Review: Lake Garda
Escorted Tour - Coach
134 people found this review helpful
Jay & Kay have a policy that if their clients live in certain post codes then they will be collected from their home and returned by taxi free of charge. For those outside the designated post codes then they pay a minimal fee depending on distance.
We left from Hall Place Bexley Kent and travelled to the Port of Dover. No overnight travel staying on a B&B basis in both directions. The outward and return overnight hotels were good quality and offered an excellent choice of meals. We travelled through some spectacular countryside including Switzerland arriving at our hotel late afternoon.
Our main hotel, Hotel Astra in the Village of Tignale Gardola at around 500 metres above Lake Garda was the cleanest we have ever stayed at and each room having its own balcony with flowering window boxes and full facilities including, ensuite facilities, telephone, satellite TV and a safe. There was a small lift to all floors and no steps/stairs to any of the rooms once on the designated floor.
The cuisine was superb and both Italian and English dishes were offered. The food was freshly prepared with much of it having been grown by the owner, but far too much for us to be able to do it justice. The owner made his own house wine which was most acceptable indeed and at a cost of 8euros a bottle or 2euros per glass. There was an outside pool, patio area and garden.
Included excursions were to Milan with a visit to view inside La Scala and free time to look around the City and to see its magnificent Cathedral, Verona the home to the balcony from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juilet and also a trip to Limone. There was also a lakeside tour including a visit to the market at Toscalana de Maderno and the lakeside towns of Gardone Riviera and Salo. Optional tours included a boat trip across the Lake to Malcesine, an evening cruise to Riva Del Garda and Sirmione known as the Jewel of the Lake, all of which are an absolute must to visit.
Our free day in resort was spent exploring the village of Tignale and surrounding countryside and a walk to a Monastry high up and set into the cliffs, a walk not for the faint hearted as it was very steep and challenging. However, the views were breathtaking and worth the effort. There was a small cafe with a good selection of refreshments on offer to greet us and very clean public toilets.
The village of Tignale is home to two supermarkets, restaurants and bars and other hotels. One particular hotel, Hotel Gallo, enjoys extensive views of the Lake and was the hotel where Sir Winston Churchill stayed whenever he visited the area which was a firm favourite of his. That hotel is open to non-residents and we took the opportunity to visit and to sit on the balcony that was also adourned with window boxes full of scarlet geraniums as we supped our glasses of wine looking out onto uninterrupted views of the Lake. The views at night were just as spectacular with the villages around the Lake fully lit up. The history behind this hotel was given to us by our coach drivers so we are quite sure that anyone could point you in the right direction also it virtually just along the road from the Tourist Office, but it is certainly worth visiting purely for the stunning views from the balcony.
We had two coach drivers who worked very well as a team and had an exceptionally good knowledge of the area. Nothing was ever too much trouble and we were all made to feel important. The coach was very comfortable, clean and relatively new. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water and brandy was made available and we enjoyed a video on the outward journey, easily viewed on screens at the front and middle of the coach. As on most coaches these days there were toilet facilities. However, these were rarely used as we made numerous stops at motorway services.
Between mid June and September there is a courtesy bus that runs daily between Tignale and the Lake. Outside those times local buses run but to a timetable and fares are incurred. Without transport it would be almost impossible to access the Hotel Astra as it is so high above the Lake. However, we did not see this as an inconvenience or a problem because of the magnificent views and our excellent hotel and its friendly staff with the eldest daughter speaking very good English with a Yorkshire accent due to her time at University in Yorskhire.
For anyone wishing to stay in the village rather than go on all the tours then a visit to the local Tourist Office would give all the information needed to enjoy cliff top walks in abundance for varying abilities and other venues to visit in the immediate area.
We will definitely make a return trip in the very near future.
134 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.