PWk: Prod, Tlk: GS2, Datacash: Live
Italy’s largest body of water is the jewel of the Italian Lakes. Lake Garda’s shoreline is more than twice the length of the Amalfi Coast, and it’s still possible to find untouched towns and villages among the glossy resorts.
The southern basin of Lake Garda has some of the biggest draws, from quaint lakefront towns to the thrills of Gardaland, Italy’s premier theme park. First stop for those arriving from Verona is Peschiera del Garda, a pretty waterfront town often compared to Venice for its network of canals. A little further north is Bardolino. Its elegant promenade is surrounded by miles of vineyards, and the lakefront path takes walkers as far as Garda, the lake’s namesake town.
Further north is Malcesine, rising from the waterfront in a picturesque jumble, and at the lake’s northernmost point lies Riva del Garda – a cosmopolitan town with a pretty piazza and some great gelato parlours. For a day trip, visit Verona, Lake Garda’s southern city neighbour, or head to the dramatic Dolomite mountains – within touching distance for those at the lake’s northern end.
Lake Garda offers an incredibly diverse array of attractions. There are historic castles, like Malcesine’s Scaligeri fortress and Riva del Garda’s Torre Apponale; great vineyards and wine tasting (in Bardolino especially); and soaring peaks, including Monte Baldo, where cable cars whisk view-seekers to the top in minutes. That's not to mention a range of thrilling attractions, including the Gardaland theme park and the high-octane watersports found at the lake’s northern shore. Slightly further afield, the cities of Verona and Milan can be reached easily, so the delights of Milan’s Duomo and Verona’s ancient amphitheatre are readily accessible. If you prefer the quiet life, there’s also plenty of low-key activities to enjoy, from a walk along Garda’s sunny promenade, to a scenic stroll through the foothills of the lake's surrounding mountains.
The closest airport to Lake Garda is Verona (VRN). Direct flights to Verona are available from Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Glasgow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle and Southampton and take approximately 2 hours.
Lake Garda is a summer destination, with the season generally running from April to October. Temperatures are at their hottest in July and August and this is when Garda is at its busiest. However, the lake also enjoys a mild climate in spring and autumn, with temperatures rarely going beneath 20 degrees, which makes it perfect for visiting at the beginning or end of season. May, June and September are ideal months to visit for those wanting to avoid the busiest crowds and still enjoy warm weather.
As expected, freshwater fish is a staple on the menu of many local restaurants, which often serve a different catch each day. The climate of this region also lends itself perfectly to the production of extra-virgin olive oil, which is renowned for its lightness, making the perfect souvenir to take home. Along with many olive groves, the area is home to unique lemon houses, where the fruit, once harvested, is used in the production of local limoncino liqueur – the perfect post-dinner accompaniment. Wine production in the area is renowned, with the lake shore dotted with vineyards producing a range of local varieties. Lovers of red should sample Bardolino, a fruity, light wine that works well with pasta dishes, while for white wine fans there's Lugana, a crisp, dry white best served alongside fish.
If you would like to pre-book one of our excursions, please call our Italy Experts on 01293 762410*.