A Guide to the Towns of Lake Garda - Al Fresco Holidays
Sun, Serenity and Sailing: A Guide to the Towns of Lake Garda
Explore Italy in more depth, and you’ll find that there’s a whole lot more than the ancient ruins of Rome, or the gliding gondolas of Venice. For centuries, people across Europe and beyond have been heading to the more peaceful northern areas of the country, and in particular, gravitating towards the tranquil waters of Lake Garda.
As Italy’s largest lake, Garda is almost impossibly beautiful, with deep blue waters, and picturesque pine-clad hills flanking its banks. It offers the same balmy climate as the rest of the country, but with a fresher feel, making for a truly relaxing holiday destination.
If you don’t know much about Lake Garda, then here is a useful guide to the finest resorts that hug the water’s edge, with some areas being more affordable than you might think!
The Towns of Lake Garda: A Useful Guide
As a general rule, the terrain around the lake is divided into areas; the craggier, scenic mountains of the north, the rolling hills around the middle, and the flatter, more child-friendly areas around the southern edge. Here are just a few of the best holiday hotspots:
If you like to incorporate a bit of buzz into your holiday, then head to Desenzano del Garda. The largest town on the lake, it offers a bustling, vibrant atmosphere, whilst still boasting some beautiful scenery and of course, the still waters of the lake itself, for the kids to splash around in. The town centre has some excellent designer shops and boutiques, and there is also a train station, for those wanting to explore beyond the lake itself.
Riva del Garda is the most northern of the towns, and as a result, one of the most mountainous. If you love to immerse yourself in nature, then Riva is one of the best spots to select, and anyone with a love of being out on the water will enjoy the ample sailing opportunities. However, don’t write Riva off as a sleepy northern town. The centre has real atmosphere, and some excellent shops and restaurants.
Peschiera is one of the few towns by Lake Garda to be connected by rail to the rest of the country, making it a popular choice for those wanting to explore on their holiday. It is also one of the most historically fascinating, with several beautiful old buildings and ancient fortifications. The small, beach areas are great for families, and if you’re looking for somewhere to stay with the kids, then head to the Del Garda Campsite, which is within easy walking distance of the town.
It’s generally considered that Salo has the best lakeside promenade in Garda. The pastel shaded buildings that line the water front are very typically Italian, which gives the place real ambiance, and makes it one of the more attractive towns in the area. There are a few shops and restaurants to keep holiday-makers happy, and a small beach close by.
One of Bardolino’s major appeals is its lakefront area. The town really makes the most of its lake-side location, with an extensive port, several excellent restaurants (many serving fresh fish) and several pretty walking trails along the gently rolling hills. There is also a small beach within walking distance, for those with children. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, Camping Cisano is a great option, with plenty of on site activities for the whole family.
Torri del Benaco
Torri del Benaco is the ancient capital of the area, and is definitely well worth a visit. Located on the picturesque eastern side, it boasts an ancient castle, which sits directly on the banks of the lake, and a town, which comprises largely of old, stone-built buildings and classic Italian townhouses. Conveniently, the town is close to the ferry terminal, which operates ferries to most of the towns around the lake.
If you’ve got kids that are castle-mad, then make sure that you visit Sirmione. The quaint, winding streets of the town are perfect for whiling away the afternoon exploring, but the real attraction is the remarkable castle and Roman ruins, which are sure to set even the youngest imaginations running into overdrive. Sirmione also boasts a thermal spa, where visitors can luxuriate in the warm, healing waters; and the waters of the lake around here are particularly impressive, as they sparkle with an almost turquoise colour.
If you’ve got a passion for the mountains, then Limone is an excellent place to base yourself for the duration of your trip. The soaring mountain peaks provide a suitably dramatic backdrop, which, combined with the impressive floral displays, make the town a highly attractive one. The pedestrianised area by the lake itself is particularly pleasant, with a good number of restaurants and shops to enjoy.
The modern day capital of the lake is a popular destination for visitors, and considering that it boasts some of the best beaches, it’s not hard to see why. Keen golfers will also appreciate the local course, which, buried in the mountains, offers some sublime panoramas of the lake below. Garda is also well known for its range of lakeside restaurants, and for those in a romantic frame of mind, few evenings come more idyllic than watching the sun go down whilst dining on a platter of freshly caught seafood.
Perhaps one of the finest things about staying in Lake Garda is the ability to hop on a ferry and explore the region at your leisure, making it the ideal destination for keen adventurers, and those with restless children!
If you’re travelling with the kids and are looking for an affordable place to stay which offers activities to keep the whole family amused, then visit the Al Fresco Holidays website. There are many campsites right beside the stunning waters of Lake Garda offering excellent proximity to the beautiful towns and beaches.