My 30th Birthday Getaway: Lake Garda

One day, out of nowhere, I decided I wanted to do a headstand on top of a mountain. And what do you know, the cute town of Malcesine in Lake Garda has a cable car that takes you up to the top of Monte Baldo. And so the story begins…

I spent about 3.5 weeks getting my yoga on and worked towards my goal of a headstand. Let me remind you that I have this fear of heights AND falling so this outrageous goal is completely out of character for me. I practiced roughly 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 2 weeks before I was able to hold my headstand for a full minute. I don’t know how long it normally takes people but I was SO proud of myself.

We decided to stay in Limone Sul Garda because most of the hotels in Malcesine were either a) booked up or b) crazy expensive. The train from Milan gave us a glimpse of the beauty of Lake Garda. Mountains, peaceful waters, quaint villages, and lush fields made it seem like we were in a whole new world! It took about 2.5 hrs before we arrived at Rovereto train station. Next, we had to try and catch a taxi to our hotel in Limone. We took this route, as it was the best option for that time of day/night.

As soon as we stepped out of the station we were greeted by the sun that was just beginning to set over the mountains, the air was incredibly fresh, and the temperature couldn’t be any more perfect. There wasn’t much activity around the station so we were a bit apprehensive we wouldn’t be able to find a taxi. Next thing you know, in just 3 minutes a taxi driver happened to drop off another couple. We waved him down and he was ready to take us on a wonderful drive of the area. The cab ride cost a hefty 70 euros but it was well worth it.

Driving through the towns and around the lake was breathtaking. About an hour later, we finally got to our hotel, Hotel San Pietro in Limone. The hotel itself was average but the view made it amazing. We were on the upper part of the mountain so our room overlooked the beautiful city and lake.

Beautiful Riva Del Garda on the way to Limone Sul Garda.
Beautiful Riva Del Garda on the way to Limone Sul Garda.

An added bonus to our hotel was that there was a cool pizzeria, called Tovo, right across the street. The hotel receptionist said it was “the best pizza you will get in Limone”. It was about 10PM by this time so we were starving. Luckily, they were still open! Granted they only serve pizza after 10 pm but we will take what we can get! We are happy to report that the restaurant lived up to its hype. Plus, they had some great beer! After eating, we were joking around about buying a few bottles of beer to take back to the hotel. Their response? “Sure, you want us to open them?!” This added to the amazing night we were having.

Pizza at Tovo
Pizza at Tovo

Next morning, we woke up early to have breakfast and make our hike out to Monte Baldo; which is the mountain across the lake in the cute town of Malcesine. We first took a ferry to Malcesine which cost us 6 euros per person round trip. It was a short walk through the lovely town of Malcesine to the cable car station. Malcesine was another beautiful town with a lot of character. We opted to purchase a combo ticket for 22 euros which included the cable car to the tip top + tickets to the Malcesine castle. Taking the cable car was intense! There were so many people packed into the car but it was worth it!

View from the Malcesine Cable Car
View from the Malcesine Cable Car

Being on top of the mountain and touching the clouds is a feeling like no other. After taking a few minutes to absorb, we hiked until we found the perfect area to do some headstands! It was a 10-minute hike before we found the nice and flat patch overlooking the mountains. It was all about waiting to get the right shot. It took numerous tries since the clouds kept on coming and going but we finally got them!

Lake Garda, Italy Lake Garda, Italy

Monte Baldo Malcesine Lake Garda Italy

On our way back down through Malcesine, we had to stop and get some gelato – the best mint and chocolate gelato we’ve had…EVER!!! We also explored some castles and such…no big deal.

Malcesine Castle
Malcesine Castle

Malcesine Castle

We didn’t hang around Malcesine too much longer because we wanted to head back to the hotel so we can enjoy our swimming pool. We ended our night at Tovo for dinner again for some more food and drinks! We didn’t feel the need to venture to a different restaurant when we already found our sweet spot.

Ferry back to Limone
Ferry back to Limone

The next day, we took the “speed” boat from Limone to Sirmione. I’ve heard that Sirmione is a “must-see” so I had to see it. The “speed” boat cost us 17 euros and it took 2 hours to get from Limone to Sirmione. It was probably a gorgeous ride, but I was passed out almost the entire time. I stayed up pretty late watching my Thai movies the night before. Whoops.

Once in Sirmione, we needed to drop off our luggage so we could explore the town without having to haul everything around with us. Now THAT was a hike! The heat didn’t help the situation either. Turns out the luggage storage in town was actually a petrol station about 7 minute walk OUTSIDE castle gates. The cost to store luggage was relatively cheap. We paid 1.50/hr per baggage.

In my honest opinion, I didn’t think Sirmione lived up to its hype. It was cute, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t hold a candle to the towns further north. We definitely preferred the mountainous backdrops of Limone and Malcesine. If you have the time to spare, definitely make the effort to venture the lesser known towns! You’ll avoid the crowds and get fantastic views (and pictures).

Unfortunately, I misplaced some footage form Lake Garda but here is what we have!


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