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driving to lake garda and overnight stop with caravan

great wyrley...
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driving to lake garda and overnight stop with caravan

could anyone offer me some advice, we are driving from Dunkerque to lake garda in august towing a caravan and wondered what is the best route to take. Ideally we would lke to stop overnight about halfway, so has anyone any ideas on campsites that allow an overnight stop please.

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1. Re: driving to lake garda and overnight stop with caravan

Have a look at some of the brochures by Eurocamp or Canvas Holidays - they use good sites, and will give you an idea of overnight stops, and distances even if you have no intention of using their tents and caravans !

I would have thought the caravanning associations would have similar information - have you tried their websites ?

great wyrley...
11 posts
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2. Re: driving to lake garda and overnight stop with caravan

Hi, thanks for the information, yes we have tried the caravan club, however you tend to have to tell them the name of the site that you want to book, but we will have another look.

kind regards,


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3. Re: driving to lake garda and overnight stop with caravan

Saw your post having tried to book a pitch at Piani di Clodia on Lake Garda, they don't accept them unitl 1 December.

We've done the drive to the lake for the last 12 years, that itself says something about us and the venue I suspect. We have stayed at PdC for the past three years having stayed next door at Camping Della Rosa for the earlier years.

PdC is further away from Lazise, a 40 minute walk, but there is a free bus from the site to town. At that point on the lake there is no real beach but walking down a wooded cliff of about 20 metres there is a narrow strip which isn't heavily used because of the walk up and down and because the camp facilities are really so good, have a look on Google earth.

The campsite is patronised largely by Dutch, Austrian and German people during the high seasom with more Italians using it from the early weeks of August onwards. We have never stayed on the western side of the lake which is where most English people who are camping tend to go.

We have usually been staying for up to three weeks from later July and we have been joined by up to a dozen friends. Even in their absence our two girls have been happy with what was on offer.

There are loads of things to do using the site as a base, from theme parks to walking in the hills to the north. Peschiera is about 6km south and is on the main line from Venice to Milan. Both cities are reached by train within an hour and a half or so, so driving is daft. In between there is much more in Padua, Bergamo, Brescia, etc. Verona is a great city within easy reach but a real pain from the west side of the lake, there is the Romeo and Juliet connection of course but the city itself is very varied from Roman remains to modern shopping. The Arena di Verona does a fantastic opera season in the summer. I am not a fan but the occasion is something else. Mantua (Mantova) is also a great place to go.

Getting to the lake is straightforward and the quickest and cheapest route is along free motorways apart from one stretch from Metz to Strasbourg.

Main places along the way are Lille, Tournai, Mons, Namur, Luxembourg (cheap fuel), Metz, Strasbourg, Basle, across Switzerland (two vignettes needed which you can get here but they are cheaper on the border, you do get your change in Swiss Francs though)to Milan and then you're home and dry.

Crossing Switzerland is fine but if you enter before 5am or on a Sunday there are no trucks on the road which helps, the motorways are just two lanes usually. It is worth starting early to go through Switzerland because during the day the main route south through the Gotthard Tunnel is just one lane either way and 19km long. Queues can be lengthy. Coming north they are worse on Sundays in our experience because of the rest of the returning holiday traffic.

Getting through Milan on the journey down on a week-day morning means inevitable lengthy and frustrating delays. In a short distance you have to suffer three motorways converging, one of which drops you into the outer lane of the Milan ring road.

All of this is avoidable if you plan to arrive at PdC during the week and book for an afternoon arrival which is usually less hassle. Even if you can't get a reservation you can get on, somewhere, but you have to be quite pushy, our Dutch friends don't have a problem with that.

None of this matters if you can't get your caravan on a pitch. These are generally quite generous but I don't know whether they are enough for 8 metres. Again, have a look on Google Earth or multimap to judge for yourself. Those nearer the lake definitely aren't but there are many that would be, paricularly corner sites, and there would be some near the top of the site which are pretty indeterminate and we have seen some huge vehicles there including mobile homes which are converted 52 seater coach length.

