Live life to the full on Lake Garda!
Live life to the full on Lake Garda!
When looking to soak up a year-round holiday rich in culture, leisure pursuits and breathtaking natural beauty, the top Italian tourist destination of Lake Garda ticks every box!
The largest lake in Italy, at 50km (from north-south), the popular holiday hotspot of Lake Garda is perfectly suited for water sports, family days out, fine dining, Spas, timeless sightseeing, extreme outdoor sports and skiing.
Bordered by Lombardy, Trentino and Veneto, Lake Garda enjoys influences from all 3 regions. Situated half-way between the beautiful north Italian city of Brescia and timeless Verona, and between romantic Venice and the fashionable Lombardy capital of Milan, Lake Garda offers the perfect chance to take in some of the world’s more famous cities too; for a full-on holiday experience that lets you live life to the full!
Lake Garda itself boasts an exceptionally mild year-round climate, and a fertile soil that sees the natural landscape awash with blankets of woodland, gently rolling olive groves, citrus trees and wild flora and fruits. This verdant scenery provides a sensory experience to accompany the ancient ruins, villas, castles, gardens, enchanting islands, lively lake villages, health spas and famous holiday resorts that adorn the south. Contrasted by the lake’s dramatic Brenta Dolomites and fjord-like quality to the north, a wealth of spectacular scenery awaits the eager visitor at any time of year.
The perfect year-round escape for family, friends and couples; read on to discover some of Lake Garda’s best-kept treasures!
Witness to a captivating number of hard-won victories, defeats and occupations, history lovers will not be disappointed when exploring Lake Garda! The strategic Italian lake has been refuge to past civilisations long before records began; with the earliest known settlement dating back to 2000 BC. The Romans left a prominent mark on the area from 300 BC – 5th century AD, before it was occupied by Charlemagne then the Magyars, Saxons, the Scaligeri family, Spaniards and Austrians. Lake Garda was then unified under King Vittorio Emmanuele II in 1861, after the gory Battle of Solferino between Napolean III and the Austrians in 1859. Famous residents have included the Roman poet Catullus, the Violin inventor Gasparo Da Salo, a vast string of European royalty, Gabrielle D’ Annunzio and Mussolini (who staged a puppet republic here in Saló, during 1943).
Indeed Lake Garda has witnessed a wealth of key historical events that have shaped modern Italy and even our own society today; with such organisations as the Red Cross and the European Union being established as a result of pivotal events here.
Today, visitors have a treasure trove of beautiful villas, castles, museums, churches and ancient landmarks to explore, against an eternally breathtaking Lake back drop.
So read on and uncover Lake Garda’s best historical hotspots!
Meet the Ancestors!
From captivating cave art in Garda and dinosaur footprints in Molina di Ledro, to the splendid aristocratic ‘Villa Romano’ in Sirmione (the family home of Latin poet Catullus) and the ancient arena of Verona, Lake Garda and its surrounding area is home to some truly extraordinary finds and ruins.
As well as exploring these timeless cultural sites, avid archaeology fans can uncover more at the Valtenesi Archaeological Museum, which features at the Nature and Archaeological Park of the Rocca, in Manerba Del Garda.
Lake Garda’s Stately Villas and Castles
With its strategic setting and prosperous pedigree long desired by rivals throughout the ages, Lake Garda is naturally abundant with mighty fortresses and castles.
Nestled amongst ancient stone walls and towers, visitors can journey back in time to take in the famous battles and victories that have been witnessed by the Veronese and Venetian castles that still stand.
