My husband and I conclude a cruise on Wed Oct 20th in Venice and have not booked our flight home until Sun Oct 24th. We are considering spending that time in the Lake Garda area as we have never been to that part of Italy. We will be using public transportation. Where do you recommend that we base our stay and what recommendations do you have for activities/restaurants/etc. for this time of year and given Covid restrictions?
Check the local tourist website for current information:
Verona is only 15 minutes away by train so you might also consider basing there for more flexibility in accommodations or restaurants, or bad weather activities in late October.
We stayed in two towns on the lake, Malcesine on NE coast and Salò in the SW. Thete is more dramatic scenery from Malcesine but Salò was a more upscale town, visitors were mostly Northern European when we stayed there.. Consider renting a car for greater flexibility.
I have visited Lake Garda twice, by car, both times. It would seem challenging to do it by public transportation with luggage.
Have you thought about staying in Venice, with day trips by train to Padua and Vicenza?
Your cruise may be ending in Monfalcone, not Venice.
We visited Lake Garda as a day trip from Verona. The best part of the day was the train ride between Verona and Desenzano. We missed the bus to Sirmione so we just walked there. Sirmione was nice, but I wish we had used that day to see more of Verona instead.
We were there in early May 2015, and the ferries on Lake Garda were on their low season schedule - probably the same if you're there in October. Without a car, I would skip Lake Garda.
We cruised down part of the southeastern coastline in June, stopping in Bardolino for a walk/lunch/exploring. While there are corners of cuteness, it's mostly a tourist trap and we found ourselves surrounded by throngs of Germans drunk from a wine tasting fair on the waterfront. From what I understand, the northern reaches of the lake are far more beautiful, but a real stretch to get to. (But Garda is no Como, that's for sure.) Someone else in this thread suggested skipping Garda and instead exploring Verona. I second that recommendation, as Verona (was there just last week) is one of the most accessible, romantic towns I've had the pleasure of visiting.
I've recently read through the northern-Italy chapters of several guide books. One of them said the lake boats are of most use during peak season. Apparently the schedules are reduced quite a bit around mid-September. So I'd check on the availability of buses as well as boats in late October before committing to spending multiple days somewhere on Lake Garda. Also be aware that fall weather may have arrived by then. A combination of cool and wet might be pretty disappointing in an area without (as far as I know) a lot of indoor sights
There are a lot of nice towns with reliable train transportation in the area around Venice--Padua, Vincenza, Verona and Ferrara among them.
Where will you fly home from?
We fly out of Venice mid day on Sunday
I just spent three days at Lake Garda. Absolutely stunning. For public transportation I would recommend making a base in Desenzano. It’s the closest to the train station, which is on the Venice-Milan line. You could take a taxi or possibly a bus over to Sirmione, which is very beautiful. Salò is another nearby town on the southern shore. Verona would also make an easy day trip with public transportation from Lake Garda. There is lots to do and see from the southern end of Lake Garda, and your hotel or Airbnb host could help with public transportation options to other lake towns. You’re going to love it!! I’m happy to help with any other questions you have.