It would be hard to imagine a more beautiful and perfect setting than Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake where the mountains of the Northern Alps tumble to the water’s edge, olive and lemon trees weave across the hillsides and vineyards dot the landscape.
This magnificent scenery has inspired poets and artists from around the world. James Joyce, Maria Callas and Tennyson all spent time in Sirmione. Medieval forts and castles lay tribute to Venetian and Veronese rulers. Even Mussolini entertained his mistress in a villa that is now a restaurant in Gardone Riviera.
The rich history, perfect Mediterranean climate and character of harbour towns and hillside villages provide a feast for the senses. Lake Garda with its crystal clear waters, coves and beaches is perfect for swimming, sailing or windsurfing, you can hire a boat or let someone else do the hard work and take a boat trip, while a network of ferries provide the best transportation for exploring nearby towns and points of interest.
The mountainous scenery of the north of Lake Garda is quite different from the undulating landscapes of the south. Malcesine in the north is the site of a 13th century castle built on Roman foundations, and is the base of a cable car that goes to the summit of Monte Baldo at 2,200 metres. Limone, named from the surrounding lemon trees, lies romantically beneath the mountainous northern cliffs with a lively lakeside promenade. The town of Garda on the eastern shore is where you will find spectacular views of the lake. Wander around the cobbled streets or walk to the pretty harbour village of Bardolino where wine and food play a prominent part. The small towns of Riva and Peschiera with its medieval walls and river cafes are quiet and relaxed.
On the southern shores sits Torri del Benaco, once the maritime capital of Lake Garda is a charming harbour town. At the furthest southern tip Sirmione with its striking Castle Rocca Scaligera bordered by the lake against a background of olive and cypress trees. Here you will find the Grotto of Catullus, named after the Latin poet who died in 54 BC. It has been a favourite with poets and artists for many centuries.
With so many microclimates, Lake Garda weather can vary greatly between the North and South, inland and on the water. Generally you can expect a Mediterranean climate but the Garda area for example is a sub-Mediterranean climate, which is extremely mild. Expect temperatures of between 24º – 30º C. in July and August. Lake Garda can be subject to several winds such as the Peler, which blows from north to south in the morning, or the Ora, which comes from the south in the afternoon.