HERE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN LAKE GARDA
If you are looking for the best places to visit in Lake Garda, then this post will help you. Find out where to go and what to do around Lake Garda, Italy.
Get ready to have your mind blown! Lake Garda is the place to be if you’re on the hunt for breathtaking views that will make your heart sing. We’re talking about mountains so lush they’ll have you feeling like you’re in a dream, waters so clear you’ll be able to see the fishies swimming around, and charming villages just waiting to be explored!
It doesn’t matter if you’re a thrill-seeker looking for your next adrenaline fix or simply someone who wants to sit back and soak in the stunning scenery, Lake Garda has got you covered. There’s something for everyone here! So, let me be your trusty guide as I show you all the best spots to hit up in Lake Garda.
Get your camera ready, it’s time to embark on an unforgettable journey!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my links (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.
BEST PLACES IN LAKE GARDA TO VISIT
So, without further ado, here are the most beautiful places in and around Lake Garda and the top things to do and see.
Limone Sul Garda
Limone is like a mini paradise just waiting to be explored. This lively little town may be small, with only 1,000 locals calling it home, but it packs a punch with its delightful sights and sounds that’ll make your heart sing.
Nestled on the western coast of Lake Garda in the northern region, Limone is the perfect destination to add to your travel bucket list. And it’s not just me who thinks so, folks from Germany are catching onto this charming spot too! The scenery here is simply breathtaking, with picture-perfect houses and vibrant flowers everywhere you turn.
But here’s the real kicker – it’s a photographer’s paradise! The bougainvillea flowers add an extra level of beauty, and when paired with the little harbor, restaurants, promenade, and even an illuminated globe at night, your camera roll will thank you. Plus, there’s free beach access which is a total game-changer for beach bums and water lovers alike.
And get this, the beach is just 500 meters from the town! It’s like the universe knew we needed the perfect combo of sun, sand, and serenity all in one place.
Don’t miss out on the spectacular Cyclopath, which made its grand debut in summer 2018! Rise and shine to witness mesmerizing lake views as you stroll along this kilometer-long trail, embracing the beauty of nature.
You may be surprised by its size, but this cozy gem is not just wonderful for a stay, it’s actually one of the top areas to stay in the Lake Garda area!
ACCOMMODATIONS IN LIMONE SUL GARDA
LUXURY: Hotel Splendid Palace is a lovely accommodation that offers many amenities and beautiful views from its rooftop pool.
Book your stay at Hotel Splendid Palace here.
MID-RANGE: Garni Gianmartin provides a savory buffet and lovely lake views. A favorite among solo travelers.
Book your stay at Hotel Garni Gianmartin here.
BUDGET-FRIENDLY: Hotel Cristina has a nice location and offers lake views, a pool, and friendly staff.
Book your stay at Hotel Cristina here.
Discover the gem of Lake Garda, Sirmione! This enchanting peninsula on the southern shores is a must-see destination in Lake Garda and a fantastic starting point for those who wish to explore the beautiful cities of Milan and Verona. Don’t miss out on this delightful tourist hotspot!
The enchanting town of Sirmione – where vibrant floral displays amplify its charm! This lovely town boasts a more extensive range of shops, restaurants, and exciting bustling crowds than its neighbor, Limone. Don’t miss out on experiencing the magic of Sirmione’s old town!
Fancy a picturesque experience? Don’t miss the Scaligeri Castle at the heart of Sirmione! Enjoy breathtaking views for an entrance fee of just 8€. But hey, if you’re watching your wallet, no worries – Sirmione still has plenty to offer for a memorable day!
Just beyond the majestic castle, a gem awaits—a petite beach perfect for dipping your toes in for a refreshing moment.
Sirmione is a fantastic destination for those who enjoy lovely boat tours, whether they’re romantic or casual, around the picturesque peninsula. A spontaneous booking near the harbor is easy, but if you’re visiting during the high season, it’s wise to reserve ahead of time for the best experience. Happy sailing!
The boat tour costs around 10€ per person (a bit more for sunset cruises).
➡️ Book your boat tour in Sirmione here.
ACCOMMODATIONS IN SIRMIONE
For a luxurious experience, stay at the Grand Hotel Terme, which offers great amenities and a full English buffet.
➡️ Book your stay at Grand Hotel Terme here.
If you are looking for a mid-range option, the Champagne Rooms would be a great choice, with helpful staff and a nice location. They also offer family suites, perfect if you’re traveling with your family.
