Lake Garda restaurants and food
Lingering over lunch or watching the lights dance over the lake at night in the many bars, cafes and restaurants is part of a Lake Garda experience. There are more than 1,600 places to eat including pizzerias and gelaterias where you will be amazed by how much ice cream can be heaped onto a cone!
This area covers three regions, Veneto, Trentino and Lombardy. Local specalities are varied from extra virgin olive oil, to fish from the lake such as pike, perch, whitefish and a trout native to these waters. Citrus fruits are included in many recipes and chickpea polenta, homemade pastas and sauces, risotto and venison are all regional favourites. Markets selling fresh fruit and vegetables abound and there are local cheeses such as Tombea from the mountains and Formaggella di Tremosine- a soft, medium cheese.
There are many good value cafes and cantinas in the area. For those who are passionate about their food, you can drive from vineyard to vineyard or even try cookery lessons at the Ristorante Gemme di Artemesia, a hill top restaurant at Torri del Benaco.
Lake Garda wine and bars
Lake Garda vineyards produce Nosiola, Cabernet and Merlot in the north. You can visit the vineyards of Bardolino where wine tastings include Bardolino Classico and Chiaretto- a pleasant light rose wine.
Bardolino hosts two annual wine festivals, one in June, and the other in October which attracts a huge audience of wine enthusiasts from across the continent. It is a celebration of the harvest of the grapes from around Lake Garda from which the Bardolino classic, Chiaretto, is produced.
Lake Garda shopping
The beautiful towns and villages around Lake Garda come with a wealth of shops to explore. From souvenirs, food delis, high end Italian fashion, leather work, toys, shoes and more there is plenty of shopping to be had where ever you are.
For those with a love of vintage and antique items, there are plenty of antique and flea markets happening around Lake Garda selling a delightful variety of nick-nacks from trinkets to furniture.
If you fancy visiting one of the bigger cities like Verona or Venice, there are plenty more high-end label and boutique shops to be found there, all embracing that instantly recognisable Italian style.
Lake Garda spas and relaxation
The Sirmione Spas on the peninsula of Sirmione are amongst the top natural spa complexes in Europe. There are the two spa centres Virgilio and Catullo, and also Aquaria, a unique Thermal Wellness Centre set in a large park with thermal pools overlooking the lake. All spas have thermal pools filled with the sulfurous water containing natural minerals that flows from the depths of Lake Garda. Aquaria offer beauty and relaxation treatments and courses. Another natural thermal bath complex is the Garda Thermal Park in a spectacular setting near Cola di Lazise.
Inghams offer some top hotels with their own spas in different locations, such as the Hotel Olivi Thermae & Natural Spa in Sirmione, and the Aqualux Hotel Spa & Suite in Bardolino.
Lake Garda arts, culture, history and events
Archaeological sites, museums, and spectacular medieval castles and forts dating from the 12th century form the rich tapestry of Lake Garda’s history.
It seems like there is no end to the summer festivities on Lake Garda!
Fireworks and festivals, sailing regattas, a chess festival, music and film festivals, and even a medieval festival with Renaissance pageantry, jousting and knights in armour.
The Garda Jazz festival takes place in June and the Musica Riva festival, a competition for young musicians, is in July/August.
The Notte di San Lorenzo in Bardolino in August is a night of shooting stars celebrated by towns around the lake. Fish festivals take place in Malcesine and Desenzano.