Here is a mini-guide to discover the top 10 things to do in Lake Garda. History, food and wine, nature and lots of sport: enjoy Lake Garda places to visit & activities for all tastes!
There is a unique place in Northern Italy, nestled in the Po Valley dividing Veneto, Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige, a place with an ancient history adorned with Roman villas and medieval castles.
It is a place with a unique microclimate that allows the cultivation of citrus fruits and olives in the northernmost parallel in the world, thus favouring the creation of a characteristic food and wine tradition. A place full of paths and trails with breathtaking views.
This place is Lake Garda (in Italian, Lago di Garda)! I will explain to you the things to do in Lake Garda that you absolutely cannot miss and why they are worth doing at least once in your life.
1. Things to do in Lake: the South Coast
Peschiera del Garda
The Southern coast of Lake Garda offers mainly historical and relaxing itineraries. In fact, in the southernmost part, we find Peschiera del Garda: this municipality is rich in historical elements, such as a star-shaped fort built in the 19th century that divides the town. In Peschiera, it is possible to make several excursions on Lake Garda, either by boat trips or along the many cycling and walking paths. A very interesting one is the cycle path along the river Mincio, which allows you to go into nature following the course of the river in the direction of Mantua. It allows the cyclist to enjoy clean air and freshness while pedalling in the tranquillity of the embankment.
After crossing the border into Lombardy, we find Sirmione, a splendid village situated on a peninsula on the lake. In this ancient village, you can visit the Rocca Scaligera, built in the 12th century, the Grotte di Catullo and the remains of a monumental Roman villa. Moreover, in Lake Garda places to visit and relaxing itineraries will meet all tastes. In fact, in this town you can relax in thermal baths, with heated swimming pools with lake view, massage centres and SPAs. The ice-cream tradition is also characteristic: there are many ice-cream parlours with the most extravagant and unthinkable flavours. In short, if you are looking for a place to relax your nerves surrounded by history, Sirmione is definitely for you.
Desenzano del Garda
Moving further west you arrive in Desenzano del Garda. In addition to this beautiful town, you can admire the Castle, with a truly characteristic view over the lake. In this place, you can choose some really characteristic Lake Garda activities. First of all, an excursion to the Oasi San Francesco, an environmental site that allows you to observe many native species in the most uncontaminated nature. You can also visit the beautiful pebble beaches, where you can sunbathe on the shoreline in the fresh lake wind.
2. Lake Garda places to visit: the West Coast
The Lombardy coast offers a wide range of itineraries around Lake Garda. One of the most important is a visit to the famous town of Salò. In fact, along its characteristic streets there are countless historical buildings, art museums and a fantastic lakeside promenade. This city is also home to the famous “Cedrata Tassoni”. You can visit the factory with a guide to discover the secrets and history of this historic and iconic drink made from citron. For citrus lovers, it is definitely a must-see tourist attraction.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a more sporty experience or excursions on Lake Garda, Monte Corno is not far away. It offers many cycling and trekking routes immersed in nature, all with a view over the lake. A truly characteristic and unique experience for sports lovers.
Continuing northwards we arrive at Gardone Riviera, a characteristic town that hosts the Vittoriale degli Italiani, built by writer Gabriele d’Annunzio and where he himself is buried. It is a complex of architectural works suitable for the performing arts. The Vittoriale is truly enchanting to visit, especially because several plays are often staged there and made special by the backdrop of Lake Garda.
Limone sul Garda
In Lake Garda places to visit are so much! A little further north is Limone sul Garda, a town that has developed a strong tradition of world-famous lemon gardens thanks to the lake’s mild climate. You can visit this unique town thanks to Italia Delight, which allows you to join amazing food tours and customise them directly with the Food Experts who live in the destination.
3. Lake Garda towns: the North Coast
Lake Garda things to do
To the north, there are an increasing number of paths around Lake Garda. In fact, it is possible to take part in many excursions. Among the most famous and popular is the Busatte Tempesta panoramic path, which offers a long walk along the lake. There is the “via ferrata del Colodri”, which allows the more sporty to try their hand at mountain climbing. There is also the Ponale path, excellent for both cyclists and hikers, which allows you to skirt the lake along a route of tunnels and unique views.
Riva del Garda
At the northernmost tip of the lake is the renowned Riva del Garda. This town of Roman origin has hosted figures such as D’Annunzio, Kafka and Nietzsche. Here you can visit the Rocca di Riva, built in the 12th century and still perfectly preserved. If you are an art lover, you should also visit the MAG Museum, with many paintings and works of art from the 19th century and beyond. You will also find excursions along the beaches of Lake Garda, such as the Pini or Sabbioni beaches.
4. Lake Garda towns: the East Coast
Returning to the Veneto and heading south, we find Malcesine, a characteristic town on Lake Garda offering both historical trails, such as a visit to the Scaliger Castle or the Lake Museum, and sporting trails, such as a visit to the Gardesana Orientale Integral Nature Reserve.
Climbing up Monte Baldo you can discover a curious Alpaca breeding farm. For the more adventurous, it is possible to enjoy a paragliding experience from the mountain overlooking the lake, thanks to its height of 1760 metres.
Towards the south is the town of Garda. Here you can go on a wide range of excursions, from boat trips to hill walks, such as Punta San Virgilio, a historic destination for emperors and kings. In these areas, there are many paths through the hills. You can find tasty farmhouses, which offer local specialities such as Garda extra virgin olive oil. If you are interested in a wine tasting, with Italia Delight you can have a customised one.
On the last stop of our journey to discover Lake Garda towns, we will visit Bardolino. Here you can explore the Olive Oil Museum and the characteristic old town centre, which also offers a perfect lakefront to admire the sunset.
Lake Garda activities for all tastes
You can also make excursions by boat or on foot along pebble beaches such as Punta Cornicello. In Lake Garda places to visit for active holidays? Sure! You can go trekking and cycling thanks to the Peschiera-Bardolino cycle path, a route that connects these Lake Garda towns and offers you the chance to experience the lake just a few metres away.
As you have seen, there are many things to do in Lake Garda, so you will find holidays to suit everyone!
Customise your trip with the Food Experts of Italia Delight, discovering the best Lake Garda places to visit and not only 😉