➡️ Book your stay at Champagne Rooms here.
Located right by Lake Garda’s shore, the lovely Hotel Porto Azzurro makes a good budget option.
➡️ Book your stay at Hotel Porto Azzurro here.
Craving a stunning alpine panorama? Make your way to Mount Baldo on the picturesque shores of Lake Garda and immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Italian Alps.
Imagine zipping up effortlessly to breathtaking heights, or conquering a rewarding hike from a charming starting point – at Malcesine, Lake Garda, you can choose your own adventure! Ascend to the summit of a 2,200-meter high mountain and bask in the most mesmerizing views of Italy‘s largest lake.
Don’t worry, we’ve got some helpful tips for your journey:
To catch the speedy cable car, arrive before 9 am to avoid queues, ensuring you have ample time to explore the beauty of Lake Garda. Secure your return ticket for €22 at any of the numerous shops around the lake or right at the cable car station.
I recommend setting aside half a day for this venture, leaving you ample time to explore more charming towns nearby. So, grab your camera and hiking shoes, and prepare for a day of unforgettable moments at magical heights!
A local once told me that Malcesine is similar to Limone, only larger. While there’s some truth to that, Malcesine is also completely different.
Sailing from Limone to Malcesine was truly enchanting, with the picturesque views and a reasonably-priced round-trip ticket (just 10€). My adventure began at the majestic Mount Baldo before I ventured into the beautiful town of Malcesine. The charming maze-like streets, historic architecture, delightful little shops, and the lovely harbor created the perfect setting for a day full of memories.
Looking for a thrilling adventure? Malcesine is the perfect haven for water sports enthusiasts! And for just 6€, indulge in the breathtaking view from the majestic Scaliger Castle – even better than the tower in Sirmione. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience! Check out my detailed post on Malcesine.
ACCOMMODATIONS IN MALCESINE
LUXURY – La Loggia del Capitano is a great luxury option, with spacious apartments and terraces with great views.
➡️ Book your stay at La Loggia del Capitano here.
MID-RANGE – Appartamento Morena, which has a nice lounge and amenities. Good for families and groups.
➡️ Book your stay at Appartamento Morena here.
BUDGET – Garda Family House is not located directly in Malcesine but offers continental breakfast at a budget-friendly price, just outside of Malcesine proper.
➡️ Book your stay at Garda Family House here.
Riva del Garda
This colorful place, is one of the best towns in Lake Garda to visit. Discover the vibrant promenade, charming shops, and lively Thursday market in Riva del Garda, a bustling town that stole my mom’s heart on Lake Garda.
With a fondness for window shopping, she couldn’t help but feel right at home here, though truth be told, she adored every aspect of the entire region.
Discover the charming beauty of Riva del Garda – a picturesque paradise where you can admire stunning architecture, dive into exhilarating water sports, and behold breathtaking views from the renowned Apponale Tower (the Clock Tower) for just 2€! With 165 steps to climb, the rewarding view is a must-see.
Delight in the array of museums and activities, making Riva del Garda the ultimate Lake Garda gem, catering to everyone’s taste!
ACCOMMODATIONS IN RIVA DEL GARDA
LUXURY – Rivacentro is a popular, luxurious apartment hotel that has helpful staff, modern rooms, and great amenities.
➡️ Book your stay at Rivacentro here.
MID-RANGE – Parc Hotel Flora, offers spa access, views, and breakfast.
➡️ Book your stay at Parc Hotel Flora here.
Desenzano del Garda
Looking to add a little spark to your vacation? Desenzano del Garda may be just the spot for you! Nestled on the southern shore of the lake, this bustling resort town is a favorite among train-traveling tourists. And while it may not be my personal top pick, its charm is undeniable!
You’re in for a treat at Lake Garda’s largest town, filled with so many fascinating attractions and lovely places waiting to be explored!
Discover the charming water promenade, bustling with lively shops and stores, and stroll along the quaint harbor adorned with vibrant, colorful buildings! Don’t miss out on the lively Piazza Matteotti and Piazza Malvezzi, as well as the historic Desenzano’s Castle, as you explore this delightful locale.
Looking for the ultimate party spot in Lake Garda? This lively town is perfect for night owls and party animals alike! Embrace the vibrant nightlife and create unforgettable memories in the best celebration destination around the lake.
