BEST PLACES TO STAY IN LAKE GARDA – GREAT HOTELS FOR ALL BUDGETS
If you are planning a trip to Lake Garda, you have already made a great decision. Lake Garda is a great travel destination. 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 thе lаrgеѕt lake in Italy – and 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.
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 dotted with several charming hаrbоr tоwnѕ.
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Things to Consider About Places to Stay 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 at Lake Garda.
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 Italy – with activities, towns, and villages for everyone’s taste. Whether you are a family (younger kids, older kids, or no kids at all), a couple, friends, or a solo traveler, Lake Garda makes for a great Italian holiday.
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.
As mentioned above, Lake Garda is camping-friendly. You will also find luxury hotels, very family-friendly hotels, and more. Not only the hotel category is important when choosing your Lake Garda accommodations – it is also crucial to pick the best location for your stay.
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 great in and around Lake Garda. You cannot rely on public transportation if you want to visit many towns along the lake. Buses do not bring you everywhere, they do not necessarily run often, and also it takes a lot of time get from a to b.
- Driving can be nerve-wracking (to some people). The mountain roads are very narrow and Italians tend to drive…let´s say a bit crazy. 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 2€ – 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 highways (about 8 to 9 € for 100 km).
While I still love Lake Garda, you should keep distances in mind when booking your Lake Garda hotel.
Tax For Staying Overnight Around Lake Garda
- Each area charges an extra tourist 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.
- If you book a hotel, it normally does not show on the price offer.
- You normally pay at it the reception once you check in/check out.
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. If you stay on the southern shores, it is quicker for you to get to cities like Verona and Venice.
- The north and northeast areas are better places to stay in Lake Garda for water sports lovers. From here you have better day trip options to the Dolomites.
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
- If you stay in Lake Garda for more than 4 days, I suggest splitting your trip. Choose two different locations for your trip. Stay a few days on the southern shore before you move up north (or the other way around).
- 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.
Best Towns to Stay in Lake Garda
We will talk about these 5 places for your stay at Lake Garda.
- RIVA DEL GARDA
- DESENZANO DEL GARDA
- LIMONE SUL GARDA
Top Areas and Hotels to Stay in Lake Garda
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.
If staying in Sirmione, you have some of the best-known sights in Lake Garda around the corner. The resort town is known for its thermal baths and Rocca Scaligera, a medieval castle overlooking the lake. This makes it one of the most popular tourist attractions and it is definitely worth a visit.
With its winding little alleys and beautiful houses, the old town makes it a perfect place to stay in Lake Garda. There are also small public beaches although 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 or longer boat rides from Sirmione, so you can leave your car and get to see more of the area.
Sirmione is also great if you want to stay in a busy tourist hotspot, close to Gardaland or Verona (even Venice as a day trip would be possible).
However, Sirmione is also one of the busiest places. 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.
- Camping – Camping Tiglio is a great place for lakeside camping, offering clean facilities and nice amenities.
RIVA DEL GARDA
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.
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. It is also a popular place for watersports lovers – like kite surfing, windsurfing, or canoeing.
From Riva del Garda, you can “easily” get to places like Sirmione, Malcesine, and Limone by boat (or car) – 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” life easily.
It is close to Nago-Torbole, Limone, Malcesine, and Mount Baldo, as well as places like Trento and the Dolomites.
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
Desenzano del Garda is a resort town on the southern shore of Lake Garda. The town is the biggest at Lake Garda – so, there are quite some attractions and places to visit.
There is a lovely water promenade, and many shops and stores. The little harbor, with its colorful buildings, makes it also pretty picturesque.
The vibrant Piazza Matteotti and Piazza Malvezzi are some of the best places to see, but there are also 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 southern 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
- Luxury – Park 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. The old town and the harbor make it a lovely place for people who enjoy relaxing and strolling, too. From here, you can also quite easily reach Limone and Riva del Garda by boat.
Malcesine, though smaller than some of the other towns mentioned here, is actually a great choice 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. It was absolutely stunning and romantic. So, if you are in the mood to get married…then Malcesine is definitely the best place to stay.
Malcesine is perfect for Northern Italy trips, being so close to Riva del Garda, Trento, and Rovereto. Check out my detailed Malcesine post.
Accommodation in Malcesine
- Luxury – La Loggia del Capitano is a great luxury option, with spacious apartments and terraces with great views.
- Mid-Range – Comfortable 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-friendly – Garda Family House is not located directly in Malcesine but offers continental breakfast at a budget-friendly price, just outside of Malcesine proper.
LIMONE SUL GARDA
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 adored Limone.
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 times than the early mornings or later evenings, and if you stay somewhere else, it might not be possible. 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.
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-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, a pool, and friendly staff.
- Click here for the best places to visit in Lake Garda
- The perfect 10-day itinerary for Northern Italy
CONCLUSION: WHERE TO STAY IN LAKE GARDA
Sо, whеthеr you’re looking for a rеlаxing winter brеаk complete with luxurious surroundings and plenty оf thingѕ tо ѕее and dо, or you’re looking tо bооk уоur Italian summer hоlidауѕ in аdvаnсе, Lаkе Gаrdа iѕ a dеѕtinаtiоn definitely wоrth visiting. 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.