Towns & Villages
Towns & Villages
Lake Garda has lots of picturesqe towns & villages that you wouldn't want to miss out on seeing places like Desenzano, Peschiera del Garda, Sirmione, Malcesine, Limone, Gardone Riviera, Bardolino,San felice.We are building a new section of this website with individual pages for each town.
Arco Lake Garda
Although the region is a very productive Agricultural zone (wine, olive oil,etc.) the tourist industry has rapidly developed. Arco was a well-known holiday spot even in the second half of the 19th century, when it became the summer residence of the Hapsburg dynasty and their compatriots from Vienna's elite under the watchful eye of Arco Castle on the cliffs above the town.
Today Arco is home to modern hotels and spas. Known as the "The Nice of Trentino", due to its mild climate it is famous for its huge range of activities: Mountain climbing, free climbing, parasailing and hang gliding, mountain biking, archery, sailing, surfing, swimming, fishing, soccer, jogging, squash, tennis and horse riding.
You will see mountaineers wandering through the small streets, with their equipment after a long day on the cliffs or on their way up. The mountains are made of limestone with more than 2000 routes in all with all levels of difficulty for sport climbing including steep canyons gentle hikes and more challenging treks and traverse.
Without a doubt one of the most famous crags in Italy is Massone which offers something for everyone. With over 150 routes of all difficulties and the entire crag recently being re bolted, its is a climbers dream. Also with easy access from the picnic area below this popular crag is well known for people watching as well as climbing. The only problems are its own popularity which may make it over busy at times.
The crag can be divided up into three sections. The first, "Massone Basso", is ideal for those who climb between 5a-7a, and the routes are on vertical or slabbed gray limestone. The second, "la Valletta", requires stamina and finger strength for its 35m, slightly overhanging routes, ranging from 7a to 8a. The third, "il Pueblo" has become a reference point for the ultra-overhanging, where strength and stamina are never quite enough... fro mm 7c upwards.
Mountain Bikers will find tough trails and lonely smooth asphalt roads for the traditional Italian road racing. Other activities include Paragliding and Water Sports.
Arco has many historical buildings many of which can be found in the oldest part of the town which is still surrounded by medieval walls. The town is a maze of narrow alleys and small squares. Overlooking the Piazza Tre Novembre are the Collegiate Church, the Baroque Town Hall and Giuliani Palace with eighteenth century porticoes, Altamar Palace (1566), Calzà House (formerly of the counts of Arco) and the 18th century Panni Palace.
The Madonna delle Grazie Sanctuary in Ceole, on the border near Riva del Garda, is and has been the destination of numerous pilgrims over the years. This Franciscan convent dates back to 1492.
Arco : The arboretum
There is an Arboretum in the last section of the park, which Archduke Albert of the Hapsburg dynasty had built around his villa in 1872 and contains many different tree species from all over the world: Monterey cypress, cedars, a monumental sequoia, Lawson cypress, palms, orange trees, lemon trees, yews and holm oaks.
Desenzano is the largest town in the conglomerate with an estimated population of 23,000 residents, and is located on the south western side of Lake Garda, Desenzano is a beautiful place to spend a romantic weekend or enjoy a family reunion, here you can travel both by land and water. the Ferry ride is surely the best way to experience Desenzano, this place has been a port town since Roman times and that is what is reflected throughout.
There is an architecturally alluring castle overlooking the port that promises panoramic views from the top. The main market is busiest on Tuesdays, for antique stuff, go to the market in Malvezzi on first Sunday of each month, the Roman villa here is a must see and tells a magnificent tale of the Roman lifestyle, concluding that Desenzano is an impressive town.
Desenzano del Garda is bordered by Castiglione delle Stiviere, Lonato, Padenghe sul Garda and Sirmione.Desenzona has from the early beginnings been a place of leisure for Italian families. Even from the 1st century BC, the area of the Garda, including what is now Desenzano del Garda, became a favourite resort for rich families coming from Verona, then the main Roman city in north-eastern Italy.
