Things to do in Lake Garda

Things to do in  Lake Garda

Big means beautiful

The largest lake in Italy—tucked to the side of the Dolomites and sandwiched between three provinces: Verona, Brescia, and Trento—Lake Garda is a long-time favorite of elegant travelers looking for wine-tasting at vineyards, healing sulfur springs, and laidback lakeside activities. Lake Garda has something to suit most, including historic landmarks, spa towns such as Bardolino and Sirmione, and even a family-friendly theme park. Meanwhile, on the water, windsurfing, sailing, and kiteboarding are among the most popular things to do.

Top 6 attractions in Lake Garda

Lake Garda (Lago di Garda)

Italy’s Amalfi Coast may be the capital of la dolce vita, but Lake Garda (Lago di Garda) has its own brand of effortless elegance that has attracted celebrities and artists for centuries. Ringed by steep alpine foothills, tiny spa towns, and vineyards, the lake offers a heady mix of languid leisure and cosmopolitan flair.More


Set on the tip of a promontory jutting out into the waters of Lake Garda, and guarded by the fairy-tale-like Scaliger Castle, Sirmione is one of the most picturesque villages in Italy’s northern lake district. Explore the town’s postcard-perfect center and sights such as the nearby Roman Grottoes of Catullus.More

Desenzano del Garda

The pretty resort town of Desenzano del Garda is on the southern shore of Lake Garda (Lago di Garda), Italy's largest lake that straddles the northern regions of Lombardy, Veneto, and Trentino. A popular destination for ancient Roman nobility from nearby Verona, the town is home to the ruins of a Roman villa and a museum of artifacts unearthed during its excavation. There is also an archaeological museum, a picturesque harbor, and a waterfront promenade.More

Gardaland Park

If you are touring Italy with kids who have had their fill of majestic churches and Roman ruins, a day at Gardaland may be in order. This landmark amusement park sits on the eastern flanks of Lake Garda and is the country’s most popular family-oriented resort, with more than 30 rides, musical performances and light shows, and an aquarium.More

Garda Thermal Park (Parco Termale del Garda)

Italy often shakes, rattles, and rolls with seismic activity from volcanoes and earthquakes. This geothermal energy has formed countless hot springs, many used as natural thermal spas since ancient Roman times. One of the most famous is the Garda Thermal Park (Parco Termale del Garda), part of the 18th-century Villa dei Cedri estate near Lake Garda.More
SEA LIFE® Gardaland

SEA LIFE® Gardaland

Adjacent the popular Gardaland Park, the SEA LIFE Aquarium offers lots of family-friendly fun. Discover underwater worlds in 40 themed tanks housing 100 marine species; get up close with observation portholes, domes, and interactive pools; and walk through a sea tunnel with rays and sharks swimming above.More
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All about Lake Garda

When to visit

Lake Garda’s hot springs attract visitors all year round, but best time of year to visit, if you want to take a dip in the lake, is late in the summer, when the water has lost its alpine chill. The area is at its most beautiful in spring, when the hills are covered in blossoms, and fall, when they turn golden. The town of Salò hosts two Garda Flowers botanical events, in April and September, and many of the area’s food and wine festivals take place in the fall.

Getting around

The main train station is in Peschiera del Garda, and it can be reached on the Milan–Venice railway line. From there, you can take one of the two bus routes around the lake—one stops at virtually all the villages on the eastern shore, and another covers the western shore. Navigarda ferries, which crisscross the lake, run all year long (though more frequently from spring through fall). Taxis and taxi boats are also plentiful, and you can rent a bike or e-bike in the larger towns.

Traveler tips

To satisfy a chocolate craving, head straight to the historic Vassalli pastry shop in the heart of Salò’s old town. This family-run pasticceria has been known for its artisan chocolates (as well as its pastries and cakes) since 1930. Pull up a chair at one of the dainty pink tables set up along the town’s main pedestrian thoroughfare, or choose a selection of hand-crafted chocolates from the display to take home.

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People Also Ask

What is Lake Garda known for?

Lake Garda is famous for a few things: It’s Italy’s biggest lake, it’s close to the Dolomite Mountains, and it’s become a mecca for windsurfers. Like many Lombardy lakes, Lake Garda is an international tourist hub; it seems to particularly appeal to German and Dutch visitors.

How do you spend a day in Lake Garda?

The lake is huge, so how you spend your day will depend on where you’re based. If you’re in Sirmione or Malcesine (both popular spots), you could visit Scaligero Castle or ride the cableway from Malcesine to Monte Baldo. Then, head to a lake beach for lunch and some lounging around.

Can you swim in Lake Garda?

Yes, you can swim in Lake Garda during the summer months, and there are private and public beaches. Stick close to the shore and treat your time in the lake like Italians do: They rarely go to “swim;” instead they fare un bagno (take a bath or a dip).

What is the best way to see Lake Garda?

Boats offer the best way to see and explore Lake Garda. You can travel between the lake towns by hydrofoil and ferry at any time of year, though departures are less frequent outside of the peak summer season. Bus routes can be complicated, and ride-hailing apps (and even taxis) aren’t common.

What is the nicest part of Lake Garda?

The towns of Sirmione, Limone sul Garda, and Malcesine are tourist favorites full of charm. However, these spots are also crowded. Other less popular but lovely spots include Salò town and the rustic villages of Brenzone sul Garda, which are scattered on the slopes of Monte Baldo.

What activities are popular in Lake Garda?

Many people come for boating and water sports—windsurfing and paddleboarding are big here. Other popular Lake Garda activities include hiking and cycling. Cyclists will be pleased to hear about the Garda by Bike project, which is working to link existing paths into an uninterrupted loop around the lake.

Frequently Asked Questions
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