Hello! Who else loves a unique itinerary on vacation, one that gets you off the typical tourist path? In college I was able to spend a semester in Europe and my travel bug has only gotten worse from there. I love searching out the smaller European cities that most visitors skip over and luckily James does as well! Last summer James and I went to Italy to visit my sister who was taking a summer semester abroad. We made it a tour of the Italian Lakes, one of the only areas in Italy I hadn’t visited before. It was probably our favorite trip we have taken: laid back, full of excellent eats, and the very best scenery!
First, we drove from Milan to Riva del Garda. I would fly back here in a heartbeat!
Riva Must Eats:
1. Gelateria Flora: I had to include a gelato spot and this is one of the best I’ve had across Italy. Save plenty of room for the massive meringue sundae, it was amazing!
2. Ristorante La Berlera: I wanted to welcome my husband to Italy the right way so on our first night we came to eat at this restaurant. It’s a short drive up the hill from the tiny town of Riva but it was more than worth it! We had a fabulous risotto, perfectly seared fresh local fish, and finished with a sampling of a ridiculous amount of desserts. The atmosphere was incredible, my picture is a bit blurry but your basically eating in a candle lit cave. This was the night I fell in love with Italy all over again, it was a life changing meal. Did I mention I would fly back here in a heartbeat?
3. II Re della Bussa: The ultimate date is to be had at this restaurant! The view and ambiance are both incredible. Everything we ordered had an incredible presentation and tasted even better. The best dish of the night was a regional specialty, salt encrusted lake fish. Check out the picture I took of our waiter breaking the salted crust off the fish, it was the most moist, flakey, wonderful fish I have ever eaten. PS: not salty at all!
3 Things you must do while in Riva:
1. Hike: Riva del Garda is a very active city and there are tons of hiking trails with killer views. We did a couple hikes and found a great running trail per our concierge as well.
2. Visit the Bastion: The Italian lake area is full of ruins and castles, this one is an easy hike that still has great views. You can also continue on from here to hike up to the Santa Barbara Church (We almost made it there in the picture above). Bastion still has great views as you can see here.
3. Get on the lake: With a lake more beautiful than the ocean, you’ve got to pick up a water sport while your in town. We took had a private sailing ride and rented a couple kayaks for an hour. It is extremely windy between the mountains so you’ve been fore-warned, the waves can be really strong. Doesn’t my husband look extra hot in his wetsuit :)!!
Overall Riva del Garda may have been our favorite lake, but there is much more to come in this 3 part series. Are you ready to jump on a plane yet?