When the weather is so dreary and miserable it’s definitely the perfect time to get planning your next summer holiday.
In September 2017 we headed off to Lake Garda in Italy and although I did a Live Facebook video about it (you can find it here Bella Italia Review Facebook Live) once we relaunched the website I wanted to do up a written version.
So with that said I’m going to give you a comprehensive review of where we stayed, what we did and how we found Italy in general and finally how accessible it is.
Now we did only spend a week there which in my opinion didn’t give us enough time to experience many of the sights but what I will do is give plenty of links so that you can do your own further research on things to do and see there.
We stayed at Camping Bella Italia, an enormous and I mean an enormous site with various types of accommodation to include mobile homes, bungalows and caravan/mobile home areas.
Now for accessibility we stayed in the bungalows which consisted of two bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen/living area and a bathroom.
The bungalows were very spacious and even with a wheelchair we had plenty of room.
However I would say that there are very little power outlets and they could do with a bit of a revamp but it wouldn’t be enough to put me off staying in them again after all you will be hoping for plenty of sun so you wont be staying in them for long.
On a side note we have gone to another campsite in Spain before accessibility was a big deal to us and we have stayed in mobile homes which are also a brilliant option so if accessibility isn’t on your list I would certainly check out this type of accommodation and itll probably work out cheaper too.
Heres a link to the Camping Bella Italia site with the list of various accommodation.
On Site Facilities
When I say the site is enormous it really is and if you don’t want to leave the site you actually don’t have to as it has everything you could need.
It has a kids club, multiple swimming pools with slides etc, four restaurants, nightly entertainment, sports and activities, a grocery store with a bakery, fruit and veg shop, souvenir shops, bike hire etc it really has everything.
Now here’s the part you need the tips and advice:
- We went here in September essentially off-peak season and it was busy but from what I have read and been told this site is incredibly busy during peak season and should be something you bear in mind.
- The grocery/bakery in the mornings is mental busy, queues out the door for the bakery so I would recommend either waiting until later in the morning or being prepared from the day before for breakfast.
- It is a scramble for sunbeds in the morning so be prepared to be waiting for the pool to open if you want to get one in a decent area for the day.
- The pools are lovely and have some brilliant slides for the kids and what we love and we look for now for any sun holiday is a gradual sloping pool i.e no steps to get into the pool more of a beach idea.
- The restaurants are lovely but you have to remember you are in Italy so it is mainly what you imagine pizza and pasta, anything aside from these dishes are usually more expensive but trust me you wont be disappointed eating pizza and pasta for the week.
- The reception is also a place that you have to go at the right time as for check in or check out days it is crazy busy so choose wisely.
- There are some lovely mini playground areas but the games room, and trampolining etc does cost extra.
- The area is vast and it is quite spread out so it would be easy for children to lose their bearings, also there is a fair amount of traffic at all times and although they are all moving at a snail’s pace it is something to remember when going with kids.
- There is a hop on hop off train that brings you into Peschiera (the main town) and its wheelchair accessible, this was absolutely brilliant.
- There is also a pizza takeaway and ice cream parlour which were both lovely and we found the takeaway handy on one of the nights it was raining.
- There is no wi-fi! There is a wifi café/bar on site that you can pay for wifi for an hour etc and you can be sure it was a busy spot with alot of people.
Things to Do
There are loads and loads of things to do in and around Lake Garda and for this reason alone we would have loved to have another week there.
What we did.
Gardaland – Its Italy’s version of Disneyland and it doesn’t disappoint. Ideally you would need 2 days to get around the park comfortably but it can be done in one day also.We had an absoulte ball at the park it was brilliant. You can find out all about Gardaland here. Also just to note it is really accessible and they have loads of advice for guests with disabilities including free fast passes for the person with disabilities and the people accompanying them. Click here to bring you directly to information for guests for disabilities. We got a taxi to the park and I don’t recall exactly how much it was but it wasn’t very expensive.
Sirmione – This town was exactly what I imagined Italy to be. It was just beautiful all cobble stones, so much gelato (ice cream) everywhere it was just stunning. And although it was bumpy for Noah in the wheelchair it was flat so he was able to get around.
Water Taxi – Do not come home from Lake Garda without getting a water taxi. It’s not only a great way to get to wherever you want to go it’s also a great way to see the lake and the surrounding area. Now it is more expensive than the bus but a thousand times nicer. We used it to go from Sirmione back to Peschiera.
Peschiera – This is the local town to the Camping Bella Italia Accomodation. You can comfortably walk from the site to the centre of the town and you know what after a fill of pasta or pizza and wine its lovely to do. Now the train does go directly from Peschiera back to the site so if you have smallies this option is open to you. You will not have to look hard to find some fabulous food trust me.
There is so much more to do but unfortunately as we were only there for a week that was all we got time to do so what I have done is attached some links below on things to do in Lake Garda.
Other things to note
- If like us you have only been to Spanish resorts before you need to be aware that there are no such thing as bars /pubs. You wont find Paddy Murphys Irish bar or any equivalent here but after a while you get used to sitting back, relaxing and sipping on the fab wine and admiring the view.
- Another thing you wont really find is other cuisines i.e Chinese is the first thing that always springs to my mind. I was surprised to be honest but not disappointed the food is so good you wont be long getting over it.
- I know this might sound stupid but you will not find a sandy beach here. It’s a fresh water lake and although its lovely to swim in the “beach” is stony and small.
- Now Italy is expensive to get to i.e to book your holiday etc but it’s actually not expensive when you are there. If you stick to local Italian food and drink its very affordable.
- You can book through many different ways. Topflight who we had booked with is one option you can go to their website here. But I would definitely suggest looking up any of the mobile home providers such as Eurocamp click here, Vacansoleil click here, Canvas Holidays click here and Camping Bella Italia themselves (links above) to name a few to see if you can get a better deal. We are in a position now that we prefer to do package holidays due to Noah’s disability but that doesn’t mean you have to.
What I can say is if you go to Italy you wont be disappointed, so if like us it was something you’ve been thinking of for a while I would say its a definite thumbs up from us.
All our love
Our Wheely Big Journey