Italy's largest and most visited lake lives up to its reputation as a thrilling year-round destination sought by seekers of adventure and tranquility alike. Lake Garda, formed by glaciers at the end of the last ice age, lies at the foot of the Alps in Northern Italy, between Venice and Milan. From the sheer rocky cliffs of the Dolomite mountain range at its northern tip to the sandy beaches lining its southern shores, Garda lake presents a stimulating and diverse range of landscapes that draw thousands of travelers and visitors each year, making it one of Italy's hottest vacation destinations.
Garda Lake, only 17 kilometers across at its widest point, nonetheless stretches 51 kilometers north to south and defines 158 kilometers of shoreline spread out among the provinces of Verona, Brescia, and Trento. Its shores are lined with medieval castles and ancient ruins, picturesque villages and lakeside promenades, vineyards and olive groves, and a wealth of natural scenery including lemon trees, oleanders, magnolias, and bougainvillea. Its clear waters provide an ideal setting for water sports of all kinds and surround numerous islands, including five main ones, the largest of which is the Isola del Garda.
Lake Garda's Mediterranean climate is comfortable year round, particularly in the summer. The visitor to Garda Lake will have no shortage of activities to enjoy. If outdoor activities appeal to you, you might enjoy a boat trip, a walking exploration of the surrounding historical cities, or any of a variety of outdoor sports including windsurfing, sailing, scuba-diving, paragliding, rock climbing, mountain biking, tennis, or golfing on Garda's world-famous courses. If you fancy entertainment, you might enjoy taking in a performance at the Arena in Verona during Opera Season or visiting one of the lake's awe-inspiring botanical gardens, shopping among many elegant shops and picturesque street markets, or dip into the local nightlife at some of the many trendy restaurants, cafes, and discos available.
The lake is well equipped to handle tourists. The area is known for its high standard of service and outstanding value. For lodging you can take your choice from among hotels and holiday apartments, or more rustic accommodations such as campgrounds and farms. Transportation on and around the lake itself is served by hydrofoils, catamarans, and ferries, as well as public buses that run all around the lake. Some of the locales worth exploring include the following sites:
- Riva Del Garda: Dominated by a medieval fortress, this town is a popular summer resort and an ideal location for windsurfing.
- Malcesine: A historic town with a harbor and a medieval castle.
- Bardolino: A town famous for healing, with thermal baths and a wellness and beauty center.
- Gardaland: Italy's largest amusement park, served by buses from all around Lake Garda.
- Sirmione: Favored by artists and poets, this town has a medieval castle as well as thermal bath resorts.
- Gardone: A town known for exotic plants and architecture from medieval to baroque to early 20th century aristocratic villas.
Clearly, whatever your tastes, Lake Garda has something to offer. If you are planning a trip to Italy, Lake Garda is one destination you shouldn't miss.