Lake Garda in the very early morning light
highlights,  Italy

26 reasons why south Lake Garda is the place to be!

Lake Garda and me, that’s a story of memories; about friendship, love and most important: family. Returning to this region is a trip back to the deepest but brightest corners of my childhood. Even though I am always getting a wee nostalgic, it’s basically all about having a fucking blast. And yes, we had a blast! Lake Garda holidays are kinda a safe bet.

I spent a fair amount of time during our vacation planning my future blog post about Lake Garda. Well… to the point of getting a teeny tiny bit maniac about “doing stuff” cause ffs I gotta write about it! After some research I enthusiastically threw in some suggestions of super rad activities and got rewarded with my kids hating me (“whaaat??? but we wanna stay at the pool with our new friends” or: “and then what? We gotta walk through that city? Seriously, Mom, really?”) . So if you ask what to do at Lake Garda, I can tell you: a lot.

It required some strength to fight back my inner urge to “do stuff”. But after all, we successfully managed to identify a core activity that we all could cope with:

Dolce far niente! 

We did absolutely nothing useful, we relaxed, hung out, read, slept, went to the pool and performed this activities on repeat. It was fantastic. Despite our laziness I will of course share some Italian impressions on this blog, no trip shall remain undocumented. However, I don’t want to bore you with mediocre stories of our sweet day to day pool and pizza life.

Instead I will provide you with 26 reasons, from A-Z (!!) why you should visit Lake Garda:

Apérol Spritz – to start with the essential; the super refreshing north Italian aperitif: white wine, Aperol and a bit of soda on ice, topped with a slice of orange

Bardolino – that’s not only red wine, it’s as well a nice little town at the lake with a farmer’s market on Thursdays

one of the plenty of little harbours around Lake Garda.
One of the plenty of little harbours around Lake Garda.

Caffé/Cappuccino/Caffé Latte – it just tastes better in Italy. Point.

Desenzano – the biggest town on the lake. It has quite some boutiques, a scenic harbour, a market (Tuesdays and an antique market on the 1st Sunday of the month) and a medieval castle right in the center.

Enoteca – this is by far your favorite kind of shop if you are into wine.

Farmer’s Markets – every day in a different town (schedule); you can buy local fruits, veggies, meat, fish, cheese.. but as well clothes, shoes, toys and all sorts of knick-knack

Gardaland – a top notch amusement park that made it into the Trip Advisors top 10 theme parks and that actually is Nr.1 in Italy. Gardaland has also Europe’s longest water ride and is in any case worth a visit. Click here for more info

Hugo – white wine or Prosecco, elderflower syrup, a spash of soda, and some slices of Lime. So 2015 but still yummy

Italian food – the obvious. Pizza, pasta, bruschetta, gnocchi, ice cream .. also tiramisu, panna cotta, antipasti, risotto, panini… you name it.

minutes before sunrise at Lake Garda. Yes, I really got up that early
minutes before sunrise at Lake Garda. Yes, I really got up that early

Julia’s tits – yep, thats right. Verona, very close to Lake Garda is the town of Romeo and Julia and their tragic story. You can visit Julia’s home with their famous balcony, write some lovers oath’s on the walls around and pose for a pic with Julia’s statue with your hand on her right boob, as you do.

Lonato – a city a little bit off the shores of the lake, but with a 1000 years old castle (Rocca di Lonato), a library with about 52.000 ancient books, roman ruins, and a nice view

Monte Baldo – the highest mountain range around the lake. Get up there from Malcesine with a cable car. Usually the ground station is quite busy, but the middle station San Michele,  has normally less of a queue.

OR:if you are too adventurous for a cable car journey, discover the Monte Baldo by MTB. Check here for more information and prices of this tour. Don’t worry, it’s not a difficult trail.

Notte / Night – there are several things that are making Lake Garda by night special; in summer there are many really good fireworks all around the lake and as well quite some impressive thunderstorms

Olive Oil – obviously

Pedalo/Peschiera – both are equally important. Peschiera because it is a really lovely town that is flown through by the river Mincio, the main outlet of Lake Garda and Pedalo .. well, it’s fun 🙂

P stands also for Pasta

P stands also for Pasta!

