There are snow-capped mountains rising high above the shimmering water, gleaming sports cars zooming around hairpin bends and medieval towns brimming with elegant shops. It’s got luxury, natural beauty and charming history all rolled into one stunning destination. That means there’s something to do in Lake Garda for everyone.
Thinking of heading to this part of Italy on holiday? Dive into our pick of the top things to do in Lake Garda.
- Scaligero Castle and Sirmione
- Grotte di Catullo
- Monte Baldo
- Isola del Garda
- Old Ponale
- Villa Romana
- Giardino Botanico Fondazione André Heller
- Parco Archeologico Rocca di Manerba
1. Scaligero Castle and Sirmione
Jutting out into the water at its most southern tip, Sirmione steals the crown of Lake Garda’s most beautiful town. This pretty medieval resort has clung to its roots, with traces of history etched into its very being. Scaligero Castle being a prime example, guarding over the peninsula since the 13th century. You’ll have to pass through its thickset walls to reach Sirmione, but take the time to explore its vast interior. Walk the battlements and admire the showstopping views out across the harbour.
Love to get your adrenaline pumping? Spend a day riding the thrilling rollercoasters at Gardaland! Space Vertigo plunges you down a 40-metre drop, while Raptor whizzes you up and around dizzying peaks! There’s a 4D experience, Jungle Rapids and rides for little ones, too. If they love animals, take them into the aquarium, where they can get up close to 100 different species of marine life.
3. Grotte di Catullo
Hunt down another piece of Italy’s rich history at Grotte di Catullo. This archaeological site dates all the way back to the 1st century, showcasing the remains of a once-glorious Roman villa. Soaring stone arches, surrounded by lush olive groves, create quite the sight. You can enjoy knockout views of the lake from here, too.
4. Monte Baldo
All aboard the cable car to Monte Baldo! This Alpine mountain range can be hiked and biked around, but if you’re after an easy journey, head to Malcesine. It’s from here you can hop into one of the rotating cars and enjoy the 15-minute ride up to 1,760m. The panoramic views are nothing short of incredible from this vantage point, so don’t forget your camera!
5. Isola del Garda
Sail out to this little privately-owned patch of green heaven floating near the western edge of Lake Garda. Luscious gardens surround the Venetian neo-gothic-style villa in its centre, which you can see during a guided tour. Discover more about the history of the island as you roam the magnificent rooms, before heading out into the tranquil grounds. Bright pink roses, vivid bougainvillea and a variety of fruit trees create a striking scene.
Make a beeline for this quintessential Italian resort town on the southern banks of Lake Garda. Oozing charm, Pescheira dazzles with its warren of historic alleyways, colourful waterfront buildings and centuries-old fortress walls. Spend a dreamy afternoon wandering the cobbled streets and admiring the architecture with a cone of gelato in hand, tracing the lake that flows into a canal network here.
7. Old Ponale
Meander along this hiking path that hugs a cliffside around Lake Garda in spectacular fashion. This 9-km-long stretch offers incredible sweeping views across the lake and winds through a series of small tunnels as it snakes towards Ledro Valley. There are multiple beauty spots to enjoy along the way, including a pretty waterfall!
8. Villa Romana
Discover the remains of a Roman villa from the 1st century BC at Desenzano del Garda. Amble through this archaeological complex and marvel at the mosaic floors that have stood the test of time. Wooden walkways will lead you past the colourful collages depicting different scenes and you can also see objects from the villa up close.
9. Giardino Botanico Fondazione André Heller
Experience the magic of this lush botanical garden, a true nirvana for the green fingered. Exotic blooms tower above your head and line criss-crossing pathways, exuding heavenly scents. Spot species from all over the planet as you meander through, from New Zealand and Japan to Canada and Africa.
10. Parco Archeologico Rocca di Manerba
The showstopping natural beauty of Lake Garda continues at this lovely nature reserve. Walking trails wind through woodland and meadows, taking you past dinky pebble beaches and the ruins of a medieval castle. Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon leisurely moseying around this pretty lakeside patch.
Posted: 27th Jun 2019.