Its beautiful lakeside towns, palatial hotels, cypress groves and dramatic fjord-like coastline have enchanted visitors for centuries, even the Romans used Lake Garda as a luxury retreat.
Covering three distinct provinces in its 50 km stretch, Lake Garda's shorelines are not only vast but varied. The majestic north offers the perfect opportunity for an active holiday - surrounded by dramatic, mountainous landscapes it’s a hiker’s dream, whilst the breeze at this narrower end of the lake creates a ripple in the water that makes for quite the watersports haven. To the south, the lake widens to bask in the sub-Mediterranean sun and mountains give way to flat, olive tree and lemon grove covered lands. On the water's edge, beguiling harbour towns showcase the wines of surrounding vineyards and clear waters lap at pretty pebbled beaches – it’s really no wonder that so many poets have been captivated by Lake Garda’s countless charms.
Desenzano del Garda, a small town on the lake’s southern shore, is known as the gateway to Lake Garda. Its excellent transport connections make it a popular starting point for a Garda holiday, as well as placing it in prime position for trips and excursions, whilst the historic winding streets and quaint tranquil harbour of the town itself make for pleasant wanderings.
Just a short boat ride away lies Sirmione, an impossibly pretty village located on a slim shard of the lake's peninsula with an ancient castle and Roman ruins. Known for its thermal springs, Sirmione has retained its status as a spa destination since the Roman times and makes for a perfectly picturesque stop off. A stay at the Villa Cortine Palace provides a taste of real Italian luxury on Lake Garda’s shores.
The chic resort of Gardone Riviera, on Lake Garda's southwest shore oozes elegance and features sumptuous villas, lush gardens and luxury hotels. Not to be missed are the flower carpeted grounds, narrow meandering alleys, graceful water features and quirky statues of the famous Hruska Botanical Gardens. Visitors can follow in the footsteps of Winston Churchill with a classical stay in Lake Garda’s original accommodation, the Grand Hotel.