Lake Garda, Italy
When to go
Many hotels will be closed over winter, reopening in time for Easter in late March or early April. Spring and Autumn are fantastic, especially if you're lounging on a sun-warmed terrace on a bright clear day. Cool mountain air makes summer pleasant on northern shores, but temperatures can soar in the south. July and August bring busy roads and packed restaurants.
PlanesFor southern or eastern Lake stays, Verona is the closest airport, but there are more international flights to Milan's Malpensa and Linate airports (both about 90 minutes from Salò on the western shore). Bergamo is another good option, about 65km west of Lake Garda.
BoatsCar ferries cross Lake Garda between Desenzano and Riva del Garda several times a day, stopping at various ports en route (including Sirmione, Salò, Gargnano, Malcesine and Limone); pedestrian boats and catamarans are more frequent. See www.navigazionelaghi.it for timetables and fares.
TrainsLake Garda's Desenzano del Garda station has regular rail connections to Venice, Milan, Verona, Brescia and other Italian cities (www.trenitalia.com). SIA buses (840 620 001) can connect you to towns such as Salò, where there's a bus stop just a few hundred metres from Villa Arcadio.
AutomobilesA car is a must if you want to explore, but if you're not planning to travel much further than the perimeter of the hotel pool, you can manage without. From Milan, Lake Garda is easily reached via the A4 motorway to Venice; exit east at Brescia and take the Salò road. Brescia and Verona are both around half an hour's drive from the lake's southern tip.
TaxisMost major town centres will have taxi ranks, but metered cabs can still be hard to come by. If you're on a tight schedule, ask your hotel to arrange transport.