If you are planning a trip to Lake Garda, you have already made a great decision. Now there is probably the question about where to stay in Lake Garda?!

So while finding reasons to visit this area is actually a no-brainer, finding the perfect accommodation and the best place to stay in Lake Garda is indeed a bit more difficult.

Lаkе Gаrdа is nоt оnlу thе lаrgеѕt lake in Italy – it iѕ аlѕо оnе оf thе mоѕt beautiful ones. Surrounded by ruggеd hills and luѕh vegetation, the lake features a fjord-like fоrmаtiоn with its ѕоuthеrn part wider than itѕ northern part. Thе lаkе аrеа аlѕо еnjоуѕ thе mild and comfortable Mеditеrrаnеаn сlimаtе.

Viѕiting the lake also mеаnѕ being еxроѕеd to a spectacular luѕсiоuѕ environment fillеd with a variety оf trееѕ like palms, cypresses, оrаngе, and lеmоn groves. You will еаѕilу be captivated by the vibrant bluе соlоr оf thе lаkе’ѕ сlеаr water.

There are plenty of unique and unusual things to do in Lake Garda. The vicinity аrоund Lake Garda оffеrѕ a boatload of орроrtunitiеѕ for fun, rеlаxаtiоn, and recreation. But it is not only about nature – the lakeshore is оссuрiеd with several charming hаrbоr tоwnѕ.

Malcesine and things to do in Lake Garda

Things to Know Before Booking Your Place in Lake Garda

Here are some general tips when it comes to booking a hotel in Lake Garda, as well as the best towns to stay in when you’re at Lake Garda. This post will help you find the perfect town/village for you (and your travel companions).

Personally, Lake Garda won my heart in a second, and I think it should be on any Northern Italy itinerary. It just took a few moments to forget about my prejudices. For the longest time, I thought it was a boring place and a good destination for families (with younger kids) and camping fans.

After visiting, I think it is a great destination in Northern Italy – with activities, towns, and villages for everyone’s taste.

Whether you are a family (young kids, older kids, or no kids at all), a couple, friends, or a solo traveler, Lake Garda makes a great Italian holiday. Here are my best tips on where to stay, Lake Garda.

Lake Garda Instagrammability

As mentioned above, Lake Garda is not only camping-friendly. You will also find luxury hotels, very family-friendly hotels, and more.

The best places to stay in Lake Garda, for every budget. There are luxury resorts in Lake Garda as well as mid-range accommodations and even more budget-friendly options.

But it is not only the hotel category that is important when choosing your Lake Garda accommodations. It is also crucial to pick the best location for your stay.

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Things to Consider About Places to Stay in Lake Garda

There are many things you should be taking into consideration when choosing your Lake Garda accommodation. There is an overwhelming amount of places to stay on Lake Garda, so you can afford to be a little picky. Here are a few things to consider. 

Getting Around Lake Garda 

Lake Garda is Italy’s biggest lake, with a shore length of almost 160 kilometers. While it’s great that Lake Garda is large, it also means that getting from one attraction (or town) to another can be very time-consuming. 

Public transportation is not fast, and driving can be nerve-wracking (to some). Also, petrol is ridiculously expensive in Lake Garda (Italy has one of the highest petrol prices in all of Europe; Lake Garda is even more expensive than other areas). One liter of petrol often costs 1.74€ – or more. 

There is no toll when driving Lake Garda’s shores, but getting to other cities or attractions, like Verona, costs extra when you use the motorways (about 8 to 9 € for 100 km).

While I still love Lake Garda, and I still think it is a great holiday destination, you should keep that in mind when booking your Lake Garda hotel because it will be an extra cost you will have to consider.

Tax For Staying Overnight Around Lake Garda

Each area charges an extra tax – the amount depends on the area and hotel category. While it varies greatly, you can calculate roughly 1€ per night (per person) that has to be paid to the hotel.

Where to Stay in Lake Garda: Southern or Northern Shore? 

Each area has its own charm and advantages. The southern area tends to be warmer. The north and northeast areas are better places to stay in Lake Garda for water sports lovers.

If you stay on the southern shores, it is quicker for you to get to cities like Verona and Venice, while you have better day trip options to the Dolomites if you stay on the northern shore.

For each of my top recommendations, I also mention for whom this town/village is the perfect place and why.

