What To Expect On Your Next Holiday In Italy
Georgina Willcox | 28 August 2020
Italy has plenty to offer; beautiful lakes, incredible cuisine, historical cities and a wonderful culture. It’s no surprise it’s one of the most popular destinations with our customers, which is why we were devastated to see the impact of Covid 19 on the country and we had to postpone our Italy holiday plans. Now, we are delighted to see it’s reopening for tourists and our CEO Sara Zimmerman visited Italy recently to see what a holiday in Lake Garda and Lake Como will be like for our customers this year.
A holiday in Lake Garda: What to expect
My Lake Garda trip coincided with the peak travel week for Italians, so Riva del Garda was particularly busy but with a relaxed atmosphere. It didn’t feel crowded or unsafe at all, and it was good to see all the safety measures working well, both in hotels and out and about. In Riva and Limone, there were people wandering around, sitting at the bars, cafés and restaurants. Everyone was being very respectful of each other’s space and were just enjoying the weather and the beautiful scenery. The key safety measures in Lake Garda are 1 metre social distancing, an abundance of hand sanitiser stations in hotels, restaurants and shops and masks will need to be worn indoors in public spaces except when eating or drinking, and outdoors in crowded places like markets.
The hotels in Lake Garda seemed to have adapted the buffet style service at breakfast to allow for the new measures. Guests queue, in a socially distanced way and with masks on, at a food area, then ask the waiters to serve them. This creates distance between the customers and the food with only the waiters, wearing masks, in direct contact with the food. Had I not seen this in action, I might have been concerned about unruly queues and long delays, but my experience at the Liberty Hotel at a peak time was good. Service was a little slower, but was actually quite efficient.
Lake Garda Excursions
We offer a range of different tours based in Lake Garda, with a variety of different excursions on offer. Most include a boat tour of the Lake with time to explore two of its most picturesque villages, Limone and Malcesine. Our light and relaxed tours to Lake Garda can include a guided excursion to Bolzano and the Dolomites, with the opportunity to take in the culture and history of the capital of the South Tyrol region, where you’ll hear as much German as Italian spoken, as well as Ladin, a local dialect. The excursion also includes really breathtaking views of the Dolomites, from the Plateau of Renon. Of course, we are still offering our ever popular Lake Garda, Venice and Verona tour, which alongside the boat trip includes a day trip to the iconic sights of Venice and another day trip to experience the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Verona. On all our tours, there will also be plenty of days to unwind and discover the best sights in Lake Garda for yourself.
A holiday in Lake Como: What to expect
Sara's visit to Lake Como also coincided with the normally peak season for Italy holidaymakers and this was her experience.
Although Lake Como is a little quieter than normal, there's still a lovely relaxed holiday ambience. Nearly all shops, bars and cafes are open. I walked around with our guide Carol, and we were regularly stopped by people delighted to see her, as they hoped her presence meant the return of groups; our customers will receive a VERY warm welcome! The Grand Hotel Cadenabbia was very relaxed, with everyone clearly enjoying themselves despite the new measures. People seemed to be very respectful of each other. In fact there was no real sign that the measures were impacting their holiday at all. One of the main changes is that the buffet breakfast has been replaced by table service. Lake Como has similar safety measures to Lake Garda with addition of temperature checks, a regional requirement in Lombardy, which are taken very regularly, including at restaurants, boat boarding and at check-in.
Lake Como Excursions
The beauty of a holiday to Lake Como is that you’ll spend plenty of time outside. Experience a boat trip on Lake Como and pass charming little villages, villas and see beautiful sights. There will be free time to explore Bellagio and take a full day guided excursion to Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta. And there will also be plenty of time to discover Lake Como at your own pace.
My visit to Lake Como and Lake Garda was very reassuring. In both destinations, the welcome I received was warm and genuine, and holidaymakers were enjoying the best that Italy has to offer: gorgeous scenery, amazing weather, and incredible cuisine. I was impressed by the new safety measures in place, with everyone respecting social distancing, wearing their masks as appropriate and hand sanitising stations were nearly everywhere I went. Overall, most of the hotels I visited during my trip to Italy were quite busy, but they were managing the new environment and adhering to safety measures very well even in peak season. All our tours will be small groups of no more than 25 people for the time being. We are constantly reviewing and revising all our safety protocols, so that when you book your guided Italy holiday with us, you’ll have peace of mind that we are doing everything we can to keep you safe whilst you can enjoy our holidays to its fullest.
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