Strada Della Forra
Hey there! Just a quick tip for experiencing the breathtaking sights of Lake Garda – make sure you’re on the west side of the lake and head up high. You’ll find some amazing viewpoints along the hillside roads, but the real cherry on top is the Strada Della Forra, also known as the gorge road.
Trust me, you wouldn’t want to miss exploring it via car or moped for a truly unforgettable adventure. Enjoy!
Imagine venturing along a road that’s been masterfully sculpted into a magnificent gorge, where you’ll ascend to great heights through thrilling hairpin bends and marvel at Lake Garda’s most breathtaking views.
Strada Della Forra offers an exhilarating experience as you navigate its cliff-hugging tunnels – but beware, only the bravest of drivers in modestly-sized vehicles should dare to conquer this mesmerizing route!
Discover the remarkable Strada Della Forra, nestled halfway down the west coast of Lake Garda. With its unique one-way traffic system, feel free to cruise along this scenic route, turn around, and soak in the beauty all over again – all for free!
After conquering your climb, you’ll be rewarded with all sorts of wonders! Near the peak lies a restaurant with scrumptious eats that are sure to delight. Plus, there’s plenty of picturesque trails for hiking – perfect spots from where to admire nature and take in beautiful sights!
More Places to Visit Around Lake Garda
I’ve had quite an adventure exploring the enchanting Lake Garda region, and I’d love to share my top picks with you! Although not directly by the lake, these gems are definitely worth visiting to truly appreciate the area’s beauty. So, let’s dive into the must-see sights around Lake Garda that you’ll absolutely adore!
Discover the hidden treasure of Lake Tenno, nestled just north of Lake Garda! Embrace the exciting adventure of navigating intricate serpentines as you drive, adding a fun and challenging twist to your journey!
Discover the enchanting hues of the serene lake, where you can escape the hustle and bustle and truly unwind in a peaceful haven.
GardaLand Amusement Park
If you’re a fan of amusement parks, especially when traveling with little ones, consider taking a delightful day trip to a popular tourist spot in the area, GardaLand -boasting 35 exciting rides, including 6 thrilling roller coasters.
Conveniently located near the beautiful Sirmione and Peschiera del Garda, you can easily make the most of your visit by grabbing Skip the Line Tickets to avoid those long queues during peak season. Have a blast!
Verona is a wonderful destination for visitors of all ages, full of culture and romance. From its picturesque streets and piazzas to its historical monuments, Verona will captivate you with its beauty. So whether you’re looking for an adventure or a romantic escape, Verona is the perfect place to explore!
One of Verona’s main attractions is the Arena di Verona, an ancient Roman amphitheater. Built in the 1st century AD, this 2000 year old monument is still used today for concerts and other events.
Other attractions include – of course – Juliet’s Balcony, where Shakespeare’s famous heroine once stood; Castelvecchio, a castle built in 1354; or Ponte Scaligero, a bridge constructed by the noble Scaligeri family.
Strolling through Verona’s narrow cobblestoned streets is one of the best ways to visit this historical city. Explore the many alleyways and squares lined with traditional restaurants, bars, and shops offering unique souvenirs. Don’t forget to stop by the famous Piazza delle Erbe, or ‘Market Square’ where fresh produce and flowers are sold daily.
A day tour from Lake Garda to Verona sounds like a fantastic idea if you ask me.
➡️ Check out day trips to Verona here.
If you stay in the northern part of Lake Garda, I suggest a day trip to the Dolomites.
The Dolomites are a mountain range located in the northeastern Italian Alps. These majestic mountains are renowned for their dramatic rocky pinnacles and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, making them one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
A paradise for nature lovers, you’re sure to be dazzled by this incredible natural wonder! Besides hiking and exploring on foot, there are also plenty of activities available such as rock climbing, paragliding, and skiing during wintertime. Find out more about the lakes in the Dolomites by clicking here.
Though the Dolomites could be explored in weeks and months, you can also do day trips to the Dolomites – either by yourself or as a guided tour.
➡️ Book tours to the Dolomites here.
I do think that Venice is a great place to visit and deserves two days of your life. However, if you cannot plan in that time, you could join a guided tour (or do an independent tour, of course) and enjoy one of the most iconic cities in the world. Click are my travel tips for Venice.