As well as possessing the most important Roman site in all of Northern Italy (at Villa Romano in Sirmione) Lake Garda is home to the ravishing regal beauty of ‘Palazzo Bettoni’ in Gargnano (www.gargnanosulgarda.com/events-lake-garda/palazzo-Bettoni-uk.html) and the eccentric splendour of ‘Vittoriale degli Italiani’ in Gardone Riviera. This spectacular retreat was the residence of the late poet, novelist and adventurer Gabriele d’ Annunzio. Within its fascinating grounds, visitors will come across not only the striking main residence and gardens, but a wealth of abstract sculptures and artefacts to indulge in, including a lake view amphitheatre and a ground stricken warship! www.vittoriale.it
Lake Garda’s majestic Monuments and Museums
One of the most famous monuments to take in on Lake Garda has to be the iconic tower monument of ‘San Martino’. Built to commemorate the Battle of Solferino in 1859, the famous landmark highlights the bloody efforts and losses endured by the joint forces of Vittorio Emanuele II and Napolean III when defeating the Austrians. The victory at Solferino led Italy on the road to unification. The battle’s aftermath also haunted and inspired the Swiss traveller Henri Dunant to establish the international aid organisation, the Red Cross. The Red Cross monument can be viewed at this unique visitor site too, along with a local museum and the 700 skeletal remains of soldiers, which are laid to rest inside the ‘Ossario’ of the Church of St Peter.
Aside from these thought-provoking memorials, Lake Garda offers a fantastic array of museums to keep you busy; with popular collections including the Library of the Academy in Saló, the Olive Oil Museum in Cisano di Bardolino, the Visitors Centre in Tignale and the Castle Museums’ at Torri Del Benaco and Malcesine.
Shop away at one of Lake Garda’s Open Air Antique Markets
Collectors and visitors looking to purchase a piece of Lake Garda history can make a beeline to one of the many open air antique markets. With a fascinating array of antiques to fall for and barter over, the scene is set for fun and inquisitive day out!
Lap up some Action on Lake Garda
Whether you’re looking to take to the water, reach for the ski slopes or breathe in all the natural scenery, Lake Garda offers a showcase of adrenaline-fuelled activities and family-friendly ways to explore and invigorate the senses.
Available to children and adults of all abilities, Lake Garda boasts a fine selection of sailing and wind surfing clubs. Predominantly located to the north of the lake, the area offers a reliable wind force ideal for water sports throughout the day; with the ‘Ora’ wind blowing from south to north each morning through to the late afternoon and the Pelér wind blowing from north to south each morning, till noon. These constant wind conditions enable Lake Garda to host a number of important regattas and events throughout the year. Lake Garda also offers super opportunities for boat rental, jet skiing, tandem paragliding, kite surfing, wakeboarding and stand up paddling (PUD)). The cleanest of all the North Italian lakes, there’s no time like the present to come and take a dip!
Explore the Great Outdoors!
With its breathtaking scenery to take in from its many footpaths, windy roads and ancient tracks, Lake Garda is also the perfect location for a hiking holiday, motor biking break, bike tour or classic car road trip! The best bike routes to take on Lake Garda are all available to view online, whilst hikers will find a wide array of routes to suit all levels of trekking and Nordic enthusiasts online too.
Climbers of all abilities will find the Scuola di Alpinismo in Arco the perfect setting for a memorable climbing and abseiling experience, with patient and expert guides to lead you along every step of the way (www.satarco.it).
Road trip fans and motorbike junkies can take to the road in style, along the famous ‘Strada della Forra’ mountain road in Tremosine. Carving its way through the rocky canyon, past breathtaking lake view vistas and majestic woodland backdrops, this captivating route is not to be missed! translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=it&u=http://www.infotremosine.it/vacanze-sul-lago/strada_forra.html&prev=search
Visitors can also easily saddle up and enjoy a hack or horse riding lesson, at one of the many Riding Stable and Horse riding centres on Lake Garda.
When looking for a wintertime and Easter break in Italy, taking to the slopes for a ski or snow activity is just the ticket! Lake Garda boasts a fantastic selection of ski clubs, schools and runs to complement your upcoming lake escape, meaning you can romp all year round in Lake Garda!
Go mad for Golf on Lake Garda!
Golfing fans of all abilities can make the most of a beautifully mild year-round climate, and t-off against the spectacular lake view scenery of Lake Garda. With 10+ established Golf Clubs in the area, there’s a fairway to suit every sportsman!
Explore Lake Garda’s Nature Sites
Formed in the Quaternary Ice Ages by a mighty glacier, Lake Garda today is Italy’s largest lake. Being home to a mild year-round climate has resulted in a luxuriant Mediterranean landscape and a breathtaking paradise setting, which bursts at the seams with wildlife, flora and fauna.
