With its over 51 kilometers (32 miles) of length, the Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, as well as the most visited. Located between Venice and Milan, this lake is considered an authentic natural treasure, thanks to the variety of landscapes: from the beaches with crystal clear water (along the southern shores) to rocky cliffs (above the northern shoreline).
The main city near Lake Garda is Verona, famous for its Arena and for the romantic novel of Romeo and Juliet; have you heard about the legends that inspired Shakespeare? If you are curious to learn more about the most tragic love story of all time, book our romantic tour in Verona to discover Romeo and Juliet's story.
Its shoreline is dotted with picturesque villages, medieval castles and lakeside promenades that create a unique magical atmosphere. What to see in Lake Garda? And what are the most beautiful destinations? There are 24 towns located on the Lake Garda and its 158 kilometers (98 miles) of shore length, but the following list, brought you by ItalyXP, contains our suggestions of the top 5 (+1) villages on Lake Garda not to be missed!
The lovely Sirmione is certainly one of the most representative destinations around Lake Garda. Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes and embellished by architectural treasures, this town attracts many tourists for its thermal waters, through which it is possible to enjoy moments of unforgettable relax, also on the peaceful Sirmione beach.
What to do in Sirmione? From the cultural point of view, the most important monuments to visit are the prestigious churches of St. Anne, St. Mary of the Snows, St. Peter in Mavino and the Oratory of Saints Vito and Modesto. Worth visiting is also the Medieval Castle, a fortress guarding the only access point to the southern city center, built during the 13th and 14th century, and the "Grotte di Catullo", a Roman house built between the end of the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD, on the top of the Sirmione peninsula.
This and much more can be discovered with a day trip to Verona and Lake Garda from Milan, an amazing experience to enrich your holiday!
Due to its cultural heritage and its magical atmosphere, Riva del Garda is considered one the most beautiful destinations on Lake Garda. Riva del Garda is located in Trentino Alto Adige region and the nearest airport to reach the village is the Verona Villafranca Airport. If you're looking for a day trip between natural landscapes and ancient traditions, this town is the ideal destination for you.
In the Riva del Garda historic center, worth visiting is the Baroque church of the Inviolata, designed by a Portuguese architect according to the tradition; Piazza Tre November with the imposing Tower Apponale; Piazza San Rocco, and much more.
The main historical monuments of Riva del Garda are the Praetorian Palace, which houses under its loggia several Roman and medieval tombstones; the Fortress, which houses the Museo Alto Garda as well as several cultural activities, particularly; the doors of the medieval walls and the Bastion - Venetian Fortress built on the slopes of Mount Rocchetta at a height of about 160 meters. In the past, Riva del Garda has hosted illustrious personalities such as Nietzsche and Kafka.
Among the towns on the Lake Garda, there is the small town of Peschiera del Garda, a few kilometers from the city of Verona, is probably one of the most beautiful destinations among the villages that surround the Lake Garda.
In 2017 the fortified city of Peschiera del Garda, with the fortified city of Bergamo and the city fortress of Palmanova, were declared part of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Peschiera del Garda historic center is bordered by ancient walls: the first settlements date back to the Bronze Age. In Roman times, the town became an important cultural center, with the creation of the so-called Gallic Way, in orderto improve connections to the city. In the Middle Ages, the fortification of the center of Peschiera began. Today we can still admire the Fortress, the Porta Brescia and Porta Verona: ancient military buildings with defensive purpose.
With its great historic heritage, also recognized by UNESCO, its excellent mild climate and peaceful atmosphere Peschiera del Garda makes an excellent destination for a day trip from Verona, Milan or Venice. Don't miss it!
One of nicest towns on Lake Garda, but less famous than other Lake Garda cities, is the village of Torbole stands on a calcareous hill at the base of Mount Baldo, at the north eastern shore of Lake Garda, with the houses laid out as in an amphitheatre along the contour of the bay.
Given its position and the prohibition of motorboats use, the municipality of Nago-Torbole has become an internationally-renown destinations for lovers of water-sports like windsurf and kitesurf. The picturesque Torbole sul Garda historic center has preserved its original appearance, typical of a fishing village: the small port with the characteristic 15th-century buildings and narrow streets, where you can breathe a magical atmosphere from the past.
The village of Torbole was preferred by many illustrious artists, such as the writer Goethe, who defined Torbole as "a marvel of nature, an enchanting place".
Not far from Verona, the splendid area of Lake Garda hides several picturesque villages worth visiting: one of those is Desenzano del Garda, the ideal destination for a day trip from Verona or a one day excursion from Milan. If you prefer visit this village by yourself, you can also take the train from Verona to Desenzano del Garda, and also from Milan and Venice.
This small town has lots of attractions from the cultural point of view: the 16th-century Piazza Malvezzi, which often hosts live music, but also the Castle, the Cathedral and the Archaeological Museum, with the mosaics and the ruins of the Roman Villa. Its picturesque landscape, overlooking the Sirmione Peninsula and Mount Baldo, offers to the visitors amazing picture opportunities, but there are also panoramic roads for bike or motorcycle lovers, that allow you to go from Desenzano del Garda to Sirmione by bike, motorbike or horseback.
Furthermore, the wide beaches with characteristic kiosks, will make even more magical and enjoyable a visit, with narrow streets full of boutiques and stalls from local products.
The island of Garda, also known as the "Borghese Island", is the largest island on Lake Garda. It has been inhabited since Roman times, and was long a refuge for pirates, who assaulted the boats that plied the routes of Lake Garda.
In 879, the island was donated to the monks of San Zeno in Verona, and it became home to famous personalities, from St. Francis of Assisi to Dante Alighieri
Dominated by the presence of a magnificent 20th Century neo-Gothic Venetian villa "Villa Borghese Cavazza", one of the main Garda Lake attractions, its historic center is full of interesting architectonic wonders. With its immaculately landscapes and historic heritage, the island of Garda makes for an enjoyable day excursion!