Garda, the largest lake in Italy, whose photo is breathtaking at first sight attracts travelers from all over the world. It is alternatively called Lago di Garda. Since the ancient times locals have been calling it Benaco.
Garda is located at the southern foot of the Alps. This lake has the glacial-tectonic origin. The area is characterized by picturesque landscapes, mind-bending atmosphere, and mild climate. Here there are many resorts and attractions every traveler must see.
Geographic features of Lake Garda Italy – photos
A 1.5-hour drive from Milan, the capital of fashion, there is one of Italian famous natural attractions – the freshwater Lake Garda. The total area of the reservoir is 370 km², and the maximum depth is 346 m. This is the largest lake in the country, 52 km long and 17 km wide.
In the photos taken from a bird’s eye view, it is possible to see that the shape of the reservoir resembles a Neanderthal hatchet. The lake has a shape of a stretched elongated narrow “pole” with a long “head” on one side. This is a typical view of the glaciers that descended from the peaks of the Alps a few eras ago.
The lake is filled by underwater deep springs and the Aril River, which flows into the Garda. The Mincio River – the left tributary of the famous Po River – starts from the lake.
Framed by the immense Padan plain and the high Alps, the Garda looks almost like a sea. The lake was formed at the end of the ice age due to the glaciers descending from the mountains. That is why the water here always has an emerald color and optimal temperature.
According to the local legend, the name Garda has two origins. If you believe the first – it comes from the German word warda, which means a watchpost. According to the alternative version, the reservoir was named after the city located next to the lake in the Veneto region. During the Roman Empire, it was called Benaco, i.e. the Blessed Lake.
Territory of the Lake Garda Italy
Garda washes three regions in Italy: the northern region of Trentino Alto Adige, Lombardy in the southeast, and Veneto in the southwest. Part of the lake located in the Lombardy region was named Lemon Riviera.
Smart Italians planted lemon gardens in the form of numerous stepped terraces on the gentle slopes of the mountains. This is where the name of the territory comes from. The region also has excellent cuisine, and locals make olive oil and wine.
Around the reservoir there are oleanders and palm trees. In the neighborhood, there are a lot of borgos – picturesque harbors, big and small cities, coastal promenades, parks, reserves, and nature reserves. Garda is boatable. In the reservoir there are numerous fish species: tench, Italian trout, river eel, trout, pike, cod, and many others.
Those who love the nature, active recreation, and sports will be pleased to spend time at the resorts located on the shores of Lake Garda. Besides, the area has its own unique culture and centuries-old history.
The lake and the surrounding areas are ideal for holidays or weekends from early summer to late fall. The shore has everything for a comfortable rest:
- Equipped beaches with well-developed infrastructure.
- Modern, original hotels.
- Campings and hostels
The windows, terraces, and balconies offer breathtaking views of the slopes of the Alps, immersing in green vegetation, olive groves, and gardens with cypresses and lemon trees.
At different times, famous writers, artists, inventors, e.g. Johann Goethe, David Herbert, Charles Dickens, Lawrence, James Joyce, and Oscar Wilde, rested at Lake Garda.
Climate and weather on Lake Garda Italy
Most tourists go to the lake to relax in summer or autumn. Between June and August, it is hot here – the air temperature exceeds +30 degrees. The weather has a favorable impact on numerous plants and trees that grow well under the Mediterranean climate. In particular, this is related to olive and lemon trees.
The water in the lake is heated up to +22 degrees. The territory of the reservoir has a mild climate and windy weather. The air flows descending from the mountains have their own names. For example, Peler is the north wind. Windy weather makes the area attractive for windsurfers.
Between the resorts of Lake Garda, travelers are transferred by ferry and bus. As compared to maritime transport, the land transport has a budget cost and a fast speed of movement. Bus routes run along the west and east coasts.
Ferries are more expensive, and move more slowly. However, this type of transport allows you to experience the unique atmosphere of the largest Italian lake. In addition, other vehicles move along the reservoir
Garda is located near Verona. That is why everyone who plans a trip to the lake or to the city where Romeo and Juliet lived can combine two visits to the picturesque city and a unique reservoir.
Things to see
On the shores of Garda there are many villages, castles, monasteries, and ruins of ancient cities with museums and monuments that are older than a century. The most frequently visited attractions of Garda include
- Prehistoric settlements on Mount Baldo and in Valtenesi.
