Lake Garda is Italy
’s biggest lake. Its beautiful surroundings have inspired authors and artists alike.
It has both old charming villages, and modern towns with all manner of facilities. It provides a very versatile holiday destination, where you can find peace and quiet and wild nightlife, not to mention the somewhat challenging experience of visiting the famous theme park, Gardaland!
There is a wealth of opportunity for excursions from here, either up to the Dolomites, or to the smaller lakes of Tenno, Ledro and Iseo
. You can find famous places of interest in Verona
, but don’t forget the wonderful trip along River Mincio down to Mantova
, where you can visit the beautiful flower garden, "Parco Sigurta" en route.
To the north and west, the mountains rise vertically from the lake, and there is an impressive drive from Gardone up to Riva on winding roads and through tunnels. The lake is only 4-5 kilometres wide at its northern end but is up to 370 metres deep. To the south, it is 12 kilometres wide at its broadest point and but the water is shallower. Lake Garda is 50 km long and you can only see the full length of the lake on clear days.
The roads around the lake are mostly winding, and there are tunnels on both sides of the northern end, as well as a number of galleries built to protect cars and passer-by from falling rocks and landslides, which previously used to cause frequent road closure. All of this makes driving both exciting and slow, so be aware that trips around the lake can take some time. On Sundays, tourists from Milan
, Brescia, Verona
and Bolzano flock to the area, and traffic jams are the norm.
Unfortunately, Lake Garda has often been perceived, in Scandinavia at least, as a holiday destination for the older tourist. This is a shame, since the lake has a lot to offer people of all ages. Today the lake is considered one of the best places around for hang-gliding, paragliding, windsurfing and mountain biking.
Because of its particular wind conditions, the northern part of the lake is extremely well suited to windsurfing, and Torbole is a windsurfing mecca in the summer months. There is, in short, a lot of wind! Down in the town of Malcesine
, you can hire a bike which can be transported up to the top of Monte Baldo, from where you can collect it after a trip on the impressive new cable car. Then it’s up to you whether you bike down the northern side to Nago
and Torbole and back through the tunnels, or come down the southern side of the mountain to Garda and cycle up along the coast.
The pleasant climate, fantastic countryside, the many historical places of interest and the hospitable people make Lake Garda an internationally famous holiday destination.