Image via WikipediaBy Dipika Patel
Lake Garda is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world when it comes to lakes and mountains holidays - and exploring the area by rail makes it even more unforgettable.
There are two ways in which you can enjoy this part of Italy by train. You can either get on the Eurostar from London and make your way to Lake Garda via the likes of Paris, Brussels and Lake Geneva, or you can fly to Italy before boarding a train to Lake Garda.
Whichever holiday package you choose, you are sure to fall in love with Lake Garda from the moment you set eyes on it from your train carriage.
The lake is the largest in Italy and is conveniently located between Venice and Milan. Its north end is surrounded by craggy mountains offering the potential for some spectacular views over the body of water, while the south is more open and features gentler scenery.
Many a famous face has regularly visited Lake Garda over the centuries, making it even more popular among the growing crowds of tourists who flock to this part of northern Italy every year.
You will find that some of the common features of the various destinations along the shores of Lake Garda include Roman and medieval points of interest, wonderful food and wine, and plentiful opportunities to engage in all kinds of sports - particularly the water-based kind.
Specific locations that can be visited as part of rail holidays to Lake Garda include the southern peninsula of Sirmione, which is particularly picturesque thanks to the fact that it is surrounded by sparkling blue lake waters.
It is also home to a castle and numerous archaeological sites that reveal something of the how the Romans once lived in the area.
If you head west from Sirmione you'll come across Desenzano, which harbours a Roman villa built in the fourth century BC along with a beautiful 16th century cathedral.
Further north along the western shore is Gardone Riviera, an extremely popular health resort that boasts extensive shopping facilities, poet Gabriele D'Annunzio's mausoleum and tomb, a botanical garden and an open-air theatre.
When you go north from here towards the mountains, you might find yourself trying to identify a particularly sweet scent floating on the air. This is a sign that you're close to Limone sul Garda, which is world-famous for its pungent lemons.
If you head to the northernmost tip of Lake Garda you will find the town Riva del Garda, which boasts another castle along with a museum sure to be of interest to those with a passion for history.
On the eastern shore of Lake Garda, meanwhile, is Malcesine, from where you can hop in a cable car to the top of Monte Baldo for some spectacular views over the lake. The town also has a medieval castle and museum.
If you head south from here you may want to stop at Torri del Benaco and Garda, each of which have enough pleasant diversions to occupy you on your way to Bardolino.
Don't forget to sample Bardolino's world-renowned wines while in the area - and if you love sports, this is the place to get your fill of all kinds of pursuits.
All of these destinations are just those around Lake Garda itself. If you choose to head to the region by rail, you may also get the opportunity to stop at European locations such as Dijon, Stuttgart, Nuremburg and the Dolomite Mountains, along with Milan, Venice and Verona.
This is why lakes and mountains holidays to Italy by rail can be so much more appealing than simply flying straight there - not only are you able to enjoy the convenience of leisurely travelling around Lake Garda on a train, but you can also see much more of Italy and other parts of Europe than you might do otherwise.
Whichever rail Europe holiday package you choose for your trip to Lake Garda, you're sure to have the getaway of a lifetime - just make sure you choose a different route on your second journey to the region to take in even more of this stunning destination.
If you're looking into lakes and mountains holidays, why not consider holidays by rail to Lake Garda from Great Rail? You can choose from fly rail holidays and rail Europe trips, with a selection of different routes available.
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