I recently shared a post on the best towns on Lake Como. In this post, you will get tips on the best towns on Lake Garda to check out some of the best lake towns Italian holidaymakers disappear to. Just like Lake Como, Lake Garda is in Northern Italy and well known for its beautifully pristine crystal clear waters. Stunning old towns of Lake Garda surrounded by mountains which offer amazing views of the towns on the lake below.
You can base yourself on any of the towns on Lake Garda and explore a few of them by day trips. Bear in mind that this is Italy’s largest lake at 370KM square. At the top of the lake you have Riva del Garda framed by the Dolomites and at the bottom – South end of the lake you have the town of Sirmione is dominated by the Rocca Scaligera, a fortress with harbor views. The nearby Grotte di Catullo archaeological site includes a Roman villa. On the lake’s western shore, in Gardone Riviera, is Il Vittoriale degli Italiani, former home of poet d’Annunzio.
In order to explore the South and North, one would have to break up their trip and base themselves in the North to explore northen most towns and then move on to stay closer to the South and explore the towns there. This is because the ferry from North to South will eat up a lot of your exploring if you were to do that as a day trip.
We had the pleasure of exploring many of the towns on Lake Garda so below I will share with you the best spots to check out in each town and further below tips on where to stay and how to get to Lake Garda.
- Travel Guide To Lake Garda
- Exploring Verona – An Italian Hidden Gem
- The Best Lake Tours On Lake Como
- The Best Souvenirs To Bring Back From Italy
Best Towns on Lake Garda & Places To Visit In Lake Garda
Below are some of the prettiest lake towns in Italy with photos, and details of Lake Gmust-sees sees. From day trips, deets about lake garda exploring, where to get stunning views over Lake Garda towns, places to visit in Lake Garda, where to stay and where to eat. Each of Lake Garda towns information and the most points of interest in each town. For more on Lake Garda check out my other posts on our trip to Lake Garda here and here.
Desenzano Del Garda
A city filled with historic landmarks, unique aesthetics, beautiful lakes, and many attractions, Desenzano del Garda is truly remarkable. It has a thriving nightlife scene, and the food here is fantastic.
Head over to Bianca Caffe for great drinks and mouth-watering Italian cuisine. Visit Sushi 133 Club to enjoy some of the best sushi that Italy has to offer, and some great music. You can also go to one of the town’s most beautiful beaches, Terrazza Mariky Desenzanino Beach to have a relaxing time. The beach has amazing sand, soothing clear blue waters, and the sunset is just breathtaking.
Some of the town’s hidden gems include Biblioteca comunale Angelo Anelli (Angelo Anelli library), Onepoi Winery, and Porto Vecchio. Castello di Desenzano and Ossuary Chapel of St. Martin are some of the historic landmarks I think everyone who visits Desenzano Del Garda should see.
Best Places to stay in Desenzano: For something, budget check out Albergo La Quiete and Hotel Moniga. For mid-range budgets Park Hotel and Hotel Villa Rosa Desenzano both of which come with amazing views and access to the beach or rooftop pool. For luxury hotels in Desenzano del Garda check two of these beautiful apartments with stunning views and your very own pool; here and here. For more hotels in Desenzano check here.
Torri Del Benaco
When in Torri del Benaco, there’s a long and seemingly endless list of fun and interesting things to, and the town is basically a hub of adventure. It has loads of tourist attractions, amazing sights, cultural landmarks, and historical monuments.
You can spend the day at the beautiful and scenic Lake Garda and enjoy the breathtaking sunset. You can visit monuments and landmarks like Cantina Zeni e Museo del Vino, Gardesana Orientale, and Valle delle Cartiere.
Top rated restaurants in Torri del Benaco where you’ll surely get your money’s worth include La Gemme di Artemisa, Trattoria Loncrino, and Ristrante Gardesena. They all serve Italian and Mediterranean food.
Best Places to stay in Torri del Benaco : For where to stay in Benaco in a wide range of budgets and accommodation styles, from budget to lux and from hostels, hotels and apartment. Click here for hotels in Torri del Benaco.
Sirmione is a beautiful town along Lake Garda, and it’s location makes it perfect for many interesting touring activities like tours, city walks, and day trips.
While in Sirmione, some great day trips you can take include trips to Lago di Garda, Lungolago di Garda, and to Parco Baia delle Sirene. Each of these towns has a lot to offer in terms of food, scenery, and culture, and you’ll enjoy what each of the towns have to offer.
Within Sirmione, a great landmark you must visit is Castello Scaligero Di Sirmione, a magnificent 13th Century castle. Surrounded by water and hills, this castle is as beautiful as its historical value. While visiting Sirmione also check out Grotte di Catullo, The Church of San Pietro, and The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Great Italian food is readily available in Sirmione in addition to the Gelaterias of course. Drop by amazing restaurants like Bar Barracuda Ristorant Sirmione and Lido Galeazzi and have a taste of world-famous Italian cuisine.
Best Places to stay in Sirmione: For where to stay in Malcesine in a wide range of budgets and accommodation styles, from budget to lux and from hostels, hotels and apartment. Click here for hotels in Sirmione.
Malsecine is a great and wonderful town to go to while on holiday, on a romantic getaway, or a family vacation. This town has a rich historical background, and that’s one of my favorite things about it.
Monte Baldo is one of Malcesine’s most popular attractions, and there are a number of ways which you can explore this scenic mountain that’s situated between Lake Garda and River Adige. You can climb, cable care, or cycle, and that’s an experience I guarantee you’ll never forget. The views of the lake from the mountain are simply breathtaking, unlike anything else you’ll ever see.
