KATHRIN DI LAURO TRAVEL BLOG

Exploring Lake Garda, Italy During a New Media Trip Experience

I didn’t think twice when the media trip invitation to Lake Garda, Italy, sailed into my mailbox. How could I say no to my first official media trip invitation and a chance to take a trip to Italy during the lockdown? I was so excited to embrace this new opportunity! 

I always have the same mentality when it comes to trying new things or exploring new places. You never know where unique opportunities will lead – so just embark on the adventure! Everything is already waiting for us, and we need to be fearless in our pursuit of chasing true happiness. 

Embracing New Experiences

I was offered two options to participate in the media trip:

1) Participate in a fully scheduled group media trip or

2) Enjoy an individual stay dedicated to me.

My first instinct was to accept the invitation for an individual stay. (As some of you may know, I love solo travel.) However, I knew the group media trip would give me a chance to meet like-minded travel influencers, journalists, and the PR agency.

 

The garden view from my room at the Aqualux Hotel in Lake Garda, Italy.

Aqualux Hotel Accommodations in Lake Garda, Italy

The media trip centered around a stay at Aqualuxhotel. It was a great experience in every regard. 

From the moment I arrived, I was welcomed by a green oasis with lots of natural light and various pools. One of my favorite parts was the hotel’s lovely and spacious garden. It felt like an extended courtyard garden woven within the hotel’s architecture. 

I was invited to stay in an “Aqua Room” on the second (and top) floor. The room featured a beautiful view of the hotel garden and some of its eight pools. The room was pleasant in size (28 – 32 m2) with a sofa bed. There was lots of bright light streaming through the sliding glass door that leads to a balcony with two chairs and a coffee table. That view of the greenery coupled with the cheerful chirping of birds provided the perfect backdrop for my morning espresso.

A notable aspect of this property is its “Round Suites.” These all feature a rounded bed, a view from the Jacuzzi into the bedroom, a separate living room with a sofa bed, and a second bathroom. This is especially ideal if you are traveling as a family.

Verona, Italy, which is famous for the opera festival in the Arena, is only 25 km away from the hotel.

The beautiful flowers from Sigurta Park accompany you as you stroll along the promenade.

Strolling Along Bardolino’s Lakeside Promenade

The eco-friendly hotel is a short walk from the small town of Bardolino and its lovingly landscaped lakeside promenade. I found true peace amongst the abundance of flower arrangements next to the lakeshore thanks to the tulips of Sigurta Park. How could you not with 17,000 bulbs of 32 different varieties scattered across 72 flower beds along the promenade? What an explosion of colors! (More about my fabulous visit to that beautiful botanical garden soon…)

Bardolino’s lakeside promenade beckons visitors with ten kilometers of well-paved pathways far away from the busy roads. It’s the perfect place to run, cycle, skate or do as the Italians do and stroll along the promenade from Lazise via Bardolino to Garda with an ice cream in hand. I highly recommend you do this when you visit. So Dolce Vita!

Olive Oil Tasting Excursion at Viola

The excitement of the trip began on the first day when I had the pleasure of participating in an extra virgin olive oil tasting at the Viola oil mill. This family-run business has been producing high-quality olive oil for more than 70 years. It is truly a fantastic experience to taste the vast variety of different olive oils. I was surprised to learn that my absolute favorite was the one called “Fresh,” as it has not yet been matured. That slightly spicy or bitter taste is typical of olive oils that are made from green, unripe olives. If you taste an olive oil that is musty, winey, or even rancid, it should immediately indicate to the palette that it’s of poor quality. Cold-pressed olive oil is full of healthy fats and helps you retain nutrients such as vitamins, several antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Dining in Lake Garda, Italy

Let’s talk more about Lake Garda’s gastronomy pleasures! Ristorante Alla Borsa in Valeggio sul Mincio invited us to a delicious pasta tasting. The restaurant’s famous “Love Knots,” is also known as the Legend of the Tortellino. It is so delightful that Pope Benedict XVI (Pope Ratzinger) actually had the dish sent to him from Lake Garda! As for my personal favorite, it was a tie. I enjoyed both the butter and sage meat ravioli as well as the spinach and cottage cheese ravioli over Opera cheese fondue. Simply divine!

The highlight of my trip was exploring Sigurta Garden Park and its stunning landscaping.

Exploring Parco Sigurta

Last but not least, and the personal highlight of my trip to Lake Garda, Italy, was the visit to Parco Sigurta. Take me to a beautiful park during my travels, and I will always be happy. I love spending time outdoors in nature. To me, flowers = pure joy. 

Though The Sigurta Garden Park was still closed to the public due to the lockdown, our media group received exclusive privileges to visit the park. An astounding 1,000,000 tulip bulbs are planted every year in this large, 600,000-square-meter garden. Under normal circumstances, you can explore the beautifully landscaped park on foot, bicycle, or electric golf cart equipped with a GPS. I recommend the latter option as you can explore at your own pace while the system educates you about the highlights and various attractions. (Plus, it’s available in different languages.) You can also experience the park from a slow panoramic train. Group tours are also available.

The ancient history of Parco Giardino Sigurta dates back to 1407, when it was used for agriculture. Over the course of history, it was restructured by a noble family into a garden landscape and scaled up to the present size of 60 hectares.

In April, over a million tulips color the park. This floral splendor is considered one of the most prominent in Europe. It’s no surprise the park has received some prestigious awards, including: 

  • “The Most Beautiful Park in Italy 2013”
  • “Second Most Beautiful Park in Europe 2015”
  • “World Tulip Award 2019” 
  • “Best Attraction in the World 2020”

A trip to Lake Garda, Italy is not complete without experiencing this slice of paradise that has survived through history and thrived due to meticulous care.

I loved having exclusive access to the Sigurta Garden Park. It was such a special day!

The Relaxing Finale at Aqualux Spa

Before we say Arrivederci to Lake Garda, I can’t forget to mention the relaxing afternoon spent at the Aqualux Spa! I had the pleasure of experiencing two different treatments at this extensive spa and pool area, which features three different saunas, a Turkish bath, a caldarium, and an oasis for women to simply unwind. The Aquaspa Massage can be classified as a classic massage with warm oils that’s customizable to your needs. The Detox Treatment featured a manual massage with feet and back wraps made from natural ingredients such as grapefruit, honey, coriander, and black pepper. I found it very refreshing and would suggest it on a hot summer day!

The pools outside the Aqualux Spa were peaceful and pristine.

Planning Your Visit to Lake Garda

Do you have plans to travel to Lake Garda, Italy in the near future? It is a breathtaking destination you will love exploring. Feel free to drop your comments or questions below, and check out my Highlights on Instagram to see more of this beautiful adventure! 

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