Spread around Trentino-Alto Adige, Lombardia and Veneto, the largest Italian lake is a real paradise of beauty. Among slow itineraries on foot, cycling tourism, eco-friendly and unique structures, the ways of making your holiday an unforgettable experience are many. We interviewed those who are committed to supporting sustainable tourism and we went on a journey to discover Lake Garda bresciano or High Lake. Follow us!

Lake Garda: a blue stretch among the Alps, passing through different natural landscapes and territories. Everything you wish for can become true if you decide to spend your holiday on the largest lake in Italy. It is not only a wonderful place to relax on its beaches while enjoying the sunset behind the mountains, but it is also perfect if you are interested in cycle paths and excursions, gastronomy or water sports.

Lake Garda, photo by Mariano Mantel via flickr
Lake Garda, photo by Mariano Mantel via flickr

But the wonders of this lake are not over, because Lake Garda is also a perfect eco-sustainable destination, which manages to combine the well-being of its visitors with the well-being of the environment. Thank to its many kilometers of slow itineraries, to travel on foot or by bike, its beautiful eco-friendly hospitalities and the enhancement of its landscape, Lake Garda is emerging as a green destination more and more everyday .

There are a thousand reasons to visit this lake. However, here are 5 reasons that will help making your vacation both perfect and eco-sustainable.

1. Incredible cycle paths to explore the Lake

Bike in the middle of a path, photo by Eddie Lackmann via Unsplash
Photo by Eddie Lackmann via Unsplash

Do you just love riding and and your best adventures’ buddy is your bycicle? There’s no other place better than Lake Garda to choose among loads of amazing cycle paths, from the shortest to the most challenging, in order to enjoy your experience at best and discover the biodiversity of fauna and flora which lives and blooms around the lake.

Do not worry if you are not a master cyclist: in fact, on the lake, there are many paths which are appropriate for any kind of tourist, from the most passionate to absolute to absolute beginners or families with children. There are many possibilities for the smallest children as well, paths which are particularly far away from cars’ traffic. For example, the Lakes’ Valley Cycle Path is perfect for every level and can be travelled in any season, both in winter and in the cool summer breeze!

With the green mean of transport par excellence, the bycicle, you can travel on two wheels some of the most beautiful cycle paths in Italy while feeling closer to nature thanks to the cool and healthy air of Lake Garda. In this article you can find some of the best suggestions for a bike excursion…make sure you don’t miss them!

2. Charming Eco B&B on Lake Garda

Among eco-friendly B&B, bio hotels and green hospitalities, there really is a wide selection. Not only you’ll be able to make your mobility sustainable by moving around on foot or by bike, but also by staying in a structure which respects the environment and the nature, producing low emissions and living according to a green philosophy and life style.

View from Casa Francesca, Lake Garda
View from Casa Francesca

These are the principles that Casa Francesca follows, a modern B&B in Gardone Riviera, but with an ancient atmosphere which kind of makes you feel like home. It maintains the same structure of the old house in the old town of Morgnaga, where you can feel the history and traditions of the place. Its location is amazing, 300 mt on foot from the Vittoriale and the harbour, from which ferries leave and where many excursions start.

In order to tell you the story of this place better, we have interviewed Cristina Zanardi, the house owner, who told us how her adventure started and why Casa Francesca is a a special hospitality.

How did your adventure in eco-turism start?

I love Lake Garda so much since I was a child that a year and a half ago I decided to make my home of it. I opened two structures: the little Residence Virgilio with 4 apartments in Toscolano Maderno, and my B&B Casa Francesca (an homage to my daughter) in Morgnaga, a little town in Gardone riviera.

I soon realized that welcoming “friends you haven’y met yet” is very different from a simple check in and check out. It gives me immense pleasure to guide my new friends to the discovery of my territory and its characteristics. I’m always looking for new itineraries you can travel on foot or by bike to enjoy the great views of the blue lake.

Obviously, in order to do that, I always suggest at least 3 days long stayings, so that the guest will have time to settle and enjoy all that the area has to offer, including of course culinary specialties.

Gardone, lungolago, Lake Garda, photo via wikimedia
Gardone, lungolago, photo via wikimedia

My adventure in sustainable toruism started when I realized that fortunately there was a fair share of travellers who still travelled by train, then reached Gardone with the bus and during the holiday, they would move around on foot, by bike or bus. They spend a slow holiday, which allows me to empathize with them.

From that point I started to improve my knowledge of the territory and I ended up applying for a Master for Ecotourism providers on Lake Garda promoted by LACUS Association which I am happily attending. There will be a final thesis which will focus on niche products of Garda Bresciano or Alto Lago. Some of my adventure buddies will focus on immaterial heritage with particular attention on the development of new cycle paths and the enhancement of archaeological sites of our area or on the education regarding these matters in schools, but also for locals who want to get involved and collaborate.

Which strategies did you use to reduce the environmental impact of your eco-structure?

Casa Francesca is a house which was struck by an earthquake in 2004: since I couldn’t reconstruct it as it was, I decided to rebuild it earthquake-proof, but exactly as it was before, keeping all the old local characteristics in order not to alter the perception of Casa del Borgo.