You can also choose to spend your day at the lake, for some calm and quiet alone time. If you’re looking for premium Malcesine cuisine, then I recommend great restaurants like Al Corsar, La Voglia, and Ristorante al Goldoliere.
Best Places to stay in Malcesine: For where to stay in Malcesine in a wide range of budgets and accommodation styles, from budget to lux and from hostels, hotels and apartment. Click here for hotels in Malcesine.
Riva del Garda
Adventure lovers will have the time of their lives in Riva del Garda, because there’s not shortage of things to do for fun. I love this scenic town because it offers a lot in terms of food, culture, views, and adventure. The view of the lake and mountains you get in Riva is almost unrivaled.
If you’re looking for great food in Riva del Garda, I’d suggest Ristorante La Berlera, where you can enjoy a complete gourmet experience. The interior is breathtaking, and the food is heavenly.
A walk around the town will immerse you in its vast artistic and historical heritage. While you’re there, you can visit the Apponale Tower, the Praetorian Palace, and the Fortress.
Best Places to stay in Riva del Garda: For something budget check out Albergo La Montanara, which is only 200 yards from the historic center of Riva del Garda or check out the lovely Garni Hotello Sport and Relax. For mid-range budgets check out Hotel Bellariva which comes with a stunning mountain backdrop and lake views or Hotel Rudy which is a real gem in the heart of Basso Sarca Valley. For ultra luxury hotels in Riva del Garda with a side of relation check out Parc Hotel Flora which offers Turkish baths, saunas and hot tubs. Another one to check out is Lake Front Hotel Mirage which is only 164 feet from the beach! For more hotels in Riva Del Garda check here.
Limone Sul Garda
Another scenic and serene town off the coast of Lake Garda, Limone sul Garda famed for its lemons, after which it was named. It is surrounded by hills and quaint villages. The rest of the world only gained access to Limone in the early 40’s after the construction of Riva del Garda.
Top places to visit in Limone sul Garda include La Limonia del Castel (a place which captures the central essence of Limone del Garda, and showcases its rich lemon heritage and history), Museum of tourism, and Limone Water Sport Centre.
Best Places to stay in Limone Sul Garda: For where to stay in Limone in a wide range of budgets and accommodation styles, from budget to lux and from hostels, hotels and apartment. Click here for hotels in Limone Sul Garda.
On Lake Garda’s western shore lies Gardone Riviera, a small picturesque town that’s also the perfect tourist hub. The waterfront settlement is full of tourists, but is still super laid back and manages to retain a serene air.
I recommend visiting Heller Garden, a botanic garden also referred to as Giardino Hruska Botanic. It’s only open from the months of March to October, so drop by if you’re in Gardone Riviera around that time.
Superb dining options in Gardone Riviera include Ristorante Lido 84, Osteria Antico Brolo, and Ristorante Pizzeria Sans Souci. Most restaurants in Gardone Riviera sell Italian food like pizza and pasta, seafood, Mediterranean cuisine, and vegetarian food. The food is tasty, and captures the Italian dining essence.
Best Places to stay in Gardone Riviera: For where to stay in Gardone in a wide range of budgets and accommodation styles, from budget to lux and from hostels, hotels and apartment. Click here for hotels in Gardone Riviera.
Lake Garda Map | Lago Di Garda Map
Below is a map of Lake Garda to give you an idea of where the towns are on the lake.
Where To Stay In Lake Garda
There are so many options to choose from whether looking for the best place to stay in Lake Garda for couples, best place to stay in Lake Garda without a car or cool Lake Garda hotels with swimming pool views of the mountains of great Garda hotels great for solo travellers. Option are a-plenty! From villa hotels to little boutique hotels where you can mingle with the owners. The best town to stay in Lake Garda depends on which one of the towns above sounds like a great starting point for you.
As I mentioned above you might want to consider picking a town in the South or the North. We started with the South of Lake Garda, staying in Desenzano del Garda. This gave as easy access to day trips to Sirmione, Garda and some of the towns at the base of the Lake before moving on to Malcesine in the north. For tips on cheap hotels in Lake Garda check out my recent post. For A list of hotels on Lake Garda in each of the towns click here.
Lake Garda Holidays & How To Get To Lake Garda
We had the pleasure of arriving in Lake Garda from Verona which is also along the same train line as Venice. So if you are exploring Venice or Verona, or looking for easily accessible airports then Verona and Venice are great. Our flight arrived in Verona and from there we took the train to Desenzano. We then based ourselves here first and explored the Southern towns on Lake Garda before moving to the northern side of the lake. To check train times and prices check out Omio which is fast becoming my go-to site for transport information.
While I organise my trips from start to finish myself, that may not be the travel style of some of my readers. For itineraries and Lake Garda holiday packages, check out Exodus Travels which offers; Headwater – From the Dolomites to Lake Garda Self-Guided Cycling option. Check out Lastminute, Expedia and EasyJetHolidays for deals on flight and hotel packages.
Worry not if you are a solo traveller. Just Go Holidays and Riviera Travel have amazing package holidays for Italian Lakes and Lake Garda in particular. Check out this 4-day tour of Lake Garda and this 8-day tour of Italian lakes from Riviera Travel while Just Go Holidays are offering a 10-day Magnificent Maggiore & the Italian Lakes tour and this 8-day Lake Garda & Verona for the Single Traveller. For more package tours in Italy click here.
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