travels
Solo female travel in Italy


People are amiable (even the females, which is not the case in every country), and it is easy to have conversations with locals. There are a few aspects to keep in mind when traveling solo, but in general, I think Italy is a GOOD country for solo (female) travelers. 

READ MORE: 

Italy is an interesting and diverse country. There is so much to see, taste, and try here. Hopefully, this post has helped you learn what you’ll need to know before visiting Italy, offering valuable tourist tips and important information to make your trip the best it can be.

Safe Travels, Arzo

BEST THINGS TO DO IN PISA IN ONE DAY

Pisa in one day, find out about the best things to do and see in Pisa, Italy with this one-day Pisa itinerary

WHAT TO DO IN PISA IN 1 DAY

Are you planning your Tuscany trip and especially your Pisa itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Pisa in one day? Then this post will help you plan your trip and find out about what to do and see the Pisa main attractions and more Pisa travel tips.

Pisa is mostly known for one of the most famous buildings in the world – the Leaning Tower of Pisa! The bell tower is one of Pisa’s main attractions.

However, the question about more things to do in Pisa is legitimate. I did not know much about Pisa’s other attractions, and it seems that there is not much to do in Pisa in one day. For sure it is one of the best day trips from Florence – but what is there to do and see?

Of course, there is much more to do and see in Pisa, and there are some more stunning buildings as well, and this 1-day Pisa itinerary will help out find out about the best things to see in Pisa.

While the leaning tower will surely dominate your day, here are a few more places to visit in Pisa and some travel tips for your first trip to the city.Piazza dei Miracoli , also known as Piazza del Duomo in Pisa, the main attraction

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR ONE DAY IN PISA

Before jumping to the itinerary, here are a few travel tips for Pisa that will help you plan your day better!

How to Get to Pisa

  • If you come to Pisa for one day only, my tip is to via train (yes, ditch your car and get here by train, which is super easy and comfortable). There are two main train stations, and my tip is to arrive at one train station and leave from another. So, this way, you do not have to go back and forth.
  • Try to get to Pisa S. Rossore station. From there, it is quite close to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which will be the first attraction to visit on this day. The approach is lovely already.
  • On the way back (if you do not stay overnight), you can depart from Stazione Pisa Centrale.Pisa Gate, how to arrive to the Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • If you get to Pisa via car: There is a car park – Pisa Tower Parking – close to the tower. However, spots are limited in the summer, so come early to get a paid parking spot (and don´t leave any valuables in the car, as apparently theft is common there). 

How to Get Around Pisa For One Day

With this Pisa itinerary, you will not need a taxi/car, nor do you – necessarily – have to use public transportation. Yes, you will probably walk more than 8-10km, but it is so worth it. If you need to, you can hop on a bus. Don’t forget to buy tickets from a tobacco shop, as sometimes, you cannot buy tickets on the bus – plus they are more expensive. And you need to validate your ticket, whether you bought it from the bus or a tobacco shop/newsagent.

1 Day in Pisa – Best Time to Visit

Never visit Italian cities in the summer- at least not if you want to avoid tourists’ heat and crowds. Like hardly any other country, Italy is stuffed with people in the summer months, and Pisa is no exception. Many people visit the leaning tower, so especially in that area, it gets crowded. But even other areas are busy.

The shoulder season is certainly the best time to visit Florence if you can visit Florence in April or May (early June would probably be okay, too, though not perfect) or from mid-September to October, or even in the winter months. Those months also mean lower accommodation prices.

Pisa For 1 Day – Where to Stay 

In case you want to stay overnight, here are some well-rated accommodations:

THINGS TO DO IN ONE DAY IN PISA

So, here are the best things to do in Pisa in 1 day. Ideally, you get to Pisa quite early – so, whether you come from Florence or another place in Tuscany, it means waking up early/earlyish.

Piazza dei Miracoli = Piazza del Duomo

9 am – Try to be at Piazza del Duomo early. In summer, this means try to be here around 8 am. Day trip to Pisa, The leaning tower of PisaMy tip is to visit Piazza del Duomo first because this is the busiest place in all of Pisa – for a good reason, and it is a must-see in 1 day in Pisa. Because here is where you will find the Leaning Tower of Pisa, as well as the Baptistery, which shares the piazza with the imposing Camposanto (sacred burial ground) and the Cathedral.

AND I advise buying the tickets in advance if you don’t want to stand in line forever or don’t want to come super early so you can be the first one in line.

TICKETS: There are several options – except for the cathedral, you have to pay for the entry. You can either buy

  • single tickets for 7€ for each attraction EXCEPT (the Leaning Tower)
  • a single ticket for the Leaning Tower for 20€  
  • a ticket that includes all attractions for 27€
  • a ticket that includes all attractions except the Leaning Tower for 10€

These prices are for adults. There might be discounts available for younger people, so please check before buying a ticket for the full price.

Some tours take care of it, and you book the tour you are interested in.

So, here are the main attractions on Piazza del Duomo: 

The Cathedral (Duomo) – Cattedrale di Pisa

Visit the cathedral – it is free! Okay, you probably want to know a bit more, so here is the info.The Cathedral in Pisa - a must for a one-day Pisa itinerary

It is a medieval, Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary’s Assumption and a great example of Romanesque architecture. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Pisa and one of the main attractions in Pisa.

You will need a ticket to visit the Cathedral – it is free to visit, but you will still need a ticket with a dedicated time on it. You can get the Cathedral ticket at the ticket shop (well signed) (for other Pisa attractions, you have to pay). If you buy any ticket for one of the other attractions on the square, you get a free pass to visit the Cathedral, not subjected to a fixed time. Then it is highly recommended to book your tickets in advance

OPENING HOURS: The Cathedral is open to visitors from 10:00 am to 6 pm and from 01:00 pm on Sundays and religious holidays.

  • TIP: Please dress appropriately and be silent inside.

The Baptistery (the Circular Building)

The completion of the Baptistery took more than 200 years, but once finished in the 14th century, it was the second building on the piazza and is an example of the transition from the Romanesque style to the Gothic style. The Baptistery in Pisa in one day is a mustIt is the biggest baptistery in Italy these days. You can also visit the inside (this is where Galileo Galilei was baptized).

OPENING HOURS: It is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm. You need a ticket to visit it. You can either buy a ticket for this attraction only (around 7€) or a ticket that includes entry to several attractions (20-27€).

Camposanto (a Monumental Cemetery)

The Camposanto is one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Tuscany.Camposanto in Pisa, what to see in Pisa in 1 day

A legend claims that bodies buried in this ground will rot in just 24 hours. You can also visit the inside and see Medieval and Early Renaissance art adorning the walls of the monumental buildings in the Camposanto.

OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: Single tickets for Camposanto are 7€, but you can also buy tickets for all attractions. The entrance is free on the 1 and 2 November on the occasion of All Souls and Saints day. Open every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

SINOPIE MUSEUM

Here lies the preserved, original sketches of the Camposanto, but you can also see preparatory drawings by numerous artists from the 14th and 15th centuries. 

OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: Single tickets for the museum are 7€, but you can also buy tickets for all attractions. Open every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

Museo dell ’Opera del Duomo / Opera del Duomo Museum

Here you’ll find displays of collected treasures from the cathedral and baptistery, plus etchings of the original Camposanto frescos.

OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: Single tickets for this museum are 7€, but you can also buy tickets for all attractions. It is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, also known as the Tower of Pisa, is the cathedral’s campanile (bell tower). As a result of an unstable foundation, it is tilted. But I am sure, it is safe to go up. Pretty sure. Yes, I guess it is safe. No, I am certain that it is safe and if dogs had been allowed on the tower, I would have climbed all the stairs to the top myself.The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the best attraction in Pisa

It is probably the most famous landmark in Pisa and maybe one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions. A picture of you holding the tower up is a must – well, maybe. I did not take one, but in my defense: I was ashamed to ask a stranger taking a picture of me doing it, but if I had known someone there, I totally would have done so myself…because, as said, it is a must-do activity in Pisa.

