Isola del Garda
Isola del Garda

Garden Tours

Lake Garda and the Dolomites

8 days From £2,395

9 July 2019

With crystal clear waters and a stunning mountain backdrop, Lake Garda can rightly claim to be the jewel in the crown of the northern Italian lakes. It is certainly the largest, stretching for over 50 kilometres from the walled town Sirmione in the south to the foothills of the Dolomites in the north. A particularly mild climate favours Mediterranean plants including olive and citrus trees and a profusion of other flora, as we will discover in the wonderful gardens we visit on the shores of the sparkling lake.

We then head north into the dramatic mountains of the Dolomites, where the plants change from Mediterranean to Alpine varieties, which we will seek out on a series of gentle walks in the company of a local specialist guide, with cable cars carrying us silently to the mountain tops. In the brief period after the snow has melted and before autumn returns, a host of delicate Alpine flowers can be found among the peaceful pastures, with just the distant tinkle of cowbells breaking the silence.

Our tour is guided throughout by Italian specialist Kate Williamson, who will share her enthusiasm for this particularly lovely corner of Italy.

What's included?

  •  Flights
  •  Accommodation
  •  Services of a professional tour manager
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary

Led by...

Kate Williamson

Kate Williamson

Kate Williamson is one of our most popular tour managers, largely on account of her obvious passion for Italy, her adopted country. She loves to share this passion with guests and watching her sort things out in her rapid Italian is a sight to behold!

Book Now £2,395

Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £245

Tour highlights:

  • A range of gardens from Renaissance masterpieces to private properties
  • Walking tour of Verona in the footsteps of star-crossed lovers
  • Plant-hunting in the spectacular Dolomite mountains
  • Stunning views of lakes and mountains at every turn

Tour details

Dates 9 July 2019 - 16 July 2019
Duration 8 days
Cost £2,395 Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £245 Balance due by 16 April 2019
Activity Level Challenging
Tour code BWLGD19A

Book Now or call 01334 657155 if you have any questions

9 July 2019: Itinerary

We depart on a direct flight from London to Venice. On arrival we continue by comfortable hotel. After an orientation tour of the local area dinner will be served in the evening.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Hotel Acquaviva Del Garda

Today, following breakfast, we start with a boat trip across the clear blue waters of the lake to Isola del Garda, the only island on the lake, which has been home in the past to saints and poets. We visit the early twentieth century villa which is in Venetian Neo-Gothic style and is situated so as to dominate the terraces and formal gardens which stretch down to the lake offering a range of intact native and exotic planting. Today it is looked after by Count Camillo Cavazzo’s wife, Charlotte Chetwynd Talbot and their seven children. A guided tour is included and a welcome cocktail is provided on arrival.

Following our visit there will be an opportunity for lunch (not included) in the charming village of Gardone Riviera.

In the afternoon we visit the André Heller Botanical Garden, where species from all over the world can be found in a plot of about 10,000 square metres. Naturalness and spontaneity of the landscape are paramount here but the garden is also embellished by entertaining sculptures by modern artists such as Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein and Indian pieces. Originally planted by Dr Hruska, the dentist to the Tsar, the Savoy Royal family and other famous personalities, the Austrian poet-artist André Heller has been the property’s custodian since 1989.

Later in the afternoon, we return to the hotel where dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Hotel Acquaviva Del Garda

This morning after breakfast we transfer to Verona to visit the Giardino Giusti, which is considered a masterpiece of Renaissance landscaping, and is named after the noble family that has tended them since opening them to the public in 1591. The vegetation is an Italianate mix of the manicured and natural, graced by soaring cypresses, one of which the German poet Goethe immortalised in his travel writings. According to local legend, lovers who manage to find each other in the garden’s petite labyrinth are destined to stay together.

Following our visit we have an opportunity for lunch (not included) we will have a walking tour of the city where Shakespeare set Romeo and Juliet. Sights include the Roman Arena di Verona (exterior only) which is still used today for operas such as Aida and the Juliet House, with its famous balcony overlooking the courtyard (entrance not included).

Later in the afternoon we hope to visit the privately-owned garden of Villa Poggi, a wonderful villa set in a panoramic location. The Poggi family, who bought the villa at the end of 1980s, transformed the original Italian garden into a landscaped park, planting many exotic trees, although some of the conifers have now given way to meadows.

