There is a lake in Italy, which has crystal clear water, palm trees on the water's edge, and snowy peaks. The word-famous Lake Garda offers a breathtaking view that it is almost unique in the whole world. Due to it's mediterranean and alpine vibe, it combines active and passive relaxation in a unique way.

You can take part in the cultural events of the small Italian cities that surround the lake. And if you prefer to relax in nature, the area is full of hiking, biking, surfing, and boating experiences. Thanks to the vineyards, olive groves and the associated pleasant mountain air, the trip will remain an eternal memory.

Overview

Cities of Lake Garda Known for Attractions and things to do
Sirmione Peninsula on the lake Scaligero Fortress, Grotte di Catullo ruins
Peschiera del Garda Waterpark hub Gardaland Amusement Park, Caneva Aquapark, Moviland Studios, swimming
Lazise Vibrant, colorful buildings Spiagga D'Oro beach
Bardolino Wine region with festivals Santurio Madonna della Corona,
Malcesine Venetian style medieval city Monte Baldo, Scaligero Castle, Palazzo dei Capitani
Torbole Surfing and boating centre Sarca river, swimming
Riva del Garda Capital of the lake, hiking hub Clock Tower, Bastione fortress, waterfalls
Limone Lemon flavoured local specialities Romantic streets
Salo Longest coastal promenade Swimming

Northern Italy is a very popular destination, as it can be reached from many European countries on the highway (Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, France, Germany, etc.).

Map - Where is Lake Garda?

The lake is located in the north of Italy. The special feature of the lake is that it belongs to three provinces. Residents of the Veneto, Lombardy and Trentino counties can enjoy the picturesque lake's features. You will find the huge Italian lake almost halfway between Venice and Milan. The closest major city is Verona.

  • Distance from Verona: 30 mins / 40 km
  • Distance from Milan: 2 hours / 140 km
  • Distance from Bolzano: 2 hours / 150 km
  • Distance from Venice: 3 hours / 240 km
  • Distance from Rome: 6.5 hours / 560 km
Lake Garda map - Venice distance
The lake is south of the Alps, so its climate and vegetation are Mediterranean and alpine.

Accommodation

You can stay anywhere around the lake. The prices are roughly the same, but if you book well in advance, you can save even 10 - 20% on the prices.

How many days should you go?

If you have the opportunity, you can go around the lake and visit most of the sights in a 4-day trip. If you have a week, then in the remaining 3 days you can have a well-deserved rest and spend more time at the beach or the surrounding mountains! We can assure you there will be no shortage of experiences and sights!

Do you like lakes? Read more: Lakes in Italy 

Lake Garda Itinerary

We tried to fill this itinerary with different types of attractions. Do you prefer sightseeing in medical towns or surfing and swimming in a buzzing city? Or would you climb Monte Baldo or take an easy hike to some local waterfalls? You will find everything you dreamed of, from winetasting to amusement parks.

In this itinerary, we start the journey at the southern tip of the lake, then go to the eastern direction and travel around from this direction.

Lake Garda Itinerary - roundtrip around the lake 
The net driving duration is only 5-6 hours. The distances between the cities and attractions are insignificant.

Itinerary Cities, things to do
Day 1 Sirmione, Peschiera del Garda
Day 2 Lazise, Bardolino
Day 3 Malcesine, Monte Baldo
Day 4 Torbole, Riva del Garda
Extra day Limone and Saló

Attractions and cities

Tip: There are two nature parks nearby, which are not included in our post.

One is the Regionale della Lessinia on the east, while the other is Parco dell'Alto Garda Bresciano on the west. If you prefer nature, you might want to extend your time and discover them.

#1 Sirmione

To the south, Sirmione, a small medieval town, is one of the most popular resorts in the area, as the town is located on a peninsula. It is worth taking a few hours' walks through the narrow, crowded streets of the city centre and visiting the Scaligero Fortress (a beautifully preserved medieval castle).

Lake Garda attractions - City of Sirmione

After the castle, you can walk a few minutes to the excavated remains of an old Roman villa, the ruins of the Grotte di Catullo. Making the day even more exciting, you can use a small train between the two stations.

If you want to cool off, Jamaica beach on the top of the island is an excellent place. The rocky and pebble beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches on the lake.

