Heading for the Italian Alps and its prestigious lakes for the holidays? Discover the best places stay in and around Lake Garda!
Nestled between the Italian Alps and the Padan Plain, on the invisible border between Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto, and Lombardy, Lake Garda is the largest of the Italian lakes. Formed by glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age, it has an area of 369.98 km². It is 51.6 km long and 17.2 km wide and has a maximum depth of 346 meters. A significant international tourist destination, Lake Garda enjoys a mild climate, offering an ideal setting for olive and lemon cultivation. The whole area around the lake is dotted with small picturesque villages with beaches and small marinas, as well as age-old edifices, Roman remains, castles and monasteries, museums, parks, and nature reserves. Boasting a rich history and culture, the area around Lake Garda is also bound to seduce all nature and mountain lovers.
A dozen villages and towns are scattered around Lake Garda, sometimes on the hillside. Read our selection of the best places to stay around Lake Garda.
Riva del Garda
Riva del Garda, known as “the pearl of Lake Garda” at the foot of the Dolomites, is a municipality of 16,170 inhabitants at the northern end of the lake. Bordered all year round by crystal clear waters, Riva del Garda is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, especially windsurfing and sailing. Home to a picturesque old town, Riva del Garda has been an important strategic and economic center in the region since ancient times. If you choose to stay in Riva del Garda, don’t miss the 12th-century fortress of Rocca des Scaliger and the Torre Apponale.
Malcesine, a town of 3,500 inhabitants located on the east coast of the lake, and at the foot of Mount Baldo – peaking at an altitude of 2218 meters – is mainly visited for its architecture, its castle and the sporting activities it offers, particularly hiking. You can hike up the slopes of Mount Baldo from Malcesine, take a walk along the lake, and stroll around the port. The old town is a pleasant place to stay at Lake Garda. Scaligero Castle, a fortress dating back to the 13th century, houses a natural history museum and a museum dedicated to Goethe.
Limone Sul Garda
Perched to the northwest of the lake, Limone sul Garda is, as its name suggests, famous for its lemons. Olive oil is also produced there, which may explain why some of its inhabitants have incredible longevity, exceeding 100 years of age! Limone sul Garda is a typical picturesque village that has retained its identity as a fishing village, especially around the marina.
A famous village visited by thousands of tourists every year, Salò is located in the south-western part of the lake. The town is crisscrossed by a maze of narrow streets and small public squares. The old town is like a ball of wool, where everything is entangled. Salò has many cafés, bars, and restaurants, as well as local ice cream parlors where you can delight your taste buds with a famous Italian “gelato” (ice cream). Salò is also a departure point for beautiful boat trips across the lake.
Located on the southern shores of Lake Garda, the village of Sirmione is famous for its historic center, its narrow streets, but also its thermal springs and the Grottoes of Catullus (Grotte di Catullo), the most striking example of a Roman private edifice discovered in northern Italy. At the entrance of the village, you can’t miss the Scaligero Castle (13th century), a rare example of medieval port fortification. In the city center, a peninsula rises on the lake for the pleasure of the eyes. Sirmione is a great place to stay around Lake Garda if you’re keen to discover the southern part of the lake or if you are on your way to Venice, Verona, Brescia, or Milan.
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