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Lake Garda, the most beautiful and largest lake in Italy

Lake Garda, the most beautiful and largest lake in Italy

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Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy. Every summer, the lake and the surrounding areas attract many holidaymakers. The beautiful, blue water is highly appealing, as are the many charming towns along the shores of the lake. This makes Lake Garda one of the most beautiful places to spend the summer in Italy. We’ll take you through the absolute highlights around Lake Garda.


Facts about Lake Garda

As we mentioned, Lake Garda is the largest lake in the country. Therefore, the lake is located in three different regions: Lombardy, Trentino-South Tyrol, and Veneto. The length of the lake is an impressive 52 kilometers. At its widest point, Lake Garda is over 17 kilometers wide. In the north, the lake is at its deepest, reaching depths of over 300 meters in some places. The average depth of the lake is around 135 meters.

When driving from the south to the north, you’ll notice a difference in landscape. The southern part features a flat and gently hilly area around the lake. As you move further north, the surroundings become mountainous. Along the northeast side lies Monte Baldo, an imposing mountain range.

A car journey along Lake Garda is almost 160 kilometers long. The “Gardesana” is a beautiful road with many scenic viewpoints of the lake. However, it also has many curves and tunnels. During the summer months, the route is quite busy. A full circuit can take quite a bit of time. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth driving a part of the route. Personally, we find the western side the most beautiful, but that’s a matter of preference. The views at Bogliaco and especially Gargnano are unparalleled.

During the journey, fans of James Bond may recognize certain areas. Scenes from the film Quantum of Solace were filmed around the road near Limone heading towards Riva del Garda.

Sirmione Street

The most beautiful towns along Lake Garda

Typical picturesque Italian villages. Houses in all pastel shades. A small harbour with brightly colored boats. In our opinion, Italy has a monopoly on these kinds of villages. Along the shores of Lake Garda, you’ll find one more beautiful place after another. We’ll mention the villages and towns that you definitely shouldn’t miss when visiting this region.

Sirmione Castle

South side of Lake Garda

These places in the southern part of Lake Garda are our favorites.


The affluent Romans had already discovered this charming town around the beginning of the first century. They had their country houses here. The ruins of Grotte di Catullo are now an important tourist attraction. Here, you can admire a complex of villas, baths, and shops from Roman times.

Another highlight is the imposing castle of Rocca Scaligera. The Scaligeri family had many castles around Verona in the 13th century. This is one of them. From the high tower, soldiers could easily bombard attackers from the sea.

Sirmione is located on a promontory of a peninsula. The boat trip there is already a delight. The view of the town and the castle from the lake is fantastic. Keep in mind that it gets crowded with tourists in Sirmione during the summer months. But that applies to all places on the south side of the lake.



Lazise was once an important outpost for merchants from Venice. The city gates, the small picturesque harbour, and the toll house still bear witness to this. Here, the Scaligeri family also had a castle. However, we find the San Niccolò church to be more beautiful, a sight that has captivated the city for almost 1000 years.

On the lively terraces along the harbour, you have a magnificent view of the lake, the harbour, and the church. Especially at sunset, it is one of the loveliest places to sit by Lake Garda. Try to secure a spot on the elevated terrace of Restaurant Classique. However, there are many other contenders, so you need to be early.

From Lazise, you can walk or cycle to the nearby Bardolino. For wine lovers like us, we couldn’t miss this place. In the rolling hills in the hinterland of Bardolino, winegrowers produce this wine.


Peschiera del Garda

Tourists love Peschiera del Garda. The walled historic heart of the town with city gates and fortifications gives it a typical atmosphere. In the vineyards around Peschiera, a delightful white wine is produced. You can buy the finest Lugano wine from the numerous winegrowers.

At Peschiera, the River Mincio flows into Lake Garda. If you enjoy cycling, the cycle path along the river is ideal for a relaxed ride over fairly flat terrain. It is even possible to go all the way to Mantova (also known as Mantua). This city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, expect a round trip of 40 kilometers.


North side of Lake Garda

These are the places you definitely shouldn’t miss on the north side of the lake.


Naturally, Malcésine has a beautiful historic center with numerous picturesque spots. The Castello Scaligero and the 15th-century Palazzo dei Capitani are the major attractions. Additionally, there are small winding streets that lead to charming squares. Of course, there are plenty of lovely terraces along the waterfront.

Monte Baldo

But the biggest draw is the cable car to the top of Monte Baldo. At almost 1800 meters high, you can enjoy the most beautiful view over Lake Garda. On clear days, you can even see as far as the Dolomites and the Brenta Group massif. You can take beautiful walks here. Every time, you’ll be amazed by the fantastic views. However, bear in mind that it gets busy at the cable car during peak season. If you want to go up, try to go as early as possible. Otherwise, the waiting time can be as long as an hour or more.