But you can also visit the tower itself. Only a limited number of people are allowed inside the tower, and there are many stairs – 300 to be exact. You have to leave your bag, including small handbags, downstairs (no extra cost).

Tickets at the ticket center are around 20€ (for the Leaning Tower only, you can also buy tickets that include all attractions for 27€).

  • Tip: During the busy season (April end of September), I recommend buying tickets in advance. I visited in early April, and the lines were quite long at 9 am (and the lines did not get shorter)! I think “skip-the-lines-tickets” make sense in a country like Italy which bursts of tourists. Click here for skip-the-lines tickets and guided tours.

OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: Single tickets for the tower are 20€, but you can also buy tickets for all attractions. It is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

Walls

There are also walls you can walk. It is just a very short path, but it gives you an elevated view over the piazza.

Picture from Pisa from the walls, an itinerary for Pisa

The Baptistery seen from the wall, what to do in Pisa in one day

Entry is about 3€ – this is not included in the “ticket for all attractions”. This was, by the way, the only attraction I was allowed to visit with my dog, and so I did.

If you have visited all attractions on the square, it probably is already lunchtime, and it took you several hours – I did not do much here and was “done” after 2 hours or so.

From the Piazza del Duomo, head to the next pretty square – the Piazza del Cavalieri. It is about 600 meters (less than 0.5 miles) from the Leaning Tower.

Knight Square – Piazza Dei Cavalieri

The Piazza del Cavalieri is the symbol of the Medici rule over Pisa, and during the Middle Ages, the piazza was the civil and political center of Pisa.Knight Square - Piazza Dei Cavalieri in Pisa

Knights Square in PisaThe piazza is home to the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa Normal School), the Torre della Muda (made famous by Conte Ugolino’s tale in Dante’s Inferno), and the church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. 

From the piazza, head further south to the Arno River and 

Stroll Arno River

Walk along the beautiful Arno River.

Building along the Arno River in Pisa

On a sunny day, it is charming and less busy than the Piazzale del Duomo. It is also one of the most beautiful places in Pisa.

I walked all the way until the next bridge, which is Pont di Mezzo. This way, I had the best view of one of the most unique churches I have come across in Italy – the Santa Maria Della Spina – and the Palazzo Blu and many other colorful buildings nearby.

Santa Maria Della Spina

Santa Maria Della Spina church is a very distinctive church. You can visit the inside, and though it is not as spectacular, it is great for taking a quick peek (and it is free to visit). Its locations and size are very unique, to say the least.Day trip to Pisa, stroll the river

Santa Maria della Spina one of the most beautiful places to visit in Pisa, Italy

Palazzo Blu

Just keep walking a few more minutes to reach Palazzo Blu, a venue that is a center for temporary exhibitions and cultural activities. Palazzo Blu at the Arno RiverYou can book guided tours and educational initiatives – but you can also visit independently (find out more about current exhibitions, prices, and opening hours here).

Corso Italia 

Walk until the Ponte di Mezzo and then slowly head to Corsa Italia.Corso Italia in Pisa, the main shopping street

The two historical quarters of this side of the city, Mezzogiorno, are divided by this street. Corsa Italia is the main shopping street with loads of shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II

At the end of the street is the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II.Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II in Pisa, where to visit in Pisa

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II in Pisa, a place to go in Pisa

Recently restored, it soon became one of the preferred meeting places in Pisa, and it is a lovely square that I spent some time in before heading to the main train station (Stazione Pisa Centrale), which is around the corner.

CONCLUSION: WHAT TO DO IN PISA IN ONE DAY

Okay, these are my tips on how to spend one day in Pisa.  I tried really hard and still had an hour or two to spend – however, to be really honest, there was not much I was interested in seeing.

Here are more amazing places to visit in Tuscany – the prettiest towns, villages, and cities in Tuscany.

Visiting Italy for the first time? Then check out my travel tips for Italy.

I liked my time one day in Pisa and think that there is more to it than just the tilted tower. But I think that half a day (if you don’t visit the inside of any attractions in Pisa) could be enough to see the main points of interest.

I hope this post has helped you create your Pisa itinerary for 1 day, and you will have fun one day in Pisa.Safe Travels, Arzo

VISIT STUNNING LAGO DI BRAIES, DOLOMITES, ITALY

Travel Tips for Lago di Braies the Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy

TRAVEL TIPS FOR LAKE BRAIES – DAY TRIP TO THE STUNNING ALPINE LAKE

Lago di Braies (“Pragser Wildsee” in German or Lake Braies in English) is probably one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe, and it has become incredibly famous. 

So, if you want to visit this pretty lake yourself, this guide will help you discover Lake Braies yourself. 

When it comes to traveling and visiting places, I am all about lakes. I feel like I have to visit all the beautiful lakes worldwide, especially in Europe. So, I knew I had to visit Lago di Braies eventually. The lake wasn’t the only lake on my itinerary in Italy – I chased Lake Garda, Lago die Sorapis, Lake Carezza, Lago Maggiore, and more. Lake Braies was one of the most memorable.

Read more: The best places to visit in Northern Italy

Here are my travel tips and all the important information for your trip to Lago di Braies.

Lago di Braies Info

Non-Italians might have seen the lake on social media for the first time. Over the last few years, Lago di Braies has become one of the most popular photography spots for photographers, Instagrammers, and bloggers.

Italians might have heard of the lake for the first time on a TV show called “Un Passo Dal Cielo“ with Terrence Hill (even though they gave the lake a different name in the show). 

And how can such a stunning lake, with its gorgeous watercolor and amazing mountain backdrop, not be a “TV star?“ So, if you are looking for a beautiful place to visit in the Alps, whether you are on the hunt for great Instagram photos or to enjoy the lake, Lago di Braies is it. Here you can combine Instagrammability and a nice hike.Lago di Braies, best mountain lkae in South Tyrol

Where is Lago di Braies

  • The lake is located North of Italy – South Tyrol to be more precise. This is a province that belongs to Italy but used to be part of Austria until the First World War.
  • Lago di Braies is located in the Dolomites region (the Dolomites mountain ranges are a UNESCO World Heritage site). It is one of the most distinctive and interesting mountain ranges in Europe, if not in the world, which itself is a popular tourist attraction.
  • The lake is in the municipality of Prags and the Prags valley. It is part of the Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park and a protected natural monument.
  • In this area, German and Italian are spoken, and also another local language, which is Ladin. This is also why the lake has two official names: its Italian name, Lago di Braies, and its German name, Pragser Wildsee.

Facts About Lago di Braies / Pragser Wildsee

Here are facts – in case you wonder, if you can jump into Lag di Braies, you should know about the water temperature first.

  • Largest natural lake in the Dolomites
  • 1,496 meters (4908 ft) above sea level
  • Width: 300 – 400 meters (984 – 1300 ft)
  • Shoreline: 3.5 km (2,2 miles)
  • Maximum depth: 36 meters (118 ft)
  • Median depth: 17 meters (56ft)
  • Maximum surface water temperature: 14°C (57,2°F)

Lago di Braies Instagrammability

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

How to Get To Lago di Braies

There are several ways to get to Lago di Braies. 

HOW TO GET TO LAGO DI BRAIES BY CAR:

Getting to Lago di Braies by car is the easiest and most convenient option. National road SS49 leads to the lake – the road is connected to several motorways. 

  • From Milano: 4.5-hour drive
  • From Venice: 3-hour drive
  • From Innsbruck: 2-hour drive
  • From Cortina d’Ampezzo: One-hour drive
  • From Bolzano: 90-minute drive

And though driving is the most convenient way, there is a BIG BUT… Let me quote the official website: 

“In order to maintain the sensitive ecosystem of Pragser Wildsee Lake and its surroundings from 10.7. to 10.9.2021 the  Pragser Tal valley can only be reached between 9.30 AM and 3.00 PM by public transportation, on foot, by bicycle, or on presentation of a parking space reservation or a valid transit permit. Our tip, therefore: Pre-book your ticket, walk or cycle to Pragser Wildsee Lake.”

