Lake Garda

Travel Guide
Sirmione showing a coastal town and general coastal views

Organising a holiday at Lake Garda will fulfil your heart's every desire: cultural events, sports, water sports, excursions, museums, villas and much more.

This area offers something for everyone, as well as the chance to discover the history, culture and flavours that define Northern Italy. This destination is a must-see, thanks to the numerous holiday promotions for Lake Garda.

Located between Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige, Lake Garda borders the Alps to the north, where it wedges into the mountains. Indeed the north side of the lake is long, narrow and surrounded by peaks (most of which belong to the Baldo Range). To the south it widens onto the Po Valley, stretching out between the hills and gulfs of Peschiera on one bank and of Desenzano on the opposite bank. Lake Garda is divided into four large areas, each with its own special qualities, making it one-of-a-kind. The northern-most part is Garda Trentino. Moving clockwise you then have the Riviera degli Olivi to the east, Bresciana in the direction of the Po Valley and the Riviera dei Limoni to the west.

Desenzano is the best place to start out to admire the scenery, as it's the easiest city to reach on your journey to discover the region. Wonderful restaurants and high-end boutiques make this city perfect for both long and short stays. From Desenzano you can easily visit all the other cities on the lake by boat. Although Desenzano is one of the larger lake cities, the historic centre still rises around the old small harbour, surrounded by historic buildings like the Palazzo del Provveditore and the the former Palazzo Comunale (city hall), both dating back to the 16th century. The ruins of an ancient castle with quadrangular tower overlook the city from the heights. The Church of Santa Maria Maddalena is also noteworthy. The Riviera Bresciana features other beautiful views and evocative villages like Sirmione (famous for its location, the Scaligera Fortress and the Sirmione Castle) and Padenghe. Here we recommend visiting the nearby Medieval Castle and the Church of Sant'Emiliano. Manerba del Garda, near Rocca Park, is another well-known summer destination, thanks to the S. Biagio Island, better known as Isola dei Conigli ("Rabbit Island").

The western part of Lake Garda is home to that strip of little villages between Limone sul Garda and Salò, and its name in fact comes from the cultivation of the lemon. Tignale and its six hamlets are absolutely worth a stop to visit the Montecastello Sanctuary, just below the summit of Monte Cas. The Alto Garda Bresciano Park and Tremosine are in the highlands and valleys of this area, stretching to Campione. Situated along the shores of a deep inlet, Salò faces the lake, protected by hills covered with cypresses and olive groves where you can admire the Palazzo della Magnifica Patria, the old town hall and the Duomo, the largest cathedral on Lake Garda. As you walk through the city you discover the villas and architecture which date back to the Italian Social Republic of Salò, like the Art Nouveau-style villas, Villa Simonini and Villa Amadei, finally arriving at the Casa del Fascio on the lakefront. Gardone is also lovely, known above all for the Vittoriale, the variety of its prestigious 20th-century residences and the Hruska Botanical Gardens.

At the foot of the Alps, Garda Trentino unveils a more mountainous setting. Olive and lemon groves give way to alpine flowers where Riva del Garda and Torbole guard the northernmost point of Benàco. Riva's main square, Piazza Tre Novembre, opens onto the silvery lake and the port tucked up against the picturesque old city. Be sure to visit Palazzo Pretorio, Casa del Comune and Aponnale Tower on the eastern side of the square. Arco, in the north of the plains of northern Lake Garda, is at the end of the valley, dominating from on high with its medieval castle and bestowing a breath-taking view. The Collegiata dell'Assunta awaits you in the city's main square.

Lastly, the eastern shore of Lake Garda is called the Riviera degli Olivi. Olives have been grown for here centuries amidst a landscape full of inlets, fortresses and castles. Near the port of Malcesine you'll find Palazzo dei Capitani, dating back to the Republic of Venice, and the Church of Santo Stefano. Thanks to the cableway, in just a few minutes you can go from the olive groves to the peak of Mount Baldo, enjoying the majestic view of the lake and experiencing the mountains with a plethora of excursions to choose from. Farther on, you reach the Gulf of Garda with its castle and ancient fortress that are worth a visit, both for the Gothic buildings along the lakefront and for the beautiful Palazzo del Capitano del Lago, where the Fishermen's Association used to meet. Bardolino, Peschiera del Garda and Torri del Benaco complete the area's unique offerings. Peschiera has played an important role in Garda's history with its two principle monuments - the Rocca (Fortress) and the Comando del Presidio - products of military art. Instead in Torri, visit the Scaligero Castle with its ethnographic museum, the Church of the Santissima Trinità (Holy Trinity), and if you love art, Ca’ Turrini and Palazzo Mari.

