Garda Town from La Rocca
photo by David Blaikie


There are small towns located all around Lake Garda. The north of the lake seems to be more for the people who enjoy a quiet, peaceful holiday, but a bell rings from the Northern most town of Riva Del Garda often early in the morning! The south has a theme park and a few man-made beaches so is for the more outgoing, adventurous person. The towns from north clockwise to the southwest are:

  • Riva del Garda

  • Torbole

  • Malcesine

  • Brenzone

  • Torri del Benaco

  • Garda

  • Bardolino

  • Lazise

  • Peschiera

  • Sirmione

  • Desenzano

  • Padenghe

  • Moniga

  • Manerba

  • Salo

  • Gardone

  • Toscolano & Maderno,

  • Gargnano

  • Limone

  • Do not mix up Riva del Garda and Garda as they can often be confused and your holiday ruined by a simple mistake. Also a bit of a bother when trying to meet up with a friend at times.

Getting there

An Airport is located nearby and a coach can take you there.You can rent a car but as for traffic in Italy it goes the same as french or spanish traffic. Road signs are in kilometres as per usual for European countries.

Lake Garda is roughly halfway between Venice and Milan. Excursions to these cities are available through certain agencies. You can also reach the main towns by regional APTV buses.

  • from Verona: Buses run by APTV (the regional bus company) leave from Porta Nuova - catch a 62-64 bus in the morning from the railway station or from Corso Porta Nuova (the boulevard just south of Piazza Bra). It takes about 2-3 hours, depending on lakeside traffic (which can be heavy), to reach pretty towns of Malcesine or Torbole. Get a timetable (orario) from the tourist office or from (Lake Garda is in Zone C). Tickets can be bought from the tobacco shop down the road or on the bus.

Traveling around

Boat ferries operate every day except for holidays. A fast ferry takes 2-2 and a half hours, including stops. Boat taxis are also available, and probably the best option as a taxi will cost you more money and take longer.

By bicycle

Rental bike service companies, easy biking itineraries at Garda Lake Region.


There are many historical places and buildings around the lake. The architectural style is mostly traditional Italian vernacular, which is very picturesque. There are also many classical style building churches, grand houses and castles. There is a large church is located at the northernmost end of the lake, but appropriate clothing must be worn when visiting (eg. knees and shoulders must not be showing). The town of Limone gets its name from... guess what... lemons! Lemon trees grow throughout it, and is a lovely view. The city of Simione located on the peninsula to the south is has a 13th century castle, former home to famous poet Catullus.

Things to do

A big theme park called Gardaland is located in the south of the lake. It is a theme park for everybody, whether it be thrill-seekers, kids at heart, or just stressed out parents. Also cable car rides are available in Malcesine. Beautiful views can be seen from the top, and a small shop/restaurant is there. For those who get a re-instated fear of heights going up at the start, fear not, as there is a halfway stop. Sulphur springs are located at the town of Simione is known to have special effects on catarrhal conditions, particularly those of the ear. Peddle boats or peddlos are available to rent throughout the lake although there are boundaries you must stick to as you are given a certain amount of time and that life guards are regular throughout the water.


As per usual, fine Italian cuisine is sold. This consists of pasta, pizza and many other traditional Italian dishes. But other options are available such as German, American and British style foods. Italian ice-cream is fresh and homemade- great for those who have a sweethtooth. Ice-cream shops are common, with some sprouting out of shops and restaurants. Some "gelato" (ice-cream-like treat usually made in the shop) shops have 50+ flavors. Smaller shops with only a half dozen flavors might be more enjoyable. These seem to focus on the flavors they offer, and making the decision on which flavor to choose will take much less time. Breakfast is not the same as English or American breakfasts so be careful when you ask for full board. Breakfast at Le Paul in Sirmione, has English and American style foods. They even offer cereal.


Always drink plenty of water or other fluids as weather can be very warm. If you do not like sparkling water then take care, as some water is frozen and may seem still. Other times will be mistaken by you, only to hear the fizz as you open it. 'Frizzante' is the Italian word for sparkling on the botled water, and don't be fooled by 'non frizzante' as it is sparkling. Double check your water bottle. Also pink is the normal label color for sparkling water.


