The shore of Maderno is lined with beaches where you can lie on a towel (or hire a lounger) and sunbathe or go swimming in the lake. The sandy stretch of Lido Azzurro is one of the most popular, and you can also hire a boat, canoe or pedalo to get out onto the water.
Most of the beaches here are pebbly or stony, so it’s a good idea to bring flip-flops or water shoes to make walking comfier.
The weekly market comes to Maderno every Thursday, so wander along to browse stalls full of fresh produce, clothes and accessories, and pick up some tasty treats or a souvenir to take home.
There isn’t a huge amount of shopping here, but there are some places that sell clothes, antiques and gifts, as well as local products like olive oil.
Spend your evenings in your hotel’s bar, or go for a stroll along the lakefront – you can find a spot for a post-dinner drink or watch the sunset with a cone of gelato in hand.
Evenings here are generally quiet but there are a few bars and pubs where you can stop for a couple of drinks and listen to music.
This is Italy, so traditional recipes and fresh produce are the order of the day. Along with classics like pizza and pasta, you can also look forward to lots of lake fish. And you definitely have to try the local sweet treats too, like Torta Maderno – a buttery tart made with layers of shortcrust pastry and custard.
Osteria Gatto d’Oro (or Golden Cat Tavern) is the definition of quirky – the small restaurant is stuffed with cat-themed knick-knacks, as well as a hodgepodge of ornaments, candles, lamps and artwork. And while you’re taking it all in, you’ll also be tucking into delicious pastas and pizzas.
With a Bib Gourmand award from the Michelin Guide – a mark of simple, quality food and good value – this place is a must-try for fish fans. Take a seat in the courtyard and try dishes like perch with lemon pesto or prawns with pistachio, followed by traditional desserts like tiramisu or cannoli.
Authentic gelato is a staple in Italy, and Azzurra serves some of the best in town. They’ve got all the usual flavours as well as specials like mojito and amaretto – and it’s right on the lakefront so you can enjoy your scoops while lapping up lovely views across the water.
The town’s got a mix of straight streets and winding alleys, and is spread over a flat headland so it’s an easy place to walk around. If hiking’s more your thing, head into the hills behind town or up to the Monte Pizzocolo peak, where there are plenty of more demanding routes.
Ferries run every hour from Maderno to Torri del Benaco on the opposite shore – one of the main routes on the lake. And you can also catch ferries to loads of other towns, like Garda, Bardolino and Malcesine.
The nearest station is in Brescia, just over an hour’s bus ride inland. From there, you can catch a train to some of Italy’s most famous cities for a day of culture and sightseeing – it takes 40 minutes to get to Milan and around 90 minutes to get to Venice.
The S202 bus line links Maderno with other towns and villages along the west coast of Lake Garda. Go south to Gardone in 10 minutes and Salò in 15 minutes, or head all the way to Riva on the northern shore of the lake, which takes around an hour.
For an easy walk that’ll still stretch your legs, catch the bus to Cecina, just up the road, and follow the 5.7km Supina Trail. It winds through hamlets and past shrines to the tiny Church of Our Lady of Supina, which dates back to the 15th century. Go inside to see the 72 painted panels that decorate the ceiling, before carrying on down the circular trail back to Cecina.
A visit to Paper Mill Valley is a must and you can walk there from the centre of town along a 2.1km trail. It takes you right to the Paper Museum in the old Maina Inferior mill, which operated from the 16th century right up to 1962.
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