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ROAD TRIP AROUND LAKE GARDA, ITALY

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, located in between the provinces of Verona, Brescia and Trentino. Surrounded by mountains with a gorgeous Mediterranean climate, Lake Garda was a beautiful surprise to me!

When it was suggested a visit there and I started researching, I realized it was too beautiful to miss it and with only a few days to visit I knew a road trip would be the best option to make the most of all the little towns and villages.

Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda

GETTING TO LAKE GARDA

There a lot of options either you’re flying directly to Lake Garda or you’re coming from other city in Italy.

By Plane

The nearest airports are Verona (approximately 15km) and Brescia (approximately 30Km), south of Lake Garda. Then you have other airports like Milan and Venice that probably have more flights each day (approximately 100km).

By Train

There a lot of train connections from other cities in Italy. You can check some of them here. For the southern part of the lake look for the stations of Desenzano and Peschiera del Garda and northern of the lake, Rovereto. Once in the stations you can easily get buses to other main locations.

By Bus

There are several options of buses directly from the airport to Lake Garda and some of them stop in more than one location. Check some of the companies, here.

If you need further transport from some of these stops check these local buses timetables, here.

By Car

This was the option I decided when visiting and we rented straight from the airport. Driving around Lake Garda is the easiest option to go around the villages, on your time. Sometimes you may get lucky and park for free but in most towns we just thought it was safer to leave the car in paid car parks.

PREPARE YOUR ROAD TRIP

The road trip around Lake Garda has many things to offer as each village has something unique and different from the previous.  You can go from the beach and ice creams to explore the ancient history of some very well preserved churches or even jump to a sport activity.

The important thing to do before is to make sure your car has all the appropriate insurances and plan how long you want to spend in each village so you can book your accommodation, as for example, during the summer a lot of them get fully booked.

Lake Garda

It’s also not a bad idea have a car with a GPS if you can. I must say that Lake Garda was easy to drive around and lots of signs to guide you.

Have a look on the map and the villages around the lake and mark it as you like to visit.

I started over from Moniga del Garda where I was staying in a beautiful villa (book yours here) with a pool and I it was perfect to recharge before the road trip.

Lake Garda

ROAD TRIP AROUND LAKE GARDA

I visited almost all towns and villages around Lake Garda during last summer which made everything even more beautiful. It’s a really relaxed environment and things in general around the lake are affordable.

SIRMIONE

Sirmione it’s a city that transports you to ancient times as soon as you arrive. Located on the south of the lake, the city centre it’s inside fortified walls with narrow streets and cute little houses.

As you walk along it’s hard to miss all the cosy restaurants, typical Italian and all the ice creams vendors!

Lake Garda
Lake Garda

There is lot of history around with some sites to see like the Roman Villa Grotte di Catullo, the church of S. Pietro and the impressive Scaliger Castle that dates back to the 13th century.

A popular place to see here it’s the Virgilio & Catullo Spa that brings people because of the thermal water and healing properties of its water.

Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda

RIVA DEL GARDA

The perfect town for sports like sailing, surfing or canoeing. All of this with a jaw dropping scenery of the intense blue water of the lakes surrounded by beautiful flowers and the mountains.

GARDA

Garda is very charming with its colourful buildings and lots of little restaurants where you can stop for a traditional lunch watching the world go by. You can go for a swim during the summer in the clear crystal water from the lake.

Near Garda it’s the famous theme park, the Gardaland.

MALCESINE

Malcesine is on the east side of Lake Garda where you can stroll around the beautiful medieval Palazzo dei Capitani little square.

It’s also the point of access to Mount Baldo. You can go up there by cableway and enjoy the breath taking views on the top and even ski during the winter.

Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda

PESCHIERA DEL GARDA

Peschiera has a really relax environment and I remember having lunch there in a little bay near the river just thinking how lucky I was to be there.

It’s also enjoyable to walk around the large streets and check out the Sanctuary of Madonna del Frassino from the 16th century.

Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda

LIMONE SUL GARDA

This picturesque town with the beautiful mountains in the background it’s the perfect place to sit and contemplate nature.

Go for a swim if you can! Don’t forget to go for a walk around the town to see the typical lemons, common for this area and the fishing port.

Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda

DESENZANO DEL GARDA

Walking around Malvezzi Square is one of the highlights of this town. You quickly realize why: the charming little harbour surrounded by quirky restaurants will want to make you stay there a whole afternoon enjoying the marvelous food served there.

If you have time check out the panoramic views from S. Martino della Battaglia tower.

Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda

MONIGA DEL GARDA

During the first days in Lake Garda I stayed in a villa in Moniga del Garda and was able to soak up the atmosphere in the area.