The beautiful views of the Alps on this southern shore of Lake Garda combined with its three large beaches (Desanzanino Beach, Spiagga D'oro Beach, and Porto Rivoltella Beach) and its 27 hotels make it one of the best places to visit and a hub of local activity. Recognised as being a night life sensation (remember however this isn't Ibiza) of southern Garda Lake with several nightclubs and pubs. In the summertime its main squares, "piazza Malvezzi" and "piazza Matteotti" are crowded wit people enjoying themselves.
The town centre has a series of interconnected piazzas that have many "sit and watch" open-air cafes, shops, gelaterie & bars.
The town has one main port near the Piazza XXV Aprile which operates several ferries around the lake. Also, at the southwestern outskirts of the city is a large train station ('Stazione Ferroviaria') that connects the city to the European railway system.
There are a number of popular historic churches with Frescoes and ancient sculptures in addition the villa and castle ruins.
- The Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene.
- The House of St. Angela Metric.
- The Tower of St. Martin (Tore did San Marti no).
The town also had more exposure became when on March 13, 1994, Russian swimming star Alexander Popover set a world record in the 50m freestyle in Desenzano del Garda's local pool,clocking 21.50.
Peschiera del Garda
Peschiera del Garda is a small town bustling with charming tourists who have to come to enjoy a special attraction, there is a huge fortress which architecturally resembles a five sided star and has water all around, this town in the south eastern side of Lake Garda.
Effervescent and charming small markets, roadside food and people enjoying life and is the usual site of the town that reminisces of the times when modern day stress had not come into our lives, and that is exactly what a tourist looks forward to when they arrive in this town, Monday is the main market day here, so if you are around, make sure you enjoy this lifestyle also.
The location of this town is very scenic and that makes it ever so popular, Sirmione is a small town located on the tip of a long peninsula coming out from southern end of the lake between Desenzano and Peschiera. Such a location promises scenic views from all angles.
Sirmione is also famous for a thermal spring that is supposed to have medicinal values, infact, it was a spa that the Roman's used, apart from this town, Sirmione has some amazing Roman ruins, the town itself has everything to make your stay just perfect, the Castle and the Roman ruin are the two main tourist attractions, though all of Sirmione is so scenic that it's a joy to walk around.
Malcesine is located on the eastern side of Lake Garda, Malcesine is spectacular and scenic with the lake and the huge mountain ridge, this small town is usually full of tourists, especially in summer season. You can enjoy a whole lot of activities here like walking, cycling or paragliding, the Cable car to Monte Baldo is also a great tourist attraction, or you could take a boat ride to Riva or just walk around the lake, it is up to you to enjoy the town in which ever way you want.
Limone is another picturesque small town, the old town has a harbour known as the Porto Vecchio which is a tourist attraction, in Limone you can get comfortable accommodation and good Italian food, both easily available here and makes your stay a pleasant one.
Limone has an interesting history of lemon growing, from where it has also derived its name, an old lemon grove makes for an interesting tourist spot, beautifully constructed churches are other attractions in this town, there are café terraces where you can relax, sunbath or go for a swim, all you need to do at Limone is to relax and the town has much to offer to assist you in this endeavor.
Limone is known as the home of centegenarians. There are a lot of old people per head of population. In the 70's it was discovered that these people possess a mutant form of apolipoprotein in their blood. This induces a healthy form of high-density cholesterol, which results in a lowered risk of cardiovascular diseases and hence reduces the chances of dying young!
As you can imagine Limone (the meaning of the city's name in Italian) is well known for its lemons. The name of the town however is probably derived from the ancient lemons (elm) or limes (Latin for boundary and associated with the communes of Brescia and the Bishopric of Trento).
Between 1863 and 1905 the name was Limone San Giovanni. Limone was quiet isolated the until the early 1940s as the city was accessible only by boat on the lake or through the mountains. The road to Riva del Garda started to be built in 1932 and opened up access. Today Limone is one of the best know and most visited tourist resorts in the area.