Also worth mentioning is Laguna beach in the eastern part of the city. Several restaurants, cafeterias, playgrounds, grassy areas and sports facilities exist. And if you want high-quality relaxation, the Aquaria Thermal Spa is waiting for you with plenty of thermal baths, whirlpools, pools and saunas.

Attractions of Sirmione Prices Summer opening hours
Scaligero Frotress 4-6 euros Mon-Sat 8:30 - 19:30, Sunday 8:30 - 13:30
Train 1-2 euros -
Jamaica és Laguna beaches Free 0-24

#2 Peschiera del Garda

After Sirmione, we were heading east. The next stop is Peschiera del Garda, which is 20 minutes away. It is worth visiting the city fortress and drinking coffee on the small islands at the mouth of the Mincio river. From here, you can admire the medieval buildings reflected in the lake.

Peschiera del Garda

Gardaland Amusement Park, Italy's largest adventure and amusement park, is located approximately 10 minutes drive from the city. There are 7 exciting roller coasters in the park and a huge aquarium. The whole family can enjoy themselves in the park, as there are interesting and exciting games for all ages.

It is only possible to visit the park at a pre-selected time with a ticket purchased online.

And if that wasn't enough, you can splash from a height of 40 meters in the lesser-known Caneva Aquapark or watch movie scenes and stuntmen in live action in the Movieland Studios.

Peschiera del Garda attractions Prices Summer opening hours
Gardaland 35-30 euros Every day, 10:00 - 18:00
Caneva aquapark 30-22 euros Every day, 10:00 - 19:00
Movieland 28-22 euros Every day, 10:00 - 19:00
  • Movieland's address: Via Fossalta, 58, 37017 Lazise VR, Italy
  • Address of Caneva Aquapark: Via Fossalta, 58, 37017 Fossalta VR, Italy

#3 Lazise

Driving along the lake's eastern shore, it is also worth stopping in the town of Lazise. The medieval city wall has been preserved in the city, so the centre can only be accessed through the three gates. The colourful and cozy buildings of the port can be found in the southern part of the city. The city of Lazise is a truly vibrant Mediterranean gem where life is always bubbling.

Lazise, ​​Lake Garda

One of the most beautiful beaches in the area is located at the Spiagga D'Oro Campsite. On the sandy beach, uniquely shaped trees provide useful shade. The atmosphere reminiscent of the beach promises real relaxation for families and couples.

#4 Bardolino

Driving further from Lazise, ​​the next small town worth stopping at is Bardolino. Unlike other crowded small towns, the small fisherman's village is quiet and peaceful. The area is known for its excellent vineyards and red wine. Bardolino and Lazise are only 15 minutes away (by car).

Bardolino

Bardolino Wine Festival

The most famous wine festival in the area, the Bardolino Wine Festive, is held every autumn. In 2019, the celebration occured between October 3-7, and last year between October 1-5.

Santurio Madonna della Corona

You can find another wonder within a short distance from the towns of Lazise and Bardolino. The St Madonna church built into the rock face is only 30 minutes from the two settlements.

Lake Garda - Church of Madonna della Corona

The Santurio Madonna della Corona has graced the side of the mountain since 1625. The church also has a website so that you can find out about the current opening hours online.

  • Address: Vicolo Santuario, 1, 37020 Ferrara di Monte Baldo VR, Italy
  • Distance from the city of Lazise: 30 minutes / 27 km

#5 Malcesine

About an hour from Lazise is the town of Malcesine, which has also preserved many buildings from the Middle Ages. The city belonged to Venetian rule for a while so that you can find something reminiscent of Venice on almost every corner.

Malcesine, Lake Garda

On the shore of the lake, you will find the Scaligero Castle, built in the 13th century, and the Palazzo dei Capitani is a few minutes walks away. In addition, from Malcesine, you can reach the 2,218-meter-high peak of Monte Baldo.

Malcesine attractions Prices Summer opening hours
Cablecar 22-10 euro Every day, 8:00 - 18:30
Scaligero 6-3 euros Every day, 9:00 - 19:00
Palazzo dei Capitani Free Every day, 7:30 - 20:00
  • Address of the Scaligero Castle: Via Castello, 37018 Malcesine VR, Italy
  • Address of Palazzo dei Capitani: Via Capitanato, 4, 37018 Malcesine VR, Italy

#6 Monte Baldo (2218 m)

One of the most popular attractions of the lake, the Monte Baldo cable car, starts from the town of Malcesine, which takes you to a height of 1,750 meters. You will have a fantastic view from the small glass cabines rotating around its axis. The ascent takes about 20 minutes.

