The most Mediterranean of the Alpine lakes is immersed in a marvelous landscape. To begin with, it’s a paradise for sports enthusiasts: windsurfing, sailing, rowing, fishing, scuba diving, and hiking, as well as tennis and golf.
The Lake is also exceptional for those seeking tranquility and physical well-being thanks to the thermal waters of Vallio Terme and Sirmione, beloved by the Latin poet Catullus and by international writers such as Giosuè Carducci, Ugo Foscolo, and James Joyce.
The mild climate and the splendid surrounding nature are a silent invitation to indulge in long hours of relaxation, followed by exploration of the picturesque villages of Riva, Desenzano, Gardone, and Gargnano. For those looking to make their trip exclusive, it’s a succession of wonderful resorts known for their unmatched elegance.
On the Brescia side of Lake Garda, in the beautiful setting of the Lemon Riviera, you will find Campione, just a few kilometers from Salò and Gargnano, along the coastal road carved into the rock about a century ago, at the foot of the municipality of Tremosine.
On the eastern shore, Garda takes the lead. It is a small medieval village, proud of its Parish Church, one of the oldest parish churches in the area, dedicated to Santa Maria. It was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1117, modernized and modified in 1824. From the original Parish Church, the cloister (15th century) with a beautiful loggia, the vicarage house, some fragments of inscriptions in Gothic characters, mural friezes, tombstones, and parts of a Carolingian ciborium still remain. Punta San Virgilio is another masterpiece of how man has been able to make the Lake an enchanted place.
Desenzano‘s location in the largest gulf on the lower Brescia side of Lake Garda offers tourists well-maintained and well-organized beaches with charming venues that are also open in the evening. The panoramic view from Desenzano overlooks the Sirmione Peninsula. Sports enthusiasts will find sports facilities, tennis courts, and horse riding centers in the area , there are surf and sailing schools, water skiing, football, and athletics available. For enthusiasts of food and wine, tours of wineries and olive oil mills are a must to savor two excellences: the wine and olive oil of Lake Garda.
Peschiera del Garda is one of the most unique towns on the eastern shore of Lake Garda because it is completely surrounded by canals and overlooks the lake at the point where the waters of Lake Garda flow into the Mincio River. While taking a stroll, you can see the Venetian walls that now enclose Piazza Betteloni by the harbor. In the square, you’ll find the Military Museum housed in the old Command Building of the Garrison.
Riva del Garda, at the northernmost tip of the lake on the Trentino side, is famous for its unique climate and is considered the northernmost Mediterranean area in Europe. A must-visit for hiking and excursion enthusiasts, Riva del Garda offers strong contrasts.
For those who love walks, Sirmione offers a wonderful panoramic route starting next to the Castle and along the shores of Lake Garda, providing truly unforgettable views. Cycling enthusiasts can explore the Lugana Wine region with a scenic ride through the vineyards. The thermal baths, already famous in Roman times for their healing sulfuric waters that flow warm from the bottom of the lake, are also popular, especially the Aquaria Thermal Baths, used for respiratory ailments and skin conditions.
On the beautiful lakeside promenade of Salò, near the pier, stand “The Palace of Magnifica Patria” and “The Palace of the Podestà,” bearing witness to the noble history of this town on Lake Garda in the Brescia region. In the atrium, you can admire the frescoes by Angelo Landi, and under the portico that connects the two buildings, there are ancient coats of arms and plaques. Salò is located on a charming gulf at the foot of Mount S. Bartolomeo and is considered the “capital” of the Upper Garda in the Brescia region.
Lazise is located on the Verona side of Lake Garda. The Castle, built before the year 1000 to defend against Hungarian incursions, has been renovated and fortified several times but remains one of the best-preserved castles. At the two entrances on top of the main tower, you can still see the coats of arms of the Scaligeri family.
Nago-Torbole, located on the Trentino side of Lake Garda, was formed by the union of two small villages, one on the lakeshore and the other a few kilometers inland. Points of interest include the Churches of Sant’Andrea and Santa Maria al Lago, the small and austere 18th-century building used as a customs house for centuries, the Fort of Nago, and the Castle of Torbole. It serves as a starting point for numerous walks and bike rides, exploring the lakeside promenades or cycling paths.
Torri del Benaco, like the neighboring towns, has very ancient origins dating back to prehistoric times, specifically the Bronze Age. Archaeological excavations have revealed numerous stilt-house structures, and rock carvings confirm the dating of the settlement. Torri (known as Tulles) became part of the Roman Empire around the end of the 1st century BC.
Lush palm trees and olive groves grow side by side, while steep mountain walls plunge into a cobalt blue lake, and a wind, as punctual as the sunrise and sunset, delights thousands of windsurfers. Therefore, water sports like windsurfing and sailing are commonly practiced in Riva, while climbing and trekking are sports for the more adventurous. Piazza III Novembre, with its bars and restaurants, is one of the city’s meeting places. Motorcycle enthusiasts can start from Riva to embark on adventurous routes, such as the Three Lakes tour.
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