The most beautiful villages of Lake Garda: let's discover them together.
Lake Garda, also known as Benaco, is Italy's largest lake. It touches 3 regions: Lombardy (west coast), Veneto (east coast) and Trentino (north coast). To the south, it is surrounded by moraine hills. The northern part is ringed by Mount Baldo, which protects it from cold currents, making its climate mild, Mediterranean-type.
Its clear waters, mild climate, rich vegetation of olive, cypress, lemon and oleander trees, proximity to beautiful cities of art such as Verona, Mantova, Brescia and Trento, and the presence of more than 50 picturesque villages make it one of the most attractive destinations in northern Italy.
Lake Garda is the ideal destination for those who want a journey filled with relaxation, culture and sports. Starting from the province of Verona, let's discover the most beautiful villages on Lake Garda that are a must-visit.
Peschiera del Garda: one of the most enchanting villages of Lake Garda
Just a stone's throw from Verona, Peschiera del Garda is easily reached from Milan and Mantua by train and car. Thanks to its strategic location, it is also an excellent base for visiting Lake Garda by public transport.
Peschiera is a fortified town. Since 2017 its fortifications, built by the Venetian Republic, have been part of the UNESCO serial site "Venetian defence works between the 15th and 17th centuries".
Inside the fortress is the characteristic historical centre with its alleys, bars, trattorias and many accommodation facilities that welcome visitors all year round. It is also possible to reach all the main resorts on the shores of the lake by convenient public boats.
The mild climate all year round, the beautiful lakeside promenades, the beaches and the many activities available make Peschiera an excellent destination for relaxing and cultural stays of varying lengths. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy water sports, walking or cycling.
For fun-filled days, the famous amusement parks Gardaland and Movieland are just a stone's throw from Peschiera. Don't miss the opportunity to rent a bicycle and ride along some of the best cycle paths of Lake Garda, such as the cycle path from Peschiera to Garda via Lazise and Bardolino and the Mincio cycle path that runs along the river Mincio to Mantua. In Peschiera, you will find relaxation, romantic views and even a bit of "movida"!
Tour through the most picturesque villages of Lake Garda: Lazise
Continuing northwards, we encounter one of the most beautiful and visited villages on the Veronese shore of Lake Garda: Lazise.
An elegant and aesthetically pleasing village with a mediaeval historic centre with fine buildings, the ancient Scaliger walls, a castle and the fortress. Strolling around, you will reach the central square, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, full of bars and small restaurants where you can enjoy a good glass of wine.
A few steps away is the small harbour and the beautiful lakeside promenade leading to Garda, full of amazing views to photograph. Lazise is famous for its beautiful landscape and because it is close to the thermal baths of Colà and the Gardaland amusement park.
Less famous than Sirmione or Riva del Garda, Bardolino is one of the most charming villages on Lake Garda in all seasons. Strolling through the alleys and lanes of its small centre, you will come across fine ancient and religious buildings, the antique town walls and even splendid 19th-century villas.
The central square, Piazza Matteotti, opens onto a beautiful lakeside promenade where romantic sunsets can be admired, especially in winter. In spring and summer Bardolino's lakefront is decorated with many colourful flowers. Don't miss the opportunity to have a drink with a view or take a nice walk along the lakefront to enjoy the beautiful beaches and a fantastic panorama!
Towards the north we have Rocca di Garda, which can be reached via a panoramic path that runs inside the cape and offers spectacular views of Garda and Bardolino.
For wine lovers, there are the Wine Museum and many cellars to visit! Here you can taste Bardolino wine and many other red and white wines, accompanied by local products. Bardolino is a lively village that offers events throughout the year. One of the most famous is "La Festa dell'uva e del Vino Bardolino" - festival of grapes and Bardolino wine - that takes place every year in October.
From the castle tower, you can admire fabulous views of the lake, the small beaches and the alleys of the old town with its historical buildings. Don't miss the opportunity to take the cable car from the centre to the top of Monte Baldo.
Here you can relax and have a drink with a view, admire the panorama, hike in the mountains, go mountain biking or experience paragliding! Malcesine is the ideal place to stay for relaxation, culture and sport. To find out more, read our article on what to see and do in Malcesine.
The municipality of Nago-Torbole consists of two separate villages and is located on the northern shore of the lake. It is one of the most characteristic villages of upper Lake Garda and an ideal destination for sports and nature lovers. With its colourful little houses, Torbole overlooks the lake and is famous for its outdoor activities and sailing club.
Its beautiful pebble beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, surfing and admiring beautiful sunsets... in all seasons. In addition, 'walkers' and cycling enthusiasts have several scenic cycling and walking routes at their disposal.
Nago is located inland, just a few kilometres from Torbole, and is the perfect starting point for hikes and bike tours on Monte Baldo. In Nago, you will find a picturesque historic centre decorated with 13 murals created by local artists.
Not to be missed: the remains of the ancient Penede Castle, dating back to the 13th century, a visit to the Austro-Hungarian Fortress and an excursion to the Marmitte dei Giganti, incredible glacial wells formed millions of years ago.