So, if you visit during the busy season, you might not be able to get to the lake by car if you have not booked parking tickets online. So, plan ahead. Or book a stay at the hotel at Lake Braies so you have easy parking access, as you will get a permit with the hotel booking.  

Before the 10th of July (and after the 10th of September), you do not need to book your parking space in advance.

Parking spaces are available just in front of Pragser Wildsee Lake and in Brückele/Ponticello and cost 6€-8€ for a day ticket. Even in the shoulder season, they fill up quickly, so either come here early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

HOW TO REACH PRAGSER WILDSEE BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

The nearest railway station is Niederdorf (Villabassa). From there, you will have to take a bus. You could walk (it´s 11km / 7miles though) or bring your bike and cycle for the last few km. 

In the summer months, shuttle buses no 439 (from Monguelfo) and no 442 (from Toblach/Dobbiaco) bring you to Lago di Braies. However…yes, you see this coming. There is also an issue with the shuttle buses. In 2021, you have to do book and pay in advance for the shuttle bus from 10th July to 10th September 2021. Once the shuttle is fully booked, it is fully booked. A round-trip ticket is 10€ for adults (there are family cards, discounts for teenagers, kids under the age of 6 years can travel for free, etc.). Check out more about arriving to Lago di Braies by bus here.

Before the 10th of July (and after the 10th of September), you do not need to book and pay in advance for the shuttle bus.

Depending on where you stay in the Dolomites, you might even be able to use your Guest Card for public transportation. However, this does not apply in the busy months. 

HOW TO HIKE TO LAGO DI BRAIES

If you hike to Lago di Braies, you do not have to worry about parking or booking a shuttle bus. For scenic hikes check out the following options:

  • From Säge / Segheria parking lot in Schmieden / Ferrata in Prager Tal Valley to Lago di Braies: about 90 minutes, 270 meters elevation gain, 4,8km one way, about 1,5 hours and easy (suitable for families)
  • From Welsberg / Monguelfo to Lago di Braies: About 12,5km one way, 400 elevation gain, about 4hours
  • From Niederdorf / Villabassa train station to Lago di Braies: about 11km one way, 3 hours, 215 meters elevation gain

GUIDED TOURS

A day trip to Lago di Braies, Arzo Travels
@Pixabay

There are guided tours available – which you can check out here.

Where to Stay at Lago di Braies

Hotel Lago di Braies

This hotel – Lago di Braies – is perfect if you like staying next to the lake. It comes with all the perks – like enjoying the lake early in the morning when no one else is around and getting a permit to park in front of the lake even during the busy months.

  • Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Hotel Lago di Braies.

Where to stay at Lago di Braies

MORE PLACES TO STAY NEAR LAGO DI BRAIES

I was in South Tyrol/Dolomites for more than a week and changed hotels a few times. However, looking back, I would have booked a hotel in Toblach (Italian: Dobbiaco).

Toblach is also located close to other tourist sights, like my favorite lake in the area – Lago di Carezza – and the “Drei Zinnen,“ and you can easily get to many hot spots. In Toblach is another gorgeous lake to visit as well – Lago di Dobbiaco – so you have killed two birds with a stone. Find the perfect hotel in Toblach.

Restaurants/ Cafes

Lake Braies is popular and busy – and whenever you have crowds, you also have plenty of options to buy food/drinks. At Lago di Braies, you have several restaurants/food stalls. There is a restaurant at the Hotel di Braies but also several food stalls/kiosks.

However, the most unique setting for a drink/snack is directly by the Lake Braies. I suggest bringing your own water bottle to refill (there is a water fountain close to the cafe) and/or other drinks and snacks and then head to the lakes to enjoy a little picnic there.Where to go in the Dolomites

  • Tip: We sometimes might forget to clean up properly after ourselves – so, make sure not to litter and leave nothing but footprints behind.

Best Time to Visit Lago di Braies

In the summertime, the place is full of people from all around the world. You can rent boats, swim (if you like chilly water, even in summer), or take a relaxed hike.

However, I do not suggest visiting in July, August, or even in early September, as Italy is even more crowded during that time. You will hardly be able to truly enjoy the lake with so many people around you. Also, getting there (as mentioned earlier) is more difficult – you have to boo parking/shuttle buses in advance and so on. So, if you can avoid July to September, then avoid these months.

Winter at Lago di Braies looks magical – with snow-covered mountain peaks and a frozen lake, this place truly unique. The Dolomites is also a popular place to ski and for other winter sports. So, you could combine a trip to Lago di Braies with a ski trip to the Dolomites.

Spring and fall are also good times to visit. I think I made the right decision when I chose a late September morning. The weather tends to be nice (however, let´s never rely on the weather in Europe), it was busy but not crowded. This allowed me to walk around the lake without rubbing shoulders with other visitors. Also, hotel prices drop compared to the summer months and I could spend a day or two longer in the Dolomites because of lower accommodation prices. Also, I had no problems with parking – I parked my car right in the car park in front of the lake. Hardly imaginable in the summer months.

However, my main advice is to get to Lake Braies early in the morning – it can be really crowded later in the day – at any time of the year. It is a popular spot for sunrises – and it is always busy then – I highly suggest arriving there before 10 am (or even 9 am) at any time of the year.Lago di Braies in the Dolomites

The Legend of Lago di Braies

All lakes with a unique lake color seem to have their own legend. I admit I am not really into it, but let me sum up what the legend says about Lago di Braies.

The Ladin people have a legend about a kingdom from the past and an underworld of the Fanes Empire. The gate to the underworld empire is supposed to be somewhere at the southern end of the lake.

This is why a specific part of the lake is known as Torberg, or “Sass dia Porta,” in the Ladin language.

Best Things to Do at Lago di Braies 

There are not many attractions around Lago di Braies – the lake itself is a phenomenal attraction. However, there is a bit to do and see around the lake.

Rent a Boat

According to Instagram, everyone rents a boat and rows on the lake. I did not. I just figured that I am too lazy to row a boat all by myself (as my dog isn’t a great help). But of course, this did not stop me from taking pictures of the boats. You can rent them at the boathouse next to the entrance to Lake Braies in the summertime.

  • Season: June to September/October
  • Opening hours: 10 am to 5 pm
  • Price: 1/2 hour €18.00, 1-hour € 25.00 (plus deposit 28€)
  • Tip: There is a sign that says you cannot enter the pier if you don’t rent a boat, but I asked the lovely salesperson, and they allowed me (and the others) to take some pics. But keep in mind, I visited in late September, so it was not peak season and the request might be denied.

Best places to visit in the Dolomites

Things to do in Lago di Braies

Hike the Lake

You do not have to do any hiking to see Lago di Braies. Whether you get there by car or public transportation, it does not take much walking to get to the lake. But you can hike. Actually, hiking the lake is a must-do in my opinion because you get to see Lago di Braies from different angles and it is a pretty easy hike that does not require a lot of hiking skills. And the good news is that, it is not even a real hike – it is an easy hike. Hiking Pragser WildseeWalking (or hiking) around the lake will take about 1-2 hours (it is about 4 km), and you will see the lake from all different perspectives. Also, the lake appears to be many different colors and shades as you walk along the way.

The hike includes some minor uphills and downhills but is generally easy to walk. You do not have to be overly fit to do the “hike” and people of all ages should be fine to walk around the lake.

There is no need for proper hiking boots, I suggest trainers even though I saw a few walking around the lake in flip-flops, too.Lago di Braies in South Italy

Instagram places at Lago di Braies

Though I enjoyed the hike, I would have enjoyed it even more if I hadn’t been carrying a little plastic bag with dog poo in it, as there are hardly any rubbish bins. That seriously killed my mood because…it isn’t the best hike if you carry dog poo with you (and it might unmotivate people to dispose of waste properly). 

Swimming in the Lake 

You are allowed to swim in the lake. You will probably enjoy it – if you like chilly water, even in the summer. As mentioned above, the temperature is 14°C max. However, I mostly saw dogs in the lake and not many people. But there is a little “beach section” at the other end of the lake.Beach section at Lago di Braies

  • TIP: If you plan to take a rest here, be prepared that it is not the comfiest place to sit and relax. The little rocks can hurt your butt – so bring a thick blanket to sit on them. And bringing a towel might be a good idea just in case you want to actually take a dip.