Obviously I adopted a series of modern strategies for energy saving and avoiding environmental impact. I used a lot of wood and atoxic paint. I put high yield heaters and thermal glasses. Water-flow reducers and led light bulbs almost everywhere. I also recycled as much as I could. However, I chose to sacrifice a little garden in front of the house to transform it into a private parking lot, but I also replanted the olive tree which used to grow there not very far away.

What will guests find in Casa Francesca?

I have always loved art, fashion and cooking, I have a HACCP certificate and I took part in “La prova del cuoco”. For this reason, breakfasts in Casa Francesca are a little homage to local products, both sweet and savoury, and they are generally cooked by me: home-made bread, cakes and fruit jams of local origin, cheese from the local dairy farm.

Slow Turism on High Lake (Garda Bresciano)

From B&B Casa Francesca, with a short and easy 300 mt long walk, you will reach the Vittoriale degli Italiani, Gabriele D’Annunzio’s house, which is also the most visited house/museum in Europe.

Andrèe Heller’s Botanic Garden is not far from the house either.

All around us there are historic sites from the Lombard and Roman times, but also prehistoric sites, such as Lago Lucone in Valtenesi or the one in Rocca di Manerba.

The Paper mills’ Valley in Toscolano Maderno is the seat of the paper mills’ museum and of the debris of all the old paper mills near Toscolano’s stream, which is the only river of the lake where you can see the trouts heading upriver due to their repopulation in nature thanks to a upgrading project.

Not to mention the “Limonaie” between Salò and Limone, which are proper bio-climatic architectures which are now considered industrial archaeology, since they where used for lemons’ production on a large scale until 1860.

From Sur Valley, right above Morgnaga, besides visiting the archaeological site, you can also go paragliding!

And I could keep going on saying that Gardone‘s beaches are awarded every year with the prestigious reward Bandiera Blu, for the quality of the waters. I could dwell on other details but I’ll finish mantioning the wonderful sunrises you can enjoy in this area, as they are really breath-taking and open the heart of every passenger and resident.

If you are intrigued by what Cristina said, you can also book your staying at Casa Francesca via Ecobnb.

3. Km 0 products to taste on Lake Garda’s shore

Olives, photo via pixabay
Olives, photo via pixabay

If you are a gourmet, who is into gastronomy and oenology, then Lake Garda is the right place for you. Full of km 0 local products to delight tourists, who will be spoilt for choice between the quality and quantity of these products.

The most famous product and well-known all around Italy is the extra virgin olive oil D.O.P., with a delicate flavor but at the same time surprising, perfect for every dish and dressing. Furthermore, Lake Garda is surrounded bu millions of vineyards, from which they extract some of the finest wines in Italy, such as Bardolino Chiaretto “D.O.C. Classico”, Valpolicella, Amarone, Nosiola, Custoza’s white wine, Lugana, Garda and Vino Santo Trentino.

Wine glasses, photo via Unsplash
Wine glasses, photo via Unsplash

Not just oils and wines, but also the truffle from Mount Baldo is a renowned product, together with citrus fruits from the Garda region, such as lemons, bergamots, oranges and tangerines, also utilized for the production of liquors…perfect to help you digest after a food binge in the most beautiful restaurants on the Lake!

4. That Mediterranean micro-climate that extends your life…

Lake Garda is also known for its healthy Mediterranean micro-climate, one of the best in Europe, which makes it easier for olive trees to grow and makes its inhabitants live longer…Especially in the town of Limone del Garda, where people live healthily until one hundred years, stimulating scientists and researchers’ curiosity.

Malcesine, photo via pxhere
Malcesine, photo via pxhere

The lake’s micro-climate is particularly favourable as it is tempered by the enormous mass of water, which stop temperatures from getting too low, allowing an amazing vegetation to grow, especially palm treescypresses and olive trees, from which the famous oil is extracted.

5. Windsurf and kitesurf for an all-around experience

Windsurf, photo by Mark Harpur via Unsplash
Windsurf, photo by Mark Harpur via Unsplash

For the most athletic, Lake Garda is an equipped destination for those who want to practice activities such as windsurf and kitesurf: there is nothing more beautiful and exiciting than riding on water thanks to the wind force while enjoying the breath-taking view around the lake.

Particularly on the east coast of the lake, there are many schools where you can sign up for windsurf, surf and kitesurf courses (beginners as well) but also many facilities where you can rent the equipment. In fact, year after year, the lake becomes more and more prepared to welcome people who wish to try what it means to be transported by the wind but at the same time take control of it.

There are many sports centres where you can sign up along Lake Garda, for example in Brenzone, Campione del Garda, Gargnano, Limone sul Garda and Malcesine…Well, in short, you can choose among various alternatives to add a little fun to your holiday!

Cover photo via pxhere

You might also like:

Garda Lake weekend tour

A spectacular new bike path on lake Garda

Green ideas for a weekend at lake Garda


Author: Margherita Potrich

Born in Rovereto, Margherita studies Modern Languages for tourism and business mediation at the University of Trento – Literature and Philosophy Department. The knowledge and use of English in a work environment is her main objective; thanks to Ecobnb she had the chance to combine languages with the emerging topic of sustainable tourism.
More posts by Margherita Potrich →

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