Lake Garda, the largest of the Italian lakes, is a perfect destination for a trip from Milano.

Well served by motorways and fast trains, it offers the ideal combination of art, nature, food and sports.


The lake, with its many picturesque locations, is rich in ancient and modern history, monuments, archaeological sites, museums, castles and fortressesnature trails, bathing beaches, spa facilities, golf courses and entertainment, sportsfood and wine events. 


The most renowned local products are olive oillemons and citrus fruits, truffles and wines, some of which are famous all over the world, such as BardolinoChiaretto, Groppello, Bianco di Custoza, Amarone and Valpolicella, Recioto di Soave, Lugana and Marzemino (the wine cited by Mozart in his Don Giovanni). All these are ideal with dishes prepared with lake fish, local cheeses and desserts (San Martino della Battaglia and Vin Santo Trentino).

Daily boat services connect many of the villages overlooking the lake, making it easier to move around for short visits.

The Eastern shore

Characterized by its gentle hills, the Veronese coastalso known as Riviera degli Olivi, is easily accessible by train (Peschiera del Garda and Verona stops) and offers many opportunities within everyone's reach - check the many equipped campsites on the lake shore.


Starting from the Peschiera train station you will be very close to several amusement and nature parks (you can take advantage of convenient shuttle services) and you will also be a short distance from the village of Lazise, whose lakeside promenade is considered one of the most enchanting on Lake Garda.


Also worth a visit are the small villages on the eastern shores, that gradually rise towards the north: BardolinoGardaTorri del BenacoVal di Sogno, which all offer beautiful landscapes. In particular, exploring the hinterland of Garda you can discover Punta San Vigilio, a magical place surrounded by the silent coolness of cypress trees. A stone's throw away, the Baia delle Sirene Park has an equipped beach, overlooking crystal clear water.

Among the most fascinating destinations is Malcesine, with the beautiful Castello Scaligero, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view and discover the connection between Goethe and this pleasant place. You can also set off on a high-altitude adventure by taking the Monte Baldo cable car, which is accessible from the centre of the village, and reach an altitude of 1,760 metres. From there you will admire the spectacular panorama offered by Baldo, also known as the "Garden of Europe" for the variety of plants and flowers that grow there. You can then tackle the descent on foot or… paraglide down the mountain.

In the surroundings of Malcesine are also three of the lake’s five islands: the northernmost is Isola dell'Ulivo, further south is Isola del Sogno, which can be reached on foot from the coast when water levels are low. The southernmost is Isola del Trimelone (or Tremellone), used as a military base since the end of the 19th century and during the First World War.

A curiosity: in the Municipality of Malcesine you will have the chance to see the Aril or Ri, a river only 175 metres long and therefore considered the shortest in Italy and one of the shortest in the world. At Christmastime, a "floating" nativity scene is usually set up between its shores.

The Southern shore

You can start from the train station in Desenzano, a city full of cultural initiatives, clubs and shops, to take a tour of the beaches in this area, many of which are public or quite affordable. Going up the coast of the lake in a westerly direction, you will meet Lonato, Padenghe sul Garda, Moniga del Garda, Polpenazze del Garda, Manerba del Garda, from which you can reach the Island of San Biagio, also known as Isola dei Conigli (Rabbits' Island, as in the 16th century it was populated by rabbits and hares) by boat, or on foot during dry periods. Between San Felice del Benaco and Portese is Garda Island, the largest of the lake's five. On this island, St. Francis of Assisi founded a monastery in 1220 (displaced in the 18th century) - today you can admire a large nineteenth-century palace in Venetian neo-Gothic style surrounded by Italian gardens.In front of the expanse of lake water, which in some places seem endless, the words of the Latin poet Virgil come to mind: "O Benacus, your waves swell and quiver like the sea".


The town that perhaps most deserves a visit is Sirmione, located on a narrow peninsula almost on the border with the province of Verona, right in the middle of the lake. Entering the old town through the ancient walls, you will notice the incredible thirteenth-century Rocca Scaligera, built literally by the water's edge and therefore unique in the world.

