Thursday 18 July 2019

Roz Purcell's Riva Del Garda: Six tips for your Little Black Book

Finding your special place in the sun is different for everyone, writes Roz Purcell in Italy

Roz in Riva del Garda
Roz in Riva del Garda
Roz enjoys an ice cream at Lake Garda
Roz at Lake Garda
Roz at Lake Garda
Pasta at Lake Garda...
Perfect pizza at Sud
Pizza at Sud
Riva del Garda

Roz Purcell

Lake Garda offers amazing views, food, hospitality and sun, but more importantly it brings a feeling that I can’t compare to anywhere else I’ve travelled.

But where should you stay around the lake?

Set at the northern tip of Lake Garda, just over an hour's drive from Verona, Riva del Garda is a town with everything and more for a couple or girls' getaway.

We packed in as much as possible - but it wasn’t all go, as we still managed to get in some relaxation on the lake and enjoy evening strolls wandering through the narrow winding streets in search of gelato.

Below are my tips for activities... and of course, food. After some extensive research, great suggestions from other Lake Garda lovers online, and a full belly, I've curated the must eats list - starting with the all-important ice cream.

Where to find the best gelato

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Roz enjoys an ice cream at Lake Garda

Gelateria Flora (above) - I recommend the Bueno flavour, you won’t regret it! the bar and gelateria is at Biale Roverto 54.

More: Roz Purcell's Lanzarote: Six places to eat for your Little Black Book

Getting out and about

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Roz at Lake Garda

There were a few things we wanted to tick off our list during our stay; one being the Sentiero Del Ponale cliff walk or bike ride. At 9.5km in length with an option to get a return bus back, you can walk as far or as short as you like taking in the dramatic views and even stopping for an Aperol spritz along the way- think Bray to Greystones with a little more drama!

The walk begins from the centre of the town and is clearly signposted with a separate lane for bikes and walkers - just remember to pack the sunscreen as there is very little shade. You will also need good walking/ gym shoes.

Another must is some time on the lake, whether you want to get active or relax. You can rent a paddle boat for €10 (they can be found all along the promenade), or why not try out paddle boarding or windsurfing to get your pulse racing?

See windriders.eu/sup or sailingdulac.com for more.

More: The Italian Bucket List: 25 things to do in Italy before you die!

The Best Pizza

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Pizza at Sud

Pizzeria Sud (Visa Gazzoletti 15) is a small, unassuming spot situated just off the main square. It's lively, fast and there are excellent value pizzas raging from €6-€10! Get the Basil Pesto Pizza - but note that you need to arrive early ( before 7.30pm, so there won’t be a queue!) and take cards... but have cash for a tip.

The Best pasta

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Pasta at Lake Garda...

Ristorante Leon D’Oro's tagliatelle with truffles has to be the best pasta dish I HAVE EVER HAD! it was recommended to me on Instagram by a number of Irish people who had experienced the best meal of their lives there too...

The restaurant is run by an elderly lady who is full of character and personally seats every guest. Please order the tagliatelle with truffles... it was a meal I’ll remember forever. The bill came to €35 for two - the best value meal we had on our trip.

Once again, I think our habit as early dinner eaters favoured us, as the queuing started up after 7 or 7.30pm.

More: Roz Purcell's Six brilliant breakfasts in Dublin

Where to stay

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Roz at Lake Garda

We stayed at Lido Palace (lido-palace.it/en), where rooms range from €150 to €400 a night depending on the season. The hotel is situated looking out onto the lake, with easy access walkways straight onto the promenade, along with an outdoor and indoor pool. It has everything you could want, with stunning rooms, a great buffet breakfast, and an even better cup of tea!

More: Roz Purcell’s Active Weekends: Six super tips for Sligo and Donegal

Get there

Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) flies to Verona on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, so I would plan Weds/Thurs to Saturday or Saturday to Tuesday.

What to pack

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Riva del Garda

Taking it you’re travelling during the warmer months, pack light layers, comfortable flats for the cobble streets, plenty of sunscreen and one or two evening dresses for some evening outings.

Read more:

Forget Rome and Milan - here's an authentic, affordable Italian city break

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