- The ruins of Roman buildings in Toscolano and Desenzano.
- Medieval castles and buildings of the Scaligers. In the hills there are mostly Benaco and Sirmione towers.
- Parish churches in Bardolino (Bardolino), Sirmione, Cassone, and Maderno.
- Sanctuaries of the Madonna di Montecastello, Madonna del Frassino, and Madonna della Corona.
- The palace with picturesque Vittoriale gardens.
- The Andre Heller botanical garden with 2,000 species of plants.
- Thermal springs in Sirmione.
- The castle of the Scaligers, built in the 13th century.
- The archaeological site of the Grottoes of Catullus.
Things to do
At Lake Garda, Italy, photos you can go in for various sports:
- Mountain climbing.
- Mountain biking.
- Routes for riding.
- Trekking tours.
In different parts of the lake you can go sailing and windsurfing:
- In the ports of Bolyako, Campione, and Limon, on the southwest coast from Sirmione to Limone,
- In Riva del Garda and Nago Torbole, in the north, on the Trentino coast.
Beach lovers go to the area from Malcesine to Peschiera located in the province of Verona. This is the Olive Riviera, 50 km long.
This is the place for summer fun, sports, and outdoor activities. There are numerous entertainment parks on the territory of the Riviera, including the most popular – Gardaland, Canevaworld water park, Seaworld aquarium, and Muviland entertainment park. Those who like thermal springs go to Sirmione and Lazise.
Garda is located between Milan and Venice. That is why it often hosts fashion shows of famous Italian designers, as well as various shows.
Resorts and sights of Lake Garda Italy
Lake Garda is popular due to its uniqueness, numerous sights and resorts: Malcesine, Garda, Riva del Garda, Sirmione, Bardolino, and Desenzano del Garda.
Sirmione City and Villa Catulla
The Fortress of Sirmione has become one of the most popular resorts on Lake Garda. It is located in the south and occupies the entire peninsula. Vacationers can find here everything they need:
- Hotels of various levels of comfort;
- Restaurants, bars and cafes;
- Shops, supermarkets;
- Spa complexes and healing baths people know everything about here.
Many tourists travel to the city of Sirmione to visit the majestic sights.
The main attractions of the city of Sirmione
- Temples of Santa Maria — Maggiore and San Pietro in Mavino.
- Villa or Grotto of Catullus – the ruins of an ancient structure that was built in 150 AD. This is the carte-de-visite of the lake. Many centuries ago, here there was an estate of Guy Valery Catullus, the ancient poet. A huge park with olive trees adjoins the construction.
- Fortress or Scaliger Castle – a huge building that protects the village from Garda and the largest building in the city. The fortress was built in the 13th century. Initially it functioned as a guard at the local port. The high battlements of the building are made of gray stone in the spirit of the Middle Ages. Previously, there was a drawbridge as an entrance to the fortress. Today it has been replaced by a stationary one. Inside there is a huge museum dedicated to the history of the fortress and the city.
Sirmione is a tourism center with picturesque panoramic views of the sea and the lake valley. This is the place where you can feel the spirit of the past and emerge into the ancient atmosphere.
The beautiful city of Malcesine is located on the eastern shore of Garda. This place has picturesque views and is closely related to the life of Johann Goethe, the famous German poet. Tourists use the funicular to go to the top of Mount Baldo and visit numerous museums.
In the evening, from the hills you can see the beautiful Scaliger Castle in Sirmione. The Medieval fortress is the place where weddings are often celebrated.
Peculiar air flows contribute to the active pastime in the city. The area is windy. That is why skydivers and windsurfers are frequent visitors here.
In addition, on city streets and on the small dock there are many shops, restaurants, and bars. You can find hundreds of comfortable hotels, original villas, and 12 holiday camps. The harbor of the city is small. There are always a lot of boats, yachts, and boats here.
Malcesine is one of the most equipped and developed resorts on the lake. Unlike the southern regions, it is not so hot in summer. Therefore, it is comfortable for visitors to walk around the neighborhood and visit various excursions.
The Monte Baldo Mountain
The Monte Baldo majestically rises above the lake and is also a well-known European botanical garden. The height of the mountain is 2,000 meters. There is a cable way running from the top of Baldo. Vineyards, olive trees, oleanders, and other trees that grow well in the mild Mediterranean climate can be seen on the slopes.