Different color shades Lago di Braies

Chapel “Lago di Braies”

There is also a little church just next to Lago di Braies. It looks lovely and is probably not the first thing that comes to your mind when hearing about lakes, but this isn’t so unusual in Italy. What to do around Lago di BraiesThe chapel was built in the first years of the 20th century and belongs to the Hotel di Braies and can be visited all year round. It is open daily and there is no entrance fee etc. Since I was traveling with a dog, I did not enter the church. I saw a couple of pictures online and it looks like a simple yet beautiful little chapel – if it is open during the time of your visit, take a peek.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON A DAY TRIP TO LAKE BRAIES

As you hopefully could see, Lago di Braies is breathtaking. Yes, it might be crowded at times, but its beauty still makes it one of the best places to visit in Italy. I hope this Lago di Braies travel guide helps you plan your trip to Pragser Wildsee, and you have found all the information you need. 

I loved the lake, but this one was probably my favorite in the Dolomites.

Looking for more beautiful lakes in the Dolomites? Then read this post.

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How to get to Lago di Braies, Italy, Arzo Travels

Safe Travels, Arzo

EPIC THINGS TO DO IN VERONA IN ONE DAY

Verona, best things to do and see in one day. Best itinerary

WHAT TO DO IN ONE DAY IN VERONA – ITINERARY

Are you planning your Verona itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Verona in one day? Then this post is for you – find out what to do, where to go, and what to see if you have only one day in this beautiful city.

If the first and only thing that comes to mind when hearing about Verona is Shakespeare‘s  “Romeo and Juliet,” you are like me. I didn’t know how lovely this city is, so I never really had it high on my bucket list.

But, guys, Verona is so pretty that I was overwhelmed, happy, and shocked. How could I have not known about the top attractions in Verona – apart from Juliet´s balcony? 

I don’t know. However, if I had to name my five favorite cities/towns in Italy, Verona would be amongst them, and you will soon find out why to add the city to your itinerary and what to do.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Due to a pandemic, opening hours and certain activities might change daily. I try to update the posts regularly but highly advise double-checking out opening hours etc.

1 DAY IN VERONA ITINERARY

Okay, let’s start with the best tips for things to do – after that, you will find some quick and valuable travel tips for your trip.

Casa di Giulietta ( Juliet´s House)

Here we are, starting the day with William Shakespeare and the most famous love story: Romeo and Juliet. More notable than Juliet´s house is probably Juliet´s balcony. 

Juliet´s Balcony in Verony

Juliets statue in Verona

Yes, you might be underwhelmed by the balcony, but you might be overwhelmed by the crowds, as this is probably the most crowded place in Verona.

If you get here very early in the morning, you might be able to escape the crowds. In one tiny space, people from all over the world mill around and rub against the bronze statue of Guilietta.

What might sound like fun to some is something in between a nightmare and a spectacle, so start here early or towards the evening when most crowds have gone home.

You can also write a letter to Juliet. If you put it in the mailbox, you will eventually receive an answer.

No worries, Juliet hasn’t come back to life (how scary would that be?), but one of the volunteers will answer your letter, even if it may take a few months. You can also leave a message on the wall.

You can also visit the house and stand on the balcony (tickets are about 5€, free with your Verona Card), where vital scenes of Shakespeare´s play took place. Apparently, it is not worth it unless you have a Verona Card and don’t have to pay extra. Just looking at it is free.

OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: Closed on Mondays, open from 9 am to 7 pm. Tickets are around 6€ and it is free with your Verona Carda.

Scaliger Graves

Located next to the Piazza dei Signori and close to Juliet´s house, you find the Scaliger Tombs. These are gothic, funerary monuments dedicated to the influential Scaliger family, who ruled Verona in the 13th and 14th centuries.Scaliger Graves in Verona

The tombs are located in a court outside the church of Santa Maria Antica, enclosed by a wrought iron fence with a stairs motif. While you can have a glimpse of it from the street you can also visit the graves.

It is an exciting sight but will not take much of your time and so you can add it as a quick stop on your 1-day Verona itinerary. 

OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: Closed on Mondays, open from 9 am to 6 pm with a break from 1 to 2 pm. Free with your Verona Card, without a Verona Card, tickets can be bought at the ticket counter.

Piazza dei Signori

A smaller but still charming piazza is the Piazza dei Signori. Follow the highest tower in the area (Lamberti Tower), and you are almost there.

Beautiful, historic buildings call the square home. In the middle sits the statue of Dante Alighieri, a prominent poet and philosopher who lived in Verona.Piazza dei Signori and the Dante Statue

The statue itself is a popular photo motif, but the buildings and restaurants around make this place even more special.

Piazza delle Erbe

Just next to Piazza dei Signori is the Piazza delle Erbe and, personally, one of my top tips for things to do in 1 day in Verona. I judge cities, towns, and villages based on their (market) squares – and Verona had me with its charming, lively, busy, and fun squares. I can’t decide which square I love the most, but Piazza delle Erbe is one of my two favorites.

Verona Day Trip from Lake Garda

Where to go in Verona _ Piazza delle Erbe 

This diamond-shaped piazza lies in the city’s historic center’s heart with many beautiful buildings and statues, including the Fontana Madonna, the Torre dei Lamberti, and the Palazzo Maffei.

It is also a great starting point if you want to go shopping.

Tip: You have many different restaurants and cafes in Verona, and if you like people watching while dining, this square is probably a good choice for your lunch break. Prices here tend to be more expensive, so if you are on a budget, head to one side streets to enjoy some delicious pasta.

Torre dei Lamberti / Lamberti Tower

Standing on the Piazza delle Erbe, the Torre dei Lamberti is the tallest tower in Verona, standing at 84 meters high. The tower was erected in the 12th century and 

It is not only great to visit, but the perfect meeting point (do you also choose the highest building in a city as your meeting place when traveling with others?).Lamberti Tower on Piazza della Erbe

Lamberti Tower view in Verona

It offers excellent views over Verona if you climb up the 368 steps. Decide for yourself if climbing so many stairs  is worth it to see the whole city spread out before you. Okay, you could also use a lift, but seriously, the most fun was climbing these stairs.

Tip: Though the tower stands at Piazza delle Erbe, the entrance is around Piazza dei Signori.

OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: Open from Monday to Friday from 10:00 am-6:00 pm, tickets are around 8€ (discounts available) – free with your Verona Card.

Adige River

The Adige River is the second largest river in Italy, flowing from South Tyrol to the Adriatic Sea. The Piazza delle Erbe is just a stone’s throw away from the river.Verona things to do - stroll Adige River I recommend walking the river for 15-20 minutes, and see the most exciting bridge in Verona, so head to the Castelvecchio Bridge.

Castelvecchio Bridge / Scaliger Bridge

Walking along the river, you will see this interesting bridge. The Castelvecchio Bridge, also known as the Scaliger Bridge, is a fortified bridge built in the 14th century and was the longest one of its kind at that time.Castelvecchio Bridge : Scaliger Bridge, Verona best attractions The wall of the bridge is so high in some parts that you can’t look over it. Luckily, there are stairs that you can climb to enjoy an elevated viewpoint. On warm days, you might be lucky enough to find some musicians playing lovely music on the bridge.

From there, head to the Verona Arena. It is just a ten-minute walk (passing Piazza Pasque Veronesi, among others), and you will see the following main Verona attractions.

Piazza Bra

I am all about market squares, and Verona has two main market squares. Two charming market squares! And one of them is the lively and lovely Piazza Bra.

Piazza Erbe - free things to do in Verona

I was already in love when I arrived at Piazza Bra in the afternoon, but if I had needed another reason to love the city, then this would have had me entirely convinced.

In mid-September, it was busy and full of people, but in a fun and lovely way. Seeing all the pretty Italians strolling their city while we were sitting on a bench with a view of the arena, the colorful houses, and the Emmanuel Statue (Statue a Vittorio Emanuele II) made me wonder if I should live here for a year or so.

