Lake Garda in northern Italy

Lake Garda - the largest lake in Italy

Lago di Garda, as it is known in Italian, is one of northern Italy's most popular tourist destinations. Tyroleans and Bavarians regard it as a home away from home only a few hours' drive to the south, while the advent of cheaper flights to the many nearby airports has increased the attraction of Italy's largest lake for those hailing from the north of Europe.

The villages and towns around the lakeshore have a different character, depending on where visitors decide to stay for their Lake Garda holiday.

The Scaliger fortress at Sirmione
The Scaliger fortress at Sirmione

In the south with the towns of Peschiera del Garda, Sirmione and Desenzano del Garda, Lago di Garda is at its widest, with a mainly flat landscape behind the shoreline with some interesting history and lovely wine-producing areas. The motorway which runs from Milan past Verona and on to Venice is very accessible and Peschiera del Garda and Desenzano del Garda are the only resorts which can be reached by Italian rail services.

The southern resorts are also great locations for those who want to take a day trip to nearby cities, such as Brescia, Milan or Verona. Sirmione and Desenzano, as well as much of the western shoreline up to Limone sul Garda, are part of the Lombardy region of Italy.

Sirmione, the jewel of the southern shore, is without doubt the most popular Lake Garda town, with visitors thronging to see the picturesque town centre on the Sirmione peninsula and to take the short walk to the ruins of a Roman villa past the more modern thermal baths. The Roman ruins also offer a fabulous lake view.

On the eastern shore, Bardolino and Garda are two of the most beautiful places to stay on the lake, whether visitors are looking for a campsite next to one of the olive groves or a luxury villa. Bardolino is famous for its wine festival in late summer and the area behind the two towns is full of farms with vineyards and groves producing the famous olive oil from the area.

Bardolino Wine Festival
Crowds at the Bardolino Wine Festival

This eastern side of the lake is part of the Veneto region of northern Italy, while the northern end of the lake belongs to the Trentino Alto Adige region.

Further north Garda starts to narrow and the settlements become more hilly as the mountains approach the lakeshore. The historic towns of Torri del Benaco and Malcesine, each with a medieval castle, are two of the popular destinations on the eastern shoreline. Malcesine has the added attraction of a day trip on the cable car up Monte Baldo.

The north is the playground of the fit and active, with windsurfers and kitesurfers thronging Torbole to take advantage of the daily breezes, while just to the north rock climbers scale the famous routes of Arco.

Riva del Garda, a little bit further around the northern end, is a larger town which is a little more sedate and offers a historic centre and museum.

Limone sul Garda is a favourite destination for day trips from the northern end of the lake, with its lemon groves and winding alleyways

This website - Lake Garda Italy - is the "mother ship" for a look at information relevant to the whole of the area.

Those who enjoy the more active style of break might want to see what is on offer in the way of sports or take a day trip to one of the attractions around the lake, while those who enjoy the simple pleasures in life can sample the local cuisine and wines:
MainlinkThings to do around Lake Garda
MainlinkWhat to eat and drink

Many visitors from the north of Europe and from other continents prefer to take package holidays to Lake Garda. Others, especially those living on mainland Europe, would rather make their own way via motorway or through one of the nearby airports such as Verona, Bergamo or Milan. Either way our travel-related pages have you covered:
MainlinkLake Garda Holiday
MainlinkHow to get to Lake Garda

And for bite-sized chunks of information to impress the family (or the teacher waiting for the essay in Geography!) we've put together some quick facts and figures:
MainlinkFacts about Lake Garda

Lastly, one of the main resorts on the lake is Garda Town itself, which also lives on this main site, while Torri del Benaco is a favourite resort just up the coast from Garda Town. More comprehensive information about the towns of Garda and Torri can be found through these sections of the site:
MainlinkGarda Town, Italy
MainlinkTorri del Benaco, Italy

If you want to discover more about other towns around the lake, they are listed above or under the Lake Garda Resorts link in the site navigation.

A view of Lake Garda
View over Lake Garda

We hope you find this website useful and look forward to hearing your comments about the site and the lake. We especially welcome any views about the area from those who have stayed there.
linkContact Lake Garda Italy

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