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

Malcesine

Malcesine Holidays

Malcesine is steeped in Italian beauty, sat among the towering peaks of Monte Baldo and the endless blue of Lake Garda. In these parts, it's all about getting outdoors, sunning yourself on the beach, taking the cable car a thousand metres up or sipping a cool limoncello by the waterfront.

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So much more than lakeside beauty

Dwarfed by what can only be described as the Italian version of the Norwegian fjords, the little town of Malcesine sits like a puddle of buildings at the edge of Lake Garda, with a tall castle tower peering up from the top. If you didn't know any better, landing here you might think you've stumbled upon something out of a fairy tale.

Tucked up in northern Italy, Malcesine is all about the pretty looks. Carved with cobbled lanes and waterfront for days, it's the epitome of a relaxed holiday spot. Afternoons here are spent lapping up the sun, the waves and a scoop of gelato from a local gelateria.

There's no end to the amount of Italian restaurants here, as well as ways to get out in the Mediterranean sunshine – up in Monte Baldo, down on Lake Garda or just strolling the waterfront with a cold drink in hand. Out here, it's impossible to stay indoors.

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Lake Garda

Lake Garda is the largest lake in all of Italy. As Malcesine's local, it gets a suitable amount of attention and is one of the most popular destinations for a relaxing Italian Lakes holiday. Boardwalks border the lake, so the waves are always just nearby, broken up by a few piers and a handful of pebbly beaches just off the centre of town and in the shadow of the castle.

With this in mind, it's safe to say there are plenty of ways to sunbathe in these parts. There are also just as many ways to get active on the water, with kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and paddleboarding on the agenda.

Castello Scaligero

You can't really miss the Castello Scaligero – its white and brown tower peaks out of the Malcesine skyline and dominates the entire resort. The castle was originally built in the 5th century, but was knocked down by the Franks and subsequently rebuilt on the same site in the early 9th century. This is the castle we see today, with the addition of 13th-century fortifications.

Named for the ruling della Scalia family, the castle has been used as an Austrian military garrison and a prison, but is now open for touring. Inside is a small museum detailing Malcesine's natural history of Monte Baldo and Lake Garda, plus a room that explores the time celebrated writer Johann Wolfgang Goethe visited the castle and was accused of being an Austrian spy.

Monte Baldo

Monte Baldo is another one of Malcesine's can't-miss attractions because you quite literally can't miss it. It's the tall mountain that sits behind the resort, rising up more than 2,200 metres into the air. The top can be scaled via walking trails from town, but for the less actively-inclined, there's a cable car stretching up to heights of 1,760 metres that'll get you there.

At the top cable car station, there's a bar, restaurant and terrace that'll help you enjoy the view, but beyond that, outdoorsy types can rejoice in the long list of ways to get active. Mountain biking, hiking and even paragliding from the top are all possible. Giving you an endless array of ways to view Malcesine from above.

Italian cuisine for days

There's no avoiding Malcesine's Italian roots when it comes to dining, but we're not complaining. The resort comes with an unbeatable number of Italian restaurants for a town of its size, dishing up fresh seafood, pasta dishes, pizza and so much more.

On top of this, many of the dining spots around town make use of their lakeside location with outdoor terraces stashed right up on the water. Those without waterfront views are tucked away between cobbled lanes, and come in a range of vibes, from casual pizzeria to white tablecloth fine dining.

For those nights that call for branching away from traditional Italian, there are barbecue spots and places from the wider Mediterranean to keep the hunger at bay.