If I were to move to Italy, then Verona would be it. While I still struggle with their political choices, which is actually why I don’t see myself living there, I sometimes still daydream of coming to Verona for a few weeks.

Verona where to visit -Piazza Bra - the mian market square

Tip: While Verona can be wonderfully explored on foot, you could jump onto one of the small sightseeing trains that start here and do a quick tour to end the day.

I think these Verona activities will keep you busy for a day – these Verona sights were my favorites, but I can’t claim that I saw them all. If you have more time, then plan to visit some more top places in Verona.

Arena di Verona / Verona Arena

The arena looks like the little sibling of the Colosseum in Rome but is actually a few decades older. Though you wouldn’t guess it, it‘s 2,000 years old. It is the third biggest amphitheater in Italy and looks a bit like the world-famous Colosseum in Rome.

Verona Arena seen from Piaaza Bra

Like the Colosseum, it was also a venue used for gladiator and animal fights. Nowadays, it is used for operas and theater plays, and it is open to visitors. 

Despite its brutal and violent past, it is now a must-see place in Verona. Early in the morning, the lines aren’t that long, so I suggest you start here (or buy skip the line tickets). In the afternoon, it gets busy, though (that is why I had to skip seeing the inside).

Opening Hours change, depending on the season and whether an opera is going on, but usually, it is open from Monday to Sunday from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm (Mondays it opens later) 

Prices are around 10€ (free with your Verona Card or if you have a Trentino Guest Card).

San Leonardo Fortress

The best view (besides the Lamberti Tower) is from San Leonardo Fortress. If you have energy left, get to the fortress, which sits on a hill and offers impressive views of the city.

Verona in one day, the best Verona travel travel tips and best 1 day Verona itinerary
@shutterstock

From Piazza Bra, it will take about a 40-55 minute walk (partly uphill), and there you can enjoy the views after a busy day in Verona. This is probably the best way to end your day! 

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR VERONA ITINERARY

Before talking about your Verona itinerary, here is some info for your first trip to Verona.

Why Visit Verona

Verona is a medieval town/city, and besides its colorful and pretty buildings spread throughout the city, it is also well known for its archaeological sites. Okay, I admit that I had not known about them before my visit. There are also museums, lively piazzas, and the pretty Aldige River – with several interesting bridges.

I genuinely believe it should be on any Italy itinerary, and while one day is probably not enough, it will at least allow you to get a good glimpse of the city (and it will make you hungry for a second trip).

Thus, it should be on any Italy and especially Northern Italy itinerary.

How to Get to Verona for a Day

  • Verona has an airport – Verona Villafranca Airport (also known as Valerio Catullo Airport), just 10 km outside the city center. The cheapest (and still a convenient way) to get to the town center is via bus (one-way costs around $7).
  • We (my parents and me) came from Lake Garda and drove by car and parked quite far. We wanted to avoid driving in the city center (Italian cities have narrow streets and people drive a bit…let´s say reckless). However, there are places to park, but you might have issues finding (free) parking spots, so especially during peak season, free parking will be almost impossible.
  • If you come from other places in Italy, then come by train. Public transportation in Italy is quite good – often very budget-friendly and easy to use (and even punctual most of the time). It takes about 15 minutes to walk from the train station to the city center (but there are also buses going to and from the city center to the train station).

Tip: Verona Card for One Day

I did not have the Verona Card, which I regretted because it can help you save a lot of money and time (allowing you to skip lines).

I paid around 8€ for the Lamberti Tower alone. The Verona Card costs only 20€ for 24 hours (and 22€ for 48 hours).

You get access to most of the tourist attractions in Verona and can use the public buses. Click here for the exact prices. 

How to Save Money in One Day in Verona

Bring a reusable water bottle – there are a few water fountains in the city where you can refill your water with fresh drinking water.

Wear comfortable shoes so you can visit all the pretty places and walk to most places.

As mentioned above, the Verona Card might help you save money, too.

1 Day in Verona How to Get Around

Verona is a very compact city – you can visit all of the mentioned places by walking.

While you can see all the places in 1 day in Verona, I wish I had more time to visit a few more places. There are sightseeing buses, and Italy tends to have an excellent public transportation system in general.

With the Verona Card, you can even use public transportation for free.

Where to Stay in Verona For One Day

We, unfortunately, did only a day trip, but if I could change back the hands of time, I would stay at least one night in Verona. I highly suggest picking a hotel directly in the city center, and I would choose this hotel for my next Verona trip.

Pin Me For Later – 1 Day Verona Itinerary

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Top things to do in Verona in 1 day, Italy, Arzo Travels

FINAL THOUGHTS OF THINGS TO DO IN VERONA

I am sure I will head back to this beautiful city and explore it in a more leisurely way. Verona has just a great vibe, and it deserves more time.

But one day in Verona is better than nothing. So, hopefully, you enjoy the place as much as I did, and this Verona itinerary helps you find the most beautiful places to visit and the best things to do in one day.

Safe Travels, Arzo

EPIC THINGS TO DO IN ROME IN 2 DAYS

Rome in 2 days - best places to visit and places to see

AMAZING 2-DAY IN ROME ITINERARY

Are you planning your 2-day in Rome itinerary covering all the top places in Rome in 2 days and important travel tips for your trip? Then read on as I share my tips for an amazing trip to this unique city!

Rome is like no other city. It is full of (sad) history and culture, beautiful people, stunning architecture, and great food. Before starting with the best places to see in 2 days in Rome, you´ll find a quick guide with the most important travel information.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 2 DAYS IN ROME

I cannot say Rome has become my favorite city, but I (and my two cousins) really enjoyed our trip. Verona or Florence might win the prize! However, Rome was still a great trip – here are the highlights of my Rome itinerary. 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

How to Get Around 2 Days in Rome 

  • Rome can be wonderfully explored on foot. The main attractions are quite close to each other, and if you are used to walking, you can enjoy these places as a pedestrian.
  • We got tickets for hop-on and hop-off sightseeing buses (we stayed in Rome for more than two days and walked each day at least 15-20 km) and used the buses when we were tired or to save time. I admit that I love those sightseeing buses and regularly use them to get a good overview of the city.
  • Rome’s public transportation is apparently really good, and you can use buses to get around easily and cheaply.
  • In my experience, there is no real need to use taxis or to rent a car.

Where to Stay in Rome for 2 Days

Rome is one of the busiest cities in Italy – full of tourists at any time of the year. Accommodation can be pricey though you will not find many of the typical 5-star hotel chains you see everywhere else where you have crowds of visitors.

  • Luxury Hotels: There are some amazing 5-star luxury hotels, and here are two of the best-rated luxury hotels in Rome. St. Regis is one of the few hotel chains with a property in Rome – the hotel is popular because of its central location (it is within walking distance to Rome attractions like the Spanish Steps, etc.). Click here to find out more and get the best rates.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: Here is a popular 3-star hotel – find out more about the Suites Farness Design Hotel.
  • I had coffee at Atlanta Star – the view from the rooftop is amazing and reason enough to stay there overnight. Check out their prices here.
  • Budget Hotels: Here are a few budget hotels that might be the perfect choice for you: We were a group of three, and we were looking for a big room with three beds – we were really, really happy with our hotel. It was not spectacular, but the location was good, and so was the value for money. St. Peter Bed in Rome here
  • If you prefer staying at an Airbnb, first-time users can save money by using my link.

So, now it´s time to talk about the main tourist attractions to visit in Rome.

2-Day Rome Itinerary – Best Time to Visit 

We visited Rome in the winter – and had a blast.

  • I definitely don’t recommend visiting in the summer. From June to September it is warm to hot and generally dry and tourists from all around the world flock to Rome and it gets extremely crowded and hotel prices are high.
  • The best time for a 2-day Rome trip is from October to April. It can get coldish in the winter months but it hardly dips below freezing. 
  • Wintertime has the least crowds which results in and shorter lines (standing in lines might play a big role when visiting Rome). The weather in January, during my trip, was mild, and crowds were gone though it was still busy and lively while accommodation costs are lower. 