Lake Garda is certainly not just for relaxing. For an active holiday by the lake, Tórbole is the ideal base. It is especially the best place for water sports enthusiasts. The mountains create a strong wind in the afternoon. From 12 o’clock, the Ora, as the wind is called, starts blowing. Immediately after, sailors and surfers head out en masse. But hikers and cyclists can also undertake enjoyable activities in Tórbole.


Tórbole is smaller than most other villages along the lake. However, it also has an atmospheric center with a charming harbour. Additionally, there are many large pebble beaches. After an active afternoon on the water, you can recover from all the exertion here.

Riva del Garda

In the far north of Lake Garda lies one of the largest towns: Riva del Garda. We found this to be the cosiest place around the lake. This is mainly due to the diverse crowd that visits Riva. Culture enthusiasts, sailors, windsurfers, mountain bikers, and climbers use Riva as a base for their activities. When we visited the city, the European Youth Sailing Championships were taking place, which also added a special atmosphere to the city.

Riva del Garda

The Torre Apponale tower from 1220 towers above all the buildings. You have the best view of the historical center when you climb that tower. You can see the activity on Piazza III Novembre, the harbour, the promenade, and the lake below you. But the city also has many more lovely squares with cosy terraces. In the modern part of the city, there are numerous design stores selling clothing, home accessories, and other trendy items.

Riva has several beautiful churches to visit. For instance, the Chiesa dell ‘Inviolata is even the most beautiful Baroque church in the Trentino region. The modest exterior doesn’t suggest that you’re inside a lavish, bombastic Baroque church. Pay special attention to the beautiful frescoes and the dome. Another special feature is the chapel Capanna di Santa Barbara. It’s quite a climb to the chapel located over 600 meters high. But once you’re up there, you immediately forget the fatigue when you see the amazing view of Riva and Lake Garda.


Limone sul Garda

The town of Limone sul Garda is known for centuries-old lemon cultivation. You might think that the town derives its name from this, but that’s not the case. It is a corruption of the Latin word Limes, which means border. Limone sul Garda is located on the border of two provinces. Long ago, Limone sul Garda even formed the border between Italy and Austria.

Traditionally, this was a picturesque fishing village. The cosy center has many narrow alleys with beautiful buildings. The harbour is now less used as a berth for fishing boats. Now it’s mainly tourists who moor here to visit Limone. The view from the town to the other side of the lake is picturesque. The often snow-covered peak of Monte Baldo completes the picture.

You’ll come across lemons everywhere in the town. Of course, in the lemon museum. But you can’t think of anything where lemon is not used in a product in the shops. This is the place to drink and buy the finest limoncello. A chilled glass of limoncello with coffee after dinner, we’re definitely up for that.

Riva del Garda Boulevard

What to do around Lake Garda

Of course, a boat trip on Lake Garda is a must. The view of the many cosy towns with their harbours and promenades is best from the water. You can take a ferry in every town. Even more fun is to rent a boat yourself and create your own sailing route.

Want to feel like a true Italian? Then hire an original Vespa scooter for a tour around the lake. This can be done individually or as part of a group led by a guide. Motoraggazi has mapped out several unique routes for you and has excellent scooters.

For wine enthusiasts, there are several beautiful wine routes around Lake Garda. For example, the Valpolicella wine route takes you along the most beautiful vineyards between the lake and the fantastic city of Verona. But there are more enjoyable wine routes to explore around Lake Garda.

Bridge in Verona

Practical Information for Your Visit to Lake Garda

Here you will find answers to a few questions before you visit Lake Garda.
What is the best time to visit Lake Garda?

During the summer months, it can be warm around Lake Garda. Fortunately, there is always a cooling breeze, sometimes even a strong wind. The months of May, June, and September are the best times to visit Lake Garda as July and August are very busy in all places.

Where can you stay comfortably around Lake Garda?

Especially on the south side, there are many campsites to be found. The last time we stayed at the beautiful La Quercia campsite near Lazise. The campsite has one of the few sandy beaches along the lake. From the campsite, you can easily walk to the lively center.


Our last visit took us to a unique AirBnB in the center of Riva del Garda. The landlady seemed like a faded movie star from long ago. She gave the impression of nostalgically longing for her glory days. Unfortunately, this apartment is no longer available for rent. Therefore, we can no longer recommend this unique accommodation.


If you are looking for a hotel around Lake Garda, there is an extensive choice available in all comfort classes. Here, you will find an overview of hotels around Lake Garda.