The Roman presence is testified by the archaeological park and the Grotte di Catullo (Catullus’ Grottoes) an ancient domus erroneously believed to be the Latin poet's residence. Not far from the site, the Jamaica beach, famous for being surrounded by unusual tropical vegetation.

Sirmione's sodium sulphide water is known for its beneficial properties: here you will find spa facilities for a few hours’ rest, whether for therapy or relax.

The Western shore

The Riviera dei Limoni (Lemon Riviera) extends along the north-western coast of Lake Garda, from the town of Salò to the border with the Autonomous Province of Trento and takes its name from the growing of this fruit, spread throughout the territory. Lemon trees were introduced to Lake Garda from the Ligurian Riviera, presumably around the 12th century, by the friars of the convent of St. Francis in Gargnano.

The combination of Mediterranean vegetation close to the lake and mountain landscape in the hilly hinterland makes this area pleasant and diverse, suitable for mountain farming (mainly citrus and olive trees, grown on ancient terraces - some dating back to the sixteenth century), and at the same time characterized by a strong tourist appeal. The area between the Municipalities of Salò, Gardone Riviera, Toscolano Maderno, Gargnano, Tignale, Tremosine, Limone, Valvestino and Magasa is also home to Parco Alto Garda Bresciano, of over 38,000 hectares, many of which are covered by forest. The Park rises up to a height of 2,000 metres and is therefore suitable for hiking or mountain biking.


To explore this stretch of coast, you can start from the elegant town of Salò (reachable by bus from the train stations of Brescia or Desenzano) with its wonderful lakeside promenade, the Art Nouveau buildings overlooking the water and the late-Gothic-style Duomo, and then head towards Gardone Riviera. There you can visit Vittoriale degli Italiani - residence of the famous Italian poet Gabriele D'Annunzio - now a national museum whose open-air theatre becomes the exclusive location for festivals dedicated to music, art and dance. The Heller-Hruska Botanical Garden is also within walking distance, allowing for the sight of over 2,000 plants of different species (Alpine, Mediterranean and tropical) that coexist in this place thanks to its favourable microclimate.


Continuing north you will find the beaches of Toscolano Maderno, where you can also stroll through the Valley of the Paper Mills; then Gargnano, whose hamlet Bogliaco hosts the CentoMiglia sailing race and is famous for the splendid gardens of Villa Bettoni.


Going up from Gargnano towards the mountain area, in Tignale's territory you can find the Sanctuary of Montecastello, a sacred place that stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the lake and offering a spectacular panorama.


The most daring might take Strada della Forra, which rises from lake level to Tremosine sul Garda (the opening sequence of the movie 007: Quantum of Solace was shot here). This municipality is made up of 17 small hamlets, of which only Campione del Garda - a paradise for sports boating - is located at the level of the state highway. The village of Pieve is famous for the "Thrill Terrace" overlooking the lake, from which the town of Malcesine and the Baldo on the opposite bank can be admired.


Continuing towards Trentino, Limone sul Garda is well worth a visit, not only to see the ancient lemon groves on vertical cobblestone steps, or the characteristic onion-shaped bell tower of the Church of San Benedetto. You will also love getting lost in its narrow streets full of shops and restaurants and trying out the new cycle/pedestrian path that connects the town to the Province of Trento - halfway between two worlds.

The Northern tip

Riva del Garda occupies the northernmost tip of the lake. Favoured by a mild climate, it offers a rare combination of mountain and Mediterranean landscapes. Thanks to the lake currents and wind exposure, it is one of the most popular locations for windsurfing and sailing.

You will also find well-equipped and very clean beaches to take a dip in the water, elegant gardens with a vintage atmosphere and large green areas to walk in, as well as heaps of characteristic shops and restaurants. At the end of August you can't miss Notte di Fiaba ("Fairytale Night"), a magical weekend dedicated to both children and adults, inspired every year by a different story.


From Riva you can go trekking in the mountain areas between Lake Garda and Lake Ledro, along the Ponale nature trail for instance, discover the Varone Falls, or reach Arco di Trento and its panoramic castle. Finally, you can rejoin the Veronese coast through Torbole del Lagowith its picture-postcard landscapes and the wonderful Busatte-Tempesta scenic route.