These activities can all be done at any time of the year – but I guess winter, fall, or spring might be the best time to visit.

Money Issues in Rome

  • The currency is Euros (€).
  • Shops often advertise that EC/Credit Card payment is possible, but the reality is that once we wanted to buy something (including tickets for the hop-on and hop-off buses), it did not work because of a broken “card machine.“ This happened regularly, and it was a bit frustrating and disappointing.
  • I don’t want to assume too much, but we figured that credit card payments were not allowed to avoid paying taxes to the government. I might be wrong, but definitely withdraw money and have cash on you to avoid problems or book tickets in advance.

WHAT TO DO AND SEE IN ROME IN 2 DAYS

Visiting Rome means being transplanted back to ancient times. There is so much history, and as the Roman Empire used to be the most powerful in its time, so much fascination. So, let’s dive into the top places to visit and the best activities for your Rome itinerary.

DAY 1 OF 2 DAYS IN ROME

Start your day with a trip to the Colosseum…

Learn About Rome´s History at the Colosseum – Around 9 am

The Colosseum is one of the main tourist attractions. It is even a great place if you visit Rome with kids.

The Colosseum – officially known as the Flavian Amphitheater – is almost 2,000 years old. It was commissioned around A.D. 70-72 by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty as a gift to the Roman people. However, there is a cruel and tragic history behind it, as the Colosseum used to be a venue for gladiator and wild animal fights for about 4 centuries. In the 6th century, it was abandoned and actually used as a quarry for numerous building projects. Restoration efforts only began in the 1990s. Willian West 355103 unsplash Rome tourist attractionsDespite its bloody history, it is an awe-inspiring place to see in Rome.

The Colosseum is the largest ancient amphitheater ever built – it could hold up to 50,000 visitors. It is still the largest standing amphitheater in the world today, though about two-thirds of the original Colosseum has been destroyed over time. It is made of stone, concrete, and tuff, and it stands 4 stories tall at its highest point. 

The architecture is one of the most distinctive in any European capital. While looking at it from a distance is nice (and free), you should get a ticket and explore the inside. Keep in mind that it is one of the main attractions, so there will be tons of other tourists visiting as well. Rome places to go in 2 days best sights

  • So, buying an online ticket in advance is a good option to avoid the line (as this includes “skip the lines” already). We got extra audioguides (and my cousin answered all my additional questions) and learned about its history in a nutshell. 
  • If you don’t have such an awesome cousin, you could book guided tours in advance.
  • Come here early to avoid the crowds 
  • Regular tickets are € 16.00 and include entrance to the Colosseum plus entrance to the Roman Forum and Palatine archaeological area
  • Reduced tickets available (bring your ID) 
  • There are tickets (not always available, though) that also allow you to visit the arena for a higher price
  • Opening hours: 10.30 am – 7.15 pm (last entry at 6.15 pm), closed January 1 and December 25
  • It takes about 1-2 hours to visit the Colosseum
  • There is no dress code but wear comfy shoes
  • HOW TO GET THERE: Roma, Piazza del Colosseo
    Metro: Line B stop Colosseo
    Bus: n. 51, 75, 81, 85, 87, 118
    Tram: n. 3

From the Colosseum, it is time to head to the next attractions, which are just a stone‘s throw away: the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

Stroll the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill – Around 11 am

If you have a ticket for the Colosseum, it normally includes the entry fees for these sights as well, which are other places to add to your 2 days in Rome itinerary.

The Roman Forum (Foro Romano) is located just to the west of the Colosseum and is the ancient city of Rome, whereas Palatine Hill rises above the Forum and it is the place where the emperors built their palaces. Rome best places to visit in 2 daysThe Roman Forum and Palatine Hill used to be the center of public life during the Roman Empire and included many of Ancient Rome´s most important structures. The remains paint a picture of how important this place used to be.

  • To be honest, I wish I had an audio guide or a tour guide as though my imagination is okay, but it was not enough to really grasp the importance of the place, and I felt a bit lost without a guide. 

You´ll also have great views of the Colosseum, and it is not as crowded as other Rome attractions, or maybe because of its size it felt less busy. Tourists places in Rome in two days

  • Combine it with a trip to the Colosseum
  • Regular tickets are € 16.00 and include entrance to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine archaeological area
  • Opening hours: 10.30 am – 7.15 pm (last entry at 6.15 pm), closed January 1 and December 25
  • Plan in 1-2 hours for these two attractions
  • HOW TO GET TO PALATINEVia di San Gregorio 30. From the Colosseum you can easily walk otherwise: Metro: Line B stop Colosseo, Bus: n. 51, 75, 81, 85, 87, 118 Tram: n. 3
  • HOW TO GET TO ROMAN FORUM: Largo della Salara Vecchia 5/6, Metro: Line B stop Colosseo, Bus: n. 51, 75, 81, 85, 87, 118

From there, you could take public transportation, a taxi, or walk to the next famous landmark.

Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II – Around 2 pm

This building has become one of my favorite sights and is Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele. Though I haven’t seen it in many top 10 lists for Rome, it has made it on my list. Its symmetry is just astonishing. Monumento Nazionale a Vittoria Emanuele II  _ The wedding cake Rome points of interestIt is 135 meters wide and 70 meters high – and the top is crowned with an equestrian sculpture of Victor Emmanuel cast in bronze and two chariots driven by the goddess Victoria. 

Apparently, the building was considered very ugly by the Romans and is often compared to a wedding cake because of its structure. Though I don’t like wedding cakes much, I loved this building. 

It was created as a monument for the first king of united Italy (completed in 1925) and is probably one of Rome’s most modern-looking buildings. Yes, I seriously did not see many new buildings, so I perceived this 100-year-old building as modern! Rome where to go in 2 daysWe did not visit the museum inside but instead climbed some of the stairs and enjoyed the great views from there.

  • There is also a flag museum (free of charge) you can visit.
  • Climbing the first stairs to the lower terrace (with the view in the picture) is free
  • Using the lift to the panoramic terrace (the only way to get to the top) cost about 7€ 
  • HOW TO GET THERE: From Palatine Hill, you can either walk (about 2 km) or take a bus, e.g., line 81, hop-on and hop-off buses also take you there.

Check out Pantheon – Around 4 pm

From there, you could visit the Pantheon, which is quite close (less than 1 km). Honestly, I was not too impressed. Maybe, I was in a bad mood when I entered because just a few seconds before, my ice cream had fallen, and I was sad over the waste of my valuable, delicious Italian gelato.Adam Wood 432049 Unsplash Places to see in Rome

It was built between 25 and 27 BC as a temple dedicated to the twelve Gods and to the living Sovran. It was most likely reconstructed between 118 and 125 AD and is almost 2000 years old. It is the only ancient Roman building that has remained more or less intact through the centuries. Remember the Colosseum that has largely been destroyed. In the 7th century, the temple was officially converted to Christianity and named Saint Maria ad Martyres.

  • The Pantheon is free to visit
  • You do not need to book any ticket in advance. Lines might be long though
  • The Basilica is open all days from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm (last entry 6.30 pm), closed on 1st January, 15 August, and the 25th December, times may vary in accordance with special religious celebrations.
  • You can book audio guides for a few of about 7€
  • Guided tours are also available at the church (take about 45 minutes and cost about 20€)
  • Mobile App is available: Pantheon Rome
  • It is a church, so dress moderately

Relax at Piazza di Spagna – the Spanish Steps – Around 6 pm

The Spanish Steps are another tourist magnet. Though we visited in January, it was so busy. 

We even had issues finding our way to climb down! Since spring 2019 it is not allowed to sit on the Spanish Steps anymore.  Rome in 2 days itinerary. Arzo TravelsIt was a bit of a disappointment, to be honest. I am sure it will be much better now that you can actually walk down the stairs and so it has made it on the list of the best places to visit in Rome.

The Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti in Italian) was built in the 18th century and has its name from the Spanish Embassy at the Piazza di Spagna. They are a set of steps (135 steps in total) climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, with the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.

Okay, one great way to end the day is to head to the nearby Trevi Fountain.

