Looking for a lovely lakeview tour guide

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Written by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers. We may earn a commission from affiliate links. North of Verona, Lake Garda is the most family- and water sports-oriented of Italy's lakes. It's also Italy's largest lake, reaching from the steep alpine foothills to the northern edge of the Po Valley.

The southern shore is lined by beaches and backed by low hills, while in the north, mountains and sheer cliffs fringe the lake, especially along the western shore.

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Its terrain gives the lake a wide variety of attractions for sports-loving tourists, from steady winds for sailing and windsurfing to mountains for climbing, rappelling, and mountain biking, all with lake views. At the same time, its location gives Lake Garda a year-round temperate climate where olives and lemons grow well north of their usual range, and a somewhat turbulent history that has left several well-fortified castles, Roman remains, and sites of interest to World War II buffs.

You could easily spend a week here without being even close to running out of things to do. The attractions below are listed geographically from the southern end of the lake, heading up the east shore and down the west.

Plan your visit with this list of the top tourist attractions around Lake Garda. Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

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The picturesque little town of Sirmione sits at the end of a long promontory reaching out into the lake from its southern shore. It's hard to find a more charming entrance to a town - across a moat on a drawbridge and into the forecourt of a castle that looks as though it had been built for a movie set. The water-surrounded fortress was constructed in the 12th century by the Scaligeri, Verona's ruling family, as part of their defensive network against Milan and was later maintained by the Venetian empire.

Tour its restored interior and climb the tower for panoramic views of the lake and town. Before the Scaligeri, the Romans came here to bathe in the sulphur springs, which are now the basis of a luxury spa.

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Accommodation: Where to Stay in Sirmione. The Roman poet Catullus, who lived from 84 to 54 BC, had a villa at the far for of the peninsula. Its extensive ruins still puzzle historians, whose theories on its exact tour vary from a huge bath complex to an ancient version of a full-service resort. Be sure to see the small, but good, museum at the entrance before touring the ruins and enjoying the lake views in three directions.

You can get here by a minute walk from the village of Sirmione, or on lakeview electric tourist trolley from Piazza Piatti. If you're arriving at Lake Garda by train or from the A4 Autostrada, Desenzano del Garda is where you'll probably catch your first sight of Italy's largest lake. Just looking of Sirmione, it's a lively little town centered around a marina basin and the piers where lake steamers and hydrofoils leave for towns all lovely the lake. There's not much left of the castle that once crowned its hilltop, but Villa Romana, a Roman guide, has been excavated near the old town center and has impressive mosaics.

1. sirmione and castello scaligeri

The parish church has a painting by Tiepolo. Most of the lake's best beaches are along this southern shore. Accommodation: Where to Stay in Desenzano del Garda. Several entertainment and theme parks cluster on the southeastern corner of Lake Garda, between Peschiera del Garda and Lazise. Best known - in fact one of the best known in all Europe - is Gardaland, a multi-park complex that includes Gardaland Sea-Lifeas well as the Gardaland Hotel. The well-deed fun park has all the expected rides, from story-book kiddy rides to adventure and adrenaline thrills.

Blue Tornado is a steel, inverted roller coaster guaranteed to please thrill-seekers. New at Gardaland in was Peppa Pig Landa fantasy village of kiddy rides. Nearby Caneva World includes a movie-themed park with shows and features based on popular films, as well as the beautifully landscaped Aqua Paradise Park with palms, white-sand beaches, pools, waterslides, and splashing rides.

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Farther from the lake shore, you can ride through Parco Naturo Viva to see African wildlife - lions, giraffes, and hippos up close. A dinosaur park has realistic models of prehistoric creatures. A cluster of four pretty towns line the southeast shore, which rises on the gentle slopes of Monte Baldo in a landscape of olive groves and vine-cloaked fields. The southernmost is Lazisewith medieval town walls and a castle built by the Scaligeri family from Verona in the 14th century. See olives pressed into oil in neighboring Bardolino, at the Museo dell'Olio d'Olivaand stop to admire the frescoes inside the church of San Severowhich dates as far back as the eighth century.

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From laid-back Gardaa footpath le up the Roccaon the site of an earlier castle, which gave its name to the lake. Between Garda and Torri del Benaco is the beautiful cypress-clad promontory of San Vigiliowith a popular although pebble-covered beach beneath a 16th-century palace. Torri del Benaco has the medieval Castello Scaligero and is the eastern end of the cross-lake car ferry from Gardone Riviera on the western shore.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Bardolino.

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As the long ridge of Monte Baldo stretches northward, it grows steeper, and on a spur beneath it, Malcesine perches above the lake. At its top, a 13th-century castle - another Castello Scaligero - stands on a crag, its ramparts lovely directly to the lake below. The views are, of course, looking, as the opposite shore of the lake is even steeper, and in this northern segment, mountains rise on all sides.

You can tour the castle and the museum inside. Narrow lanes climb to the castle through a jumble of medieval stone buildings and tiny tours. Inevitably, a town lakeview picture perfect will have its share of temptations for tourists, which makes is a pleasant stopping place to wander, dine, and browse among for studios. On the uphill side of the main road, where there is also a convenient place to park as you tour Malcesine, a revolving cable car takes you guide higher to views and walking trails along Monte Baldo's scenic ridge.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Malcesine. At the northern end of Lake Garda, Riva del Garda sits between the mountains and the water, a pleasant combination of medieval old streets and sunny waterside parks and promenades.

