A perfect tourist destination
Although the Hotel Continental is in the village of Nago up the hill away from the edge of the lake, it is still part of the Torbole community and there are lots of events taking place during the year. It was the Festa di San Vigilio on 28th June when we were there, with lots of bunting, tables laden with food and drinks and people dancing in the square. There are jazz festivals throughout the year plus concerts including “The Presence (Led Zeppelin & Friends)”.
At this northern end of the lake itself, there are no motor boats allowed (except for the ferry) so it is a bustling centre for sailing, wind surfing and any other water sport you can think of plus cycling and walking. There are lots of shops serving these sports so you can buy every possible lycra outfit a person might need. As the largest lake in Italy, there are lots of interesting towns all along the eastern side on the way to Verona, pretty well-kept villages that are even better at this time of year with the richly-coloured flowers and shrubs. In late June, it was 25C rising to 30C+ by the end of the week, with a warm breeze and bright sunshine all day (except for Saturday – see part 4!).
There are lots of walking and cycle routes shown on the local map of the lake, and cycles were available free from our hotel. We declined the invitation to cycle and walked down into Torbole on our free day, the path clearly signposted from the village, steep but manageable. Fantastic views over the lake and the brightly coloured surfers flitting across the surface like crane flies (water boatmen?). We took the ferry across to Riva just along the coast, €6 each return. It only takes ten minutes and leaves every half an hour so is a good option for venturing further afield.
Riva del Garda is a beautiful resort and we would love to stay there next time we visit. It is a lively old town, narrow streets with lots of little shops (open on Sunday) plus friendly bars and restaurants so it is worth popping over just for the day. The Hotel Continental is part of a group of hotels with three more in Riva – the Garda Hotel, Kristal Palace and Savoy Palace – so if ours is anything to go by, any of these would be our first choice.
Our hotel does have a shuttle bus, though not on a Sunday, so we planned to return uphill to the hotel by bus. Therein lies the tale of the bus stop!
Despite the hotel timetable showing 16.17 for the number 3 bus, and indeed the bus shelter, there was categorically no bus. One and a half hours is a long time to wait, expectantly, watching people come and go but wary of leaving this spot to buy a bottle of water in case we missed it. However, we were joined by Ron & Sandra and Mike & Sheila from our group who thought they had missed the bus but were optimistic when they saw us waiting. By now, a taxi was the only option. Mike found the hotel number, ordered a taxi, and when it arrived at the stop opposite we all piled in. €15 between six was not too bad, especially when we found it wasn’t actually the taxi that had been ordered for us.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Cosmos Tours and Cruises.