This little town does not disappoint if you’re looking to spend a couple of days in the same place. It’s sunny and you can easily go for a swim as the waters are really nice.

Lake Garda
Lake Garda

THE BEST THINGS TO DO

Lake Garda has a lot to offer when it comes to activities and things to do. You can easily spend two weeks there always doing something different.

The most obvious are soaking up the sun and swimming in the clear waters of the lake. Then you have all the water associated activities like sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, canyoning and even diving. For the most adventurers it’s possible to do paragliding from Monte Baldo or mountain bike trails.

There are numerous excursions around if you don’t want to venture on your own and ferries you can take from town to town if you want to avoid driving or taking the buses. Check out the timetables here.

Alternatively you have a lot of theme parks to spend some days of fun. Gardaland, Movie Land Studios or Medieval Times are just some of the options.

EAT AND DRINK

The region of Lake Garda is known for their delicious local cuisine and wine.

There are two typical products that you will want to bring home. The olive oil which is known to be very light and the Italian lemon liqueur, the limoncello.

On top of that if you have a lot of the traditional Italian dishes everywhere and a lot of dishes with sardines.

Lake Garda it’a a place where I would go back easily for a relaxing time with my family. You can spend some really calm holidays as there are a lot of villas to rent everywhere making it more private for a group of people like friends or families.

The beauty of the villages and towns are different from other areas in Italy with most of them still preserving very well their ancient buildings, churches and streets.

There is a lot to see and you can be guaranteed some unforgettable memories!

Have you been to Lake Garda or have plans to visit? Let me know what was your favourite town!

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Lake Garda

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Tags : GardaGardalandItalyLake GardaLimone Sul Garda. Desenzano del GardaMalcesineMoniga del GardaPeschiera del GardaRiva del GardaRoad TripSirmione

53 Comments

  1. This post has my heart beating faster. I love Italy so much, and this lake is incredible. The water is so clear! The little spots you stopped in are so quaint and gorgeous. And the gelato! Ahhhh! I need to go again!

  2. I have seen so many amazing pictures from Italy but none as beautifully captured as yours. Thanks for sharing this with me. That is one place I cannot wait to visit!

  3. I have been planning to travel to Barcelona but after reading and seeing the amazing pics here I am now considering going to Lake Garda instead of Barcelona. Thanks for sharing your traveling experience

  4. Europe is such an amazing continent. All the countries are so beautiful. Your photos are amazing, makes me want to go and visit the place right now. I would love to visit whenever I have an opportunity.

  5. Out of all of the towns you visited on your road trip, I think Sirmione is my favorite. I like mix of old times and new. Plus, I’m such a sucker for narrow cobblestone streets, cute little houses, cozy restaurants and ice cream vendors. x

  6. Looks like it so amazing out there. I really do need to make it out to Italy in the near future. Tons of stuff to do there. Love the water, and the villa as well as the mountains and the cable car up there. So amazing.

  7. Lake Garda area and in general all the lakes of northern Italy are so romantic and inspiring. I loved to pay a visit every now and then when I lived in Milan: going to the Garda lake made me feel so relaxed. And your pics remember me why.

    1. Italy has so many great places it’s hard to see them all in one go, but I still have a few more cities I want to visit, x

  8. You had such a wonderful road trip! Lake Garda and the surrounding villages and towns are so beautiful and picturesque. Loved the colourful houses, castles and the scenic beauty. A place O would definitely love to visit.

  9. What a wonderful post, I have already sent it to my boyfriend because we are currently planning 2018 holidays and this lake Grada looks fabulous! And you’ve made everything so easy with your guide! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I tried to make as simple as possible many people think you really need a car to visit these places but you can use public transport, enjoy your holidays!

  10. How awesome Lake Garda looks. I have been to Italy (venice and Milan as well , which you said are the closest airports), but guess missed out on this beautiful walk across the lake. Amazing photos.

  11. Wow this looks stunning, I would love to explore all the little towns and villages! Of course there would be a lot of eating as I went, I’m sure the food is stunning!

  12. I was in Lake Como a couple years ago for a wedding and totally fell in love with that side of italy, it truly is incredible. Wish I got to spend more time in Lake Garda though, your photos are stunning.

  13. Italy has always been somewhere I’d love to visit. Pizza and pasta is the way to my heart! I’ve been looking at booking up for our honeymoon. Garda looks amazing

    1. Pizza and pasta lover here too! Italy is a great place for a honeymoon, so many places I can think of, let me know if you need more advice!

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you can be inspired, you can really feel like you’re inside ancient history when visiting as the buildings are really well preserved!

  14. Lake Garda is on my list, I’m trying to make my way through Italy! It looks so picturesque and your photos are gorgeous. I hope you enjoyed the limoncello 😉

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