Tourists rise to the height of 1,760 meters and enjoy the picturesque views of the Alps. The mountain is suitable for hiking and various excursions to natural sights. In summer on the hottest days there is comfortable temperature due to the cool winds. In winter, you can go in for various sports on the equipped slopes.
In spring, when the snow is falling, admirers of tracking tours and hiking join tracking tours and mountain biking trips. There are trails for beginners, amateurs, professionals, and thrill-seekers.
The Monte Baldo attracts romantics, athletes, extreme sportsmen, and admirers of beautiful natural views.
Islands on the Lake Garda Italy
The whole Lake Garda, Italy, includes five large islands and many others that are smaller. The largest island is called the same as the reservoir – Garda. In 1220, Francis of Assisi founded a majestic monastery here.
In 1890-1903, a unique neo-Gothic villa with Venetian elements was built on the island. It was designed by Luigi Rovelli. Since 2002, any tourist or local resident can get to the island.
To the south of Garda there is another large land called the island of rabbits or San Biagio. This island, like its neighbor, is located on the border with the San Felice del Benaco region – closer to the west coast.
Three more large islands are located closer to the east coast of the lake, to the north. This is the Island of Three Apples, Island of Dreams, and Olive Island.
Boiola Healing Source
Fonte Boiola is a famous spring that can heal numerous unpleasant diseases. It includes iodine and bromine. Procedures in the Boiola unique spring help people to heal skin diseases, strengthen their immunity, and alleviate chronic ear inflammations and rheumatism.
However, it will be useful for all travelers to visit the thermal spring. This is a good disease prevention. The complex of Spa procedures can meet the requirements of even the most capricious and skeptical tourists.
For many centuries, the spring annually proves its integrity and confirms its unique properties.
Riva and Torbole
On the north coast of Lake Garda there are small resort towns of Riva and Torbole. These are settlements gathering fans of windsurfing, sailing, and kitesurfing. The area is famous for its unique wind flows.
Limone sul Garda
This is a small town and one of the most popular resorts located in the western part of Lake Garda. Limone Sul Garda is part of the territory named by the locals as the Lemon Riviera. In the center of the settlement there is a cozy harbor of Porto Vichchio. Numerous streets with souvenir shops go in all directions.
The city has many abandoned lemon groves, hotels, hotel complexes, small beaches, parking lots, and other infrastructure for the comfort of travelers.
If you arrive in Limon in summer, you should be ready for a large flow of travelers from Italy and other countries. The city has many restaurants, terraced cafes, and windows with panoramic views on the emerald expanse of water.
The western part of the lake is the northernmost point of Garda, where there are numerous lemon groves. Locals love citrus fruits, eat them daily, and perhaps this is their secret of longevity. The city is perfect for a relaxing holiday.
Riva del Garda
The province of Trento, a popular city and famous resort located on the north coast of Garda, is a region of Trentino Alto Adige. On three sides it is surrounded by the Alps. There is a unique atmosphere here. It can be called both calm and lively.
Until 1918, the city was part of Austria. You can trace it in the architecture. The most famous local sight is the 13th century clock tower built by Torre Apponale. It has an observation deck and a bell. Anyone can get to the tower.
The coastline of the lake includes a beach, a park, and a harbor. Ducks are the real owners of this area. This is another famous sight of the city. The beaches are covered with lawns and a small narrow strip of pebbles.
In Riva del Garda, you can relax with your family. It is quiet, calm, and comfortable. The area has a well-developed infrastructure.
A green city located on the fertile land that was preferred by famous Italians. Many villas and palaces have been built in the village. In the center there is a St. Nicholas temple built in honor of the patron saint of these places.
Bardolino is characterized by three things – numerous green spaces, lush vegetation, and red wine. The local drink has an original taste and rich aroma. Tourists and locals have been admiring it for centuries.
The famous Lake Garda, Italy, whose photos are posted on travel websites and in guides, attracts tourists from all over the world. This is a unique place with centuries-long history, architectural, and natural monuments.
There are many tourists at numerous resorts and in the towns that stretch along the coast in summer and autumn. The vacationers include athletes, lovers of an active and relaxing holidays, as well as those who love the Italian culture and history.