Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and offers crystal clear waters, fantastic scenery, and cozy towns. Around the lake are several nice beaches, villages, and towns with various attractions and activities for tourists.
Lago di Garda is a destination most travelers like. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for dining experiences, nice beaches, hiking or biking – Lake Garda offers something for everyone!
Here are my best tips of things to do in Lake Garda and recommendations of hotels, restaurants, day trips and much more:
Table of Contents
Things to do in Lake Garda
Explore the medieval castles
Around Lake Garda there are several beautiful medieval castles to explore. The most famous castle is located in Sirmione and is considered to have of the most impressive moats in Europe.
Malcesine is another beautiful castle known in the region. Other castles worth checking out include Castello di Polpenazze, Rocca di Lonato, Castello di Torri del Benaco, and Castello di Lazise.
Explore by bike
The area around the lake is perfect for those who enjoy getting around by bike.
Here, there are plenty of good roads for cyclists that varies from challenging mountain roads to flat roads where you can bike around in a slow pace. There are roads for all types of cyclists around Lake Garda.
Exploring the areas around the lake by bicycle is perfect for those who want to see the landscape, villages, historical sites, and visit charming little restaurants.
Go on a day trip to Isola Del Garda
Isola Del Garda is a beautiful little island filled with interesting history about both royalties, emperors, and famous poets like St. Francis of Assisi, Benito Mussolini, and Dante Alighieri.
Today you can visit Isola Del Garda by boat and go on a guided tour. The guided tours are available from April to October every year.
Spend a day at the beach
The water in Lake Garda is clean, clear, and refreshing if you want to cool down a hot summer day.
Around the lake there are various beaches where each has its own unique vibe. Some beaches are calm, while others offers a more lively atmosphere with both restaurants, bars, and water sports.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet natural beach or a comfortable beach with sun beds and umbrellas, you will find it around the lake.
Visit a manufacturer of olive oil
Due to the mild climate, olive oil has been produced since Roman times in the region. In fact, the area around Lake Garda produces some of the best and tastiest olive oils in the world.
The best quality oil receives a DOP certificate, which requires the entire process to have taken place in the local area – from growing the olives to putting the label on the bottle. The olive oil also must have met some strict criteria when it comes to taste, smell, color, and acidity.
When you’re around Lake Garda, make sure to visit one of the manufacturers to see how the olive oil is produced and also to taste the delicious olive oils.
If you love olive oil as much as I do, you must add this activity to your bucket list of things to do at Lake Garda.
Hike up to Rock of Manerba
This is a perfect day trip where you wander through beautiful nature and get rewarded with a beautiful view of the lake.
Located in La Rocca Natural Park, Rock of Manerba offers one of the best views of Lake Garda, the mountains, and the beautiful scenery of the region.
In the park you will also find a tourist center where you can learn more about the region’s history and other hiking trails in the area.
Visit a vineyard
Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply just like wine, you must visit a local winery when you’re in the area around Lake Garda. Three of Italy’s twenty wine regions border to Lake Garda where they produce delicious Italian wine.
A large amount of wine is produced here – both white, red, and rosé wines.
When you’re in the region you can visit a winery for some wine tasting. It’s a wonderful day trip where you can stroll around among the vines, sip on delicious wine, and eat local delicacies. An afternoon at Lake Garda cannot get better than this!
Enjoy the sunset and a delicious Aperitivo
One of the best things to do in Lake Garda is to sit down at a restaurant or bar along the waterfront and order an Aperitivo.
The most popular version is Aperitivio Pirlo made with Aperol or Campari with ice, prosecco, carbonated water, and an orange slice on top. It’s also known as Aperol Spritz.
It doesn’t matter where you are around the lake or what time of day it is, you will always see people sitting at restaurants and bars with an aperitivo in their hands.
Eat a traditional dinner at an Agriturismo
An agriturismo is an Italian farm that offers both accommodation and food at great prices.
It’s a wonderful experience to stay at an agriturismo where you can eat homemade Italian food and live in a traditional house together with an Italian family.
When you drive along the roads around Lake Garda and see a sign that says “agriturismo”, make sure to stop and see what they offer.