Make a Wish at Trevi Fountain – Around 7.30 pm

I mentioned that I didn‘t like the Spanish Steps that much because it was crowded. But I cannot recall any place that was as crowded as the Trevi Fountain. Come early to Trevi Fountain in RomeThat place is jammed with people from all over the world. It gets even busier in the evenings. Yes, in the picture, it does not look busy. But it is. We went back there again early in the morning when it was still quiet in Rome to see it without the crowds.

There had been another fountain on that site that was demolished in the 17th century, and thenTrevi Fountain was designed completed by Giuseppe Pannini in the 18th century. It is about 26 meters high and about 49 meters wide. In the center of the fountain, you will see a statue of Oceanus, the Sea God in Greek mythology.

  • There are many cafes and restaurants close by, too, so you´ll find something to your fancy.
  • Have your drink on a bench in front of the fountains instead of in a cafe.
  • Don’t forget to throw in a coin if you want to revisit Rome. The myth says that throwing a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder ensures you´ll visit Rome again.

This will probably be a busy day, but sticking to a tight schedule will allow you to see many of Rome´s sights within two days. Check out ideas on how to spend your evenings in Rome.

While the water from the fountain was long known as the best in Rome, it is now not drinkable!

  • Tip: With 2 days in the city you might be able to visit Trevi Fountain twice. Early in the morning, it tends to be less busy, and you can manage to take a picture without other people in it.

DAY 2 OF 2 DAYS IN ROME

Yes, Rome in 2 days is quite busy, but it is worth it. So, here are my suggestions for your second day.

Enjoy Castel Sant’Angelo – Around 9 am

Our accommodation was somewhere between Vatican City and this landmark: Castello del Angelo.

Castello del Angelo is located close to the Tiber River. It is a popular place to find musicians and small stalls selling souvenirs. You can also visit the museum inside and enjoy great views of the city.Best attractions in Rome where to visit with arzo Travels

The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant’Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself (around 2000 years ago!) and his family. It has been used for different purposes, from defense fortress to prison and dungeon and more.

At the beginning of the 20th century, it became a museum and venue for cultural and social events.

View from Castello del Angelo  - best viewpoints in Rome with Arzo Travels
View from Castello del Angelo  @shutterstock

Inside you will now find the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo with many pieces on display, including a grand collection of paintings, sculptures, military memorabilia, and medieval firearms.

The museum is divided into several sections, and you will find elegant Renaissance interiors, including the Sala Paolina with frescoes depicting episodes from the life of Alexander the Great on the castle’s upper floors. There is also a terrace offering unforgettable views over Rome and Vatican City with a little cafe.

  • Open daily from 9 am to 7:30 pm (last entrance 6:30 pm), closed: 25th December and 1st January 
  • Ticket prices are around 14€ for adults
  • You cannot bring backpacks, suitcases, or large bags to the sites
  • You have to go through security checks
  • Plan in between 1-3 hours

Enjoy an Espresso at a Rooftop Bar – Around 12 pm

When in Rome, make sure to head to some of the great rooftop bars here.Visit a rooftop bar in Rome with Arzo Travels

If you plan to visit Castel Sant’Angelo, and its terrace you will have great views already but why not enjoy some more fantastic views?

TIP: For amazing views of St. Peter‘s Basilica in Vatican City, we went for an espresso at Atlanta Star. It is a four-star hotel with a lovely view of Vatican City and Rome. I guess there aren’t many rooftop bars that can claim to offer views of two countries.

Stroll the Tiber – Around 2 pm

If you have some energy left, invest time exploring an UNCROWDED place in Rome (well, kind of).

When you stroll the Tiber River, you will have the place almost to yourself – a rarity. I am into strolling rivers. It may sound weird, but I have fallen in love with places where I basically just strolled along the rivers.

The river is not as dominant (nor as pretty) as in other cities, but you could stroll, have a drink, picnic, etc.

Read more: Visit Appia Antica – A day trip from Rome.

End the Day in Travestere – Around 5 pm

For the second night, I definitely recommend dining in the Trastevere neighborhood. This area is probably one of my favorite areas in Rome. The cobblestone streets with their many shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes are really charming. 

If you want to enjoy a hip, easy-going vibe, plan some time to stroll through Travestere and pick one of the numerous restaurants to dine in. There are also some that are quite affordable.

If you spend your last evening here, you will probably have a great last memory of Rome!

DAY TRIP FROM ROME

Vatican City is a must-see in, well, I would say Rome though it is not part of Rome. However, it was one of the highlights of my Rome trip.

And so I highly suggest staying 3 days in Rome so you can add a day trip to your itinerary. But if you can also add it to your 2-day itinerary and visit Vatican City in half a day/day.

Explore Vatican City

This tiny country (the smallest in the world, to be more precise) lies within Rome, and crossing countries is made easy.Vatican City seen from RomeThe Pope’s home is probably one of the most extreme places I have visited so far. There is so much “bling-bling“ and pomposity that it felt unreal.

  • You can visit the Sistine Chapel for free. 
  • I strongly recommend getting tickets for the museum as well and planning in at least half a day for this place.  
  • Have I mentioned that it gets bustling and crowded? So make sure you book your tickets in advance. Even in January, there were long lines – which you can skip with “Skip the Line“ tickets.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON A WEEKEND TRIP TO ROME

Rome is a great winter destination but probably is amazing to visit at any time of the year. 2 days in Rome (plus one day in Vatican City) is the minimum time to spend. 2 days will allow you to see some of the best sights in Rome.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you plan your 2-day Rome itinerary.

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

Best Things to do in 2 Days in Lake Como Itinerary

Lake Como in 2 days

WHAT TO DO AT LAKE COMO IN 2 DAYS

Are you planning your Lake Como itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Lake Como in 2 days?

Well, if so, you have found the perfect post as this quick guide will help you to find out what to do in Lake Como – the most beautiful places to visit and fun things to do. Also, you will find some travel tips for your Lake Como itinerary.

Disclaimer: This post might contain affiliate links, which means I might earn a small commission if you buy a product or service via my link (at no extra costs).

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR LAKE COMO ITINERARY

Before heading to the Lake Como itinerary, here is some information for your Lake Como trip.

LAKE COMO FACTS

Lake Como, located conveniently close to the German, Swiss, and Austrian borders, has become a popular spot for travelers and tourists worldwide.

Lake Como is in Northern Italy – more precisely, it is located in the region of Lombardy. It is easily reachable from places like Milan or Bergamo. It takes about 50 minutes from Milan to Como by train.

Lago di Como has an area of 146 square kilometers, so it is the third-largest lake in Italy just after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. 

With a maximum depth of approximately 410 meters, it is also one of the deepest lakes in Europe.

Lake Como has been a popular destination for aristocrats and wealthy people since Roman times, and now for people from all around the world (the high prices here might scare many people away!).

Where to Stay in Lake Como For 2 Days

After spending some time in Switzerland, I was still surprised to see that Como’s prices aren’t that different from Switzerland. Especially hotels are costly.

If you are looking for a hotel in Como’s town, you will pay way more than if you opt for a hotel in one of the areas close by. I have visited Lake Como twice – I once stayed in Como directly and once in an eco-hotel near Como.

However, if I revisited Lake Como, I would book a room in the town of Bellagio. Bellagio is the prettier town and slightly cheaper.

Here are some of the best places to stay around Lake Como:

WHERE TO STAY IN COMO: 

WHERE TO STAY IN BELLAGIO:

Find out more about an eco-hotel I stayed or check out my accommodation guide for Lake Como – the best areas to stay and best hotels for all budgets.

What to Pack for your Lake Como Itinerary

The region can become extremely hot in the summer, so do not forget to pack some sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and many spare tops to change clothes for a hot summer day.

Italy is a country of beautiful and very stylish while still classy people. While I think you should dress as you wish, Italy – and Lake Como in particular – is the place to dress up. Click here for my full packing list.

How to Get Around Lake Como in 2 Days

Getting around Lake Como by car is probably the most convenient way, BUT it is also possible to get around by public transportation like buses or trains. Some boats get you around as well. So, whether you have a car or not, getting around Lake Como is, in general, quite easy.

