Holidays to Lake Garda, Italy

Lake Garda is the bigger sister to Lake Como – perhaps not as polished and sparkling, but what she lacks in perfection, she more than makes up for in diversity, culture and intrigue. Due to the Lake’s size, there are so many options for different kinds of travellers – from families to honeymooning couples, those seeking relaxation or adventure.

Straddling three regions: Lombardy, Trentino Alto-Adige and the Veneto; the northern reaches of Riva del Garda have a more alpine feel, whereas, in the south, the rolling hills and mediaeval hamlets have a more southern European air. Each of the 25 villages and hamlets dotted around the shoreline has something different to offer.

Starting at the northern Riva del Garda, stop for a coffee and ice cream at the harbour, where you’ll witness a picture of high, alpine ridges tumbling down into the town. Set back from the lake, you’ll find the historic centre and an atmospheric network of narrow streets to explore. If you’re an adventure enthusiast, Riva del Garda is a good place to base yourself. From here you can go windsurfing and kayaking on the lake, or head north to Arco, where the surrounding mountains are popular with mountain bikers, walkers and rock climbers.

Heading south on the eastern side of the lake, the views across to the western shoreline are spectacular. You’ll find a procession of villages, and we definitely recommend stopping at a few to get out and explore. Malcesine is one of our favourites; this capsule-sized, ancient hamlet is crammed with alleyways, restaurants and pocket-shops where you can get comfortably lost. Fear not – head for the waterline or the lookout at Castello Scaligero and your compass will be reset.

Sirmione is undoubtedly the jewel in Lake Garda’s crown. Unbelievably perched on a tiny finger of land poking out from the southern shore, it can only be explored on foot. Your first view will be of the imposing Scaligera Castle. Cross the moat and step through the castle wall; you can spend hours exploring the narrow streets of Sirmione’s interior. Once you’ve had your fill of ice cream and Aperol, head out further to explore the Archaeological site of Grotte di Catullo, or relax on the windy shores of Jamaica Beach. If you want to treat yourself, stop at the Aquaria Thermal Spa. 


  • Navigate a maze of mediaeval streets in Malcesine

  • Spend a day exploring Scaligero Castle, the spa and beaches of Sirmione

  • Visit the beautifully bizarre Vittoriale degli Italiani, “Hall of Italian Victories”

  • Take a boat trip on the lake for a view of Garda’s villages and mountains

  • Climb the mountains north of Riva del Garda

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Lake Garda trip ideas

Here are some trip ideas to Lake Garda. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 020 3510 5777

Map of Lake Garda