View this post on Instagram
Beautiful villages to visit at Lake Garda
Around Lake Garda there are several beautiful villages and small towns that you can visit. Some that I can recommend visiting are:
- Riva del Garda
- Limone sul Garda
- Desenzano del Garda
- Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda is a perfect destination for those who like to stay active while traveling. There are plenty of bike paths and hiking trails that take you to various villages and beautiful places in the area.
If you visit during the summer, swimming is one of the most popular activities at Lake Garda, as well as various boat trips and water sports.
- Wine tasting
- Water sports
- Boat trips
- People watching
- Sunbathing & swimming
More information about Lake Garda
Lake Garda, also known as Lago di Garda in Italian, is Italy’s largest lake. Lago di Garda is not only the largest but also one of the most beautiful lakes in the country.
Over the years, Lake Garda has become a popular destination in Europe. It’s known for its beautiful scenery, cozy towns, delicious food and wines.
This is a perfect destination for anyone who are looking for a relaxed or adventurous vacation in Italy.
Something I love about this place is all the lovely towns and villages. They’re all filled with beautiful architecture and nice cafes where you can sit down and drink a delicious cup of Italian coffee.
Lake Garda is a place for everyone, regardless of budget, age, and interest.
Facts about Lake Garda
- Area: 370 km²
- Length: 51,9 km
- Width: 16,7 km
- Average depth: 136 m
- Maximum depth: 346 m
- Volume: 50 350 000 000 m³
Travel to Lake Garda
There are different options for you who want to travel to Lake Garda. You can either hop on a flight, drive there yourself, or take the train through Europe to reach Lake Garda in Italy.
Down below you can read more about the options you have:
If you want to travel to Lake Garda by air then you have to get to Bergamo, which is the nearest airport. It is located 11 km from the lake and from this airport there are both trains and buses that will take you to the various tourist resorts around the lake.
If you do not find any flights to Bergamo, you can also travel to Milan, Bologna, or Venice. From these cities you can take buses and trains to Lake Garda, although it might include some transfers.
If you want to travel by air to Lake Garda then I recommend that you rent a car at the airport, since it’s always good to have one while exploring the area around the lake.
If you’re traveling from a nearby city or even country, it’s easy to drive there on your own. There are good roads through Europe that will take you to Lago di Garda in Italy.
Road trips are so much fun and also give you the possibilities to stop at various places along the way.
It’s also possible to reach the lake by train from nearby countries and cities in Italy. This might require you to change trains a few times, but it a great option if you would like to see more places along the way to Lake Garda.
How to get around
There are different options to get around Lake Garda. There are both buses and boats that you can use as public transport, but you can also hike, bike, or rent a car.
If you want to see as much as possible during your stay, I can recommend renting a car. It’s quite cheap and costs around 30 euro per day + gasoline.
The roads around the lake are good. Just note that some roads can be narrow and sometimes parking lots can be hard to find – especially during high season.
Which town should I stay in?
This is something that depends on what you want to do and see during your stay at Lake Garda, as well as whether you have a rental car or not.
If you have a rental car, it doesn’t really matter where you stay if you’re planning to drive around and explore a lot. Then you just need to choose a town where you find a nice hotel at a good price.
Riva del Garda is the town with the biggest selection of hotels, restaurants, and car rental places. Therefore it’s a place most tourists choose to have as a base when exploring Lake Garda.
Best time to visit Lake Garda
If you want warm and nice weather then it’s best to travel to Lake Garda between May and October. The highest temperatures you’ll have in July and August (around 28 degrees Celsius), which is also the months most tourists visit.
January is the coldest month where the temperatures can drop down to 8 degrees Celsius.
If you want warm weather and visit when it’s a little bit less tourists, I recommend visiting during late spring / early summer or in October.
- Bruschetteria Nose (Rivoltella)
- Il Re della Busa (Riva del Garda)
- Ristorante Al Cardellino (Bardolino)
- Marco e Daniela Time (Peschiera del Garda)
- Ristorante Esplanade (Desenzano)
Map of Lake Garda
Below you have a map of the lake where you can see some of the most popular towns like Riva del Garda, Sirmione, Limone Sul Garda, and Malcesine.
When traveling around the lake and visiting the various attractions it can be a good idea to use Google Maps to get directions.
Do you have more questions about Lake Garda? Leave a comment below!