Desenzano del Garda

Travel Guide
Desenzano del Garda showing boating, general coastal views and a bay or harbour

Desenzano del Garda is a pretty town on Lake Garda's southern shore, on the border between Veneto and Lombardy, considered one of the region's top holiday destinations.

Holidays in Desenzano del Garda are an excellent opportunity to spend a few relaxing days discovering the town’s stunning landscape and its artistic, historical and architectural wonders. The climate, which is relatively mild for much of the year, and a varied range of accommodation, bars, restaurants and activities of all kinds, are a good reason to arrange your holiday in Desenzano del Garda today.

As with most of the area’s lakeside towns, the heart of the city is the port, the base of Desenzano’s millennial commercial activity (mainly focused on wheat and cereals). Considered the most important grain market in seventeenth century Lombardy, the port of Desenzano retains very little of the great warehouses used to store the goods, and is now used as a harbour for the luxurious pleasure boats of wealthy tourists and local people. What were once corridors along which goods were handled and sorted, have become scenic avenues, frequented mainly for long, romantic walks at sunset. Behind the port is the main square of Desenzano, Piazza Malvezzi, where the boat that connects the towns bordering the lake also stops.

Desenzano is not only a tourist town, but a real city that remains alive and active in all seasons. Desenzano is considered a sophisticated meeting place for winter weekends, strolling, shopping and gala evenings. The internal road that runs parallel to the lakeside promenade, which starts from the sixteenth-century Piazza Malvezzi, offers more than a mile of stylish and sparkling shop windows, which alternate with the tables of ice cream parlours, pubs and town centre bars, the heart of the local night life. Although one of the strengths of Desenzano is precisely its night life, sport lovers won't struggle to find facilities for football and athletics, tennis courts, riding centres and surfing, sailing, water skiing, windsurfing schools, as well as mountain biking trails.

Another source of pride for Desenzano are its artistic and architectural treasures. Not to be missed are the Castle, the Cathedral, the Archaeological Museum (housed in the former Carmelite Monastery) and the elegant Villa Romana (famous for its mosaics and excavations). The castle, which has a rectangular footprint, occupies the highest point of the hill overlooking the harbour and much of the surrounding land. Only a few sections of the curtain walls remain of the ancient fortress, with crumbling battlements between the four corner towers, except for the one on the north-east corner which was used as an observatory until 1940. From its terrace you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Lake Garda. Built over a former religious building, between 1586 and 1611, and designed by architect Giulio Todeschini of Brescia, the cathedral of Desenzano is dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalen. The 1702 Baroque façade is adorned with statues by Lorenzo Muttoni and Sante Calegari the Younger and replicates the Chiesa del Gesù in Rome. The interior, consisting of three naves, is one of the best examples of the late Renaissance in the province of Brescia. Another essential stop, especially for lovers of architecture and ancient history, is the Roman Villa of Desenzano, which came to light in 1921, and is considered the most important example of a late Roman villa in northern Italy. The more than 240 square meters of finely crafted multicoloured mosaics represent cupids gathering grapes or chariot races, maenads and satyrs, wild animals and allegories. The villa is thought to have been owned by Flavius Magnus Decentius, brother of Magnentius, from whom the city got its name.

Just minutes from the town centre and definitely worth a visit is the Tower of San Martino and the Rivoltella district, with its lakeside promenade and church of San Biagio. Finally, if you enjoy riding a bike or motorbike, or just walking, you’ll be spoiled for choice among the many parks, guided hiking trails and cycle paths. What are you waiting for? Take a look at our holiday packages to Desenzano del Garda today and get ready for your next unforgettable experience!

Where to stay in Desenzano del Garda

Hotel Oliveto
Hotel Oliveto
4 out of 5
Via Tito Malagutti, 2, Desenzano del Garda, BS
The price is £57 per night from 2 Dec to 2 Dec
This family-friendly Desenzano del Garda hotel is located on a lake, within a 15-minute walk of Spiaggia Desenzanino, Roman Villa of Desenzano del Garda and ...
3.9/5 Very Good! (370 reviews)
"It was ok.Staff could be more friendly"

Reviewed on 5 Aug 2021

Hotel Oliveto
Villa Rosa Hotel
Villa Rosa Hotel
4 out of 5
Lungolago Cesare Battisti 89, Desenzano del Garda, BS
The price is £81 per night from 5 Dec to 5 Dec
Located in Desenzano del Garda, this beachfront hotel is in the city centre and within a 10-minute walk of Spiaggia Desenzanino, Roman Villa of Desenzano del ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (307 reviews)
"Everything was like expected but the free parking didn’t exist ! When confronted with the fact the concierge told me thank you for bringing this issue up and that they will change the posting in Hotels.com"

Reviewed on 11 Jul 2021

Villa Rosa Hotel
Hotel Acquaviva del Garda
Hotel Acquaviva del Garda
4 out of 5
Viale Francesco Agello, 84, Desenzano del Garda, BS
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is £87 per night from 1 Dec to 1 Dec
Situated on the beach, this spa hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Provenza Cantine, Port of Maratona and Spiaggia Brema. Desenzano Castle and Cathedral of St. ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (345 reviews)
Perfect relaxation hotel
"Very quick check in and perfect amenities to relax and unwind"

Reviewed on 2 Jan 2020

Hotel Acquaviva del Garda
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Residence Il Sogno
Residence Il Sogno
4 out of 5
Via Bonvicino 2 A, Desenzano del Garda, BS
The price is £73 per night from 29 Nov to 29 Nov
Located in the heart of Desenzano del Garda, this residence is within a 10-minute walk of Port of Maratona and Desenzano Castle. Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (151 reviews)
"The apartment would be ideal for a familyVery comfortable beds and great location"

Reviewed on 11 Sep 2019

Residence Il Sogno
Casa Kristall Lago
Casa Kristall Lago
Via Dolarici 1 app 216, Desenzano del Garda
Situated in Desenzano del Garda, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Spiaggia Desenzanino and Roman Villa of Desenzano del Garda. Cathedral ...
Casa Kristall Lago
Resort del Lago
Resort del Lago
Via Barbarano 6, Desenzano del Garda, BS
Situated in Desenzano del Garda, this residence is within 2 miles (3 km) of Port of Maratona, Desenzano Castle and Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene. Roman Villa ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (14 reviews)
Lovely modern 2 bedroomed apartment
"The apartments are in a residential area, 5 min walk to a pebble beach, 25 min walk to Desenzano centre (or there's a bus stop nearby) and 2 min walk to local shops and handful of restaurants. The pool and decking area was small but as there are only 6 apartments it wasn't busy. There were 4 bikes ..."

Reviewed on 6 Aug 2014

Resort del Lago
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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