Aside from its scenic walking routes and activities, Lake Garda offers a host of majestic garden attractions and animal parks too, including ‘Parco Natura Viva’ in Bussolengo. Here visitors of all ages can meet 1500+ animals, from 200 different species. Alongside its popular Safari Park, visitors can explore the fauna park, the tropical greenhouse, Aqua-terrarium and the realistic Dinosaurs Park! www.parconaturaviva.it
Those in search of a sedate day immersed amongst beautiful botanical planting can whisk themselves off to the ‘Parco Giardino Sigurtà’. This 600,000sqm Park is located 8km south of Peschiera, and serves as both a tourist hotspot for local history and horticulture. Dating as far back as 1617 and the headquarters for Napolean III during 1859, Villa Maffei and its grounds today offer a world-class ecological ‘Garden-Park’ to explore (www.sigurta.it/index.php).
With many more beautiful gardens just waiting to be discovered, Lake Garda provides green-fingered enthusiasts and nature fans with a unique and heavenly offering of memorable day trips.
Take on a Lake Garda Theme Park!
Lake Garda is a popular destination for carefree family breaks; with plenty for all ages to soak up and enjoy. The Lake’s fantastic selection of Theme parks and Aqua parks means that whatever the season, you and your family can be enthralled and entertained by state-of-the art rides, timeless amusements and white knuckle adventures.
Gardaland, Castelnuovo Del Garda
Famed for being Italy’s first-ever Theme Park, Gardaland is a must-have destination for classic Theme Park fans! Easily accessible and open year-round, families and big kids are in for a treat.
With adrenaline-fuelled rides like ‘Raptor’ and ‘Magic Mountain’ to shout about, a fantastic array of child-friendly fantasy rides to take in and adventure rides like ‘Jungle Rapids’, ‘Mammoth’ and ‘Escape from Atlantis’ to keep born explorers entertained, Gardaland offers a timeless fun day out for all! www.gardaland.it/resort
Movie Studios Park, Lazise sul Garda
Part of the Canevaworld Resort, this brand new Theme Park celebrates the best of cinema; through special effects and state-of-the art rides. A must-have day out for movie lovers, families can enjoy travelling back in time, with shows like the ‘Wild West’, ‘The Artist’ and ‘Italian Cinema’. Adventure fans can also soak up the ‘Police Academy’, the ‘John Rambo Stunt Show’ and the ‘Kitt Superjet ride’, whilst thrill seekers can dare each other to take on white-knuckle attractions such as the ‘Horror House’, ‘TR Machine’ ride and the ‘Invertigo’ rollercoaster.
Medieval Times, Lazise sul Garda
Another member of the Canevaworld Resort, this attraction is a must-see for history fanatic families! Travelling back in time, visitors can immerse themselves in archery shows, bloody duels and a Knight’s horseback tournament to win the hand of the fair Princess; before savouring a jovial Medieval banquet in the Great Hall, at the gracious King’s request.
It’s Water Parks galore, on Lake Garda:
Caneva Aqua Park, Lazise sul Garda
Part of the Canevaworld Resort, the Aqua Park promises to make a big splash with your family and friends! Youngsters and parents can soak up the ‘Pirates Lagoon’, ‘Frozen Bob ride’, ‘Coral Bay’ and ‘Lazy River’, whilst Adventure fans brave a host of rides including the ‘Typhoon’, ‘Shark Bay’ and ‘Crazy River’. Adrenaline junkies will find rides like the ‘Black Hole 2’, ‘Stukas BOOM’ ride, ‘Twin Peaks’ and ‘Water Jump’ just the ticket for a fun day out!
Visitors can also take in a tropical island adventure too, with the exotic palm trees and soft white sand allowing all ages to either soak up a relaxed day by the water, or choose to make a splash about and explore. As well as its wide array of water attractions, a full-on fishing village, ancient lighthouse, spewing volcano and more are also waiting to be enjoyed. The Aqua Park truly offers a unique day of escapism, away from the more traditional tourist delights of Lake Garda.
