castelli lago di garda

Lake Garda Castles

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Castles on Lake Garda

Numerous fascinating castles stand along the shores of Lake Garda. Inside them you can take a step back in time, among medieval architecture and priceless works of art.

Moreover, by visiting them you can enjoy extraordinary views of the lake and its surroundings. So follow us in this list of the eight main castles on Lake Garda that you should not miss on your next holiday.

1. Fortress of Peschiera del Garda

In Peschiera del Garda, it is not really a castle, but rather a military fortification complex built in the 13th century to defend the town. The imposing fortress was a key strategic point for centuries, and since 2017 has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Using the useful audio guide, you can discover the many fascinating structures of the fortress on your own, such as the five bastions, the Rocca Scaligera, Porta Verona and the Austrian Powder Magazine. Alternatively, there is also a guided walk or an impressive boat tour, only available from March to October, to admire the complex from a new perspective.

castelli sul garda

3. Scaliger Castle of Torri del Benaco

The locality in which it is located, Torri del Benaco, takes its name from the three towers that the castle comprises. With the restoration in the early 1980s, which gave new life to the Scaliger Castle, the ethnographic museum was also inaugurated: here you can admire interesting rooms dedicated to rock engravings, olive growing and fishing. The highlight, not to be missed, is the marvellous and evocative Citrus Greenhouse, the only one of its kind.

castello torri del benaco

4. Scaliger Castle of Malcesine

The castle, of medieval origin and perfectly preserved, is attached to the delightful and characteristic village of Malcesine and stands on a raised rocky area. Among other things, inside you will find a rich natural history museum, wonderful frescoes, an intriguing secret passage and the beautiful Goethe Hall, dedicated to the famous German poet. Climbing up to the picturesque Rivellino courtyard or the majestic tower, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Lake Garda and beyond: an emotion that alone is worth the price of the ticket.

castelli lago di garda

5. Arco Castle

We now move on to Arco, a small town a few kilometres from the Trentino side of Lake Garda. The castle of Arco is located high up on a rocky spur and can only be reached on foot. But fear not: it is a scenic walk uphill, but relaxing and undemanding.

Once there, in addition to enjoying the marvellous view, you can admire the three surviving walls of the imposing Torre Grande and the amazing 14th century frescoes depicting the game of chess and the slaying of the dragon by St. George.

arco di trento cosa vedere

6. Rocca di Riva del Garda

If you visit Riva del Garda, one of the must-sees is definitely its Rocca. Founded in medieval times as a fortification, during the Austrian occupation it was later used as a barracks, reducing the height of the towers.

Today it houses the prestigious MAG Museo Alto Garda, whose picture gallery contains magnificent works by artists such as Pietro Ricchi, Vincenzo Vela and Francesco Hayez. The museum’s other valuable sections, archaeology and history, make the Rocca di Riva truly unmissable.

7. Desenzano del Garda Castle

We now move on to the Lombard shore of the lake, more precisely the southern shore. Situated on a hilltop, the Castle of Desenzano del Garda dominates the town, and is believed to stand on the ruins of an ancient Roman castrum.

It is possible to walk along the castle walls and climb even higher up the keep to enjoy a splendid view of Desenzano and the lake. The castle often hosts interesting art exhibitions and conferences, and in its small amphitheatre musical concerts and various events are held in summer.

desenzano cosa vedere

8. Scaliger Castle of Sirmione del Garda

Finally, we conclude with the Scaliger Castle of Sirmione del Garda, the only one on this list to be bathed by lake water on all its sides. The fortress is located at the entrance to the beautiful old town of Sirmione, best known for its thermal pools and the splendid Grotte di Catullo.

As well as being incredibly well-preserved, the 14th-century castle also has a fascination for lovers of the paranormal: legend has it that the ghost of Hebengard roams the rooms of the castle, running in search of his beloved Arice.

castello di sirmione | castelli sul garda
castello di sirmione

This is just a taste of what these marvellous castles have to offer, with experiences suitable for the whole family: to enjoy them to the full, all you have to do is go and discover them for yourself.

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