San Biagio

Europe Italy North Italy Lombardy

  • Electrical hook-ups
  • Children’s playground
  • Laundry
  • Dogs welcome
  • Good walks nearby
A small campsite in a prime location

DH Lawrence may be best known for writing about naughty ladies and randy gamekeepers, but he was a dab hand when it came to Italy, too. The original beard-and- sandals Brit abroad, Lawrence came to Lake Garda (Lago di Garda) just before the First World War and marvelled, with arty-farty lyricism, at ‘cypress trees poised like flames of forgotten darkness’ and ‘the green-silver smoke of olive trees’ – enough to make your mouth water.

Lake Garda, Italy’s largest and grandest lake, might have lost some of the romanticism of Lawrence’s time since tourists started turning up in droves, but the cypress and olive trees still grow amidst the terracotta- roofed houses and now they have citrus orchards and vineyards to add extra charm.

The campsite at San Biagio is on the western side of the lake, in the lushly green region of Brescia, near Salò. It occupies its very own private, sandy peninsula, Belvedere Point, which juts northeasterly into the water, a bit like an accusing finger.

Its 165 pitches, all power-connected, extend along the narrow stretch of land, cleverly creating the intimate ambience of a much smaller campsite. Most pitches are either shimmied up against the water’s edge (for a small extra fee) or not too far from it. Others are slightly elevated so that you peer through the boughs of enormous blossoming magnolia trees to the blue water beyond, a vista enhanced by the soft, floral waft of magnolias in the fresh air.

But, wherever you end up pitching, you’re never far from a bit of water-based activity. In most cases sink-your-toes-in sandy beaches allow easy access, but where sharp boulders nudge the edge of the lake, there are handy steps into the water – just the job for launching your inflatable mattress when you go for a relaxing drift around the lake.

If you can drag yourself away from the crystal-blue lake water lapping languidly on three sides of you, there’s plenty in the surrounding countryside to keep you amused. Towards the east there’s Rocca di Manerba, a 222-acre natural archeological park, where a re-discovered fortress dominates the skyline. How anyone lost it in the first place is a bit of a mystery, but there you go – these things happen.

At the northeastern tip of the peninsula, where six of the best pitches hide amongst the reedy waterfront, you can see Isola San Biagio, known locally as Isola dei Conigli, or Rabbit Island. It sits on the horizon, closely resembling something straight from the tropics. When the water is particularly low you can reach the island by picking your way along a narrow strip of white sand. When it is high, wading knee-deep with a towel around your neck and a bucket and spade in your hand makes for a perfect little adventure. Once across you can pull up a bench seat at the island kiosk and relax with a cool drink whilst the hours tick by.

If you’re feeling a bit more energetic, there is a smattering of small towns – complete with typically Italian piazzas, churches and pizzerias – all a short drive away. And further afield still is Salò, the capital of Mussolini’s Nazi-backed puppet state. Luckily the old man is long-gone and this beautiful town has a waterfront that will make you feel as though you’ve just stepped, Alice Through the Looking Glass-style, right into a Venetian painting. Its little lanes are full of the kinds of tempting shops, cafés and bars that exude the very essence of the Italy DH Lawrence would still recognise.

All in all, a terrific reason to strap on your sandals, with or without Brit-man-abroad socks, and go and take a look.

Details

Facilities

A large, clean, central block has male and female toilets, hot showers with separate changing areas, washing machines, a dryer and basins. There is a fridge for freezing cooler blocks and ice packs. There’s also a small playground, an onsite shop and free wi-fi. The campsite has its own Bar and Restaurant/Pizzeria, overlooking the waters, and there is a slipway for campers to launch boats.

Suitable For

Tents, campervans, caravans, dogs (on a lead at all times) – yes.

Nearby

Water and swimming options are endless here. In July and August the nearby village of Manerba plays host to an evening market each Tuesday night. Head into nearby Salò for a typically Italian evening at Cantina Santa Giustina (Salita Santa Giustina 6, 25487 Salò; 00 39 0365 520 320). This rustic and cavernous eatery promises cheese, charcuterie, wine and, if Vasco, the owner, has anything to do with it, a hangover.

Food & Drink

Mauro, the campsite’s own waterside bar, with gaudy orange table cloths, is a great spot for a cold beer, espresso or pizza.

Opening Times

Mid-Mar–end-Oct.

Accommodation

161 pitches, all with electricity and WiFi access.

No availability showing at San Biagio.

Location

Contact San Biagio, Camping San Biagio, Via Carvalle 19, 25080 Manerba del Garda, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy

Getting There

From the north, turn off SS45bis near Salò on to the SS572 towards Desenzano. Exit at Manerba and follow the camping signs to Via Cavalle. From the south, turn off the A4 towards Desenzano onto SS572 north towards Salò. Exit at Manerba and continue as above.

