How to make the most of Lake Garda

Portia Jones

Portia Jones

Sandwiched between Milan and Venice in northern Italy, Lake Garda*, Italy's largest lake, is a popular destination for both culture seekers and adventurous visitors.

Making the most of Lake Garda
Making the most of Lake Garda © Xbrchx - Adobe Stock Image

You'll find elegant promenades, galleries and upmarket restaurants, alongside cycling trails, cobbled villages and laid-back beach resorts.

Bordering several Italian regions including Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige and Lombardia, the lake area is so vast that the landscape gradually changes from north to south.

Pebbled southern shores soon give way to the mountainous backdrop of the alps in the north as you explore this extensive lake and surroundings.

With a mix of leisure activities, lakeside dining and beach activities, there's also plenty here for visitors to discover and our top Lake Garda picks have got you covered.

Getting to Lake Garda: Lake Garda is one of the most popular Italian destinations and can be reached from airports across the UK. Don't miss current holiday offers from TUI Lakes & Mountains*, which promises superb holidays for all budgets and travel styles.

Tour Isola del Garda

Opt for a guided tour of this secluded private island and you'll wander through lush Italian and English gardens while admiring the elegant Venetian neo-Gothic villa and vast array of exotic plants.

Take a tour of Isola del Garda
Take a tour of Isola del Garda © Berg - Adobe Stock Image

Previously a hunting reserve and a former haven for monks, this small island has been open to the public since 2001, where curious visitors can now seek sanctuary amongst the fragrant acacia and lemon trees.

Yoga, stargazing and sailing are some of the activities on offer at Isola del Garda, alongside a diverse programme of art exhibitions and music concerts.

Discover Sirmione's natural springs

Travellers have been seeking out the healing, thermal waters of Sirmione* on a picturesque peninsula at the southern end of the lake for centuries.

Head to the new Aquaria Spa Wellness Centre for a much-deserved break with indoor and outdoor thermal pools and a unique water circuit between saunas, steam baths and showers. There's also a range of personalised treatments on offer for both body and mind, as well as fitness classes and sensory relaxation areas.

For outdoor bathing, make for the clear shallows of Jamaica Beach and bask on slabs of smooth rocks.

Outside of spa offerings, you'll find Scaliger Castle alongside honey-coloured historic buildings, boutique shops and al fresco dining in the town's tiny, cobbled streets.

Ride the cable car up Monte Baldo

For the most beautiful lake views, take the cable car to the top of Monte Baldo, the tallest mountain around Lake Garda.

The rotating cable cars leave from the small town of Malcesine* and glide 1,760m up with panoramic views of the snow-capped Alps and Lake Garda.

There are spectacular views from the top of the cable car
There are spectacular views from the top of the cable car © DannyIacob - Adobe Stock Image

The Malcesine cable car promises more than your typical cable car journey: during the upper section of the ride, cabins slowly rotate offering 360° views from above.

Go wine tasting at boutique vineyards

The leafy vineyards of the Lake Garda region offer classic Italian favourites such as Bardolino, a fruity ruby red wine made from a blend of Corvina and Rondinella grapes.

Several vineyards offer tours and tastings where wine aficionados can gain an insight into the wine production process and what goes into making a great glass of Italian vino.

Many of the historic vineyards are still family-owned to this day, including Costaripa Winery, located in the small town of Moniga del Garda and well-known for its delicate, Molmenti Rosé wine.

Azienda Agricola Pratello on the southwest corner of Lake Garda is another family-run vineyard that has embraced a holistic and organic-led approach to its winemaking. Try its Lugana Catulliano, a white wine that has subtle notes of citrus and apple.

Cycle around Limone Sul Garda

Popular resort Limone Sul Garda* offers exceptional biking with dreamy lake views on a new bike path that's opened near the town.

Suspended 50m up above the water and clinging to the rock walls, this impressive trail allows bikers to explore the west side of Lake Garda and take in spectacular views along the way.

The Ciclopista del Garda at Limone
The Ciclopista del Garda at Limone © Simon Dannhauer - Adobe Stock Image

The path is part of the wider Garda by bike project, which is working towards a traffic-calmed route of the entirety of Lake Garda. Road bikes and e-bikes are available to rent from the town for this ride, for around €30 for full-day hire.

Bikers should also spend some time exploring the rather alluring old town and small harbour on two wheels. Stop for an espresso at one of the waterfront cafés and watch the ferries.

Sunbathe at Baia Bianca Beach

Lounge on white, soft sands imported directly from the Caribbean at the Baia Bianca Beach in Manerba. This swanky private beach is packed with amenities including a café, changing cabins and showers that can be accessed for a fee.

Umbrellas and loungers are also available to rent and add an exotic touch to this rather special, pebble-free beach in Lake Garda.

Baia Bianca is more than just a sun trap resort though as its mix of restaurants and bars come to life at night with brightly coloured cocktails and lively parties that attract a younger crowd who want to dance the night away.

Weather in Lake Garda

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall

Ready to explore Lake Garda? Prepare to discover the delights of Italy's largest lake for less with the latest deals on bespoke breaks from TUI Lakes & Mountains.

TUI Lakes & Mountains: Top summer holiday deals for 2024/2025

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Portia Jones

Portia Jones

Portia Jones is a freelance travel journalist and host of "The Travel Goals Podcast". Based in Wales, Portia specialises in adventure travel, destination guides and solo travel guides. She writes for a wide range of publications including the Mirror, the Western Mail, loveEXPLORING, Women & Home and Bradt Guides.

Article updated on Monday 27th November 2023 in: Europe Excursions Nature Summer

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