Lake Garda holidays

Package holidays to Lake Garda Italy 2024 & 2025 hotels apartments and deals Package holidays to Lake Garda Italy 2024 & 2025 hotels apartments and deals

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Why Lake Garda holidays are so popular

With its charming resorts, spectacular scenery, incredible cuisine and local fine wines, botanical gardens, culture, history and a wide range of activities, there is a holiday on Lake Garda to please everyone. The lake has a very mild Mediterranean climate and with the amazing setting, flourishing flora and free beaches it is the perfect destination for either an active or a relaxing holiday. The resorts are a pleasure to explore with their unique blends of old and new, enjoy cobbled streets with enticing shops, pretty little harbours, cosy piazzas with gourmet restaurants alongside the paved promenades with enticing Gelateria (ice cream being a local speciality). There are events throughout the summer and, for the active, Lake Garda spoils for choice.

Windsurfing and sailing are very popular, there are an abundance of walking, hiking and climbing routes suitable for all levels, from gentle strolls to more energetic hikes in the foothills of the Dolomites. Cycling and mountain biking are also great ways to explore the beautiful area, with flat and well paved track around most of the southern end of the lake. With settlements dating back to 4000BC, Lake Garda has always been a popular and significant place, around the lake you will find plenty of sites of historical interest, from the Roman ruins in Sirmoine, the Scaliger Castles, as well as numerous churches and an abundance of Frescoes some dating back to the 12th century. The local buses and ferries allow for cheap and easy access to other resorts around the lake and are another way to discover the delights that Lake Garda has to offer.

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Where to stay on Lake Garda

Below is a short guide to help you decide where to stay on Lake Garda and you can get more detail on each lakeside town on our Lake Garda resorts page.

  • The resorts on the northern part of Lake Garda have the stunning mountain backdrops whilst the southern part of Lake Garda is surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and orchards.
  • Desenzano and Riva are the livelier bigger towns, with the more shopping and nightlife.
  • Torbole, Riva and Malcesine in the north are great for wind based watersports like wind and kite surfing.
  • The best beaches are in Peschiera, Maderno, Sirmione or Desenzano
  • Although there is good easy walking all around Lake Garda, Limone and Malcesine offer more challenging marked trails and hikes. Malcesine in particular, with its cable car to Monte Baldo, also offers great views of the lake.
  • For ruins and history try Sirmione, Desenzano or Lazise.
  • Gardone Riviera offers a quiet and tranquil retreat and there are exceptional spa facilities at Sirmione with the thermal springs.
  • The best all resorts for all round facilities are Garda and Bardolino.
  • Garda and Peschiera are best for families, with Gardaland and Caneva theme parks just a short bus trip away.
  • Peschiera and Desenzano have good transport links to the rest of Italy and are a great base for independent travellers.

The best local food and wine

While the vistas, history and attractions of this region are a great draw, Lake Garda is also famous for its cuisine and fine wines. With a surprising number of Michelin star restaurants, it's worth taking the time to pick out a few "true diamonds" of the area.

Our friend Paulo, maitre d', former restaurateur and life-long resident of the lake explains where to eat in each of the main resorts and recommends a couple of famous local dishes on our restaurants page.

And, because man cannot live on bread alone, he also explains the famous and must-try wines of the area, from the well known Bardolino to the sublime creations of the local masters. Watch his video interview and then look up the best local watering holes on our bars page.

More about Lake Garda

Lake Garda, with a surface area of 370kmq, is the largest lake in Italy and the most popular resort destination for Lake holidays. Created by a piedmont glacier 1.5 million years ago, it is 54km long, 346m deep and the width varies from 2km in the north to 18km in the south. Situated at 65m above sea level, Lake Garda has a perimeter of 160km which includes 45km of free beaches. The source of the Lake is the Sacra river, which enters in the north near Riva and drains into the Mincio River, near Peschiera, and runs to the Po River, the longest river in Italy. There are 54 islands on Lake Garda, and Isola del Garda is the biggest. The lake is currently divided between three Italian provinces, Trentino in the north, Verona on South East and Brescia on the South West. The nearest Airport is Verona, 45km away from Garda resort. View Lake Garda webcams.

All the resorts on Lake Garda have their own attractions and unique atmosphere often defined by their location. The southern part of Lake Garda is mostly surrounded by gentle rolling hills covered in lush vegetation, Olive grove, vineyards and Cypress trees. The lake is much wider in the south, often warmer and has more sandy beaches. Resorts at the southern end are also more suited to families, with additional attractions of the local theme parks and short transfers. The northern part of Lake Garda and environs are situated between the Gruppo del Baddo mountains and is a lot narrower with pebble beaches. The walking and hiking in this area is a lot more challenging and some of the water sports, like windsurfing are much more prevalent due to the constant windy conditions. The resorts on the northwest side of the lake are the most tranquil and quiet. Good shopping, nightlife and enchanting lakeside options are available all around Lake Garda.

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