Lake Garda Holidays 2019 / 2020
Beautifully set against the Morainic hills and nestled between the Brenta Dolomites, Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy. Boasting a typically Mediterranean climate, the deep blue waters of the lake are surrounded by vividly colourful towns, beautiful cypress trees and olive groves.
Lake Garda holidays won’t disappoint. There are spectacular scenes wherever you look, from picturesque lemon groves to fringed palms. Lake Garda restaurants offer the finest Italian food, and there are some great Lake Garda holiday deals available. What’s not to like? It’s a stunning destination that’s one our favourite Italian lakes holidays.
Located in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, a cheap Lake Garda holiday gives visitors the best possible value-for-money travel experience.
Lake Garda has some of the best water sports, hiking and skiing opportunities in Italy, giving you a choice between thrill-seeking and adventure or sumptuous relaxation. There’s an abundance of activities and entertainment on offer – even theme parks! So, it’s no surprise that Lake Garda is the most popular of the Italian lakes to visit.
With stunning resorts like Limone and the Gardone Riviera offering luxury accommodation at incredible prices, and cheap deals on flights, treat yourself to a truly classy holiday and visit beautiful Lake Garda in 2019.
Kickstart your holiday here by checking out our top hotels in Lake Garda.
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 2h 0m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
There are so many things to do in Lake Garda. With a wealth of Italian culture in its lakeside markets and delicious local cuisine, you’ll find your visit truly inspiring. Whether you want an idyllic escape or simply fancy some sightseeing, there are plenty of things to keep you busy.
- A great way to see Lake Garda is to go on a boat trip, or rent a boat of your own. Starting in the charming harbour of Desenzano, you can navigate towards the tip of Sirmione, where you can admire the crystal-clear waters surrounding the beautiful Grotte di Catullo, the largest Roman villa in Northern Italy.
- Heading out in the direction of Peschiera, the lake becomes the Mincio River. Along its banks, you can make a short stop in Lazise, then continue on towards Bardolino, across the Garda Bay to Punta San Vigilio. Another possible stop on your boat trip is the stunning Garda Island.
- A holiday to Lake Garda isn’t complete without a visit to the famous sulphur springs at the tip of the lake's peninsula. Base yourself in stunning Sirmione, where sulphurous water spas are said to help with al kinds of ailments!
- Garda Thermal Park also boasts pools of warm water, well-known for their restorative properties, where visitors can bathe. Another wellness haven is Villa dei Cedri Park, which is surrounded by ancient cypress and beech trees, and contains a natural thermal spring. With specially provided heated gazebos, you can journey through tunnels that take you directly to the heated lake – a perfect complement to an already fantastic break.
- Quench your thirst at the Zenato vineyards in the rolling hills of Garda. Nestled in the ancient lands of Lugana and Valpolicella, in a mild climate, wine enthusiasts are in their element here, tasting the fine produce and gazing at the majestic views overlooking the Veneto shore of Lake Garda. Covering 75 hectares, the vineyard produces Trebbiano di Lugana grapes.
- For history and culture buffs, there’s a host of ancient remains around Lake Garda that hark back to its colourful past. The lake is surrounded by several provinces with plenty of historical attractions, like Malcesine, a quiet settlement with 13th century fortifications, and Nago-Torbole, a fishing village that’s home to the ruins of the Penede Castle.
- Many of the attractions at the lake are ancient Roman ruins and castles, which make for amazing day trips. For something a bit more recent, and incredibly romantic, the city of Verona is under two hours away. So, why not visit the home of the worlds’ greatest love story with your Romeo or Juliet, before returning to your lakeside escape to watch the sun set over the blue waters?
You’ll find delicious Mediterranean fare everywhere around Lake Garda, with locally grown fruit like grapes, peaches and nectarines all featured on most menus. Lake Garda restaurants are a true taste of Italy, with a huge variety of pizza and pasta on offer, and local delicacies like sun-dried Lake Garda fish, which is definitely worth trying.
- Served with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of locally produced olive oil, this dish is very popular with locals. For the perfect accompaniment to any dish, indulge in a glass of merlot. Lake Garda is home to many vineyards, and is particularly renowned for red wine.
- Specialising in local seafood, Le Gemme di Artemisia in Torri del Benaco offer diners a choice of five different menus, or surprise tasting menus. The amazing food is definitely best enjoyed with a bottle of local wine.
- Ristorante Esplanade on the lakeside in Desenzano delivers a menu that fuses lots of different dishes, from pasta to fish and meat. You can expect the best at this Michelin-starred establishment.
- The family-run Al Cardellino restaurant in Riva del Garda is both elegant and rustic, offering brilliant views of Lake Garda. You can enjoy a candlelit dinner in the beautiful garden, and feast on a variety of specialities like freshwater fish, home-made pasta, and black truffles, washed down great quality local wines.
If you’re bringing the family to Lake Garda, you’ll find pure excitement for the kids at one of Lake Garda's three amusement parks.
- The little ones can play pirates and check out the dinosaurs at Gardaland, on one of the six thrilling rollercoasters. This theme park also has three water rides, while older children can visit the two-in-one theme park, CanevaWorld, which is home to the exhilarating Aquaparadise. There’s also the action-packed Movieland in Lazise.