Riva del Garda
Around Riva, there is no lack of places of interest like Lake Tenno, the medieval village of Canale di Tenno, the famous Varone waterfalls, and the town of Arco with its fortress. Moreover, Riva del Garda is not lacking in water sports and outdoor activities. To admire the lake in all its beauty, don't miss the Strada del Ponale, a scenic path suitable for everyone and practicable on foot or by bicycle. This path leads from the centre of Riva to the Ponale waterfall in Val di Ledro.
Limone sul Garda
Continuing our journey towards the province of Brescia, we reach another of the most beautiful villages on Lake Garda: Limone sul Garda. Famous for its fragrant lemon houses, it fascinates with its colourful harbour, alleys, small squares and fountains in its historic centre. Stroll along the beautiful lakeside promenade and enjoy the views and vast panorama of the Veronese shore of the lake.
Visit the little church of San Rocco, one of Limone's best-loved sights, and don't miss the spectacular cycle path connecting Limone to Trentino. This cycle path, partially suspended over the lake, is a true spectacle that offers unique views. There is also no shortage of beautiful beaches where you can relax and bathe in the blue waters of the lake.
The town of Salò has Roman origins and is one of the best-known destinations in the province of Brescia. Salò is best remembered for the historical events related to the Italian Social Republic or Republic of Salò, which occurred during the Second World War.
Overlooking Lake Garda and enclosed to the west and south by the Morenic Hills and to the north by Monte San Bartolomeo, it is famous for its elegance and beautiful landscape. The entire historic centre is noteworthy with its fine religious and civil buildings. The most important are the Cathedral, the Church of San Bernardino, the Potestà Palace and the Civic Theatre.
Strolling along the lakeside promenade is the best way to admire the town's elegant buildings and enjoy the relaxing and romantic view. In addition, there are many beautiful and evocative places to visit in the surrounding area, such as the Rocca di Manerba, the Vittoriale degli Italiani and the walk from Moniga to Padenghe. Salò is located in the Alto Garda Bresciano park and offers many excursions on foot, especially to Monte San Bartolomeo. Here you can enjoy splendid views of the lake and the towns reflected in its waters.
Just a few kilometres from Salò, Gardone Riviera is a village waiting to be discovered. Included in the list of Italy's Most Beautiful Villages, this enchanting little town fascinates with its beautiful natural surroundings, an outstanding historic centre and the famous 'Vittoriale degli Italiani'. The Vittoriale is a monumental complex of buildings, streets, squares, and gardens built in 1921 at the behest of the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio. During a brief stay in Gardone, the poet fell in love with the place and decided to have a monument built to his life and the activities that involved him, from literature to military assignments.
The Vittoriale is the most important tourist attraction of Gardone Riviera, but nature is another undisputed protagonist in this village. A beautiful open-air attraction to mention is the André Heller Botanical Garden, an original path among Japanese gardens, streams, caves, and Dolomite rocks. The surrounding mountains are rich in hiking trails. D'Annunzio lakefront also offers romantic and relaxing walks with unforgettable views. Finally, a stroll through the ancient centre of Gardone Riviera is strongly recommended, discovering picturesque alleys and colourful houses decorated with beautiful flowers.
Desenzano del Garda
Desenzano del Garda is one of the largest towns in the southern part of Lake Garda, easily accessible from Verona and Milan by car and train. It is pretty and lively and offers tourist and cultural attractions, the possibility of outdoor activities and even a bit of nightlife. Of Roman origins, it has a picturesque historic centre with narrow streets, the cathedral, colourful houses and many small shops with typical local products. In the historic centre you also find the Roman villa of Desenzano, one of the most important Roman villas in northern Italy, with 240 square metres of polychrome mosaics.
From the historic centre, you can also reach the Castle, which dominates the city from above and offers a beautiful view of the lake. A short walk from the centre is the Porto Vecchio - old harbour - with its colourful boats and Venetian-style porticoes. Nearby the lakefront with its small beaches, bars and restaurants for days of total relaxation. Desenzano is also a perfect starting point for visiting other villages on Lake Garda and nearby locations such as Sirmione, Borghetto, Valeggio sul Mincio and the Sigurtà park. Finally, those who want a bit of nightlife will find clubs and disco bars along the shores of the lake!
In addition, it offers a fascinating and extensive historical heritage: the Rocca Scaligera surrounded on all four sides by the waters of the lake, the remains of an ancient Roman villa (the Grotte di Catullo), the beautiful church of S. Pietro in Mavino, and a picturesque and charming old town with narrow streets and alleys full of small shops, bars, restaurants, and many ice-cream parlours!
Finally, don't miss the opportunity to relax and enjoy the view by walking along the Promenade delle Muse. This path starts under the Scaliger walls and leads to the tip of the peninsula. Not to be missed is the stone beach called Jamaica beach. It is located just outside the city centre and is a unique place: in front of you the blue water of the lake, behind you is the Grotte di Catullo!
What are the most fascinating villages of Lake Garda?