Parco Acquatico Cavour, Valeggio sul Mincio
Boasting a heavenly oasis of lush natural surroundings, this 50 acre Aqua Park offers a full-on day of fun and relaxation! With a super selection of slides and rides to enjoy alongside an onsite fitness club, the palm tree lined ‘Spiaggia Mare’ and the ‘Tunisian sand bed’, giant Jacuzzi, waterfalls and terraced swimming pools of ‘Paradise Island’ to soak up, water enthusiasts and fitness fans of all ages can dip in and enjoy! www.parcoacquaticocavour.it
The home of Spas & Wellness
Home to 60+ Hotel Spa centres and famous resort Spas, Lake Garda lavishes natural health and well-being on all visitors. The Sirmione Spas on Lake Garda are renowned for being some of the best spa centres in all of Europe, so what are you waiting for? Why not come and soak up a classic dose of wellness whilst away?
With the sulphurous water naturally rich in sodium chloride, bromine and iodine, the Spa waters of ‘Virgilio’, ‘Catullo’ and ‘Aquaria’ establishments in Sermione seek to improve all manner of respiratory, rheumatic and motory complaints. As well as the water’s natural health benefits, the Spas promote an exclusive setting for daytime relaxation and all-round health, with on-site gyms and beauty centres featuring amongst the picturesque sunbathing areas and thermal pools. (http://www.termedisirmione.com/aquaria-sirmione-en.jsp?language=EN)
Just 24 minutes drive from Sermione, the ‘Garda Thermal Park’ near Colà di Lazise offers an idyllic paradise in which to soak up the sun on sweeping landscaped lawns, or take in the tranquil ambience of its two thermal pools (www.villadeicedri.it/en/lakes ).
Wining & Dining on Lake Garda
Authentic Italian Dining, to suit all budgets
From rustic ‘Agroturismos’ family-friendly ‘Trattorias’ and fine lake view dining venues, Lake Garda sets the table for a gastronomic Lombardy getaway!
With authentic Italian cuisine, delectable local produce and regional wine to tantalize the taste buds, alongside a wealth of local farmer markets to, Lake Garda promises a carefree self-catering experience.
Toast to fine wine!
With its lush fertile soil and mild climate ripe for fine wine production, Lake Garda is home to a plethora of picturesque wine routes, authentic wine cellars and a host of family-run producers. With renowned wines including ‘Bardolino’, ‘Groppello’, ‘Garda Classico’, the light ‘Chiaretto’ and ‘Madre Perla’ to sample, the Lake Garda region boasts some truly exceptional tipples. So come and explore the region’s fabulous vineyards! http://www.gardainforma.com/en/wine/index.html
Wine buffs can also choose to celebrate Lake Garda’s best wines at one of the many popular wine festivals that take place each year. (www.gardainforma.com/en/wine/weinfeste.html)
Where to Stay on Lake Garda
Whether you’re lucky enough to be coming to Lake Garda on business, for a family break or as a leisure group, our wide selection of self-catering retreats all offer a welcome touch of home whilst away. From lakeside villas and timeless townhouses to stress-free apartments and modernised ‘rusticos’, our great range can easily be complemented by added Entertainment extras, including private chef hire, airport transfers, boat rental, venue hire, travel itineraries and more.
Fully-equipped inside with all the must have mod cons and with many boasting beautiful lake views, flexible sleeping arrangements, outside dining space, pool access, parking and convenient locations, click away to discover your perfect Lake Garda holiday home today! (www.lakegardahomes.com)
Situated half-way between Brescia and Verona, and nestled between Venice and Milan, Lake Garda boasts a strategic and easily-accessible location for year-round stays.
A host of national and international airports including Verona-Villafranca (15km) and Brescia-Montichiari (30km) are within easy reach, and can be reached by train from Verona and Brescia train station, via its reliable airport bus service.
For those wishing to touch down in Milan first, Bergamo-Orio al Serio (80km) and Milan Linate and Milan Maplensa (100 km) are also located within easy reach from Lake Garda. Taxi transfers offer a stress-free travel experience, whilst the lake ferry stops, car rental shops and cable car service offer additional convenience once you are here.
With so many ways to reach this breathtaking year-round destination, go ahead and live Lake Garda!
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