I have recently returned from a 2 centre trip to Northern Italy with Inghams. Having never been to Italy before, I was very excited to see what this offered.
Our BA flight landed in Verona and we had an hour and a half transfer to Lake Levico.
We stayed in the Ambassador which is a centrally located 3.5 star hotel conveniently placed just a short walk from the lake. Lake Levico is a much more peaceful lake than neighbouring Lake Garda and Lake Como but equally beautiful and fun to swim in with mild waters.
The first thing that hit me was the stunning scenery, whether you are hiking one of the recommended walks around the lakes, making use of the conventional bikes or e-bikes the resort has to offer or taking cable cars up to the mountains, you will be blown away by the lush green backdrops, sublime mountain scenery and clean air.
The following day was spent in Arte Sella, a sculpture park with exhibits made from natural products. It was equivalent to an outdoor museum set high up in the mountains. Each piece of art was explained to us by a guide which helped us to understand the meanings of each. When booking with Inghams, this tour is included with a free pass. You can also combine this trip with a walk along many suggested hiking trails that will take you deep into the woods. The day was made complete with excellent local food and beverages in the park's outdoor restaurant positioned beneath the trees. It was well worth a visit.
The following day we drove for a couple of hours to the spa town of Merano. Again, we were surrounded by breath-taking scenery. This town and its surroundings were my absolute favourite. Ian, our local guide, took us on a brief walk, there were various routes for different abilities. The town is lined with well-kept flowerbeds and a promenade running alongside the river, and there were lots of elegant buildings. Nearby you also have the famous Italian racecourse. We stayed in the perfectly positioned 5 Star Hotel Parc Mignon. The hotel is a luxurious spa hotel a few minutes walk from the town. It boasts beautiful large bedrooms with stunning views and attentive service. You can hire e-bikes from the hotel and they even offer free car hire in a Fiat 500!! The town boasts a large Therma spa in the centre, you can easily spend a good few hours in here relaxing in the many different temperature pools, especially enjoyable after a morning hiking or exploring the town.
A visit to this part of Italy would not be complete without a trip to the mountains. We took a trip in a cable car and then had a fun filled ride on a bob sleigh, with stunning views over Merano. It only lasts a few minutes and then on to a lovely walk up through the mountains. The hills are dotted with Alpine cattle and the distinctive wild Haflinger horses that roam the mountains across Northern Italy. The restaurants have an Austrian feel to them and the language spoken has now changed from Italian to German due to the close proximity to the Austrian border. The day was finished with a drink and a meal in a log cabin taking in the mountain scenery.
There was so much to do in this area, we even had a visit to the gardens of Kranzelhof where we had a wine tasting session sat in the beautiful grounds, a visit to the cellars and a fantastic meal with yet more amazing food in the restaurant Miil that was attached to the grounds.
Our final day came around too quickly, but we managed to squeeze in a visit to the beautiful gardens of Trauttmansdoff before departing. This is an extraordinary botanical garden in the centre of Merano. Although not a keen gardener myself, even I was impressed with the landscaped grounds, zen garden and colourful plants and flowers from around the world. I can go on for hours talking about this trip, but if you have a love for the great outdoors and enjoy exploring somewhere a little bit different please pop into the Bath store where I will be more than happy to tell you so much more.