What to do on Lake Garda
There is much to do on Lake Garda. Obviously there’s eating, drinking & sunning yourself, well, that’s enough for many visitors but for those of you looking for something more to do here are some ideas to help you.
In Gardone there is a small adventure park with zip lines and rope bridges perfect for children and there’s a range to suit all the ages. http://www.rimbalzelloadventure.com/en
Also in Gardone is the Vittoriale http://www.vittoriale.it this historic villa was built by Gabriele d’Annunzio, a famous Italian writer. He was held in house arrest by Mussolini when their opposing political views caused Mussolini concern. He house therefore also became a script in itself where d’Aunnunzio shared his views. The grounds are amazing and have stunning views of the lake. It’s also possible to take a tour of the interior of the house.
The Botanical gardens in Gardone is a magical garden of Eden and has a lot of variety in a compact but really interesting space http://www.hellergarden.com/it
For the fit there is the ‘mountain’ of Pizzocolo to climb & conquer for stunning views of the lake. I managed this in 2020 and the view was really rewarding. Cycling is also a huge sport in Italy and many places hire bikes here are some ideas for itineraries http://www.gardaworld.com/Lake-Garda/EN/1/81/Mountain-bike.html
Take a walk around the national park that surrounds La Rocca di Manerba which has stunning cliff top walks. The views from here are literally a 360° of the lake, right up to the north but also across to Garda and Bardolino and to the south Sirmione and Desenzano.
Visit the Isola del Garda which is a private island in the lake with it’s own fairytale castle. Many of the resorts have boats trips running with guided tours on the Isola. If you’d like to arrange a guided tour this local company can help http://www.tickets-tours.com/lake-tour
Around Moniga there is indoor Karting http://www.internationalkartindoormoniga.it/gallery and at Desenzano outdoor karting http://www.southgardakarting.it/en
In Sirmione there is a lovely Thermal Spa. It takes the natural thermal waters from Lake Garda and has a number of indoor and outdoor pools from which to enjoy them. It’s particularly lovely at nights as you wallow in warm waters, outdoors, watching as the sun goes down and lights come on across the lake. http://www.termedisirmione.com/aquaria-sirmione-en.jsp?language=EN
In Cola the other side of the lake there is a park with 2 really large outdoor thermal pools, let’s call them lakes. This is more suited to a family day out with children than the one in Sirmione but it’s also different in atmosphere being more natural and set in a stunning park with massive trees surrounding you. http://www.villadeicedri.it/en
Another Thermal park that is more like a water park is https://www.aquardens.it in the Valpolicella area, again well suited to families with children.
Also in the area of Cola there is a safari type park. Here you can drive in with your hire car, much like on a real safari, so you can drive past areas where animals are roaming freely. There is also another part where you can leave the car and walk about to explore some more closely www.parconaturaviva.it
Towards Lazise on the other side of the lake Gardaland which is the Lake Garda version of Alton towers http://www.gardaland.it/resort/index-en.php . Also near there is Canava water park and also Movieland which also has rides and tends to be less busy than Gardaland http://www.canevaworld.it/en
There are also other water parks around the area one of them is www.parcoacquaticocavour.it
Another adventure park the other side of the lake is http://www.jungleadventurepark.com/Default.aspx
Inland there is a special place called Parco Sigurta www.sigurta.it you can hire bikes or a golf carts to get around the incredible grounds in and a maze to get lost in. Stop into the medieval hamlet of Borghetto sul Mincio for lunch while you are there. The speciality of the area is tortellini.
There are a number of golf courses around the lake if that’s your sport of choice and here’s a handy link http://www.golfgardalake.com/golf-courses-garda-lake.html
To the north just behind Riva are the waterfalls of Varone, be warned, go prepared to get wet because there’s a lot of spray. This is a great place to spend an hour or two but not longer but you could combine it with a walk around the cliff side on the walking/cycle path from Limone, this is a beautiful way to enjoy views of the lake.
If you like walking there are many treks around the lake and up into the hills and mountains which will give you great views over the lake. Also lovely to do is the cycle path from Limone which clings to the mountainside and in places simply hangs out over the edge, the views are amazing.
Then there is the lake itself of course. There are many water sports to enjoy from hiring your own speedboat, pedalos, SUP, canoeing and in the north of the lake wind & kite surfing. A day trip on the ferry somewhere is fun, each town has it’s own atmosphere and wonderful alleyways to explore and always incredible views. And there’s always plenty of gelato and don’t forget to try a Spritz. There are also vineyards and plenty of them have guided tours and tastings that you can book to sample the local wines.
Further afield if you are here for more than just a few days you can reach Milan, Venice, Verona (my favourite) and Bergamo which is less well known.