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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Garda

Garda Holidays

Garda has everything you would expect from a traditional lakeside town - pretty waterfront villas, cobbled streets lined with cafés and a tree-lined promenade. Named after one of Italy's most famous and beautiful lakes, holidays to this popular town can be spent taking leisurely boat rides, walking along the shores and enjoying the laid-back way of life.

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A stunning lakeside resort packed with history

With mountainous scenery and a stunning lake right on its doorstep, it's easy to see why Garda is such a sought-after Italian holiday destination. One of the area's busiest resorts, the town's main hub is its sun-kissed promenade which extends for over a mile. Lined with streetside cafés and gelato shops, the waterfront makes for a pleasant stroll at any time of day.

Brimming with history and culture, Garda's old town consists of winding, pedestrianised streets filled with intimate restaurants and boutique shops which stay open late into the evening.

When the sun goes down, the streets come alive with a vibrant atmosphere of live music and street performers - perfect for pre-dinner entertainment.

Quick Tips

  • Roman Catholic
  • Euro
  • Italian
  • GMT + 1

Lake Garda beaches

One of the best ways to enjoy Lake Garda is by spending a day relaxing on one of its glorious beaches. Walk in either direction along Garda's promenade and you'll come across a number of pebble and sand shores.

The family friendly La Cavalla pebble beach is just a short walk on the way to Bardolino, where you can hire a sunlounger and enjoy some lunch in one of the friendly nearby cafés. In the opposite direction towards Torri del Benaco, you'll find the upbeat Lido Garda Beach Café serving cocktails and snacks, with its own sandy shore and sunloungers.

If you want a full day by the water during your holiday to Italy, head to Mermaid Bay beach on the upmarket Punta San Vigilio peninsula. The beach is three kilometres away and can be accessed by foot, bike, bus or taxi. For a small fee you'll gain access to a charming pebble beach and beach club with entertainment, childcare and sunloungers.

Local activities and attractions

A trip to the historical Punta San Vigilio villa is not to be missed. This spectacular renaissance-style complex is flanked by rows of cypress and olive trees, and was once a holiday destination for Winston Churchill. If you've got a spare hour or so, the Olive Oil Museum in Cisano is also worth a visit for the chance to learn about the area's famous olive groves and sample some of the local produce.

On Friday mornings, Garda's promenade hosts a bustling market where you can pick up a range of authentic Italian goods and souvenirs to take home. For more varied shopping, the Grand Affi Shopping Centre is just a nine kilometre drive inland from Garda and is the perfect place to enjoy some relaxing retail therapy.

Explore the surrounding areas

Known as the capital of the lake, Garda's central location makes it a perfect base for exploring the surrounding landscapes. The easiest way to get around during your Italian holiday is on foot, with a choice of gentle lakeside paths and more challenging hikes.

The five kilometre walk past Bardolino to the town of Lazise is a pleasant stroll with spectacular lake vistas along the way. For panoramic views, head to the church in the centre of the town to start the steep ascent up La Rocca hill.

The city of Verona is also just a 45 minute bus journey away and is a popular day trip from Garda. The setting for three of Shakespeare's plays, this romantic city is a World Heritage Site and is home to an abundance of medieval architecture, including the famous amphitheatre and Roman monuments.

Vibrant evenings

As one of Lake Garda's largest resorts, the town enjoys a bustling nightlife. There's an array of bars and restaurants both in the town and by the lake, so you shouldn't struggle to find somewhere to enjoy a meal and drink with a great atmosphere.

Grab a streetside table and spend the evening people watching, or head into one of the many bars to enjoy some live music. The Papillon Music Bar and Taitù are some the town's most popular watering holes.

Throughout the summer months, there's a variety of festivals and firework displays in Garda, including the yearly wine festival just down the road in Bardolino during June and September.