Lake Garda



The largest of the Italian Lakes, Garda, is popular with visitors from all over Europe who come to swim in theclear waters and enjoy the atmosphere. The northern half of the lake occupies a steep glacial valley and isflanked by dramatic, precipitous cliffs. In contrast, the glacial plains around the south end of the lake havecreated a fertile agricultural area, which has been highly prized for growing crops, in particular vines, forthousands of years. Our hotels include a selection in beautiful towns such as Sirmione, Gardone Riviera andTorri del Benaco and a delightful property on the quiet eastern shores. Verona is a 30 minute drive (a littlelonger in the busy summer months) from the lake shore and so a holiday combining culture and relaxation is well worth considering.   Gardone Riviera This pretty town is situated on the western shores of the lake. Sheltered by the mountains, it is blessed with a wonderful, subtropical climate. As well as cafés and boutiques, there are attractive parks and botanical gardens. Gardone Riviera has been popular since the 19th century and it has retained much of its original character.   Sirmione The mediaeval town of Sirmione is situated at the end of a long peninsula at the southern end of Lake Garda and is made up of a maze of narrow streets that are limited to traffic. It has elegant boutiques, villas and a wealth of historical features including the impressive 13th century Scaliger Castle, the church of San Pietro in Mavino with origins dating back to the 11th century and the Santa Maria Maggiore with its beautiful 15th century frescoes. Also worth a visit are the nearby Roman ruins of the Grotto of Catullus.   Torri Del Benaco A quieter alternative to some of the busier resorts, this pretty town sits on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, about 45 minutes from Verona. A14th century castle built by the powerful Scaliger family overlooks the neat, cobbled streets of the historic old town and the small harbour with its colourful fishing boats. Torri is most famous for Bronze Age rock carvings in caves nearby and also makes an excellent base for exploring the lake as ferries head south to Sirmione and north to Malcesine and Riva del Garda.   Salo A five minute drive along the lake from Gardone Riviera is the smart harbour town of Salo. The town flourished under Venetian rule in the 1500s, but it came back into the spotlight in the 20th century when it served as the capital of Mussolini’s short-lived Italian Social Republic from 1943 to 1945. Today it is a sophisticated resort town with fashionable boutiques, cafés and an array of popular restaurants, which line the lakefront promenade.   Malcesine On the northeast shore of the lake, where the dramatic mountain scenery is at its most spectacular, Malcesine is a popular destination for sailing and windsurfing due to the reliable wind, channelled by the cliffs on either side of the lake. The well preserved old town boasts a Venetian fortress and a maze of cobbled streets and a rotating cable car which takes passengers up to the panoramic peak of Mount Baldo from where the lake stretches out below.   Punta San Vigilio An hour’s drive from Sirmione, along the eastern shore, brings you to the headland of Punta San Vigilio which is perhaps the most romantic setting on Lake Garda. It is home to one of our favourite Italian hotels, Locanda San Vigilio.

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