Lake Garda Recommendations You Can Actually Use

These Lake Garda recommendations are based on my trip in the Fall of 2023, and are based around staying in Peschiera del Garda, but you can cherry-pick the information provided here as needed.

canal with flowers along the bridge railing
Peschiera del Garda is quite picturesque

I have traveled to all 20 Italian regions, and Perugia still remains one of my favorite places in Italy. Everything from the food, architecture, and the music & arts scene – there’s something for everyone.

Jump to section:

  1. Getting there and Getting Around
  2. Where to Stay on Lake Garda
  3. What to Do on Lake Garda
  4. Eats and Drinks of Lake Garda

Getting there

As I’ve discussed elsewhere, I love traveling by train in Italy as it’s the most efficient way to move. I suggest tourists use Trainline for buying tickets because it puts all the train station names in English and combines the various train companies.

Train from Venice to Peschiera del Garda – tickets here (travel time about 1.5 hours)High speed (Frecciarossa) options will cost at least double what regional tickets cost, and in this save you only about 20 minutes (but for regional you will have to change stations at Verona). 

Train from Milan to Peschiera del Garda – tickets here (travel time about 1.5 hours).

From the Peschiera del Garda train station to the town center is about a 10-15 minute walk.

Getting around Peschiera del Garda

Peschiera del Garda is pretty small and walkable, as it’s mostly flat.

If you’re taking a day trip outside of Peschiera, you’ll likely go via bus from Peschiera Porto. You can get bust tickets at the Tourism Info point here.

Where to Stay on Lake Garda

There are many towns around Lake Garda to choose from. We chose Peschiera del Garda based on it’s size (a decent number of restaurants/shops) as well as ease of transport (i.e. it has a train station). We stayed in Casa Elisabetta, a private home in a great location, and our host was very sweet and gave us some great recommendations. To browse other places to stay in Peschiera del Garda or elsewhere in the lake, check out at the link below.

Some other places to consider are Sirmione, Bardolino, Malcesine, or Riva del Garda at the northern end, for those looking for more mountain views.

What to do from Peschiera del Garda

You can enjoy just walking around Peschiera, eating and drinking to your heart’s content. But after a day of that, you may be wanting more. Here’s some things you can do.

picture of street in Peschiera del Garda
Peschiera del Garda’s streets make for great walkability.

Day Trip to Verona

We took a day trip to Verona, both our first times, and loved it. So much so that we wished we had traded 2 nights of our 5 nights in Peschiera for 2 nights in Verona. You can get to Verona from Peschiera del Garda to Verona in about 17 minutes via train. Buy tickets on Trainline here.

Beach Day!

Go to the beach! From the center of Peschiera del Garda, Lido Cappuccini is about a 15 minute walk. It’s comfortable, has lounge chairs to rent, and a bar nearby for drinks and snacks.

coastline of the walk along the water to the beach
Lido Cappuccini is a great public beach that you can walk to (about 15 min)

Visit more Lake Garda towns

If taking a day trip via bus from Peschiera del Garda, you can get tickets at the Tourism Info point here.

Sirmione was my personal favorite town we visited during our stay. It has an interesting castle, restaurant selection, and beach (Jamaica Beach) with a bar and beautiful water. You can get to Sirmione from Peschiera del Garda via bus LN026, and use Google Maps to navigate to this stop.

Castello Scaligero di Sirmione in sirmione
Castello Scaligero di Sirmione

Bardolino is most well-known for its red wine of the same name. We just made Bardolino a stop on our day trip and walked around and went to the lake-side market, which was good but nothing exceptional. It’s quite long, but seems to have many of the same items over and over (clothing, gifts, etc.). If you’re interested in the wine, you can do a Bardolino wine tour like this one. You can get to Bardolino from Peschiera del Garda via bus 164, and use Google Maps to navigate to this stop.

row of small boats at a dock
Bardolino was pretty, but seemed to be either markets or tourists.

Lazise felt similar to Bardolino, but a little less crowded without the lakeside market. I preferred it over Bardolino. You can get to Lazise via the same bus line as Bardolino, 164.

picture of street and cafe in lazise
More Lazise street views.

Malcesine was on our list because it has a cable car that takes you to the top of the mountain to get a great view of the lake (official website here). Unfortunately, it was too cloudy during our stay and the person on the phone (I called ahead of time) said there would be no view from the top. If you do want to take the trip to Malcesine, you can do so via buses 164 and 484 with a bus change in Garda (about 2 hours). With Google Maps navigate to this stop.

Take a Boat Tour

There are boat tours all over Lake Garda (link). We had one booked from Sirmione which stopped at Bardolino for a wine tasting, but unfortunately it was cancelled due to weather.

Day trip to Borghetto

Our accommodation host at Casa Elisabetta highly recommended we visit Borghetto sul Mincio, a charming small village, which is well known for tortellini. It didn’t fit into our schedule while there, but here’s a blogger who wrote an in-depth post about it. You can rent a bike and ride along the river via bike path, or take bus number 46. Bike or bus, it’s about 45 minutes away.

What and Where to Eat in Peschiera del Garda

When in Italy, it’s important to eat food from the region you’re in, because there are always local specialties. Lake Garda straddles the regions of Veneto and Lombardy, and being a lake there’s more than a few fresh water fish specialties. 

L’Osteria Ristoclassique had some really great dishes, and advertises itself as serving typical Venetian cuisine. For antipasto we had crudo di Parma (prosciutto from Parma) and buffalo burrata cheese with apple mustard. For entrees, we had Caserecce pasta with duck sauce and beet tortellini.

picture of food eaten at L'Osteria. On left, purple
Our dinner at L’Osteria. Clockwise from left: beet tortellini, Caserecce pasta with duck sauce, and buffalo burrata cheese with apple mustard.

Osteria sugli Scavi was right under our place of stay. It offered a great tagliere board with lots of variety of cured meats and cheeses on the menu.

Tagliere meat board at Osteria sugli Scavi
Tagliere at Osteria sugli Scavi

La Bottega dei Sapori is a quaint spot for a light lunch or aperitivo. 

Ristorante Il Cantinone specializes in Roman food. So it’s not typical food from the region you’re in, but it was our favorite restaurant of the trip. They do have some local seafood dishes though, which did not disappoint.

picture of places at Ristorante Il Cantinone. Clockwise from top left, fried artichoke, carbonara, Lavarello ai ferri, 3 raw lake fish
Il Cantinone dinner (from 2 nights). Clockwise from top left: Roman fried artichoke, carbonara, Lavarello ai ferri, 3 in-season lake fish.

That’s All For Now

I sincerely hope you found value in this article.  If you have recommendations of your own or have suggestions on what else you would like to see covered here, please write in the comments below. Additionally, if you’re planning a trip to Italy and need one-on-one support or guidance, check out my services page where you can get in touch with me.

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