- For something a bit more cultural, you and the kids can learn about farm life at the Agritur Laghel 7. This 18th century restored rural farm is situated in a large olive grove overlooking Lake Garda. They breed cattle here, and offer activities for the whole family, including lessons about the animals and the organic vegetable garden. For the more adventurous, there’s an on-site western riding school.
- Galleria di Scienze Naturali Reptiland is based in Riva del Garda, and is home to living reptiles, arachnids and insects, and fossilised creatures. Inside the Galleria Città di Riva, the natural science gallery gives you a fascinating view of a lost world.
Steeped in history and culture, there are many cultural attractions to visit in Lake Garda. With a short walk along the lakeside towards Salo, there’s the enchanting Il Duomo, one of Lake Garda’s beautiful churches. Inside, you’ll find an awe-inspiring wooden crucifix and some beautiful paintings.
- Sirmione, in the centre of the southern shore, is home to the Grotte di Catullo, an impressive maze of Roman ruins with a museum adjacent to the site. You can delve into the history of the area and its peaceful surroundings, and then take a pleasant walk to the town. You won’t be short of excellent photo opportunities on any of your walks.
- In Malcesine, you can travel back in time with a visit to the medieval buildings, stunning Venetian villas and ancient ruins. In the Palazzo dei Capitano’s lake-front square, you can take in the sights from one of the welcoming little cafés.
- Explore the old centre of Garda and the Villa degli Albertini, dating back to the 16th century. Pay a visit to the hidden art galleries on the narrow street paths, or marvel at the Chiesa de Santa Maria, the Baroque 13th century church with amazing Renaissance-style frescos.
Does Lake Garda have beaches? It certainly does! Although Lake Garda is inland, miles away from the coast, it does have some very pleasant beaches. Lake Garda beaches are mostly pebble and shingle, with a few man-made soft sandy beaches, which are perfect for sun bathing.
- Lazise Beach is one of the best beaches in Lake Garda because of its fine sand. The beach lies along the coast south of Lazise and is popular with locals and tourists. The Desenzano area also has some amazing beaches, the best of which is probably the shingle beach in Rivoltella.
- The Sirmione beaches are rocky, but worth a visit to catch a glimpse of the swans as the lake is a sanctuary for the birds. The best swimming beach, with the cleanest and clearest water on the lake, is Lido dell Bionde. The main public beach of Santa Maria has lots of play spaces for kids, so it’s popular with families.
- In Punta San Vigilio, past Garda Town, you'll find some lovely shingle beaches with crystal clear waters and ample parking. For peace and quiet, you’ll want to try Spiaggia Baia del Vento for its softer sands, where you can hire canoes and pedal boats on the beach.
The nightlife on Lake Garda is generally quite chilled out, compared to its busier neighbours, Milan and Venice. Bar and beach bar culture is big, though, thanks to the views and lakeside location.
- In Bardolino, the Hollywood Dance Club showcases magnificent 1950s architecture in a beautiful part of the area. You’re in for a colourful night, with its vibrant rooms inspired by Hundertwasser and Gaudi.
- If you fancy a relaxed night beside the lake, head to the Coco Beach Club in Desenzano del Garda. The club has a lounge bar, a restaurant and a dance floor, with various rotating events like barbecues and DJ sets happening throughout the week. Coco Beach Club sits on white sand, so you can enjoy a cocktail under the palm trees.
- Recyclage Café boasts unusual décor both inside and out. With different pieces of recycled and reconstructed furniture, there’s plenty to admire in this café.
There is a certain magical allure about Lake Garda, with its sleepy, romantic setting and winding cobbled streets.
- The majestic landscape and pastel-coloured villas provide a perfect backdrop for a romantic trip away. A popular choice for honeymooners, there are plenty of things to do on a holiday in Lake Garda. The best hotels in Lake Garda for couples include Hotel Savoy Palace, Lido Palace and Villa Cortine Palace Hotel.
- The exquisite Gardens of Parco Giardino Sigurta are a great setting for an afternoon picnic for two, with a kaleidoscope of colour to feast your eyes on.
- Enjoy the romantic park surroundings on foot, or on rented bicycles. To find out more about the region and sample some of the delicious delicacies it produces, take a visit to the Trentino Garda vineyards, and taste the fantastic wine on offer in Lake Garda’s picturesque settings.
- You can also pop to Sirmione, a small, historic town overlooked by Roman ruins. It’s perfect for a relaxed, romantic day out.
- Finally, go on a romantic stroll together through the labyrinth of winding streets. These are home to many alfresco cafés, shops and gelaterias.
People also ask
Can you swim in Lake Garda?
There are plenty of amazing beaches from which you can swim in the clear lake water.
Where do you fly into for Lake Garda?
Lake Garda is within easy reach of major national and international airports, the nearest being Verona-Villafranca, approximately 15 km away, and Brescia-Montichiari, 30 km away.
What is the water temperature of Lake Garda?
The water is generally quite warm, averaging around 23C in the summer months.
How long is Lake Garda in miles?
The lake is around 30 miles long.