Lake Garda is known as a home away from home for many, which is why it is no wonder it’s one of northern Italy’s most popular tourist destinations. As one of the most beautiful regions, with every town and village offering something different, the region has plenty to offer everyone. Picturesque old charming towns, stunning landscapes, and, plenty of opportunities for sightseeing, water sports, and hiking.
Sirmione is located on the south shore of Lake Garda and is one of the most popular destinations for a good reason. It is a beautiful picturesque peninsular stretching 4km; famous for its unique charm and narrow alleys the town is an important cultural centre around Lake Garda.
Take a trip to Castello Scargliero. A battlement built for use as protection for the low Lake Garda and fleets from the harbour. The battlement is still in excellent condition and looks stunning in the day and spectacular at night when illuminated by colourful lights creating a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere.
Take in the history and religion in a visit to the churches of Sirmione. Santa Maria Maggiore, located within the medieval centre close to Castello Scargliero, is one of the most significant architectural examples from the 1400’s in this area. Inside there are splended frescoes and a wooden statue of the Madonna which dates back to te 1400’s also. The church of San Pietro is Sirmione’s church and is hidden away amongst olive gardens close to the town centre. The church is also the location for stunning views of Lake Garda.
A trip to Sirmione would not be complete without a trip to the Thermal Baths of Catullus. Once hot sulfur springs during the renaissance in 1896 smart minds were able to channel and exploit the water while still retaining its hot temperature, ultimately expanding the thermal activity to what we know today. Expect to immerse yourself in the enchanting magical atmosphere, pure relaxation and soak up the health benefits of these thermal waters.
Gaze upon Malcesine
Located on the eastern shore of the lake is a town with cobbled streets and a castle, labeled by some as one of the most beautiful towns of Lake Garda. Malcesine is a must-visit location with its narrow medieval streets, small shops and cafes.
The most striking feature of this town is the view of Castello Scaligero when approaching from the lake. Different from the Castello Scargliero in Sirmione, the fortress got its name from the della Scala family who once owned, restored and adapted the castle for military use. Now the castle is a major tourist attraction open to the public as a museum called Museo Castello Scaligero. If you have the chance, climb up the tower for a view of Malcesine’s stunning rooftops.
A cableway runs from Malcesine to the top of Monte Baldo. Expect panoramic views the whole trip and once at the top a 20 minute walk along the ridge lined with wildflowers will bring you to a view point with stunning views of Lake Garda. Hikers, mountain bikers and walkers enjoy taking on the different routes of the mountain. In the winter months the mountain is the base for many snow sports.
The perfect place to relax, unwind and watch the world go by is the port of Malcesine. Lined with a wide range of cafes offering all different types of drinks and food it is the perfect place to stop.
Limone Sul Garda
On the mountainous northern end of Lake Garda you will find Limone sul Garda. Labeled as one of the most beautifully picturesque towns around the lake it is a brilliant place to explore the lake from.
The charming town has many narrow lanes and is surrounded by olive groves and lemon gardens. The lakefront is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty all around. From the lakefront, visitors can take in the scenery of the lake and the buildings leaning against the mountains, and the colourful port full of small boats and yachts.
A visit to the historic center of Limone is not to be missed, explore the romantic narrow cobbled streets and stairways which lead to terraces or open spaces with fantastic views.
If you enjoy art, a visit to one of Limone’s old churches San Benedetto is worth a visit. It is located above the old town and was built in the 17th century on the remains of a romanesque church. Due to its location, the church has stunning views while inside the church offers a peaceful tranquil environment with paintings by Andrea Celestia as well as five marble Baroque alters.
Nestled away in the heart of the centre is the small church of San Rocco. The church looks simple from the outside, however, on the inside, you will find 16th century frescoes and decorations. Outside of the church, there is another spot for lovely view of Limone from above, especially beautiful at sunset.
A wonderful place to visit is the lemon houses. The most popular is Limonia del Castel, however, there is also Tesol and Villa Boghi. Inside the lemon houses, you can admire the different types of citrus fruits, such as lemons, mandarins and grapefruits. At limonia del Castel there is a splendid view of the lake and the opportunity to buy homemade lemon products such as lemon liqueur.
If you can brave heights, a visit to Limone sul Garda cycle path is definitely worth a visit. It is labeled as one of the most beautiful cycle paths in Europe. The starting location is Via IV Novembre 92 in Limone which leads to the border of Trentino and can be enjoyed by foot or bike. Be warned 2 of the 4km are located directly above the lake.
Shop at the Lake Garda Markets
For those who love shopping for trinkets, fresh produce, and traditional Italian items will love the markets Lake Garda has to offer. The towns surrounding the lake are known for their traditional Italian markets. You can expect to find food, leather goods, pottery, and clothing! Multiple markets are held on different days of the week by different towns, make sure to check which markets are on during your visit.