More Tips For Your Hotel in Lake Garda

My personal tip would be (if staying in Lake Garda for about a week) to split your trip. Yes, it sounds stressful to some of you, but if you stay a few days in totally different Lake Garda areas, you will see a lot more, and getting around is much easier.


Let’s get started with the best areas and hotels in Lake Garda.


Sirmione is one of the most popular places for tourists. It sits on a peninsula jutting out into the lake on the southern shore.

Instagram places in Lake Garda

The resort town is known for its thermal baths and Rocca Scaligera, a medieval castle overlooking the lake, making it one of the most popular tourist sights and is worth a visit. If staying in Sirnoinone, you have some of the best-known sights in Lake Garda around the corner.

With its winding little alleys and beautiful houses, the old town makes it a perfect place to stay in Lake Garda. There are small public beaches right in the old town though they are not the best places to chill.

The Archaeological Site of Grotte di Catullo encompasses a Roman villa, a museum, and olive trees, and you will also find the ruins in the rocky Jamaica Beach just below it.  

And you can do shorter, and longer boat rides from Sirmione, so you can leave your car and get to see more of the area.

There is no shortage of attractions in Lake Garda, and there is no shortage of beautiful hotels.

Sirmione is also great if you want to stay in a busy tourist hotspot, close to Gardaland, Garda, or Verona (even Venice as a day trip would be possible).

However, Sirmione is also one of the busiest places, and if you cannot tolerate crowds very well, Sirmione is probably not the best place to stay in Lake Garda.

Accommodation in Sirmione

  • Luxury – For a luxurious experience, stay at the Grand Hotel Terme, which offers great amenities and a full English buffet.
  • Mid-Range – 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.
  • Budget-friendly: Located right by Lake Garda’s shore, the lovely Hotel Porto Azzurro makes a good budget option. 
  • CampingCamping Tiglio is a great place for lakeside camping, offering clean facilities and nice amenities.


At the very northern shores of Lake Garda is Riva del Garda. It is another gorgeous village with a bustling old town, a lovely waterfront, a clock tower with great views (it is just 165 steps to get to the top), and colorful old buildings.

View from the tower in Riva del Garda, Lake Garda

From Riva del Garda, you can “easily” get to places like Sirmione, Malcesine, and Limone by boat (or car), so it is definitely a great place to stay.

You can also visit South Tyrol ́s attractions from there (like Lago di Braies as a day trip) which probably makes it one of the best towns to stay in Lake Garda.

Let’s face it, the Dolomites in South Tyrol are just breathtaking, and this way, you can combine mountains and the “city” line easily.

It is close to Nago-Torbole, Limone, Malcesine, and Mount Baldo, as well as places like Trento and the Dolomites.

But, it is not only about the amazing amount of day trip options you can take. Riva del Garda is one of the bigger towns at the lake and is great for shoppers, museum lovers, and anyone who does not like it too quiet. From

It is also a popular place for watersports lovers – like kite surfing, windsurfing, or canoeing. So, I guess it is a pretty great spot to stay for most of us, right?! 

Accommodation in Riva del Garda

  • Luxury – The Rivacentro is a popular, luxurious apartment hotel that has helpful staff, modern rooms, and great amenities.
  • Mid-Range – For a mid-range hotel, you could stay at the Parc Hotel Flora, which offers spa access, views, and breakfast.


Desenzano del Garda is a resort town on the southern shore of Lake Garda, and this lively town is especially popular among tourists that travel here by train, as it has its own station.

Desenzano del Garda, Lake Garda where to stay

There is also a lovely water promenade, and many shops and stores.

If you like action, then you have a chance to celebrate here with the locals, though it felt that there were fewer locals even while being a popular place to visit. The little harbor, with its colorful buildings, makes it also pretty picturesque. 

The town is the biggest at Lake Garda – so, there are quite some attractions and places to visit. The vibrant Piazza Matteotti and Piazza Malvezzi are some of the best places to see, but some more ancient sights like Desenzano’s Castle. This is the town where you can party the best – so if you are a night owl, then this is the best town to stay in Lake Garda.

To be honest, it would not be my first pick to stay in Lake Garda – though staying here comes with some perks.

It is close to Sirmione, which makes it a good place if you want to focus on Lake Garda’s shorthorn shores. It is also a good base for a day trip to Bergamo and Milan (or even a day trip to Lake Como).

