From the picturesque natural scenery to the quaint shops, delicious Italian food and ample cultural attractions, you’ll never be bored on a trip to Lake Garda. To help you plan your next getaway, we've picked three of top hotspots we recommend you visit in this stunning lakeside region.
1. Riva del Garda
While it’s a beautiful base from which to explore the lake, Riva del Garda is definitely an attraction in itself, and no visit to Lake Garda would be complete without taking in the natural beauty of this charming little lakeside retreat. Located at the northern end of Lake Garda, Riva del Garda is surrounded by imposing mountains on one side and sparkling blue water on the other.
Why not take a stroll along the winding streets and relax by the waterfront, which consists of a harbour, a park and a beach. Soak up the atmosphere of charming local life as you stroll through the town, taking in the medieval archways, renaissance churches, narrow cobbled streets and bustling town square along the way. Take a break and enjoy a coffee or ice cream in the sunshine in one of the many cafes or restaurants in the area.
Points of interest in Riva del Garda include:
- The Waterfront – harbour, park and beach
- Museo Civico – Riva town museum (housed inside the Rocca fortress) contains historical exhibits
- The Torre Apponale – a tall clock tower which dates back to the thirteenth century
- Piazza III Novembre – the main town square of Riva del Garda
- Renaissance Churches – the Church of the Inviolata and the Church dedicated to S. M. Assunt
Not to give anything away but… Limone is the Italian word for 'lemon', and the area was once renowned for growing lemons and other citrus fruits.
Located along the northern end of Lake Garda, Limone is set along a backdrop of rocky cliffs and it is well worth spending some time exploring this stunning location. Spend your morning enjoying an espresso in the waterfront cafés while admiring the beautiful lake views. Once you’re nice and relaxed, it’s definitely worth the effort of climbing the narrow and steep cobbled streets to reach some of the town’s remaining lemon groves and take in the panoramic views. Finally, you can buy all your presents in the charming shops selling locally produced lemon products (food, cosmetics etc.)
Points of interest in Limone include:
- Porto Vecchio – the town’s little harbour with picturesque waterfront terraces and plenty of waterfront cafés – a great place for sun bathing and relaxing
- Limonaia del Castèl – an old lemon grove which is well worth a visit
- Renaissance Churches – including Chiesa di San Rocco, Chiesa di San Benedetto and Limone's oldest church, the Chiesa di San Pietro
3. Malcesine and the Monte Baldo Cablecar
Malcesine is a charming medieval town situated on the east side of Lake Garda. It’s worth a visit just to spend some time exploring the picturesque medieval streets filled with cafés, restaurants and stylish shops, but Malcesine also has a lot more to offer if you’re willing to continue exploring. You can spend a few hours visiting the towering Scaliger Castle, exploring the Natural History Museum inside and climbing the bell tower to enjoy the panoramic views of the town. Afterwards, enjoy some local gelato at the historical Palazzo dei Capitanithe before browsing in the local boutiques which offer a vast array of handbags, scarves and leather goods.
If you have a full day to dedicate to Malcesine, then the highlight of that trip should definitely be the Monte Baldo Cablecar. If it is a clear day, the views of Lake Garda are spectacular from the top of Monte Baldo mountain. Rising to an altitude of 1,760m at the top of the mountain, you will have the opportunity to take in views of the entire lake from Riva del Garda in the North to Peschiera in the South. The cable car journey is split into two sections to take you to the top of the mountain. The cabin on the upper section gently rotates throughout the journey, giving you a wonderful 360° panoramic view. Once you get to the top, aside from taking some amazing photographs, you can also take a nice walk around the top of the mountain or enjoy some food and spectacular views in one of the onsite restaurants.
Points of interest in Malcesine include:
- Malcesine Harbour - filled with boats and lined with cafés
- Castello Scaligero – visit the Museo Castello Scaligero museum & admire the views from the ramparts and the tower
- Palazzo dei Capitani - the old headquarters of the Venetian rulers of the area
- Promenade – wander the promenade at the south of the town and enjoy the many cafés, stunning views and potential bathing spots
- Monte Baldo Cablecar - you can catch a local bus 484 (approx. €3) or ferry (approx. €20 return) from Riva del Garda to Malcesine. It’s better to depart early as queues during the summer can be really long – aim to be there for 8.30am-9am to visit the Funivia Malcesine (cablecar). You can purchase a return ticket to the top of Monte Baldo for approx. €22 return (an ascent of 1800mtrs), a journey which takes approx. 30 minutes each way including a cabin change at a midway station. The cabins leave every 30 minutes and run from 8am to 6pm every day in summer. If it is a clear day, the views of Lake Garda are spectacular.
Travel Department offers a 7-night Lake Garda, Venice & Verona holiday which provides the perfect opportunity to explore this stunning Italian lakeside region, and also takes in some of Italy's top highlights in Venice and Verona.