We later return to our hotel where dinner will be served.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Hotel Acquaviva Del Garda

After breakfast we check out of the hotel and depart for a visit to the gardens of Parco Giardino Sigurta, which date back to 1617 but have only been open to the public since 1978. The garden features irises, roses, lilies and asters, a great oak, an award-winning maze, 18 ornamental ponds and lakes with their flowers, a herb garden and a great lawn. There are famous box trees, sculpted by nature and by topiary into more than 40,000 surprising and surreal forms. Look out too for the touching dog cemetery.

After lunch (included) in a trattoria in Borghetto sul Mincio we head north on the fast autostrada for the Dolomites and our base for the next four nights, the 3-star Hotel Bellevue, in the ski resort of Selva di Val Gardena. This traditional, chalet-style hotel is family-run and offers great views of the mountains as well as being ideally placed for our excursions.

Dinner will be served at the hotel in the evening.

All meals included

Hotel: Hotel Bellevue, Selva di Val Gardena

Enjoy your breakfast. We travel along the floor of the valley to Ortisei where we take the cable car to Alpe di Siusi for a gentle walk in the Alpe di Siusi Plateau, at 2000m above sea level the largest and highest plateau in Europe. We will wander through fields of flowers and view the fantastic scenery of the Dolomite Mountains. Later we will take the cable car back down to Ortisei and transfer by coach back to the hotel. A packed lunch is included.

Target plants: Daphne cheorum; Nigritella miniata

Dinner is served in the hotel in the evening.

All meals included

Hotel: Hotel Bellevue, Selva di Val Gardena

After breakfast we depart by coach this morning to Passo Pordoi for an amazing walk up along the mountain ridge with spectacular views of the Marmolade mountain (3342m). A coach transfer back to the hotel is provided and a packed lunch is included.

Target plants: Eritrichium nanum; Trollius europaeus

Dinner is served in the evening.

All meals included

Hotel: Hotel Bellevue, Selva di Val Gardena

Following breakfast we return by coach to Ortisei and take the cable car on the opposite side of the valley to Seceda (2456m). From here we will walk for 5 – 6 miles downhill to either Col Raiser or to Selva, depending on the best flowering conditions. A coach transfer back to the hotel is provided and a packed lunch is included.

Target plants: Androsace helvetica; Gentiana verna

This evening we will enjoy our farewell dinner in the hotel.

All meals included

Hotel: Hotel Bellevue, Selva di Val Gardena

After breakfast today we must check-out of the hotel. We return to the airport in time for our return flight to London, where the group will disperse or make onward connections.

Meals include: Breakfast

9 July 2019: Additional Info

9 July 2019: Accommodation

Hotel Acquaviva Del Garda offers a free 800-m² spa, an outdoor pool, and a private beach 50 yards away. It is along the south-western shore of Lake Garda, just 1.9 miles from Desenzano del Garda centre.

Set in a well-kept garden, the Acquaviva del Garda has panoramic views of the lake, of Sirmione and the Scaligero Castle. Rooms and suites have modern décor, design furniture and a balcony.

Wellness facilities include an indoor pool, hot tub and sauna. You will also find a Turkish bath and relaxation room. The gym is free and sun loungers, towels and parasols are provided at the beach.

Made of 3 halls, the large restaurant offer international dishes with regional specialities. The Terrazza area of the restaurant offers beautiful lake views. Light and special meals are also available. 

The 3-star superior Hotel Bellevue is a family-operated hotel that really deserves its name: The fantastic panoramic view it affords of the surrounding alpine paradise of the Dolomites, the perfect location a bit away from the village center of the Leading Mountain Resorts Wolkenstein / Selva amidst the incomparable landscape of the UNESCO World Heritage Site all make it the ideal holiday spot for active vacationers. It's the perfect starting-point for hikes in the summertime and for skiingand active sports in the wintertime. The hotel's own convenient shuttlebus and will take you to the nearest aerial lifts in the Dolomiti Superski area of the Gröden Seiser Alm. Our hotel pays attention to the little details, and our South Tyrolean hospitality is legendary, so you can be sure of a cordial welcome when you come to visit!

9 July 2019: Enquiries

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