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Italy, Austria & Switzerland

This is a review of one of my recent trips to Europe. I want to share some ideas for people who are planning their own trips.

I traveled with my husband in May 2022. The trip length was 6 nights.

Take a look at tours in Riva Del Garda from GetYourGuide



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In May 2022, we had 6 nights trip to North Italy, Austria, and Eastern Switzerland. 

We started our journey from Helsinki, Finland. We flew with Ryanair low-cost airline.  Our flight ticket per person was about 90 €, including 20kg of check-in luggage. May is the quiet traveling month in Europe in general compared to the middle of summer, so it's easier to find good deals to travel.

We rented a car near Bergamo airport in North Italy. We paid for full cover and permission to take the car to foreign countries. The total cost of the car rental was 580 €. Our car was a brand-new Volkswagen Tiguan with automatic transmission.

Our first place to stay was a small city called Riva Del Garda on the north end of Lake Garda. It took 1,5 hours drive from Bergamo to reach our hotel in Riva Del Garda. Our hotel's name was Ambassador Suite Hotel. The hotel costs a little bit over 100 € per night. North Italy has very high income compared to South Italy and generally, everything is close to Central European prices. When booking a hotel, remember to check the availability of car parking.

We used our first day to explore Riva Del Garda. The weather was quite sunny and warm on the first day and many local people were relaxing at the beach and park. The old town was clean, easy to walk, and full of interesting restaurants.


Car rental



The second day in Riva Del Garda was full of hiking activities. The weather was hot, but luckily a little bit cloudy, Riva Del Garda is surrounded by mountains and everyone can find a hiking trail suitable for their knowledge and experience.  Beautiful scenery gives the motivation to walk on steep trails. Just remember to pack enough water and some snacks. Using proper hiking shoes makes walking much more enjoyable. 

In the evening, we enjoyed our dinner in a restaurant with perfect views over the city. The restaurant was built on a hillside and the only way up was by cable car. The food was delicious and the Italian wine really impressed us. 

Riva Del Garda is quite a small city and it's easy to move around by walking or by bike. Especially in the old town area, it's not possible to drive. We took an evening walk through the city back to our hotel after dinner.


Dinner restaurant


After two nights in Riva Del Garda, we continued our trip north of Lake Garda. Our destination was the Dolomites area. The Dolomites are a mountain range in the Italian Alps, which form part of the Southern Limestone Alps. German is widely spoken in this are, even its part of Italy. You can see signs in both Italian and German language.

In Dolomites we were planning to do hiking to see the amazing Italian Alps. We chose Adolf Munkel Trail for our hiking route. This trail is quite beginner friendly and safe to walk but still offers nice scenery with an altitude of 1500-2000 meters. The whole circuit length is 9 kilometers. The hiking trail usually opens in May when the snow is gone. In high altitudes, the weather was quite chill (+15) and perfect for hiking. May is not a popular traveling month in this area and we only met 2 other couples during our hike. 

After finishing our hike in the late afternoon, we headed to check in at the hotel in a nearby village called St. Magdalena. The hotel was located in a very small village, but it had few restaurants available. Also behind the hotel was one of the best viewpoints to capture pikes of the Dolomites. A good place to make a stop for one night.



Car parking for the trail is located at


Hotel in St. Magdalena Village


After spending the night St. Magdalena, we continued our journey with 1,5 hour drive to Lago di braies. Lago di braies is a gorgeous lake with amazing views. The water is clear and clean. There are a lot of parking spaces available, but you need to pay a small parking fee.  The area has a few cafe/restaurants for a snack and drinks too. Toilets are also available in the area. Hiking trails go around the lake if you prefer enjoying the view from the land.

Some people swam in the lake, but the water was still quite freezing in May. We chose to rent a boat. You can rent for 25min or 50min. You have to row a boat by yourselves, so it depends on your strength and skills how far you can go time is given to you. In July and August, the place can get growed but in May it was a pleasant amount of people. There is a souvenir shop in front of the beach if you are interested in shopping for small souvenirs


Parking of lake 


After enjoying views of Lago Di Braies, we headed to the north with our car. It was time to continue our journey to Austria. Google maps showed around 2 hours to drive to arrive in Innsbruck. Innsbruck is a well-known winter sports city, surrounded by mountains.  In May summer had already started and the temperature was around + 18 degrees.  German is the official language of Austria, but English was widely spoken in Innsbruck. 

When we were driving to Innsbruck we were stopped by police. Our car papers were checked so be sure that your rental car can be taken to another country. 

We booked 2- nights in AC Hotel by Marriott Innsbruck which is located center of the city. The hotel cost is around 100 € per night. There is paid a garage to leave your car for a stay. Innsbruck has very good public transportation, so we didn't use our car inside the city. There is a bus and tram available. Also walking is a good option in the city center area. 

Innsbruck has a lot of restaurants that offer Austrian food, but some international restaurants are available too if you prefer that. The big difference between Innsbruck and cities in Thailand is that most of the supermarkets already close at 7 pm or 8 pm, so no 24/7 shops are available.  Eating in a restaurant was even a little bit cheaper than in North Italy, especially if you choose local food and drinks.  

One of the popular places to visit in Innsbruck is Ambras Castle. Castle is full of history in very beautiful surrounding. The castle is easy to reach by bus. Castle history starts from the 16th century.  It is a good idea to reserve at least 2-3 hours to spend in the castle and its surroundings.  

More information of the castle



After two nights in Innsbruck, we check out early from the hotel. It was time to head back to the Bergamo area in Italy. However we didn't want to go back to the same route we used before, instead, we decided to drive through Switzerland and have a day road trip there. It took only 1 hour to reach the Switzerland border.  Switzerland is not part European Union, but it is part of the Schengen area. So it is possible to enter Switzerland with Schengen Visa. Currency is different and European data packages don't always include Switzerland so be careful with roaming. Roads are mainly in good shape and people follow traffic rules.

Driving in Switzerland is an amazing experience.  Roads going through mountains and valleys are wonderful views to drive.  Many motorbikes were also enjoying scenic routes.




We drove to a city called St.Moritz. St.Moritz is a popular winter sports destination with many spa hotels. Hotels are mostly high-end hotels, starting at 200 € per night.  Food price was quite similar to those in northern Europe. Of course in big cities it might be more expensive. St.Moritz is a bilingual area and people were speaking Italian and German. Of course, English was widely spoken too. 

We spend a few hours taking pictures of the views and enjoying the early summer weather. Switzerland seemed a very interesting place and we promised to make a longer visit next time.  In late afternoon it was time to continue to drive with scenic mountain route to Italy, where our hotel for last night was waiting. 



In the early evening, after a full-day road trip in Switzerland, we finally arrived hotel in the Bergamo countryside. Hotel's name was Hotel Resort & Spa Miramonti. Hotel has very good reviews and the customers were locals tourists mixed with foreigners. 

The hotel room was a little bit over 100 €. We have also booked a full-course dinner and a private evening spa.  The food was delicious and the wine selection also looked interesting.

During the private spa, we had a whole spa with indoor and outdoor swimming pools for ourselves for 3 hours. Very nice experience to have on our last evening before traveling back home in next day. During day time, all hotel guests can use the spa area and saunas. The hotel is located far from everything, so it's perfect for a few night's relaxations.

In the morning, we enjoyed breakfast with nice mountain views. We were allowed to use the swimming pool even after check out because our flight was in the late evening.  

In the afternoon we drove to Bergamo and returned our rental car without any hassle. Remember that in Europe filling up petrol is done by self-service.



We had a lot of experiences on our 6 nights trip, but there will be still a lot of things to see in these countries even after this trip. 

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