What to see on Lake Garda

Table of Contents:

Visiting Lake Garda is an experience that must be done at least once in a lifetime. Italy’s largest lake attracts visitors from all over the world, thanks to the numerous activities and attractions it has to offer.

Its geographical location makes it rich in fantastic scenery and the perfect place for vacations, weekends, and excursions for all those who love nature, relaxation, sports, culture, food, and much more.

So, if you’re planning your vacation and can’t decide among the many beauties of the area, let us help you by suggesting 10 places to visit on Lake Garda.

10 Things to see on Lake Garda

1. Peschiera del Garda, UNESCO Heritage Town

Among the numerous cities around the lake, Peschiera del Garda stands out as one of the most captivating, rich in culture and history, and deserves a place on the list of places to visit on Lake Garda.

Surrounded by the canals of the Mincio River, Peschiera was once a strategically important military location due to its position. Its marvelous fortress became a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017, and today, visitors can explore its interior or take small boat tours in the surrounding waters.

In addition to leisurely strolls through the charming and characteristic alleys of the town, for those interested in sports, the cycling path of Parco del Mincio starts here, connecting Peschiera with the equally fascinating town of Mantua, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Sirmione and the Catullus Grottoes

Known as the “Pearl of Lake Garda,” Sirmione earned this title from the poet Catullus, who fell in love with the beauty of this place. One of the most beloved attractions on Lake Garda is found here: the archaeological area of the “Catullus Grottoes,” featuring the remains of a luxurious Roman villa and a museum displaying ancient artifacts from the region.

The town is also renowned for its thermal baths, which welcome visitors from all over each year, thanks to the healing properties of its waters.

In Sirmione, you’ll find one of the most beautiful beaches on Lake Garda, the Jamaica Beach, a free beach with crystal-clear waters set in an unspoiled natural environment where you can relax and admire the beauty of the area.

To see Sirmione from a different perspective, we recommend taking a cruise around the peninsula, where you can admire the Scaligero Castle, the Catullus Grottoes, the Villa of Maria Callas, the Aquaria Wellness Center, and the sulfur spring of Sirmione, where the thermal waters gush to the surface.

For those who prefer to stay on land, a guided walking tour will undoubtedly be interesting and insightful.

3. Vittoriale degli Italiani

If you are uncertain about which place you absolutely cannot miss on Lake Garda, then we’ll tell you: The Vittoriale degli Italiani.

This captivating complex of monuments, gardens, and fountains is located in Gardone Riviera and is the burial place and last residence of the renowned poet Gabriele D’Annunzio.

Among the most interesting elements of the park are the poet’s house-museum, the bow of the Puglia Ship, part of the Italian Navy, some vehicles and aircraft that belonged to D’Annunzio, and the magnificent amphitheater where numerous shows are still hosted and performed today.

4. Isola del Garda and Villa Borghese Cavazza

Did you know that Lake Garda has 5 islands? One of them, the largest and most elegant, is Isola del Garda, located in the territory of San Felice del Benaco on the Brescia side.

The elegance of this place comes from the presence of a magnificent villa from the 20th century, Villa Borghese, built in Venetian neo-Gothic style, with a charming Italian garden set in a unique natural environment.

The island is owned by the Cavazza family, but access is allowed for anyone who wants to visit, and it’s also one of the most beautiful wedding locations on Lake Garda.

Visiting the island independently is not possible, but on the official website, you can book a guided tour (lasting about 2 and a half hours) that includes a visit to the gardens and part of the villa.

However, if you have limited time and want to admire the villa only from the outside while aboard a boat, the best option might be a private cruise around Lake Garda, which, in addition to showing you Villa Borghese on Isola del Garda, will take you to discover other marvels such as Gardone, the Gulf of Salò, and the coast of Portese.

5. Lazise, an Ancient Medieval Village

The municipality of Lazise is one of the oldest on Lake Garda and holds the title of “Italy’s first free municipality.”

