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Desenzano holidays

The largest town on Lake Garda, Desenzano offers the best of a beautiful lakeside setting in a vibrant thriving Italian atmosphere. Favoured by the Italians, it has remained unspoilt by international tourism and is the ideal place to stay if you want to really immerse yourself in Italian culture.




Food & Wine

At a glance: • Large Italian town • own train station • oozing history and culture

Great for: • Shopping • nightlife • transport links • sightseeing

The largest town on Lake Garda, Desenzano offers the best of a beautiful lakeside setting in a vibrant thriving Italian atmosphere. Favoured by the Italians, it has remained unspoilt by international tourism and is the ideal place to stay if you want to really immerse yourself in Italian culture.



Desenzano Guide

Located on the south-west end of Lake Garda, this historic town is centred around the old Harbour and Piazza Malvessi. Desenzano is bustling and diverse with a pedestrianised shopping area offering everything from rustic markets to designer boutiques and many bars, cafés, pizzerias and restaurants. Enjoy cuisine ranging from cheap pizza to award winning restaurants with more than 40 eateries, party in the cosmopolitan late night bars or catch the street entertainers and live music. To find out more about where to eat and drink, visit our Restaurants and Bars pages.

Desenzano has the best transport links on the lake: excellent ferry and hydrofoil services make places like Garda and Peschiera very accessible and bus and train connections (this is one of only two Lake Garda towns to have its own rail station) ensure Verona, Venice and Padua are easy to get to.

Stats & FAQ

Where: South West, Lake Garda

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Verona (VRN)36.8km, 30mins
Brescia (VBS)26km, 30mins
Milan Malpensa (MXP)162 km, 1h30mins
Nearby towns: Sirmione, Peschiera, Salò
City Excursions:Verona, Venice, Milan, Florence
Other excursions:Verona Opera, Lake Garda tour, The Dolomites, Wine Tour, Mantova and Parc Sigurta

Web Cam

Desenzano web cams
How do you pronounce Desenzano? “Dess-en-zarn-oh”

Events & Activities

Thanks to the size of this lakeside town, you’ll find events throughout the year and something to do whatever the weather. There’s nearly always something on in Desenzano which hosts various events year round – big dates include the Bisse regatta final and the Night of Enchantment.

The town’s excellent transport links with its train station, bus and ferry services make it great for independent travellers, who can visit some of the big Italian towns as well as other Lake Garda resorts. On active holidays, enjoy water sports, walking and cycling. Some of Lake Garda’s best attractions can be found here including the Roman Villa and Desenzano also has a spectacular castle and cathedral – both well worth a visit.

See our events page for what’s on and find out about the various things to do and see here.

History & Culture

Desenzano is a place absolutely steeped in culture and history. The area has a rich artistic heritage, having inspired poets including Dante, Petrarch, Tennyson and Lord Byron. Works of art to visit in the town include Tiepolo's Last Supper, paintings by Andrea Celesti and Todeschini’s legendary architecture.

The town’s deeply rooted history goes back to the Roman era and beyond. Important historic attractions include a Roman villa (one of the best preserved in northern Italy), a striking medieval castle and a 16th century Cathedral. Artefacts from the Paleolithic era, Mesolithic era, Neolithic era and the Bronze Age discovered nearby can be seen in the Archaeological museum.

Local traditions include historic Bisse regatta, carnivals and festivals to celebrate religious and historical dates. To find out all about the history of the area, visit our Desenzano history page.

Best time to go

Best time to visit Desenzano

When is the best time to visit Desenzano?

The great thing about this being the biggest lakeside town is that while other resorts can be really quiet outside peak months, Desenzano maintains that fantastic thriving town atmosphere. With its sheltered southern position on the south end of Lake Garda, Desenzano is likely to feel warmer than places like Riva and Malcesine, making it a great if you’re booking a holiday in May or September and want to enjoy the best of the sunshine. The weather is pretty hot here in the peak summer months, ideal for sun-worshippers but if you’re looking for an active holiday without the heat and humidity, stay here in May or October. Find out more about Desenzano’s weather and climate here.

With a warmer feel than other towns thanks to its shelter from the wind and a bustling town atmosphere even before the peak months, this is a brilliant place to stay in May when the Mille Miglia passes through. Find out more about Desenzano in May here.

Enjoy warm Italian sunshine and activities galore here in June, where temperature highs are around 27°C. Read about the best things to do in June and find more info on climate here.

Holidays here in July include a hot Mediterranean-like climate and a lively atmosphere – perfect for a lazy week on the lakeside. For everything you need to know about Desenzano in July, click here.

Some of the biggest events of the year, including the famous Night of Enchantment take place in August, which usually sees the hottest temperatures of the year. Read more here.

September is the month of the legendary Cento Miglia. If you want to visit Desenzano when the summer crowds and heat have subsided a little, this is an ideal time to go. Read more about the climate and the best things to do in September here.

October is a milder and quieter month, perfect for action-packed holidays and sightseeing. For more information about you can expect here in October click here.

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