At 1,444 meters above sea level, Limone is located on the Northernmost tip of the Lake (Brescia side). Many people consider Limone to be a truly romantic and atmospheric place; There are small winding streets, walled lemon groves, ancient fishermen's homes and the inevitable olive groves running up the hillside. Olive oil is famous and can be purchased locally at the cooperative shop.
There are over fifty hotels, many self catering apartments and three camping sites. With only 1000 residents the tourist industry creates a vibrant summer sensation.
Like many small Italian lakeside villages Limone has its own renowned collection of churches:
Limone sul Garda : The San Pietro Church which is one of the oldest churches dating back to the 12th century and housing many important frescoes.
Limone sul Garda : The San Rocco Church, recently restored and from the 16th century
Limone sul Garda : The Parish Church, built in the 16th century on the foundations of an 11th century church. This has a rich history.
Gardone Riviera is located on the western side of Lake Garda, it is a small yet a fascinating place that is sure to entice and charm you with it's relaxed setting and picturesque views, you can travel by boat to other towns and enjoy the scenic along the way.
It is a comfortable place to stay with all the modern facilities easily available, among the important tourist spots are Gabriele D'Annunzio home and Il Vittoriale degli Italiani, walking is the best way to enjoy the essence of this town, small restaurants, winding roads, beautiful flower gardens all remind of a peaceful bygone era.
Riva del Garda
Riva del Garda is a small town in Lake Garda that is also a very popular tourist resort, the place is geographically located at the end of the lake with mountains arising right from there, this is such a breathtaking location and duly justifies crowds of tourist visiting all through the year.
Riva has some of the best resorts in Lake Garda, they are plush and comfortable, this is a unique place for it is lively and happening in some parts and quiet and meditative at other parts, so you get the best of both worlds inone place.
The name Riva conjures up images of fast classical speedboats for many. But Riva is a town itself is at the Northern end of Lake Garda and is a town in its own right! Famous for its water sports it hosts sailing championships. One of which we we have shown a video of below from 2009. Riva boats was actually started in Lake Como when in 1842 when the then twenty-year-old Pietro Riva received an offer which would establish Riva's place in marine history. At the time Pietro, with his father Laglio, worked as general craftsmen turning their hands to numerous trades including boat repairs on and around Lake Como in Northern Italy.
Riva is dominated by Mount Rocchetta (1,575 m)which rises steeply to the west, with Mount Baldo (2,218 m) to the east. This location makes Riva del Garda one of the most spectacular spots around Lake Garda. Due to its location winters can be cold but sunny and with some snow; summers are warm but rarely hot or sultry, with windy afternoons and scattered thunderstorms.
Riva del Garda belonged to the republic of Venice and later to the Austro-Hungarian empire until 1918. Since 1918 Riva del Garda has been a part of Italy. Riva became a tourist spot at the end of the last century established with many famous visitors. Growing to over 35000 tourists by 1910 mainly from Austria and Germany the growth gradually continued until World War I. Riva continued to develop its tourism industry and improved its sports, business and cultural facilities.
The Civic Museum where a lot of the history can be found is located in the Rocca, a medieval fortress on the lake, surrounded by a canal with lifting bridge.
With its two harbours Riva del Garda is well equipped for sailing and windsurfing. Another popular sport in Italy is Basketball and the local top team, the GS Riva Gardacartiere, plays in the Italy's 3rd national division.
The town has "twins" Bensheim, Germany
Popular historical places to visit are:
Piazza III Novembre with its famous Palazzo Pretorio from the 14th century and the Apponale Tower built in 1220
The Fort: Which houses the Civic Museum with archeological, geological and mineralogical exhibits, an art gallery, and collections of weapons, prints and rare books.
Riva del Garda : S. Maria Assunta Church
Riva del Garda : S. Tommaso Church
It is the oldest town in Lake Garda, they have a well connected and punctual boat service connecting all the important towns and villages. If you are in a hurry then you can also the local bus service, this town is aptly described by tourists as a paradise for photographers.