The facilities are first rate, plenty of pools and sunbathing spaces, entertainment every evening, though with a dutch bias, and two really good and reasonable restaurants with a cafeteria and takeaway services. There are clubs for younger children and there are activities throughout the day from aquarobics to 5-a-side football. The mini market will get you English papers if you order them and there is a wi-fi connection if you need to stay in touch. There's a charge for that.

Hope this is of help. If there are specifics I can help with e-mail on peterlee1953@talktalk.net

great wyrley...
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4. Re: driving to lake garda and overnight stop with caravan

Hi Peter22Liverpool,

Thank you so much for the information on Piani Di Clodia and also the area around Lake Garda, after looking at the posts of the site and speaking to a few people we have decided that the site may not be able to offer us a pitch large enough for our outfit.

As we are going to Garda for 3 weeks we want to put up an awning and a gazebo,so we've looked again and found a campsite on the west coast called Piantelle which have pitches 120m sq with water and electric on.

It only has 200 pitches and I think it's quite a quiet site with just a swimming pool,sauna,play area,boat jetty,restaurant and a few things for children to do, but our 14yr old is used to quieter sites and this year we're taking another family with us with two boys so i'm sure it'll be ok.

As regards to the area it sounds fantastic and we really can't wait, we want to visit Verona and Venice,can you tell me why it's a nightmare from the west side of the lake please ? Have you been to Gardaland and Canevaworld ? Can you email me the route you take as to the free motorways, we are travelling from Dover to Calais on a sat morning(dover/dunkerque couldn't offer us a return ferry) hoping to stop around Colmar overnight and then travel through Switzerland and into Italy on sunday morning arriving at Garda in the afternoon, do you think that this is do-able ?

Anyway thanks for your help and suggestions,

Kind Regards,


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5. Re: driving to lake garda and overnight stop with caravan


I started this before and then lost it some how.

In summary, driving around the lake is on a single road with fewer alternative escape routes on the west side since this becomes more steep much further south than in the east. (For that reason the campsites are often smaller overall.) On market days travelling a couple of km can sometimes take an hour near the respective towns, they take them in turn.

Travelling to Venice and Verona is best done by train. Parking in Venice is extremely expensive if you can find any and the journey is just as quick and more comfortable. Parking in Verona is not as bad but you have be there early and the road system is confusing at first. Train is fine and it is a brisk walk or a bus ride into the town centre. Don't go anywhere on Mondays. Most museums, etc are closed.

Stopping at Colmar seems sensible. (We stop at a B&B hotel (ex-Villages) in Mulhouse.) From there it would probably take you six hours minimum towing your caravan not including stops.

Previously we have towed a trailer tent but this year we anticipate being a slower journey since we've bought a camper. We have usually been able to get from Calais or Dunkerque to Mulhouse in about 10 hours.

I haven't got a map I can e-mail but one of the route finders will do one for you. You could follow the list of towns I sent last time which you pass on the appropriate motorways.

Finally, if you haven't checked locations using Google earth then it's worth doing.

Hope this is of help


great wyrley...
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6. Re: driving to lake garda and overnight stop with caravan


thank you so much for all your advice, I will have a look at the towns you've said you pass near and try to plan a route from there.

I did think we can make Colmar or Mulhouse as we are taking the 3.20am ferry to give us a decent start, but it's nice to hear it fron someone else as we've had quite alot of negative comments as to why we want to tow our caravan that distance.

Kind Regards,


newcastle upon tyne
4 posts
1 review
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7. Re: driving to lake garda and overnight stop with caravan

hi dawn

we traveled from newcastle last year to piantelle ,

towing a boat trailer,it was fantastic camp site,you will love it ,the only thing i would do is bypass switzerland ,and go down the east side of france and through the mount blanc tunnel,we went through switzerland last year ,and there was a few mountains to climb ,which was a bit of a strain towing, but the drive was fine,were going back in july,hope u have great time


8. Re: driving to lake garda and overnight stop with caravan

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