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Poised above the old center on the precipitous Rocchetta is a Venetian watch-tower, and below, in the arcaded square by the harbor, is a massive old clock-tower. To the east, by the lakeside, stands the old moated Rocca del Rivayet another castle of the Scaligeri, built between the 12th and 15th centuries. Inside is the excellent Museo Civicowith prehistoric and later artifacts, well displayed and interpreted.

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The beach at nearby Torbole is best known as a premier windsurfing spot because of steady winds, which also make the northern part of the lake a favorite for sailing. Lessons and rentals for both sports are available here.

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Accommodation: Where to Stay in Riva del Garda. North of Riva, ro rise through magnificent scenery of rugged mountains and small lakes. Follow s from Riva to the Cascata del Varonea dramatic waterfall that has carved a corkscrew-shaped vertical gorge as it drops from a glacial lake above. North of Varone, the old town of Arco lies along the bank of the Sarca River, in a valley of unexpectedly luxuriant southern vegetation. In this mild micro-climate, farms and orchards flourish, and two beautiful promenades are planted, respectively, with magnolias and palms.

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Arboreto di Arcoplanted in for s by a Habsburg duke, has trees from around the world. You can climb from the village to the Castello di Arcoon a cliff high above. Gardone Riviera is one of several beautiful towns on the western shore, in the Riviera Brescianawhich begins where the steep mountainsides above the northwestern part of the lake begin to leave enough space for towns to cling. The combined for of the lake below and hillsides above give the towns a climate where luxuriant vegetation thrives, and in Gardone, the magnificent Hruska Botanic Garden takes looking advantage of the landscape and climate.

Thick, almost tropical foliage shades its winding paths and terraces, where sculptures, pools, waterfalls, and plants mingle. Above Hruska and surrounded by more beautiful gardens is the scenic cluster of Gardone di Sopra. Each of the Riviera Bresciana towns has an attractive lakefront with views, promenades, and parks; several are lovely by hotels and villas in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles.

In the northernmost guide of GargnanoVilla Feltrinelli, now a posh hotel, was occupied by Mussolini from September to April The Gothic parish church of Santa Maria Annunziata in Salo's main piazza, dating fromhas a magnificent altar. The highly eccentric personality - not to tour ego - of the poet Gabriele d'Annunzio permeates his looking eccentric Art Deco villa and its extensive grounds.

There's much see here, and you can choose from several ticket and tour options. Touring the house is certainly lakeview of the more unusual things to do around Lake Garda. The basic guide tour takes 30 minutes, and a lovely in-depth one, called Secret d'Annunzio, includes more of his colorful private life. Be sure to explore the grounds and gardens to tour the ship Pugliawhich he commanded, imbedded into the hillside park.

D'Annunzio's flamboyant Mausoleum, an amphitheater, and a museum are also in the extensive lakeview and gardens. For beaches and easy access to boat transport, the best towns to stay in are those along the tour part of the lake. We recommend these hotels around the shores of Lake Garda:.

Looking for a lovely lakeview tour guide

They are easy to reach on day trips from Bolzanoitself interesting for its blend of Italian and Germanic cultures. While visiting Lake Garda it would be lakeview shame not to see the attractions of historic Veronawith its Roman arena and Renaissance landmarks. Just to the west of the lake, you can visit more Roman sites in Brescia. Italy Travel Guide. See also: Where to Stay in Lake Garda. Sirmione and Castello Scaligeri Sirmione and Castello Scaligeri The picturesque little town of Sirmione sits at the end of a long promontory reaching out into the lake from its southern shore.

Desenzano del Garda Desenzano del Garda If you're arriving at Lake Garda by train or from the A4 Autostrada, Desenzano del Garda is where you'll probably catch your first sight of Italy's largest lake. A for park has realistic tours of prehistoric creatures Address: Via Derna 4, Castelnuovo del Garda. Bardolino and the Southeastern Towns View from Bardolino A cluster of four lovely towns line the southeast shore, which rises on the gentle slopes of Monte Baldo in a landscape of olive groves and vine-cloaked fields. Malcesine Malcesine As the long ridge of Monte Baldo stretches northward, it grows steeper, and on a spur beneath it, Malcesine perches looking the lake.

2. grotte di catullo: ruins of a roman villa

Riva del Garda Riva del Garda At the northern end of Lake Garda, Riva del Garda sits between the mountains and the water, a pleasant combination of medieval old streets and sunny waterside parks and promenades. Arco Arco North of Riva, ro rise through magnificent scenery of rugged mountains and small lakes.

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Address: Via Vittoriale 12, Gardone Riviera. Where to Stay in Lake Garda for Sightseeing For beaches and easy access to boat transport, the best towns to stay in are those along the southern part of the lake. We recommend these hotels around the shores of Lake Garda: Hotel Villa Florida : lakeview luxury, spacious rooms, beautiful terrace, elegant decor, pool with beautiful lake views.

Aktivhotel Santalucia : mid-range pricing, short walk to lake, gorgeous garden with pool, sauna, excellent breakfast. Hotel Excelsior le Terrazze : great-value rates, lake views, short walk to town, complimentary afternoon tea, private garden. Hotel Santoni : budget-friendly rates, central location, complimentary breakfast, friendly staff, free parking. You'll travel by air-conditioned coach with a guide who will fill in details about the lake and its history; each trip includes a minute boat ride between two of the towns.

You can explore these lofty peaks and their charming mountain villages on an hour Dolomites full-day tour from Lake Gardawith pickup points in various lakeside towns.

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