The stunning Lake Garda sits between the provinces of Verona, Brescia and Trentino. Beautiful historic sites are nestled all around its shores. Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, and commonly known as the most beautiful. Lake Garda tours are the best way to make the most of your holiday. Lake Garda has brilliant transport links, with ferries and buses easily accessible to visitors.
The largest island on Lake Garda, Isola del Garda has in the past been used as a Roman burial ground, the site of a Franciscan monastery and a private villa. Today it is privately owned by the Cavazza family, but is open to visitors who wish to explore the gardens of the neo-Gothic Venetian Villa Borghese Cavazza. Boat trips are available and there is also a guided tour of the gardens.
As the Villa is a private residence the tour of the house is limited, but the stunning English and Italian gardens more than make up for this. At the end of the tour, visitors enjoy a chilled glass of wine on the terrace, and can also sample and purchase the Cavazza family's olive oil.
On the southern shore of Lake Garda, Sirmione is a 4km long peninsular jutting into the lake. Sirmione is one of the most popular destinations along the lake due to the spectacular historical sights it offers. The beautiful Scaligero Castle was built in 1383 on the ruins of the previous medieval castle, which is believed to have been there centuries. The bell of the castle was cast in 1442 and is still used today. Another site not to miss is the Grotte di Catullo, the largest Roman villa in northern Italy. A short walk from the town of Sirmione, the picturesque ruins are well worth the trip. Sirmione is also known for its thermal waters used in the nearby spas. The water is said to have healing properties and an afternoon spent relaxing will certainly leave you feeling rejuvenated.
On the east shore of Lake Garda, Bardolino is a beautiful Italian town famous for its wine and olive oil. Originally a small fishing village, today the town has a wealth of history to offer visitors. A tour of the Bardolino's vineyards is a must, and a chance to sample some of Italy's best wines. There's also the Olive Oil Museum, where you can take a pleasant stroll through the beautiful olive groves.
A visit to the Romanesque church of San Severo, which sits on a lake road dating back to the 11th century, provides a perfect opportunity to soak up some history, and a lovely place to visit while on holiday in Lake Garda.
A little further north from Bardolino, Garda Town sits in a charming little bay surrounded by wooded hills, with La Rocca (the Old Rock) as its guardian. The Promenade is the perfect place to sit and enjoy the classic Italian aperitivo. Soak up the atmosphere of the tree lined promenade, then take a walk along the beautiful lakeside path.
Look out for the signs pointing to 'Graffiti', these will lead you towards one of the treasures of Garda, prehistoric rock carvings. This path is a little challenging however, at parts steep and overgrown, but the reward is worth the effort.
To the scenic western shores of the lake sits the picturesque town of Gardone. With pretty promenades lined with roses and orange trees, Gardone has hosted some famous names, Winston Churchill among them. In Gardone you'll also find two of Lake Garda's most popular destinations, the Vittoriale and the Heller Gardens. Both can be reached with a ride uphill on the small tourist 'train'. There are a number of private beaches on the shore of Lake Garda, which you can enjoy for between 10-15 euros per day, or walk on to the public beaches.
Visitors can easily reach Lake Garda by train from surrounding cities, and a trip to see this beautiful lake should be on every holiday maker's itinerary. Great Rail Journeys run a number of escorted train tours to the breathtaking Lake Garda.