On the other hand, Parking is not very easy and pricey in many areas (like Como). So, if you don’t depend on your car, I suggest using public transportation.

BEST TIME TO VISIT AT LAKE COMO

The best time to visit Lake Como in the warm months. However, it depends on HOW warm you like it.

I visited Lake Como both times in summer (July) and it was wayyyyyy too hot. July and August are the warmest months but it is also very humid and – honestly – very unpleasent. However, if you want to swim or love the heat then July or August are the best months to visit.

If I visited Lake Como again, I would go for a trip in May, June or September. Prices for accommodation will drop, tourists are mostly gone and temperates should also drop while it is still warm.

Booking Tours in Lake Como

Many activities mentioned here can be done without any tour guide. Most are even free or do not cost a lot.

If you plan to do guided tours, I recommend GetYourGuide. I have become a fan of GetYourGuide, and so I started booking my own tours and activities mostly via them. So if you do not know them yet, try them out. You can book many tours all over the world via them, and they allow you (most of the time) to cancel tours for free (let´s face it, sometimes things just come in between).

I have added a few tours for you, so click on the links if you are interested in the tours.

THINGS TO DO IN LAKE COMO IN 2 DAYS

Here is how my perfect Lake Como itinerary looks like, and this is what to do in two days in Lake Como.

Lake Como comprises, among others of the towns, Como and Bellagio, and you´ll find tips for these towns as well as for some other places in Lake Como. I recommended starting with exploring Como, and here are the best things to do in Como.

DAY 1 OF 2 DAYS IN LAKE COMO

Okay, one of the must-see places is Como itself.

Como

You should plan half a day to one full day for visiting the more prominent town (actually it is a city), Como. It is a city at the southern tip of Lake Como in Northern Italy.

Como Old Town

You can start with Como’s old town – it is a cute old town and town center with a beautiful cathedral – the Como Cathedral and it is fun to get lost in the streets of Como.

Small cafes invite you to have a drink and take a rest while watching people strolling through the streets. I could spend hours getting lost in the narrow streets and checking out the smaller shops.

However, though Como is lovely, I admit that it is not mind-blowing, and it is also pretty expensive. For me, spending half a day in Como itself is enough. 

(Tip: If you are into Italian food, why not do a Como Food Tour? To find out more about it, click here to find out more about food tours in Lake Como). Market Square & Promenade

Definitely put the market square with the promenade in Como on your list. It is one of the main tourist attractions in Como – where a lot of cafes and restaurants allow you to overlook the gorgeous lake. Again, the market square is nice but not the most beautiful one I have been to in that region. lake como promenade in front of brunate cable carThe promenade is beautiful for (long) walks – depending on your preferences, you could spend a few minutes to several hours here. Though there is not something in particular interesting, it is just a nice vibe.

Boat Tour

The most prominent resident of Como is George Clooney. If you want to see his house (or better, the villa of George Clooney), you can do a boat tour and see his and many more beautiful villas lined up at Lake Como (boat tour is my must-do if in Como). The boat tour in Como is actually one of the best things you can do in Lake Como or better on Lake Como. It is fun, though not free, but great on a hot day because it includes Lake Como sightseeing and a cool breeze.

Since it can get really hot and humid, this is the best chance to have a fresh breeze and see those million-dollar houses at the lake. If you prefer it a bit calmer, you could do a Dinner Cruise Tour on Lake Como.After exploring Como for more than half a day, it is time to visit this cute uphill town.

Brunate

Besides the boat tour, I enjoyed my trip to Brunate the most. Brunate is a small village on the mountain – situated approximately 700 metres above sea level – and you´ll have great views. Walking around that little village is a little highlight.

It has about 1,800 residents, but in the summer months, it gets much busier when tourists rent houses and apartments.How to get from Como to Brunate?

You can use a funicular to get up, and the cable car station is located quite central and next to the market square. Return tickets are around €6 and the funicular ride takes less than 10 minutes.

You hike up Brunate, but I did not try that out due to laziness. Plan in about an hour for 4 km. If you are more into real hikes, you can find some ideas for hikes in the Lake Como area here.

Tip: If you want to skip one of the above activities and are looking for an alternative, you can check out the following ideas:

End your day with a cooking course (there is probably no need to talk the Italian cuisine up to anyone) or dine at the Lake Como promenade.

DAY 2 OF 2 DAYS IN LAKE COMO

For day 2, I have the following suggestions for you. Day 2 can start with an excursion to Lake Pusiano.

Lake Pusiano

If you are interested in visiting quieter places, I recommend Lake Pusiano, a hidden gem in the region of Como. Lake Pusiano, also known as Eupilio, is a lake in Brianza. It is just close to Como and is not visited by many tourists (yet). The island boasts an ancient history, dating back as far as the Neolithic period, approximately 10,000 years B.C.

Lake Pusiano is the only one of the Brianza lakes that has an island: Isola dei Cypressi (Island of Cypresses). It is a natural hill, and it is one of those little pieces on earth where time is standing still. Lake Pusiano is also well-known for its flat water: no wind, no currents beneath the lake surface. So, it could not be more tranquil and peaceful.

Also, only a few (eco-friendly) boats are allowed on that lake – starting from Bosisio Parini or Pusiano. The island takes its name from its numerous cypress trees and now is private property, available for visits just on guided tours. The island is also home to many animals  – including little kangaroos (I have not seen any, but there are some around) and different birds.

This is a good place to have a picnic or dine in one of the restaurants along the shores of Lake Pusiano.

Bellagio

Okay, time to visit my favorite area here, which is most likely Bellagio.

Old Town

The old town of Bellagio is the best place to add to your Lake Como itinerary – if you ask me. It is charming, and though it is smaller than Como, it is more colorful, and I would say, more beautiful. Bellagio in 2 days in Lake ComoI fell in love with the old and prominent stairways of Bellagio and the beautiful promenade with many flower pots everywhere. The stairways are probably the main point of interest, and there is a reason – walking down the stairs makes you feel pretty cool, or at least I felt cool :).

Promenade

The beautiful promenade of Bellagio is another place to visit. I did not get to spend that much time in Bellagio itself, but if you enjoy sweet, romantic towns and beautiful promenades – where you can have a drink in one of the numerous cafes – you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Let´s face it: Bellagio is more picturesque than Como.

Madonna del Ghisallo

Depending on how fast/slow you have traveled, you could add this to your Lake Como itinerary – Madonna del Ghisallo.

If you are interested in cycling and have some time left, you will enjoy a visit to the museum Madonna del Ghisallo.” If you are not, then you will at least enjoy another great view of Lake Como.

Trattoria Baita Belvedere

My top tip is to have dinner on day 2 at Lake Como is Trattoria Baita Belvedere at the top of Bellagio. It seriously is the best place to visit in Bellagio to eat.

It has one of the most beautiful views for dining in Bellagio or probably the whole region, and the prices are affordable (organic and regional food).

Make sure to call them ahead and reserve a table – the seats with a view were quite limited!

Varenna 

Alternatively, you can also visit this beautiful village: Varenna. With only 2 days in Lake Como, you have to prioritize which places to add to your itinerary and skip probably one of the other places mentioned here. Varenna has fantastic villas (especially Villa Monastero is worth a visit), beaches, a charming promenade, a cute old town with historic buildings, and lovely restaurants.

Where to stay in Varenna Lake Como
@shutterstock

Also, you can easily reach from towns such as Bellagio (15 minutes away by ferry).

CONCLUSION: HOW TO CREATE A FUN LAKE COMO ITINERARY

As you can see, this Lake Como itinerary is quite busy if you only stay there for 48 hours, though it is doable if you have more time, you could take more time and do these things in 3 or 4 days. If you stay longer than 2 days in Lake Como, you can even do some fun day trips to Bergamo or Milan.

As mentioned at the beginning, Como is pretty but did not blow me away – Bellagio did, however. While there are more tourist attractions, the above-mentioned places should not be missing on your 2-day Lake Como itinerary.

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