Lake Garda is often regarded as one of the jewels in Italy’s dazzling crown of wonderful places to visit and along with the country’s stunning coastline and iconic cities, is certainly one of the most popular destinations amongst UK holidaymakers.
One of our most popular holiday destinations, we take a look at some of the best towns in Lake Garda to visit.
Updated – August 2019!
Found on the Verona side of the lake, Bardolino is one of the most popular visitor attractions on the lake.
A former fishing village, the town of Bardolino is most often connected to the region’s most famous export, wine.
Here, visitors can undertake a wine trail, known as the Bardolino Wine Trail.
When visiting Bardolino, it is recommended that you take in the great selection of churches found within the town’s limits.
These include the Church of St. Severus and the Church of San Zeno. Both provide visitors with nice examples of Romanesque and Carolingian architecture.
Profiting from the extremely favourable climate, the area around Bardolino is full of Mediterranean produce, cultivated expertly by local farmers.
Take the opportunity to sample some of this fantastic local produce at one of the many local restaurants available.
After your meal, work off some of those newly acquired calories. The popular tourist trail, Pista Ciclo Pedonale Lazise, is a great trail that takes you along the water’s edge.
Tours are also available locally that also allow a look behind the scenes of some of the region’s most famous winery’s.
In the hills surrounding the Bardolino, there are countless vineyards.
Be sure to visit Guerrieri Rizzardi and Cantina Zeni e Museo del Vino.
Both offer a great opportunity to learn more about some of the best wine produced around the world.
2. Limone sul Garda
Limone, famous for its lemon production, is a fantastic historic town set on the shore of Lake Garda.
One of the most popular resorts, Limone lies in the North East. Situated between Riva del Garda and Gargano, Limone is a busy tourist attraction during the peak Summer season.
Pro Tip – You can skirt any crowds by returning to the main high street, slightly higher above the busier shoreline.
A perfect base for your holiday, Limone allows convenient access to other nearby resorts.
When visiting Limone, be sure to visit the famous Old Port harbour.
The centrepiece of the town, both locals and visitors to the town tend to flock to the port. Here, local fisherman go about their business.
Boat trips across the lake can be taken up.
Almost postcard-perfect, the harbour is lined by colourful, terraced houses that have winding narrow alleyways between them.
Around the town, there are some wonderfully ornate old houses and pathways that feature some great decorative tile decorations.
First introduced in the 14th century by monks, Limone’s lemon production was famed throughout the world before being permanently damaged by rivalling groves located in the warmer, southern part of the country.
Visitors can learn more about the town’s relationship with the lemon by visiting the Limonaia del Castèl.
Here, historic buildings used to protect lemon trees from the harsh winters can be observed.
Fan of watersports? Limone is the resort for you. Sailing and windsurfing are some of the most popular water-based activities available.
Regular ferries connect Limone to the rest of the lake’s famous resorts.
A great hiking trail is the Ponale Trail.
Taking you along the old Ponale Road, a road high above the shore that connects the Lake Garda area and Ledro Valley, the trail features some great tunnels, wonderful scenery, and takes you past some historic military buildings.
A smaller resort town, Malcesine is a popular tourist attraction.
Formerly a part of the Kingdom of Lombardy and Venetia before the unification of Italy, Malcesine is a culturally rich stop on any tour of Lake Garda.
Characterised by fantastic medieval lanes and lovely restaurants and cafés, Malcesine is a great place to relax.
Enjoy some of local food and treats (ice cream anyone?) and take in the sights both at the shoreline and higher up on Monte Baldo Mountain Range.
With a history dating back to 500 B.C, the town is overlooked by the stunning Monte Baldo mountain range (accessible by cable car).
The cable car journey takes you up some 1600 metres. Remember that you will need to eventually come back down!
This journey provides the perfect vantage point that, bar the local bird population and someone with access to a drone, can only be truly experienced on the cable car ride.
Pro Tip – A journey on a hot day up the cable car will give you a breather from the Italian sun, letting you enjoy the cooling gentle breeze the mountainside provides.
Just a relatively short boat ride away lies the stunning resort of Riva del Garda.
4. Riva del Garda
With a nickname like ‘Pearl of the Lake’ visitors arrive to Riva del Garda with high expectations. Rarely do they leave disappointed.
Famed for its beaches, Riva del Garda, a short ferry ride away from Malcesine, is a historic resort town featuring a great range of shops for you to explore and potentially pick up some essential souvenirs.
Slightly larger than its neighbours, the town is bustling with activity.
Close by, Italian geological icons marking the end of the great lake, the Dolomites Mountain Range, soar high above the town.
One of the most iconic buildings in Riva, the Rocca fortress, built to protect this lovely town back in the Middle Ages, stands guard on the lake’s shore.
Thankfully no longer required, the fortress is open on selected dates throughout the calendar year, housing a museum and great art gallery.
Elsewhere, visitor’s partial to learning about engineering feats may be interested in the rather intimidating in appearance Hydro-electric Power Station.
Constructed in the 1920s, the station can now be toured (fees apply).
One of the larger colourful buildings in town, the Palazzo Pretorio is one of Riva’s most popular landmarks dating back to the 14th century.
The resort town of Sirmione lies on the southern bank of Lake Garda.
Over an hour away by car from Riva del Garda, Sirmione is towards the south, close to historic Verona.
Found in the province of Brescia, Sirmione is known throughout the world for its world-class Spa.
The Aquaria Thermal Spa offers some truly magical treatments, many of which date back hundreds of years.
Be sure to check out the fantastic Roman ruins and the local castle.
Villa Romana, once occupied by a member of the Roman Empire’s upper classes also goes by the name Grottoes of Catullus.
Dating back to the 1st century, the ruins were used as a filming location in the 2017 film ‘Call Me by Your Name’.
Scaligero Castle, an ancient fortress is one of the country’s most famous and preserved attractions.
Here, visitors can climb the castle’s tower for some stunning views of the lake and surrounding area.
The aptly named Jamaica Beach is a great spot to unwind and give your feet a rest. Accessible via a couple of different trails, the beach could almost have been plucked straight from the famous Caribbean island it is named after.
Paddlers are warned, there is a steep drop off the shallower parts of the shoreline into the main lake basin.
6. Peschiera del Garda
A lovely resort town, Peschiera is located on the southern bank of Lake Garda.
Full of lovely medieval charm, the town is handily close to a number of pleasant beaches.
A key feature, Peschiera’s harbour is one of the most attractive spots in the entire area.
Well connected to both Milan and Venice thanks to a rail network, both Peschiera and nearby Desenzano are ideal destinations for a brief visit if you are planning your own Italian adventure taking in as many iconic destinations as possible.
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Visited any of these towns in Lake Garda?
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