Everything seems to be designed perfectly by Nature, a good market helps you if your looking to go shopping, selling designer labels and fresh produce or you could sun bathe or go swimming, para-sailing, you have lots to do here, Gardaland, the most famous amusement park in Italy is just 30 minutes away from here, Garda is ideally located so you can easily visit all the towns, villages and tourist sites across Lake Garda.
Garda Town is on the South Eastern shore of the Lake and is the first town that you would think of when considering a holiday on Lake Garda.
Garda is a great place to use as a base to visit any of the other towns on Lake Garda including the cable car to Malcesine and the ferry service to all the other small towns. Garda isn't far from Gardaland, Movieland, Aqua Paradise Park, Sirmione and Verona and complimentary buses run every day in the season.
One of the main attraction of Garda is the lakeside promenade. Although it is not as long as that at Salo, it is much wider and also traffic free. This is where the heart of the Garda town lies with its hotels, ice cream parlours, shops, bars and cafes which spill out onto the pavement with waiters rushing across the street armed with their plates of Italian fare for customer sitting at the lakeside.
Garda is alive with boats and ferries arriving and leaving and renting a boat can be a wonderful experience to taste the ambience and the water borne excitment. After all this is the hoe of Riva!
The lakeside area is very flat and is very popular with walkers and cyclists, which adron every Italian lakeside! Garda has a beach which is used for sunbathing. Its not a sunkiised white sands pacific affair, but its still a beach, in the mountains.....
The nightlife in Garda is also quite interesting. There is a nightclub, named Papillon but Garda is like many other Italian towns transforms itself into a nighttime haven of late nigh cuisine, conversation and good wines, supported by soft multi-coloured lighting along the promenade with bands playing most summer nights
Garda is also good for shopping town too with some interesting shops selling smart fashion ware, art galleries and a wide selection of other shops in the matrix of small streets.
The villa, which sits on the road to San Vigilio, was built during the second half of the 16th century by the Becelli family, the feudal lords of Costermano originally from Verona. One of its attractions is the huge park that stretches across the hill with towers, belvedere, chapels, cloisters, greenhouses, paths and fountains. The San Carlo chapel is nearby. On August 10, 1848, in the villa which is now owned by the Albertini counts, King Carlo Alberto, victorious in the war against the Austrians, received the Lombard delegation, which brought him the act of annexation of the Piedmont Region.
Garda : Parish Church
The 15th century cloister with its beautiful loggia, the vicarial house and a few fragments of inscriptions in Gothic lettering, friezes, memorial tablets and parts of a Carolingian ciborium are all that remain of the original parish church which belonged to Ospedale Maggiore of Brescia. The present structure dates back to the 16th century, and the bell tower was built in 1571. The church roof was later raised, a vaulted ceiling was installed in the central nave and altars were built along the aisles. At the back of the church is a chapel for war victims dedicated to the Madonna of Peace. The church contains a 15th century fresco of the Madonna and Child. The confessionals were built by the school of the celebrated cabinet-maker named Brustolon of Belluno. The church also has a Papal bull of Innocent II (1138) engraved in marble near the bell tower door, a 16th century wooden crucifix, and an altar piece of S. Biagio that is attributed to Palma il Giovane.
Garda : The Captains Palace
The ancient palace (14th - 15th century) in Venetian Gothic style was given this name because it was the home of the Captain of the lake, the magistrate representing the Republic of Venice in Garda whose duties were to ensure security and prevent smuggling. It may have been the first home of the Carlotti family, feudal lords of Verona, who bought it from the S. Colombano Priory of Bardolino.
Situated on Mount S. Giorgio, which is also known as the Friars' Rock, the monastery sits on a hill (309 m) further inland from another on which an old fort once stood. It is easier to reach the monastery from Bardolino than Garda, whic
This is a delightful town in Lake Garda, interestingly here houses have been colored in contrasting colours with the waters, making it a perfect blend of natural and man made beauty, located on the eastern side of Lake Garda, Torbole offers many sports and leisure activities.
