The lake changes dramatically from north to south – its southern shores are pretty and genteel, beloved by poets throughout history and full of villas, while its northern shores become wilder, backed by Alpine peaks. The best towns to visit in lake garda are those along the northern edge of the lake, including Riva del Garda and Nago-Torbole. The best places to stay in lake garda are hotels near the water that provide easy access for swimming, as well as those in the historic town centers where you can walk along narrow alleys and wide piazzas.
One of the best things to do in lake garda is visiting the historic city center of Sirmione, one of the most beautiful towns in lake garda. The narrow alleys and wide piazzas of this medieval town are adorned with colorful buildings, and the castle that towers above the lake is one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of Italy. You can tour the castle, or just admire it from afar.
Another of the top things to do in lake garda is to visit the Santuario Madonna della Corona, a church that clings to the side of a mountain. The church is a short hike from either Sirmione or Malcesine, and it can get very crowded, so be sure to arrive early or late in the day if you’re planning on visiting.
Cruising on a ferry is one of the most relaxing things to do in lake garda, and it’s also a great way to see some of the lake’s most beautiful scenery. The fjord-like northern end of the lake is framed by dramatic mountains, and the scenery is truly breathtaking. There are several ferries that depart from Limone and Malcesine, and most tour the lake to Riva del Garda.