More affordable, just as breathtaking, and home to some of Italy's best wines. Why you should consider Garda if Como seems a bit out of reach.
Lake Garda is one of Italy's most picturesque and charming destinations, located in the north between Venice and Milan, and right in the heart of valpolicella and amarone country. Though it is regarded for its crystal-clear waters, stunning scenery, and mild Mediterranean climate, Garda is often overshadowed by the fame and glamour of nearby Lake Como. But do not overlook this beautiful area when considering a trip to Northern Italy. For wine lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, foodies, and history buffs alike, Garda has world class offerings that make for an incredible vacation.
Something for Everyone
The diversity of Lake Garda and it's surroundings make for endless opportunities to experience the region. Nature lovers can hike in the nearby mountains and forests, while history buffs can explore the ancient Roman ruins of Grotto di Catullo on the Sirmione peninsula and the medieval castles that dot the shores around the lake. Water sports enthusiasts can swim, sail, and windsurf in the lake's crystal waters, and foodies can indulge in the region's delicious cuisine (including a few Michelin star restaurants) and fine wines.
Garda vs Como
While Lake Como is a stunning destination, Lake Garda offers visitors a wider range of activities and attractions in an equally serene lake environment and usually at a more approachable price point. Even amongst the 5 star luxury accommodations the lake has to offer, the per-night cost you are saving by not going to Como is not insignificant in our opinion.
Lake Garda is larger than Lake Como, and it is home to many charming waterfront towns and villages, each with its own unique character, cultural heritage, and selection of great cafes and restaurants.
Where to Stay
There are several areas of Lake Garda worth staying at, each offering its own unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, but some of our favorites include:
1. Sirmione - Famous for its ancient Roman ruins and medieval castle, Sirmione juts out into the water from a central location on the Lake's southern shore, and boasts Roman ruins, a medieval caste, several amazing restaurants and probably our favorite hotel on the lake, Grande Hotel Terme.
2. Desenzano del Garda - Known for its bustling marina, beautiful beaches, and lively nightlife, Desenzano del Garda is a great spot for young travelers and partygoers.
3. Peschiera del Garda - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Peschiera del Garda is a charming town with a picturesque historic center, surrounded by imposing Venetian walls.
4. Malcesine - A romantic town with winding streets, medieval castle, and stunning views of the lake's north eastern shores and surrounding mountains.
5. Riva del Garda - The Lake's northern most town that sits across the regional border in Trento, Alto Adige. The waters in-front of the town are popular among windsurfers, and the picturesque waterfront walk makes for a great lunch or dinner destination.
For even more tranquility, consider venturing away from the lake front and instead opting for a luxury boutique "relais" style hotel and spa amongst the vineyards and rolling hills south of Peschiera.
For our hotel and villa recommendations, contact us!
Food & Wine
The cuisine of Lake Garda is rich and varied, with dishes that reflect the region's history and cultural influences. Some of the must-try dishes include:
1. Risotto alla pescatora - A delicious seafood risotto made with the freshest ingredients from the lake.
2. Tortellini di Valeggio - A type of stuffed pasta that originated in the town of Valeggio south of the lake, filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables.
3. Polenta e schie - A hearty dish made with creamy polenta and small freshwater shrimp called schie.
The region around Lake Garda is also known for its high-quality wines, with the most famous being Bardolino, Valpolicella, and Amarone. Bardolino is a light and fruity red wine made from the Corvina grape, while Valpolicella is a more full-bodied red made from a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes. Amarone is a rich and complex red wine made from partially dried grapes, known for its intense flavor and long aging potential.
Want to visit Lake Garda? Let the experts at Isarti Travel help curate your trip!