How to Spend 1 Day in Lake Garda
Italy’s largest and most visited lake, Lake Garda mixes traditional waterfront towns with pebble beaches, palatial villas, and countless boat trips, all set against lush, mountainous backdrops. Here are our ideas for how to get the most out of one day on Lake Garda.
Morning: Getting to Know the Lake
Make the most of your time on a tour around Lake Garda’s perimeter, savoring the scenery and stopping at picturesque towns such as Limone sul Garda and Riva del Garda—all without having to fuss about transportation or parking. Alternatively, make a foray onto the lake’s waters to experience its spectacular mountain views. Ride a boat to Garda Island (Isola del Garda)—the lake’s biggest island—to see its grand, Gothic-style palace, or bob by the villa that was home to late opera singer Maria Callas. If you’ve based yourself in nearby Verona or Milan, meanwhile, consider a day trip that covers the lake’s most popular towns and scenic spots, all with hassle-free round-trip transport and a guide to provide information and pointers.
Afternoon: Delve Deeper
If you didn’t take a full-day trip earlier, devote this afternoon to cruising on the lake. Take a sightseeing boat along the west coast past mansions and palm-laden gardens, and visit the pretty town of Salò to stroll and enjoy a gelato along its promenade. Adventurous types can opt to explore Garda’s hillside villages on a high-powered 3-wheel trike or go canyoning in the mountain rivers above the lake. For something more leisurely, book a cruise around the lake’s Sirmione peninsula, drifting past sights such as Scaligero Castle and secluded beaches.
Evening: Sunset Cruising and Supper
Lake Garda takes on an ethereal beauty at sunset, so make the most of your one evening here on a private cruise. Watch darkness fall on the water and enjoy a glass of prosecco as your skipper-guide points out the sights. Otherwise, end your day in time-honored Italian style with a passeggiata—an evening stroll—along the lakefront before heading to one of the many gourmet restaurants in towns such as Sirmione, Riva, or Limone for dinner.