The most popular visitor attractions, places to see & things to do in & near Desenzano Italy.
You’ll be so spoilt for choice with things to see and do in Desenzano that you might have to book a second holiday to do the bits you missed (and re-do the bits you loved). As Lake Garda’ biggest town with a thriving town centre, secluded spots and everything in-between, it has something for everyone. Amazing for sightseers, it has a variety of historic and religious buildings as well as its own train station for easy access to Venice, Verona and Milan.
With some of the best shopping on Lake Garda, the town centre and Le Vele have everything from designer stores to one-of-a-kind boutiques. Those in pursuit of an active holiday can roam Italy’s biggest moraine while for a more laid back Italian getaway, you’ll find cafes, bars and beaches along the lakeside. There’s a lot to do in the evening here too, with pubs, clubs, piano bars and a cinema.
Desenzano Walking & Hiking: While it doesn’t have the exciting mountain landscape of northern Lake Garda, Desenzano sits just in front of the Italy’s largest moraine, which offers some amazing places to explore on foot. Tour its villages and vineyards or take the Cesare Battisti lakeside path to Rivoltella where there are some fantastic walks to the Tower of San Martino and Pozzolengo. Some of our holidays include guided walks to places like St Francis Oasis – great for bird-spotting - where you can experience the area in the company of an expert. If you’re looking for a day of serious hiking on more mountainous terrain, take a trip to Malcesine or Torbole.
Desenzano Cycling & Mountain Biking: The land around Desenzano is mostly flat with some lovely rolling hills, making this a great place to stay if you want to explore the area on long, leisurely bike rides enjoying spectacular scenery along the way. Fantastic cycling opportunity in the surrounding area includes routes through vineyards, over the Valtenesi hills towards Salò and along the lakeside to Rivoltella and Sirmione. As well as the city itself, places to explore on bike include Pozzolengo, the tower of San Martino and the Maguzzano Abbey. If you’re seeking some serious mountain biking terrain, take a day trip to Limone or Riva.
Desenzano Water sports & Lake Activities: For a day by the lake, beaches in Desenzano include Lido di Lonato and Porto di Rivoltella. Both are great if you want to do some swimming and you can hire pedalos from Porto di Rivoltella for fun on the water. Sailing lessons are available with the Fraglia Vela Desenzano who offer a variety of courses throughout the summer. For boat hire, head to the harbour in front of Via Anelli, Port Zattera or Lido di Lonato; you’ll find a range of boats available to rent with or without a licence as well as water skis, jet skis and banana boat rides.
This is one of the best preserved Roman remains in Northern Italy with walls and foundations from as early as 1st century AD as well as some beautiful floor mosaics. Next door, the Antiquarium is a small museum displaying archaeological finds from the area.
Built in the medieval period, this served as a refuge and was also used as a barracks in the 19th century. Nowadays, it remains a big part of the town’s identity and offers one of the best views over Lake Garda.
The archaeological museum, named after Giovanni Rambotti (the town’s first Mayor), is located in the old Monastery of St. Maria del Carmin. Its collections include artefacts found around Lake Garda that date back to the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic eras and the Bronze Age.
The 74 metre San Martino Tower was built in the 19th century to commemorate the Italian Unification. Inside the tower you’ll find a hall with various sculptures and frescos and rooms dedicated to the wars of the Risorgimento.
With 15 stone arches (made from Malcesine stone) overlooking Desenzano’s harbour, Todeschini Palace was built by architect Giulio Todeschini in 1580. While the building is mainly used for conferences, the ground floor usually has exhibitions and shows throughout the year.
The cathedral of Mary Magdalene was built between 1586 and 1611 by Giulio Todeschini. It has a stunning interior with a range of artwork including various pieces by Andrea Celesti and The Last Supper by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.
South garda Karting in nearby Lonato del Garda (about a 15 minute drive from Desenzano) hosts international championships throughout the year. You can have your own karting experience on the 1,010m circuit with adult and child karts available to hire.
A fantastic waterpark in Montichiari with something for everyone, Prato Blu is about a 20 minute drive away. You’ll find a Blue lagoon, children’s pool and relaxation pool as well as various waterslides, sun-bathing areas, sports courts, play areas and a wellness centre.