Where to learn how to make Pasta if not in Italy? Take a Pasta Cooking Class and learn from the best! Click here to see if they still have slots available!

Quality – it’s vacation! Everything is better, isn’t it?

Ripasso della Valpolicella – a red wine from the Valpolicella wine region that is processed by using the relatively new ripasso method. 

If you like wine, you are in the right area! The region around Lake Garda is well known for their vineries. Profit best from it by taking a wine and food tour and learn about regional specialties – click here for all available tours and tastings! 

Sirmione – a peninsula in the center of the south shores of Lake Garda. Besides it’s nice historical old town, narrow streets and shady cafès, you can visit roman ruins and have relax in the park on the headland.

If you have a little more time, I strongly recommend to take a boat trip from Sirmione. It’s a beautiful experience and and opens up an entire new perspective. Click here to see all offers

Touristic convenience – to be honest, that’s a tough on. While following the beaten path is not necessarily the most sexy thing to do… it can become very handy when travelling with little people… and all you need is a little time off rather than traveling outside of your comfort zone.

this old fisher lady get out on the Lake every morning... I remember that she was already there when I was a kid.
This old fisher lady get out on the Lake every morning… I remember that she was already there when I was a kid.

Utterly stunning landscapes – be it the foothills of the Alps, the large slopes of wine fields or the little towns all around the lake – everything there is just very pretty

Venice and Verona – both are perfect day trip destinations if you feel like needing a change of air. Verona is basically just around the corner and Venice just a 90min train ride away.

How to visit Verona and Venice
Our Tip:

Take a trip to Verona or Venice (or both?!) without much stress and book a tour:
Verona: Travel comfy by air conditioned coach to the home town of Romeo and Juliet, see the famous arena of Verona and learn about the cities history. Click here for rates and more info

Venice: Get picked up at your location and travel comfortable by coach fro Lake Garde to Venice. The tour includes – apart from the transfer-  a tour guide, a walking tour and a boat trip to St. Marks place. Check here for more information and schedules

Water – the lake is clean according to EU regulations and in summer safe for swimming without freezing

Xtra great grocery shopping – even random supermarkets and discounters are offering an almost unbelievable range on fresh pasta, local cheeses and cold cuts… i’s food heaven

Yoghurt ice cream – if you are -like me- not having too much of a sweet tooth, you should try yoghurt ice cream, it’s perfect – fresh with a slightly sourly touch

Zanzara – the italian word for mosquito (or musticus like my little one still believes is the correct term <3)  and there are *some*, be prepared! Good news: they are just annoying but not dangerous; clearly a reason to visit!

We’ll be definitely back there in a couple of years!

do you need more input for your next trip? Check out the 25 most beautiful places in Italy


  • James

    I’m passing through Lake Garda this winter so it’s interesting to see some things to do. Hopefully when it’s cold they still sell Yoghurt ice cream. I din’t know about the mosquitoes but I can’t imagine they’re there in winter either. You took some beautiful images of the lake.

  • Sam Sparrow

    I’m obsessed with Italy but am yet to visit Lake Garda – or Verona. But you had me at the letter A – an Aperol Spritz as the sun goes down over those wonderful views is the dream!

  • thesanetravel

    I love Italy and visiting lake Garda is one of my great memories. Getting up to Monte Baldo was one of the highlights of the trip. Thanks for sharing!

  • Adrenaline Romance

    Beautiful! Is kayaking and sailing permitted in Lake Garda? Any outfitters there? We would love to do that for a watery adventure. And climbing Monte Baldo (on foot) certainly fits our passion. 🙂

  • ourtasteoftravel

    Lake Garda is one of my top 3 places in the world; I dream of having a holiday home there one day! I love every one of your reasons (you had me at the first one :))
    Great post, my Italy wanderlust is on fire right now.

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