The small and particularly pretty town of Sirmione, set on the southern shore of Lake Garda, is essentially a promontory that stretches into the lake. Its most striking features are the moated castle of Rocca Scaligera and our featured property, Villa Cortine Palace. Sirmione's labyrinth of narrow medieval streets bustle with colour and life with an array of shops, town squares and restaurants, and at the very tip of the peninsula green-coloured lizards can be seen scuttling over the extensive remains of a grand Roman villa. Sirmione is renowned for its thermal baths and the source of the mineral-rich water is the natural hot spring, referred to as Boiola, which is located approximately twenty metres under Lake Garda. People have been drawn to these therapeutic waters since Roman times in search of relief from ailments including respiratory problems, rheumatism and skin disorders. Nowadays they also flock here for the thermal circuits offered by spas that aim to help patrons refresh and relax.
Lazise, in the southeast, is another very beautiful town and one which is relatively small in terms of the number of inhabitants. There is evidence of pre-historic dwellings, but it is its medieval heritage that it is renowned for and the well-preserved Castello Scaligero with its six towers and the city walls are what really attracts visitors. At the heart of the town is a harbour, once an important point of trade, whilst other points of interest in the Old Town include the Lazise Customs House that was used as a weapons store, the 13th century San Zeno church and the 12th century San Nicolo church. Of course, you’ll also find a good helping of shops and restaurants too, or perhaps you’d prefer to take a picnic to enjoy in the Villa Bernini Park.
Bardolino is one of the most popular places to visit on Lake Garda and a definite must for those who enjoy wine-tasting. The micro-climate helps to produce delicious grapes at the vineyards in the surrounding hillside, that go into making delicious local wines. The Zeni Winery & Wine Museum is a fantastic place to get a feel for the traditions and special processes of wine-making in the region, before enjoying samples in the wine shop to help you decide on a bottle to purchase. If you’re left wanting more, Bardolino has its own wine route, ‘La Strada del Vino Bardolino,’ to follow. There is even a 'Festival of the Grape' held annually in the first week of October and highlights include food and drinks stalls that offer a taste of the best local produce.
Riva del Garda
Riva del Garda is at the northern end of Lake Garda and has a quaint ‘resort’ air with pretty public gardens by the waterfront, a market, shops and many ‘gelaterie’, cafes and restaurants. The waterfront is dominated by one of Garda's fortresses, the Rocca, which contains the town's museum. North of Riva, walking or driving excursions give access to some of the region's most dramatic scenery, including a waterfall at Varone, the remains of a Bronze Age settlement at Lake Ledro and the crags and fortifications of Castello d'Arco.
Charming Malcesine, on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, is a maze of historic alleys with a castle and mountain slopes rearing up behind the clustered buildings. A cable car takes you right up to the high grassy summit of the Monte Baldo ridge, where the air is fresh and cool, the views are beautiful, and you can refresh yourself at one of several cafes. Walkers can begin high-level hikes here, while the more lethargic can return to Malcesine to browse in the gift shops or enjoy an ice-cream.
Another small town on the southern shore of the lake, Desenzano is a pleasant place to while away a few hours. Narrow streets, including Via Castello, wind down from the town’s small castle to the shore where there are both a small harbour with a handful of restaurants beside it, and a larger marina. If you’re looking for a fashionable night out, or simply to partake in a spot of people-watching, Saturday evenings in Desenzano attract locals who come to enjoy weekend drinks. The Roman villa is also worth visiting as there are the remains of intricate mosaic work and a small museum at the site.
The Aquaria Thermal Wellness Centre is world-famous and guests of our featured hotel, Villa Cortine Palace, who seek the opportunity to really rejuvenate, can easily experience a range of treatments and facilities here. These include various pools, Jacuzzis, bubbling shower beds, aroma-chromatic treatments, massages, vascular circuits and a fitness centre.
When it comes to theme parks, the area around Lake Garda certainly delivers. Gardaland Amusement Park is Italy’s largest and is regarded by many as one of the world’s best, offering rides that include the adrenalin-inducing Blue Tornado and Raptor roller coasters. There is also Movie Studios Park which offers more rides and shows, as well as stunts, while Aquastudios Park offers thrills and spills of a watery kind. For those who like wildlife there is a zoo nearby at Bussolengo that offers a safari-style experience.
Nature & Gardens
There are some charming gardens in the region and the historic Giardino Sigurtà public park is highly regarded by some of the world’s most respected Botanists. Offering a lovely setting − 600,000m² in total − the site features a stunning water garden with ornamental ponds and lakes, a medicinal herb garden, grotto, lakes, woodland, a maze and topiary-sculpted bushes. From March to November there is always something to see; the different flowering seasons see carpets of tulips, irises, roses, lilies and asters burst into bloom. On the western shore, Gardone Riviera is a pretty tourist resort with a peaceful waterfront promenade and here you will find the Giardino Botanico Fondazione André Heller. Owned by Artist, Andrea Heller, here exotic plants meet Japanese ponds and sculpture works. North of Riva del Garda is one of the lake’s most popular attractions, Parco Grotta Cascata Varone, which is famous for its scenery, caves, and most of all, the waterfall that spans a one-hundred-metre drop. It can be viewed from above and below angles thanks to purpose-built walkways.
Those interested in archaeology may like to visit the Grotto of Catullo in Sirmione, once home to the poet Catullo and a fine example of a Roman villa, or the museum in Desenzano where prehistoric and Bronze Age artefacts from the region are exhibited. For art-lovers there are fine galleries including Mart in Rovereto where there is a collection of modern art, particularly Italian 20th century art. If you’re looking for some culture of a musical kind there are lots of summertime concerts that take place in atmospheric settings such as the castles at Desenzano and Lazise. Lake Garda is within easy reach of the historic city of Verona that makes an excellent day trip or evening out. A romantic spot, it boasts a pretty riverside setting, medieval lanes, palaces, Roman heritage and museums filled with art. As the setting for Shakespeare’s ‘Rome & Juliet,’ Verona has a trail dedicated to the love story that highlights points of interest including Juliet’s balcony. Verona’s summer opera season is a huge event in the cultural calendar and during this time world-class concerts are performed in the stunning backdrop of the Roman Arena.
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.
The temperature guide shown is for Verona.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Lake Garda.
British Airways from London Gatwick to Verona.
From London Gatwick to Verona: 2 hours, 5 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.