Reviews

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Rated ★★★☆☆ over 4 reviews

★★★☆☆

Nice location, unfriendly staff

This july we fled from the bad weather in Slovenia to Lake Garda and landed on this campsite. We arrived here with four families without reservation. The staff was relatively quickly overwhelmed with this task and quite unfriendly. Since we were only able to find three connected places, we set up four of us there. However, the boss was not willing to admit to us that we could build ourselves a little ( 20cm) beyond the given limits. It wouldn't have bothered anyone and we would have paid for it. After a violent storm, a tent was broken. The staff was also not wiling to rent a mobilehome for 3 days. The next day a couple moved into the mobilehome that had only booked for four days on the same day. The campsite was very expensive! The central, only washhouse was fortunately directly on our pitch, but unfortunately not always clean and a little bit old. The restaurant was great and the staff very nice. The location of the course is great. The campsite is situated on a headland and is surrounded by water on three sides. The nearby private island of San Biagio is within walking distance. This is a nice walk through the knee-deep, pleasant water. But this attracts, especially on weekends, also many non-camper, who run right past our pitch. Despite everything I do not understand the good rating, the 4 stars and the inclusion in the coolcamping guide. otherwise we have always had very good experiences with the coolcamping recommendations.
Aug 1, 2018 by Pascale
★★☆☆☆

Not that good

We spent 4 days at beginning september and I have to say the only cool thing is the location. On arrival the staff was helpful and nice. The site was pratically full but we could find a good place with a superb view over the lake. Soon we realised that we were too close of our neighbours and there wasnt any privacy. There was only one building with showers for the entire campsite which is clearly insuficient. We had to walk about 150 meters each way in a steep road every time we wanted to take a shower or wash the dishes. There were a lot of germans and in restaurant the menu was written in italian and german and employees when realised we werent italian insisted in speaking in german with us. And when we left we had to pay 188 Eur for 4 nights (2 persons + tent + car + electricity). Definetely these was the most expensive campsite I have ever stayed. They count every kilowatt of electricity and if you go beyond 5 Eur consumption you will have to pay for each additional kw. There are dozens of campsites around the lake and I am sure one can find a better one with reasonable and fair prices.
Sep 12, 2016 by Pedro Pereira
★★★☆☆

Not quite 4 stars

We spent five nights here this summer. Upon arrival it looks beautiful, our expectations were high. Lake Garda is stunning. But we were somewhat disappointed with our pitch, which was right next to the toilets and the bins. Don't get me wrong the view of the lake was stunning, it was nice and shady under the trees and the pitch was flat (albeit a but stoney), we had a brick wall between us and the water so the kids were safe and we could jump into the lake from 20 meters away. But... and this is a big but... it's a noisy campsite. Also being next to the restaurant meant that we were kept awake till v late from revellers and also staff throwing glass in the bins, then at 7.30 and 8.30 every morning the glass bins were collected. Well at least it meant we enjoyed more of the day. They have a little cove and narrow beach (about as deep as a towel) But they do have a little island which you can get a boat too or if you're feeling adventurous you can walk over (but you'll need lake shoes) as it gets no deeper than your waist. The island is where all the trendies like to hang out, you'll see all their boats moored just off shore. I'd say its about an acre in size, inhabited by wild rabbits, you can rent a bed and get drinks and food over there. You get free entrance if you've got a pitch. But anyone can buy entrance, so what this means is that 100s of people walk down the narrow beach and walk over through the water, so if you're happy people watching at the beach it's fine, but if you wanted some quieter time it's probably not for you. There are two working (but old) washing machines, there are plenty of showers, toilets and washing up sinks, we never had to wait and we were there at peak. They weren't always clean however and very dated. The showers required you to run around in them to get wet and if someone flushes the loo you get a shock of cold water. There is a little playground for the kids by the restaurant, a little shop where you can get essentials.... and I'd better cover the restaurant.... the staff were extremely helpful, the food plentiful, the salads bowls huge, very clean but was full of plastic furniture. But people do boat over to it for lunch and dinner, so fun to people watch and the ice creams were good. There are lots of Germans who head down here so the menu's are also in German, so if you paid attention at school you'll be ok. So if you take a pitch away from the bins you're bound to get a better night's sleep and have an nice time.  
Aug 19, 2016 by Dee
★★★★☆

Lakes and all

I was a little nervous on approach as this is a little different from our normal site, much larger, more "Euro Camp". But on arrival we were greeted by a very efficient reception team who set us up with everything we needed, we had booked an extra large pitch as we had two tents (recommend ) The pitch was big enough for two mid size tents and a car with space to spread out in as well. Our pitch overlooked the Lake and mountains that surround this peninsular. The ground is hard and definitely bring steel pegs (although it was so hot and calm you don't really need guy ropes. Elec hook up is the normal 3 pin blue. Toilets, plate wash, laundry and showers are plentiful and are cleaned with ruthless efficiency twice a day making them spotless to use- top marks. There is access to a small beach area (unless you have a lakeside pitch (pre book) with a boat launch area. we had great fun kayaking around the island nearby and swimming in the very clean lake (very refreshing after 40oC temps! The area around the camp is beautiful and lots to do. The only negative is that if you are traveling in and out of the area is that on a friday/ saturday/ sunday it can get gridlocked about 4 miles away from the camp. When we arrived at 7pm we didn't get to the camp until 8.15pm ! Apart from that a lovely place, had great fun
Jul 27, 2016 by Vimmes1

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