Venice is known for its canals, intricate bridges, and stunning architecture. Built on 117 small islands connected by bridges and canals, Venice’s historic center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The heart of the city is St Mark’s Square, which features a number of famous landmarks, including the Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s Basilica, and Campanile (Bell Tower). The Venetian Lagoon surrounds Venice and provides ample opportunities for sightseeing by boat or gondola. Visitors can also explore the canals of Venice and discover the city’s unique atmosphere.
The Grand Canal is one of the most famous sights in Venice, as it winds its way through the city. It is lined with beautiful palazzos and historic churches; a popular activity is to take a vaporetto (water bus) along the canal to admire the views.
➡️ If you plan a guided tour from Lake Garda to Venice, check out this tour.
Lake Garda Travel Tips
Before listing my favorite activities there, here are some important travel tips for Lake Garda.
Lake Garda Facts
- Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, with a shore length of about 160 km. The average depth is about 136 meters.
- There are 28 cities, towns, and villages in Lake Garda, and it belongs to the regions of Trentino-South Tyrol, Veneto, and Lombardy.
How to Get to Lake Garda / How to Get Around Lake Garda
By Plane: Popular airports close by Bergamo/Milano Airport, Verona Airport, and Brescia Airport. Venice Airport is about 100 km away.
By Train: The bigger cities are served by trains; however, the bus service to get from one place to another is limited and not optimal.
By Car: By car is probably the best way to get around. While tolls are high in Italy (and so are gas and diesel), it is the most convenient transportation mode. I never paid tolls around Lake Garda, though (but heading to other places might include toll costs). The narrow streets in the mountains (serpentines) are not my favorite places to drive – Italians tend to drive faster and always use a bit of the opposite lane. However, if you are careful and don’t mind a bit of adrenaline, then driving yourself is the best way to get around (if you want to see all the beautiful places in Lake Garda, a car is your best chance of seeing them all).
By Boat: Boat tours are fun and a must when in the region. However, given the lake’s size, it is time-consuming getting from the northern to the southern shores of the lake. You can surely do it once or twice, but even I did not want to spend all day on a boat. (From Limone to Sirmione, a trip takes about three hours – one way!)
Best Time to Visit Lake Garda
We visited Lake Garda in mid-September – and it was still busy. Like really busy, though the crowds had thinned.
The weather is still great in September (sunny and warm, but not hot), and if you can avoid the months from June until August, I would definitely do it. Besides September, I suggest early October or March (if you don’t need holidays for getting a real tan), April, May, or early June.
Italian is the official language, though most people in the tourism sector speak German and basic English.
More Things to Know
Mosquitos! There are a lot of them. So, bring whatever you have that keeps them away from you (and tell us your secret!).
Best Places to Stay
There are many good places to stay in and around Lake Garda. Surely, Limone or Sirmione are great picks as Riva del Garda is. I have written a more detailed post about the best places to stay in and around Lake Garda.
Check out the hotels for Sirmione here:
- Luxury – For a luxurious experience, stay at the Grand Hotel Terme, which offers great amenities.
- Mid-Range – If you are looking for a mid-range option, the Champagne Rooms would be a great choice, with a nice location. They also offer family suites, perfect if you’re traveling with your family.
- Budget-friendly – Located right by Lake Garda’s shore, the lovely Hotel Porto Azzurro makes a good budget option.
- Camping – Camping Tiglio is a great place for lakeside camping, offering clean facilities and nice amenities.
Check out the hotels for Riva del Garda here:
- Luxury – The Rivacentro is a popular, luxurious apartment hotel with modern rooms and great amenities.
- Mid-Range – For a mid-range hotel, you could stay at the Parc Hotel Flora, which offers spa access and nice views.
Check out hotels for Limone here:
My personal favorite place in Lake Garda was Limone, where I stayed. The place is tiny but yet my favorite place in the region.
- Luxury – Hotel Splendid Palace is a lovely accommodation that offers many amenities and beautiful views from its rooftop pool.
- Mid-Range – Garni Gianmartin provides a savory buffet and lovely lake views. A favorite among solo travelers.
- Budget-friendly – Hotel Cristina has a nice location and offers lake views and a pool.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN LAKE GARDA
As you can see, Lake Garda is the perfect place to visit in Northern Italy. Whether you visit with your family, and friends, solo, or choose it as a honeymoon destination – there are so many beautiful places to visit in Lake Garda.
Just choose the perfect time to visit (so avoid July and August) and then experience all the fun things to do in Lake Garda.
Stay safe and enjoy!