Also, given that Desenzano del Garda does have a train station, it is great for those who arrive via train.

Accommodation in Desenzano del Garda

  • LuxuryPark Hotel offers a luxury experience, daily breakfast, and a rooftop pool. Also great for families.
  • Mid-Range – You can stay at the Villa Rosa Hotel Desenzano for a modern hotel experience close to the town center and beach. 
  • Budget-friendly – For a budget option, try the B&B Desenzano Paradise, which offers a buffet breakfast, free bicycles, and a lovely terrace. Favored by solo travelers.
  • Camping – A good camping option near the lake would be Camping Village San Francesco, offering a pool, restaurant, and games.


When you think about where to stay in Lake Garda, you should also consider Malcesine for your Lake Garda vacation.

This busy little town is located at the foot of Mount Baldo, making it a great base if you’d like to enjoy a day in the mountains (either by hiking up or using the cable car).

It is also one of the best choices if you enjoy watersports.

Malcesine in Lake Garda

The old town and the harbor make it a lovely base for people who enjoy relaxing and strolling, too.

From here, you can also quite easily reach Limone and Riva del Garda by boat. Water sports are big here, too. So Malcesine, though smaller than some of the other towns mentioned here, is actually a great place for those who enjoy some busier places that also offer quick getaways.

By the way, when I visited the castle and enjoyed the views (better views than from the Sirmione castle), I saw that the rooftop is also a wedding venue. The venue was absolutely stunning and romantic.

So, if you are in the mood to get married…then Malcesine is definitely the best place to stay.

It is also close to Riva del Garda, Trento, and Rovereto and perfect for Northern Italy trips. Check out my detailed Malcesine post. 

Accommodation in Malcesine

  • LuxuryLa Loggia del Capitano is a great luxury option, with spacious apartments and terraces with great views. 
  • Mid-Range – Spacious apartments at a mid-level price can be found at Appartamento Morena, which has a nice lounge and amenities. Good for families and groups.
  • Budget-friendlyGarda Family House is not located directly in Malcesine but offers continental breakfast at a budget-friendly price, just outside of Malcesine proper.


One of the cutest towns in Europe is also one of the best places to stay in Lake Garda. As my base when I visited Lake Garda, I totally loved Limone.

It is easy to get to Malcesine and Riva del Garda (by boat), but it takes some time to get to other areas that are further away.

Limone best places to visit

Strolling through the old town, walking the cycle path, and watching the sunset on the promenade… despite its very small size, it is full of beauty and charm.

You can’t go wrong with choosing Limone as your base (here are my recommendations for things to do in Limone, btw). Staying here also makes it pretty comfortable to explore this pretty town early in the morning or in the evening when all the crowds are gone. Limone might be tiny, but the crowds come.

So, whether you want to walk the cyclopath or stroll the narrow streets – there is no better than the early mornings or later evenings, and if you stay somewhere else, it might not be possible. 

It is close to Riva del Garda and Salo and just opposite Malcesine  – so, my tip for where to stay in Lake Garda is Limone. Though getting to different places is time-consuming, and there aren’t tons of activities offered, it is my personal favorite.

If you stay for more than 2 or 3 nights at Lake Garda, then it might get boring, but since Limone also has a beach, you can’t really go wrong with booking your accommodation here for a few days.

Accommodations in Limone Sul Garda

  • Luxury Hotel Splendid Palace is a lovely accommodation that offers many amenities and beautiful views from its rooftop pool.
  • Mid-RangeGarni Gianmartin provides a savory buffet and lovely lake views. A favorite among solo travelers.
  • Budget-friendlyHotel Cristina has a nice location and offers lake views, a pool, and friendly staff. 

Read more:


Sо, whеthеr you’re looking for a rеlаxing winter brеаk complete with luxurious surroundings and plenty оf thingѕ tо ѕее and dо no matter what the weather or you’re looking tо bооk уоur Italian summer hоlidауѕ in аdvаnсе, Lаkе Gаrdа iѕ a dеѕtinаtiоn definitely wоrth соnѕidеring.

And now, you also have ideas on the best hotels in Lake Garda.

Hopefully, this post has helped you find the best places to stay in Lake Garda – the choices are endless, but the above-mentioned areas are my personal favorite tips for where to stay in Lake Garda. 

Safe Travels, Arzo

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