Lake Garda Italy

Best Day Trips from Lake Garda

Although Lake Garda is one of the loveliest spots in northern Italy, it is nice to get away from the lake for a day or two during a longer stay.

Here is a selection of some of Italy's most famous cities within easy reach for a day trip from Lake Garda, as well as a longer trip into the mountains and a couple of excursion options to smaller and quieter lakes nearby.


Verona is the closest major city to Lake Garda, which makes it easy to organise a day trip by bus, bus and train, or car.

Verona Italy
Day trip to Verona from Lake Garda

Main Attractions

  • the ancient Roman Arena, which still hosts concerts and events in the historic amphitheater, is one of the best-preserved structures of its kind.
  • one of the most popular attractions in Verona is Juliet's House, a site inspired by Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." Tourists flock to see the iconic balcony and leave love notes on the courtyard walls.
  • the Piazza delle Erbe, the ancient Roman forum, was rebuilt in the Middle Ages and transformed into a bustling market square surrounded by historic buildings and towers. It’s a perfect spot for shopping and dining or just people-watching.

Transport Options

  • frequent public buses run from the eastern Lake Garda towns like Garda, Bardolino and Lazise. Journey time is around an hour.
  • trains to Verona are available from the railway stations on the southern end of Lake Garda at Peschiera and Desenzano del Garda
  • those driving to Verona will find the junction of the A22 north-south motorway and the A4 east-west motorway just to the west of the city. Those who want to take the country route from Bardolino and Garda will find themselves travelling through the Valpolicella wine region.

Bus tours to Verona

Organised day trips to Verona can usually be arranged from the towns on the eastern and southern shores of Lake Garda. Look out as well for the trips to evening opera performances in the Roman amphitheatre - tickets are not cheap but it is an unforgettable experience.

👉 Book a bus trip to Verona

Best Lake Garda resorts for a daytrip

Garda, Bardolino, Peschiera and Desenzano


Venice, the historic city built on water, makes an excellent day trip from Lake Garda. Day trips are available either on public transport or by guided bus trips from Lake Garda resorts.

Venice Italy
Day trip to Venice from Lake Garda

Main Attractions

  • whether arriving in Venice is by train or car, any visitor will see that transport in the city is either on foot or on water. One of the best introductions to Venice is by taking a water bus ('vaporetto') either down the Grand Canal or via the Giudecca to St Mark's Square
  • St Mark's Square is home to the Basilica of St Mark and the Palace of the Doges, two of the main sights in the city
  • another is the spectacular Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal. Pass under it with a water bus or walk over it on the way back to the car park or train station.
  • there are literally hundreds of sights to visit in Venice. However, don't forget to get a little lost in the side alleys and quiet squares off the main tourist routes. Venice is well signposted and you will come across a sign which directs you to the square or the Rialto or the train station soon enough.

Transport Options

  • trains to Venice are available from the railway stations on the southern end of Lake Garda at Peschiera and Desenzano del Garda
  • those driving to Venice will need to head towards Verona and then take the A4 east-west motorway through to Venice. Parking is on a separate 'island' with its own water-bus stop.

Bus tours to Venice

Venice is a popular bus tour from Lake Garda as the city is so spectacular and the distance (around 150 kilometres from the town of Garda, for example) is relatively short. All of the major tourist towns on the lake have organised bus tours available to Venice.

👉 Book a bus trip to Venice

Best Lake Garda resorts for a daytrip to Venice

Garda, Bardolino, Peschiera and Desenzano

Other Cities near Lake Garda


Mantua is one of northern Italy's most attractive Renaissance cities. The city is claimed to be the most 'livable' in Italy and is surrounded by three artificial lakes created in the 12th century.

The historic centre is listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage and includes palaces and churches from the 15th and 16th centuries.

Mantua is located around an hour's drive south of Peschiera. Public transport from there is available by train (via Verona) or bus, but a car would be the best option to explore the scenic Mincio valley on the way to Mantua.

Mantua Italy
Day trip to Mantua from Lake Garda


Under 20 minutes and five Euros from Desenzano del Garda on the train, the city of Brescia is well worth taking a day to explore. It is an ancient city located to the west of the southern Lake Garda towns and is another of northern Italy's sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The listing is includes buildings from the Lombard era of power in the sixth to the eighth century and the Roman theatre and temples remains in the city centre.

The city's Piazza della Loggia from the later Renaissance era is a must-visit. The square is home to the Loggia Palace and a historic clock tower. Nearby, the Santa Giulia Museum offers a deep dive into Brescia's past, with displays from the Roman and medieval eras.

Brescia Italy
Day trip to Brescia from Lake Garda


Bergamo is divided into two distinct parts: Città Alta (Upper Town) and Città Bassa (Lower Town). Città Alta, the medieval heart of the city, is surrounded by Venetian walls and offers stunning views over the foothills of the Alps. Sights include the Piazza Vecchia, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Colleoni Chapel.

Città Bassa has a more modern atmosphere, with shops, restaurants, and cultural venues. It serves as the commercial and administrative center of Bergamo.

Transportation from the south of Lake Garda to Bergamo is convenient, with various options including trains and buses. The journey typically takes around an hour and a half, while those in a car can reckon on an hour for the day trip.

Bergamo Italy
Day trip to Bergamo from Lake Garda


Visiting the Dolomites from Lake Garda makes for a long day, but the amazing mountain scenery is well worth the trip if you have never visited the area before.

Whether travelling by car or by bus tour, the main route up to the Dolomites is on the motorway north to Bolzano before heading into the mountains on one of several circuits that can be made over the mountain passes.

Dolomites Italy
Day trip to the Dolomites from Lake Garda

Highlights include the Marmolada mountain and the Sella massif, as well as the passes themselves and the small mountain towns (many of them ski resorts in the winter months).

Note that the drive or bus tour will involve an early start and (probably) around 12 hours there and back.

👉 Book a bus trip to the Dolomites from Lake Garda

Lago d'Idro

Lagi d'Idro (Lake Idro) can be reached from Riva del Garda at the northern end of the lake or from Salò on the west shore of Lake Garda. It is around 45 kilometres from either town.

The tranquil lake makes a difference from the hustle and bustle of the lakeshore resorts around Lake Garda and it is a popular destination for outdoor activities.

Lake Idro Italy
Lake Idro near Lake Garda

Public bus services are available to the lake, but they are long and slow. The best option for those looking to visit the lake is to hire a car, if one is not already at hand.

Lago di Ledro

Lago di Ledro (Lake Ledro) is the smallest and highest of the lakes to the west of Lake Garda. It is situated around 15 kilometres away from the town of Riva del Garda at the northern end of the lake.

Lake Ledro Italy
Lake Ledro near Lake Garda

Those looking to visit the lake can take a public bus, around 40 minutes and leaving from Riva bus station, or can drive up to the lake, which will take around 20 minutes.

The area is popular for hiking and biking and the lake also offers four beaches around the shore.