You can go swimming, fishing, angling, sailing, wind surfing, in fact all types of water sports, Torbole has a wind surfing club that was established in 1979 and is the pride of Torbole. There is so much to do and enjoy in this lovely town that you would never like to leave, a perfect place for you to spend your vacation!
Tremoside Lake Garda
Tremosine (over 72sqkm & therefore quite large) is divided into 18 little "frazioni"; Pieve is the frazione with the town hall (therefore quite important), Vesio is the largest and Campione is famous for its water sports, such as kite surfing. The other are: Ariàs, Bassanega, Cadignano, Castone, Mezzema, Musio, Pregasio, Priezzo, Secastello, Sermerio, Sompriezzo, Ustecchio, Vesio, Villa, Voiandes & Voltino.
Tremosine has a very famous road; Provincial Road No. 38, which is the Porto-to-Pieve road which rises from the Garda lake road, winds up to the verdant plateau of Tremosine (300m) and through the forra gorge of the Brasa river.
When this road was opened, on 18 May 1913, Winston Churchill called it “the eighth wonder of the world”. Since then "Her Majesty’s secret service" has used the road in a James Bond film and numerous car manufacturers, such as BMW and Mercedes, have used it as a backdrop to advertise their new cars.
The towns nestle amidst valleys or perch upon the small hills and plateaus covered with meadows, olive trees and pine trees. The altitude varies enormously from 65 m at Campione to 1,976 m at the peak of Mount Caplone. Many trails wind through the mountain and are frequented by mountain bikers and hikers.
Tremosine : Its spectacular scenery and is worth the visit just for this! If however you like a little history then there are the churches, may of which are scattered amongst the villages. One of the more important is the S. Giovanni Battista Church in Pieve with an 11th century Romanesque bell tower. The church also has many interesting paintings and artifacts too numerous to mention here. Another church worth praising is S. Bartolomeo in Vesio which has recently had an organ restored originally built by the famous organ-maker Gaetano Callido in the 18th century.
Bardolino is world famous for its wine, it is the Bardolino wine that gives Bardolino its reputation, apart from this, the place is scenically alluring, taking a walk is such a pleasure here, walking by the lake side is something we can experience easily. The town has the spirit of a small Italian city, each church or building is a piece of art and is delightful to see, Bardolino is a quiet place and good for spending a day.
Salo is reputed and renowned as the birthplace of the inventor of violin, Gasparo da Salò, this is a place known much by tourists, though it has more potential to become a tourist place than any other town in Lake Garda, but the prospects have yet not found the right advertiser. It has some of the best designer brand shops and tasty restaurants, food is the main selling point of this place, as it goes for all other towns around Lake Garda, this is also very scenic.
Gargnano is a small town with a meditative ambience, no hustle or bustle, it is a quiet place that will give you ample time to think about yourself and your life, if you are a quiet kind of a person who loves to explore life and Nature all by yourself, then Gargnano is the right place to visit. The main architectural building and tourist spot in Gargnano is Chiesa di San Francesco or commonly known as the bell tower, close to the town is a five star hotel, Villa Feltrinelli, scented lemon groves makes walks here even more pleasurable.
Verona is not exactly a town of Lake Garda but this is the most visited town in Lake Garda, anyone who visits Lake Garda should visit this beautiful Roman town, it is an important archeological town and is more popularly known as the medieval town.
Verona is famous for the story of Romeo and Juliet, this is a city that will provide a feast to your eyes and mind, you are transported back to the Roman era of chivalrous kings, manipulative but stunningly beautiful queens and love stories, it is one of the most romantic city's you could visit, you must take a guided walk tour here to explore the city at it's best.
This is a tiny little village which is close to salo, but do not underestimate this area, this village is an amazing place that is untouched and the pristine natural beauty is overwhelming and has a small harbour and white sand, this is the perfect place to relax and get your body tanned.
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