Monte Baldo mountain
Monte Baldo, Lake Garda

After the cable car, you can reach the top on foot with a short hike. After reaching the summit, you can refresh yourself in cafes and restaurants on the top.

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Tip: Monte Baldo is not only a perfect hiking spot but also an ideal terrain for bike tours and paragliding.

MTB tours and e-Bike rental

You can easily find MTB tours, where a local tour guide will help you find your way around. Several companies also offer electric bicycles for rent. From easy to difficult, you will find MTB trails at all levels.

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Tip: Take the cable car to the top of Monte Baldo and then downhill from there. 

Paragliding

Trying out a more daring program? Look at the fabulous blue water from a bird's eye view? During the approximately 20-minute flight, you will land with a paraglider from the top of the mountain to the shore of the lake - of course, all with a local, professional guide.

#7 Torbole

Going north on the eastern side of the lake, leaving the Riserva Naturale Integrale Gardesana Orientale National Park, you can reach the next stop, the town of Torbole, in 40 minutes. Located at the northeastern tip of the lake, Torbole is internationally renowned as an excellent surfing centre.

Torbole

Thanks to the the Sarca River and the wind blowing down the side of Monte Bondone, the water near the town has excellent waves. Even if you are not a fan of surfing, you should visit the shore of the lake, and the beaches. The sandy shore of Torbole offers one of the most beautiful views of the lake.

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If you want something more comfortable than surfing but more exciting than sunbathing, we recommend motor boating and sailing.

#8 Riva del Garda

Leaving the fantastic shores of Torbole, the next stop is Riva del Garda, considered the capital of the lake. The city is located in a wonderful natural setting, as the Monte Brione mountain range extends almost to the lake.

Riva del Garda
Capitol of Lake Garda - Riva del Garda

The area is full of incredible hiking trails, and you also have the opportunity to climb mountains, and as a water sports lover, the possibilities are almost endless!

Find several view points in and around the city. Examples include the Torre Apponale, a 34-meter-high 13th-century Clock Tower, or the Bastione fortress, located half an hour's walk from the city.

On Ponale road, you can reach the Panola waterfall in 2 hours. The Varone waterfall is a little further from the city, approximately 3 km away. The hiking route is well signposted, and you will enjoy a fantastic view during the walk, as the region has a special climate due to the waterfalls. While admiring the flora, you won't even notice the 115 steps leading to the waterfall's last cave.

  • You must buy an entrance ticket for the waterfall, which costs 5 euros.
  • Riva del Garda is less than 10 minutes by car from Torbole.

#9 Limone and Saló

Driving along the lake's western shore, it is worth stopping first in Limone sul Garda, which you can reach by passing through numerous tunnels and steep rock walls. From the city of Limone, you can even sail to the other side, but if you only want to stop for a few hours, you might prefer exploring the small streets around the port.

Limone, Lake Garda
The city of Limone

In the city with a romantic atmosphere, you can taste real lemon-flavoured local specialties. Buying souvenirs or the family will not be a problem here.

Saló

If you continue south after the short walk, you will arrive in Saló - a little more than 1 hour by car. It is the last stop on our trip around the lake. The city is notable for having the longest coastal promenade among the cities belonging to the lake.

Diving

If it turns out that you would like to try diving or scuba diving, you can do all this in the lake as well. You can find a guide in Italian here and in English here.

Getting there by plane

The lake is 130 km from Milan - where you can find the closest airport. Some arrive to Venice, spend a couple of days there, then head to the lake. Whichever you choose, the easiest way to get around the lake is by renting a car.

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It's good to know that there is public transport between the cities of the lake. You can use the local bus network around Lake Garda.

The area is full of excursions, hiking and leisure activities. Lake Garda turns into a beach paradise in the summer, but it's also a fantastic sight in the winter, when you can even go skiing.

We hope you found the summary useful. If so, save this link for later or share it with your friends. Have a nice trip! Trekhunt team ❤️