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Lake Garda

Overview

Spring on Lake Garda amidst villages, nature and water sports

There are many ways to enjoy a holiday on the shores of Lake Garda overspring time: wandering around villages full of history, discovering ancient ruins and remote castles, indulging in sport, being overwhelmed by the wonder of breathtaking views, swim in the lake with a mild climate, just when spring has sprung.

The blue lake stretches between verdant plains and snow-capped mountains, offering a very special climate for these latitudes, which allows citrus fruits, vineyards and olive trees to thrive.

 

A holiday in nature between relaxation and adrenalin

Thanks to the constant winds blowing from the land, the extent of water is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. On Lake Garda in spring and summer, you can rent a sailboat or go windsurfing and kitesurfing, but also enjoy a dive in its depths or fly over the lake in a hang-glider.

If you are more adventurous, you can go canyoning or hike or mountain bike along more than 1,000 km of trails. The best of it all? The Ponale Road from Riva del Garda towards Ledro, carved into the rock as early as the mid-19th century. Or the path to Rocca di Manerba. At the top are the remains of a castle and a breathtaking view of the lake. Don't miss the suspended cycle path in Limone del Garda, built overhanging the water.

For thrill-seekers, there is a suspended terrace at an altitude of 350 metres just outside the village of Tremosine. The view of the lake and mountains will compensate for the dizziness. You get there by driving along the Strada della Forra ,which Winston Churchill called “the most beautiful road in the world”. More vertigo effect is found at Arco, a perched village among the best European destinations for free climbing.

 

Sirmione, Desenzano and Peschiera del Garda

In between nature walks and adrenaline sports, there is time for a stroll through history. Almost all the villages around the lake are full of them. Starting with Sirmione with its fortified Rocca Scaligera jutting out into the sea. Don't miss the walk on the walls and climb to the top of the highest tower for the view. Sirmione is also home to the Grotte di Catullo, an archaeological area containing the remains of a Roman villa. Not too far away is Jamaica Beach, one the most beautiful on the lake.

Another splendid Roman villa with polychromatic mosaics is located in Desenzano del Garda. Treat yourself to a lake view from here too by climbing to the highest point of the fortified keep that dominates the old town with its towers. Then a walk to the Porto Vecchio and a visit to the Renaissance cathedral housing Tiepolo's The Last Supper. From Desenzano, pop over to Lonato to visit the Rocca Viscontea.

In Peschiera del Garda you will discover a fortress town surrounded by water used first by the Scaligeri, then by the Venetians, and finally as part of a  19th century defence system. Not to be missed is a bike ride along the Mincio River along the 16th-century bastions, the Ponte dei Voltoni and the Mascagni promenade with a splendid view of the fortress. If you are travelling with children, Gardaland amusement park is within reach.

From Peschiera, take a trip inland, Valeggio can be reached in 15 minutes. The village is dominated by a Scaliger castle and is also home to the beautiful Sigurtà Garden Park and the Visconti Bridge, a fortified dam dating back to 1393. But the real reason to come here is the hamlet of Borghetto sul Mincio with its water mills. Taste the tortellini from Valeggio linked to the legend of the love knot: the story goes that in 1300 a soldier and a nymph, in love and fleeing, threw themselves into the Mincio River leaving a knotted handkerchief on the riverbank as a symbol of their love.

 

Gardone Riviera e Limone del Garda

There are two main attractions on Gardone Riviera: the Vittoriale degli Italiani, the astonishing villa that Gabriele D'Annunzio built as a monument to himself, and the Heller Botanical Garden, which collects plants from all over the world among installations and sculptures by Keith Haring, Auguste Rodin, Roy Lichtenstein and Joan Miró.

On the opposite side of the lake, at this not particularly wide point, is Torri del Benaco, another masterpiece village whose not-to-be-missed Scaligero Castle is worth mentioning.

Until 1932, Limone could only be reached via the lake or through the mountains because there was still no connecting road. So it has remained virtually untouched, with all the charm of yesteryear. Here is the Limonaia del Castel, an 18th-century citrus grove in the park of Villa Borghi. But don't be fooled, the name Limone actually comes from the Latin word limes meaning border, because it marked the boundary of the Republic of Venice.

 

Lazise and Malcesine

Lazise has a record: it was among the first free Italian municipalities. It was granted its autonomy by Emperor Otto II as early as 983. The Scaliger walls guard the historical centre with the castle and the Venetian fleet was stationed in the harbour, which was sunk to keep it from falling into enemy hands. The ships are still there, at the bottom of the lake. It is not the only secret that water holds. Here in prehistoric times stood a village on stilts.

Another unmissable village on the lake is Malcesine right below Monte Baldo, to which it is connected by a cable car: views of the lake are guaranteed. The Scaligero castle, the Palazzo dei Capitani and the hamlet of Cassone are worth seeing.

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Lake Garda

Lake Garda, Italy

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