The largest and most famous of the lakes, Lake Garda is divided into three distinct regions – Lombardy, Trentino Alto-Adige and the Veneto. The eastern bank in Veneto is where you’ll find the olive groves and the namesake town of Garda. The northern shores of Trentino Alto-Adige are the place to come for watersports and nature hiking, and in Lombardy you’ll find one of the most talked-about towns, Sirmione, renowned for its thermal springs, Roman ruins, medieval narrow winding lanes and the fairytale 13th-Century castle of Rocca Scaligera.
The beautiful village of Gardone, which once welcomed Winston Churchill as a return visitor, is the ideal spot for a relaxing lakeside holiday. Lazy summer afternoons can be spent wandering along the charming promenade, marvelling at breathtaking scenery, visiting the vibrant Heller Botanic Gardens or exploring the village’s small historic centre.
The small town of Malcesine, located on the lake’s eastern shore, is pretty, atmospheric and charming, with a maze of medieval alleys. Here, you can climb the great towers of the castle and take the cable car to the summit of the Monte Baldo ridge, where the air is fresh and the views are far-reaching.
The pretty town of Bardolino is the perfect destination if you love Italian wine. It sits between Garda’s south-eastern lakefront and the region’s famous vineyards. Every autumn the town hosts a grape and wine festival to celebrate the year’s harvest, which features delectable cuisine served from food stalls, and classical and modern music concerts.
Where is Lake Garda?
In northern Italy between Brescia and Verona at the foot of the Alps, Lake Garda is the largest of the Italian Lakes, surrounded by mountains in the north and wider hills to the south. It covers the three provinces of Lombardy, Trentino Alto-Adige and the Veneto and has nearly 100 miles of shoreline.
Hiring a car is a fantastic way to get around Lake Garda but the best way to experience the lifestyle is to hop on board a ferry or boat and harbour hop while catching some rays. Boat timetables work around the clock taking you to hidden gems and major hotspots with ease.
Expect to find ateliers hidden down little side streets in cobblestoned towns, bustling open-air markets selling everything from fresh fruit to Italian leather shoes and gourmet shops perfect for buying picnic treats. Sirmione, Riva and Desenzano are filled with designer boutiques and there are plenty of artisanal stores selling award-winning olive oils and wines in the prettiest of bottles, the perfect gifts to take home.
Food & drink
Influenced by the three regions that cover Lake Garda, fresh local cuisine and wines take pride of place here. There’s catch-of-the-day fish straight from the lake, rare extra virgin olive oils from the hillside olive groves and mouth-watering citrus fruits found only in the Alto Garda area. Expect delicious Limoncino liqueur, lemon gelato and cream, Bardolino and Merlot wines and speciality salada meat. There’s fresh tortellini, mountain cheeses and of course the famous Italian doppio – double espresso – only for the brave.
GMT + 1 hour
2 hours to Verona, 90 minutes transfer