While listing through my old pictures and journeys, I decided to write few blogs about trips that were made in past. While being published in Czech (hydromagazin.cz), I never bothered to put some words together in English. So, here is the first one.
Lago di Garda (map) is the biggest Italian lake. Situated at the end of Alps, Garda is connected with Trento mountain region with the valley, that creates quite a „tube“ for winds coming from that area. The lake is about 50 km long and 17 km wide at its Southern part. Favourite place for surfers as the wind gets crazy here, especially on its way out of the “ wind tunnel“ at Northern part (North of lake is much narrow).
From research before, we figured that there will not be many options to camp around the lake, as the shores are very inhabited. There is one camping, that was open during winter, but it was in a different location than we wanted to start our trip from. Having two kayaks on a roof rack, we were destined to find accomodation with secure storage for our kayaks, which turned out to be a pension at a gardeners shop. Our kayaks were thoroughly wrapped (picture) to avoid any damage caused by road salt (from highway), so it took us a while to unwrap.
Launch points with available parking at hand was also a problem but we managed to leave out car for a day (for free) here.
The weather was great on the day we started to discover the lake – there was almost no wind, no clouds and no boat traffic. The water was looking very good, no dirt, nice colour and see-through.
It is definitely worth visiting Sirmione, which is considered to be a historical part of Southern region of the lake. You may paddle through the city, instead of paddling extra miles to get on the other side of Sirmione peninsula but al least we caught a nice surfing waves on the little cape of Sirmione.
Local coast guards followed us into the city, to make sure we have proper gear for safe paddling (you may recognise them by the name of „Guardia di Finanza“ written on their boats). Guardia di Finanza does sound like a Tax Office, but they didn’t really check out taxes that day.
After visiting Sirmione, we headed towards Corno (map). It is a very nice 12 km (map says 10 but my gps said 12 somehow) crossing and you end up in a nice place west of the city Garda with a comfortable beach to rest.
We did take the same route back with a sunset, making it over 25 km in length, which I would call a nice day trip at this area.
On the second day we moved further and wanted to paddle North. The wind was so strong and the breaking waves were so big, covering almost every square meter of the lake, that it was not possible for us to go out and kayak. We did paddle and tried it but that was all. The wind was way to strong to fight. Perfect place to practise bracing but if tried on that day, you could be blown away far.
The Northern part is still to be discovered as it is very nice. The mountains surrounding the lake are very high (the highest one is 2.224 m ) thus making it tricky with the wind coming from the mountains but very picturesque with a good weather.
If weather was perfect, two days would be enough to paddle from Sirmione to Riva del Garda (map) or even one day, if someone would pick you up at the endpoint.
Garda is definately a good place to visit, Summer may be a little bit busy with recreational boats so I suggest to pick another time or enjoy all the hustle.