Lake Garda holidays

The largest lake in Italy, Lake Garda has been inspiring artists, poets, musicians - and even politicians for hundreds of years. Covering over 370 square kilometres, the lake is a stunning mirror of clear, blue waters, warmed by the gentle Mediterranean climate and peppered with ferries, pleasure boats and catamarans. On the northern shores, the surrounding landscape is lined with imposing mountains, used by paragliders, climbers and hikers on their holidays to Lake Garda. The southern shores are sprinkled with picturesque towns and villages, with lemon groves perfuming the air in spring and vineyards ready to give up their grapes to the local wine-makers. Home to amazing architecture, villas, and ancient cathedrals, Garda is a little gem with something for everyone to enjoy. With so much to see and do around this magnificent expanse of water, you can make your Lake Garda holidays just what you want them to be.

Things to do

Walk back into time and visit the stunning Venetian villas and the ragged ruins that lie untouched in this town. If you’ve got the kids with you, make sure to set aside some time for a visit to the best-known amusement park in the country: Gardaland. The coastal paths on the east of the lake make for easy and superbly scenic walks. Those who want more of a challenge on their Lake Garda holidays might fancy mountain climbing on the northern shores. Alternatively, there’s Garda town: the centre of the old town is one of the most popular attractions in the area, where you can take a break from visiting the sights in one of the little cafés in the lake-front square of the Palazzo dei Capitano and watch the world go by.

Excellent beaches

Enjoy lounging along the golden sandy bays of the iconic Lake Benacus in Lake Garda. Enjoy the tranquil setting and soft sand that shelves into the glistening, turquoise waters. One of the most spectacular beaches is Baia delle Sirene, Mermaids’ Bay, whose shores are backed by fragrant orange and lemon tress. Enjoy the views of the lush olive groves that roll up the hillside against the mountainous rocks. You’ll find that the water is perfect for water sports such as boating, kayaking and fishing. The combined winds from the surrounding mountains means that the area has perfect windsurfing conditions. Enjoy a day on the water then relax in one of the coastline bars, cafes or restaurants when the sun goes down.

History and culture

Lake Garda can be found in between Milan and Venice and is surrounded by mountainous landscapes and thick green nature. One of the first towns around the lake was Sirmione, which protected the area from many battles, including the Battle of Lake Benacus and the dramatic Battle of Solferino. Find out more about the history in the several museums and hidden art galleries down narrow cobbled streets around the resort. See the Gothic and Renaissance-inspired villas, churches and medieval castles that adorn the skyline.

Nightlife

The nightlife on Lake Garda is quite unique compared to other Italian resorts, as every town provides musical and theatrical events throughout the summer. As well as having a huge amount of bars and clubs, which stay open till the early hours, Lake Garda comes alive with music and celebration into the night. Join the upbeat vibe of the summer beach parties and at the several festivals that happen throughout the year. Watch fantastic firework displays from the glistening lake on a nightly boat trip. Lake Garda has a whole host of entertainment to suit all tastes both day and night.

Map of Lake Garda

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2-20 ℃

Whether you want to go skiing in winter or sunbathing in the summer, Lake Garda holidays have something to offer all year round.

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2 hours 30 minutes

Approximately two and a half hours.

Lake Garda is best for...

Best for walkers: Enjoy beautiful coastal walks and hillside climbs for views of the rich blue sea, north or south of the region.

Best for history buffs: Explore the Bronze Age relics, 15th century frescos and Renaissance villas that dominate the old town centre.

Best for adventurers: Part of Garda’s charm is its accessibility; hop on a bus, boat, hydrofoil or catamaran to start your adventure!

Fast facts for Lake Garda

Language: The language spoken in Lake Garda is Italian, but you’ll find that most of the staff in hotels, shops and restaurants have a good command of English.

Currency: You’ll need to exchange your Sterling for Euros, before flying off on your holidays here.

Local time: Lake Garda is 1 hour ahead of GMT/UK time.

Fly To: Verona Villafranca Airport. The transfer time is 1 hour and 15 minutes to Lake Garda.

Flight time from UK: The flight time to Lake Garda is 2.5 hours.

Tourist information: Further Garda tourist information can be found at https://www.visitgarda.com/it/lago_di_garda/.

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Getting around Lake Garda

By foot: The ancient town centre is full of narrow streets, allowing you to explore all its hidden treasures on foot. The main part of the town is pedestrianised, making it even easier to access.

By bike: See even more by hiring a bike from your hotel. Cycle out to Rocca or Monte Luppia and save your legs for climbing up the hills for the stunning views.

By boat: Choose from a great range of boats to transport you to other lakeside areas.

Events in Lake Garda

Music buffs: If you’re into music, then you’ll love being just 20 miles from Verona, where you’ll find the world-famous Arena di Verona. An enormous Roman amphitheatre, it hosts everything from traditional Italian opera to contemporary rock: Pink Floyd and One Direction have both performed here!

A taste of Garda: There are food festivals throughout the year, showcasing the best in Italian food. However, the one that most people seem to get excited about is the Bardolino Grape and Wine Festival, in late September (we wonder why!). In addition to some outstanding wines, there’s also a superb selection of local dishes to sample.

Lake Garda safety and security

Visa / Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Garda.

Lake Garda weather

Temperature: Mid 20s (°C) in summer and low to high teens in winter.

Best time to visit: Great all-year round, Garda is still sunny without being too hot. The temperatures in the winter are still warmer than in the UK and strong winds can be avoided on the south side of the lake, which is more sheltered.

Best hotels in Lake Garda

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