Its Scaliger Castle, restored several times over the years, is one of the castles on the lake that remains in good condition to this day.

Lazise is the perfect place for those who love water sports and spending days on the beach, as well as for enthusiasts of culture, history, and gastronomy. While strolling through the charming streets of the town center, you can still notice the medieval characteristics of the ancient village and immerse yourself in its traditions.

For travelers visiting Lake Garda with children or those who love fun and adrenaline, Lazise is an ideal destination due to its proximity to the main amusement parks in the area, including Gardaland, Movieland, and the Caneva Water Park.

6. Varone Waterfall

If you are visiting the northern part of Lake Garda, on the Trentino side, don’t miss the Varone Waterfall in the municipality of Riva del Garda, specifically located in Tenno.

This unique waterfall, with a height of about 98 meters, plunges into a deep gorge carved into the rock and can be admired by walking along the walkways next to it.

The park where it is located is open all year round, and during the summer season, it can get quite crowded. However, the visit to this magical place is definitely worth it, trust me.

7. San Biagio Island or Island of Rabbits

Another interesting island on Lake Garda that we recommend visiting is San Biagio Island, also known as the “Island of Rabbits” due to the presence of these cute animals on its territory.

The island is part of the municipality of Manerba del Garda and is owned by a campsite. For this reason, public access is closed in the evening, but during the day, you can reach it either by private boat or by paying for a taxi-boat service, or you can even walk to the island.

The water surrounding the island is so shallow that you can simply walk to its shores. This place is also very popular among scuba diving enthusiasts, thanks to the presence of the “Altare Rock,” located just a few meters from the coast.

8. Aril River, a River of Records

If you are at Lake Garda and want to see something curious and unique in the world, then we recommend heading to the hamlet of Cassone in the municipality of Malcesine. Here, you will find the shortest river in the world.

The Aril River is an inflow of Lake Garda, and its length of only 175 meters gives it this particular record. For those who want to visit it during the Christmas season, a special floating Nativity scene is set up on the river, decorating its waters.

9. Lemon Groves of Lake Garda

The Lake Garda region was once well-known for the cultivation of citrus fruits, particularly lemons, due to the Mediterranean climate that allowed these plants to thrive.

The trade of these fruits was widespread, but over time, this activity faced signs of crisis and was eventually abandoned in the 1920s.

What remains today are the various lemon groves, structures composed of columns used for cultivating citrus fruits, which can now be visited thanks to renovations carried out over the years.

Lemon groves can be found in different municipalities around Lake Garda; among the most beautiful ones are the “Limonaia del Tesol” and the lemon grove of Villa Borghi in Limone, the “Pra de la Fam” lemon grove in Tignale, and the “La Malora” lemon grove in Gargnano.

10. Punta San Vigilio, a Charming Peninsula on Lake Garda

Punta San Vigilio is undoubtedly one of the most romantic and magical spots on Lake Garda and should definitely be on your list of places to visit. This small peninsula is located in the municipality of Garda and is one of the properties of the Counts Guarienti di Brenzone.

In this captivating place, you will also find the “Baia delle Sirene” beach (for a fee), a small chapel, and an ancient inn. Our advice is to visit Punta San Vigilio to admire the spectacular sunsets over Lake Garda and appreciate this special moment.

These were our suggestions on what to do during your vacation on Lake Garda… and how about you? Which places would you recommend visiting?

Other things to see on Lake Garda:

Bardolino, a municipality on the Veronese shore of Lake Garda, is one of the towns on the lake that attracts the most visitors throughout the year.

Garda is also rich in history and tradition, as witnessed by the various buildings and places of interest that you should not miss during your visit.

Malcesine, the northernmost municipality on the Veronese shore of Lake Garda, is one of the most popular destinations for visitors who flock to the lake in large numbers every year.

A cradle of art and history that traces its origins back to the Bronze Age, this culturally rich town will offer you numerous treasures, all waiting to be discovered!

Discover the towns of Lake Garda