  • Hotel Al Castello Lake Garda – Via Gardesana, 58 - Cap: 37010, Torri Del Benaco (VR), Lake Garda, Italy. . Telephone +39 0045 7225065 • Fax +39 045 6299014. The Al Castello is a great 2 star hotel located a few meters away from the beautiful Lake of Garda and not far from city of Verona. The Hotel Al Castello presents a wide selection of bedrooms, services, fantastic food and sport activities, as windsurf and boating or horse riding and mountain bike. All at incredible rates.

  • Hotel Luna - Sirmione , +39 030 916137, Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 92 - Cap: 25019, Sirmione (BS) , Set in an extraordinary landscape, Hotel Luna in Sirmione stands out as an inviting oasis of hospitality, for a relaxing and fun vacation at Lake Garda.

  • Albergo Vicino Gardaland , +39 045 6230934, Via Montebaldo, A family run Hotel with an excellent restaurant and Bar. Each room is en-suite with TV and Telephone


All people speak Italian as a first language but basic English is known. Many locals also speak fluent German as this area is close to the Austrian border. As with anywhere in the world, it is good manners to learn how to say goodbye, hello, please, thank you etc. in Italian.


Normal precautions should be taken as usual. Many shops have outdoor stands and stalls, even if a shop is indoors, so always carry the receipt around with you and keep it safe and with you always. Bag theft is not uncommon as in theme parks lines often have a bag drop off point, which is left unattended. Drawing attention to yourself via a digital camera, mobile phone etc. could get it robbed off you. Often your bag is left and the particular item is robbed.

Cities and towns


I don't know if it is Italy's nicest Village. For sure it is one of the best spots on . It is my Home Town, so I can't judge with impartiality: when you visit it, see for yourself and I'm sure You will be impressed.

It is a pretty little medieval town with winding lanes, a castle and pleasant shops. The medieval castle, Castello Scaligero, is an excellent place to explore, with winding battlements and a tower. It was built in the 14th Century by the della Scala Family (rulers of Verona). Climb the tower for fantastic views over the lake and the town, but be careful of the clock bell in the tower, which chimes deafeningly on the hour - check your watch before you go up!

It's well worth taking the cable car up the 1750 m Montebaldo, which has breathtaking views of the lake and Dolomites on a clear day. There's a restaurant at the top. The area is a popular spot for mountain sports, and you can hire mountain bikes at a shop near the cable car entrance, take them up the cable car, and then ride the trails down the mountain again. Protective gear advised!

For day trippers from Verona, the last bus back to Verona is about 8:30PM.


It is a resort town situated on the north-eastern end of . and is popular with families, windsurfers and cyclists. The town is popular with windsurfers due to high-wind conditions at the northern end of the lake. There is a wide choice of hotels and camping sites. Sports on the lake are very popular with windsurfing being the most popular. The town itself has many attractive buildings in the traditional Italian style and beautiful floral displays. The culture is relaxed and friendly and the resort seems most popular with German and Austrian tourists due to its closeness to the Austrian border. The choice of restaurants and cafes is very good and most are very family friendly. There are many ice cream shops selling high quality Italian ice-cream, as in most of Italy. The local milkshakes are excellent along with the great variety of ice-cream flavours. The shops are mixed with high price sportswear shops and cheaper giftware shops. The town also has basic supermarkets and pharmacies.

Get out

Excursions to Verona, Venice or Milan are offered as well as numerous other activities. Many bars and restaurants are scattered around the towns and almost all hotels offer dinner and breakfast.

Contact & location

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The photos displayed on this page are the property of one of the following authors:

David Blaikie, Emile B, Marco Lazzaroni, Dan Kamminga, Roberto Ferrari, degreezero2000, Mike_fleming, louievsatx, Franco, Andrew Hurley

Some photos courtesy of: . The photos provided by Flickr are under the copyright of their owners.

This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

Stefan Ertmann, Italo, Philip Scranage and gary swan, Travelbubble, Tatatabot, Morph, Timo and Cnbrb

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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