The traditions and rich artistic heritage of these places are just waiting to be discovered. Castles, valleys and little harbours nestled between the gulfs and shores of the lake are the perfect backdrop for water sports, excursions, wine and food tours and city tours, meeting all of the tourist's expectations. Booking a last minute holiday at Lake Garda means discovering and enjoying the colours and aromas typical of Northern Italy which you absolutely can't miss.

Where to stay in Lake Garda

Hotel Vinci Sirmione
Hotel Vinci Sirmione
4 out of 5
Via XXV Aprile 2, Sirmione, Provincia di Brescia
The price is £114 per night from 14 Dec to 14 Dec
Located in the heart of Sirmione, this spa hotel is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from Scaliger Castle and 0.9 mi (1.5 km) from Center Aquaria Spa and Wellness Center. Church ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (18 reviews)
"Location was superb. Staff was very friendly and accommodating. Breakfast was fresh and plentiful."

Reviewed on 15 Nov 2021

Hotel Vinci Sirmione
Aqualux Hotel Spa & Suite
Aqualux Hotel Spa & Suite
4 out of 5
Via Europa Unita 24/B, Bardolino, VR
The price is £154 per night from 13 Dec to 13 Dec
Located on a lake, this family-friendly hotel is within 9 mi (15 km) of Canevaworld - Aqua Paradise, Movieland and Gardaland. Clinica Pederzoli and Parco Natura ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (519 reviews)
"The hotel was lovely but the food was awful and the staff were impolite boarding on rude"

Reviewed on 1 Oct 2020

Aqualux Hotel Spa & Suite
Grand Hotel Terme
Grand Hotel Terme
5 out of 5
Viale Marconi, 7, Sirmione, BS
The price is £167 per night from 13 Dec to 13 Dec
Located in Sirmione, this beachfront hotel is in the city centre, 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Scaliger Castle and 0.6 mi (0.9 km) from Center Aquaria Spa and Wellness ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (347 reviews)
Good but could improve
"Overall the experience was great. I have to be honest though that for the price and a 5 star hotel the room features and come of the facilities are not up to part with other 5 stars I stayed in the past. Some of the staff after a few days start remembering you and address you by name most but for ..."

Reviewed on 29 Jul 2021

Grand Hotel Terme
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 £67 per night from 14 Dec to 14 Dec
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
Residence Relais Rosa dei Venti
Residence Relais Rosa dei Venti
Via Porto 10, Moniga del Garda, BS
This family-friendly Moniga del Garda apartment building is located on a lake, within 2 mi (3 km) of Costaripa Winery and Spiaggia San Sivino. Avanzi Cantina ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (18 reviews)
Fantastic and friendly
"We stayed here in the middle of winter and found the hosts very warm and welcoming. We arrived after hours but had no problems checking in thanks to the detailed instructions. The place was warm, clean and spacious and the view of the lake was gorgeous."

Reviewed on 14 Jan 2019

Residence Relais Rosa dei Venti
Campeggio del Garda
Campeggio del Garda
4 out of 5
Lungo Lago Garibaldi, 15, Peschiera del Garda, Verona
Nestled on the beach, this Peschiera del Garda campsite is within 3 mi (5 km) of Lido ai Pioppi, Gardaland and Movieland. Lido ai Pioppi and Porta Brescia are ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (329 reviews)
Wonderful location.
"This is the 3rd year in a row we’ve stayed here and as always wished our stay was longer. Perfect location on lake Garda with only a short walk into town. Plenty of nice restaurants in the area and plenty to do with the kids. We stayed in a mobile home which was air conditioned, clean and spacious. ..."

Reviewed on 30 Jul 2021

Campeggio 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.

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