Lake Garda is a gem and has a real mix of activties to keep everyone happy, sipping local wine, hiking up mountains or strolling along ancient footpaths, boating, taking a splash in thermal waters or feeling the adrenaline of roller coasters. Here is a rough guide of things to do in the Lake Garda area
1. Wine Tasting
Ask any Italian what makes them proud to be Italian and wine is near the top of the list. Sparkling proseccos and Corte Franca, light crisp whites like Lugana, full bodied reds, sweet and rich dessert wines there are many and the area around Lake Garda produces a lot of wonderful wines. Especially towards the south of the lake, there is an array of vineyards and cellars where you can admire the ancient vines, sip the local wines while perhaps nibbling on local cheeses and breads. Obviously, it’s wonderful to do on warm summer evenings but on those occasional rainy days, tucking yourself in a cosy warmly lit wine cellar can be a wonderful way to enjoy your Italian stay.
Here are a couple of places to try:
Gardino di Pojega e Villa Rizzardi- set several kilometres away from the lake, these beautiful gardens, villa and wine cellar offer wine tastings as well as being a stunning wedding venue
Masi Tentuta Canova– set in the countryside a few kilometres from Lazise, they offer guided tours and tastings
2. Cable Car
Going up in the cable car in Malcesine give you a completely different , birds eye view of the lake. It is possible to head up all year round to walk, cycle, do nordic walking or even snowboarding. There are many trails on Monte Baldo which a suitable for families and those who’d like something more strenuous. They also hold cultural events which can be found on their website
3. Walking & Parks
If you want to burn off those bowls of pasta and overflowing glasses of wine, hiking can be a wonderful way. The nothern part of the lake offers more options, Garda Hiking website gives some good and varied information.
If you fancy stretching your legs but hiking in the moutains seems too much, going to a park can be a perfect option.
Parco Sigurtà Giardino isn’t on the lake but if you have a car is a lovely drive away. It won second place in the 2015 Europe’s Most Beautiful Gardens award extends over 600,0oo square meters. It’s open from around the start of March to the start of November and for those less energetic, golf carts can be hired.
4. Themal waters & Spas
Sulphurous water flows from the depths of the lake and allows for a great relaxing days during you Lake Garda stay.
Aquaria Terme in Sirmione is one of the better known, it has saunas with stunning lake views, steam rooms, multi-sensory relaxation rooms as well as, of course, themal water pools. It’s a wonderful way to pamper yourself the day before your Italian Lake Garda wedding day.
Garda Thermea is another spot where you relax those lakes after perhaps a day in the mountains, offering various treatments and packages.
5. Boating Around
Like all of the Italian lakes, boats by the navigazione can be taken all around the lake. It can be a great way to hop from place to place, getting a real Italian feel of the numerous lakeside towns and villages. For those of you with cars, you can cut across the lake using a car ferry from Maderno and Torri del Benaco all year round and between Limone and Malcesine in summertime. Timetables and fares can be found of the Navigazione website.
If you feel like being a touch more adventurous and going it alone, boats can be hired from various companies like Garda Boat from many of the towns around the lake, You don’t need a license for smaller boats and so you can nip around exploring.
Watersports are popular on Lake Garda, especially towards the north where the mountains funnel summer winds making it perfect for sailing, kit surfing and windsurfing. For novices, lessons are available in a variety of schools, may of which can be found on the 360 Garda Life website.
Paddling across the lake in the morning light in a canoe or kayak is an unforgettable experience. Canoes and Kayaks can be hired in most lake side towns, so wander down to the shore and chat to one of the friendly staff members who will be keen to get you started.
7. Family Fun
Lake Garda has wide variety of theme parks and centres to keep adults and children entertained, most of them are at the south east of the lake. Lake Garda’s GardaLand is by far the most famous. If you are keen on theme parks and flying upside down whilst glimpsing the lake is your thing, it’s the place for you.
For those who would rather keep themselves and their stomachs safely on the ground, the is also Gardaland’s Sealife Aquarium is just across the road from Gardaland.
8. Castles Galore
Lake Garda has a rich history, it was a very strategical spot between Venice and Milan and the dukes of both fought vigorously.
There are many castles dotted around the lake some in near perfect condition, others little more than a tumbled down ruin. Here are a few to get you started
1- Sirmione Castle – Protecting this fortified southen lake town of Sirmione. Sirmione Castle is one of the best preserved castles and rare for Italy, a moated castle and the town itself is a delightfully historical spot, especially in the evenings when the pedestrian streets buzz with life.
2- Lazise Castle – This castle has had a turbulant history, being built and rebuilt after numerous battles. Lazise is a nice little town to explore right on the lake side.
3. Malcesine Castle- a wonderful wedding ceremony venue, this castle boasts stunning views across the towns red roofed houses and of course the lake. It has some nice historical exhibitions explaining the history and nature of the Lake Garda area. It’s also a short walk to the cable car if you wanted to combine a day trip.