Holidays in Garda

Garda makes a big impression; thanks to its coveted spot on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, it's the perfect location for a summer walking holiday with the family

The eponymous town of Garda is a sought-after summer holiday spot whether for families, friends, couples or solo travellers – but that’s nothing new. People have flocked to Lake Garda for millennia, each leaving their storied stamp; from Bronze Age rock art and Roman vineyards to Venetian villas and historic hotels. Summer holidays in Garda are all about whiling away time walking around the old town and along the promenade. But there’s still more to see beyond this sheltered bay. The rest of Lake Garda calls – as well as the cities of Venice and Verona, just a ferry and train ride away.

Family walking around Garda

Summer walking holidays in Garda embrace laid-back lakeside living. Drift along the promenade, stopping at one of the many bars for an Aperol spritz or for the young ones, a generous scoop of stracciatella gelato. We love wandering around Garda's historic town centre, with its Gothic-Venetian church and villas. Make sure to drop by the Friday market to browse stalls piled high with bottles of Bardolino wine and marbled mountain cheeses from the nearby Dolomites. Children will love trying the tasters in the different stalls- see how many types of cheese you can get your hands on; in true Italian style, the food and drink is delicious and fresh!

Sightseeing in Lake Garda: must see summer holiday sights

Garda's tree-lined promenade stretches south to Bardolino and further still to Lazise – a beautiful lakeside walk or cycle; children will love pedalling way along the lakeside. Follow it north, and and you'll find yourself in Punta San Vigilio. This scenic headland is topped with cypress trees, an historic 16th-century villa and a trattoria with tables laid out, just a pebble’s throw from the water. Mermaid Bay is just around the corner – it's one of the best summer beaches and sunset watching spots on Lake Garda, and well worth forking out a few euros for the entry fee. It's a wonderful spot for a family beach day! If you fancy giving the calf muscles a workout, make sure you climb the 6km up to La Rocca for panoramic views, it's a beautiful walk. Look out over the pin-striped vineyards and sailing boats that characterise the eastern shore of Lake Garda.  

Exploring Lake Garda by boat, bus and cable car

Buses and ferries pootle between the towns of Lake Garda all summer long. Torri del Benaco is a 10-minute ride away. Here, a museum castle that once belonged to the ruling Scaliger family exhibits local curiosities like antique olive presses and Bronze Age carvings found in Garda’s hills. Alternatively, head for the ferry port. It’s a short hop across the water to Gardone's Heller Botanical Gardens or the castle-crowned Sirmione. The further north you venture, the more mountain views there are to enjoy. Jump off in Malcesine to peruse the pretty terracotta-tiled town before hopping on the cable car up Monte Baldo. Monte Baldo is full of fantastic walking trails, where you'll find some of the best views of Lake Garda. There's a good range of trails so it's not hard to find a path that children will love just as much as adults.

V for Venice (and vineyards)

Olive groves and vineyards fill the hills behind Garda – an excellent chance to sample Bardolino's famous red wine. For a mini adventure, catch the boat to Peschiera on Lake Garda’s southern edge, where the train station offers direct services to Verona (just 20 minutes away) and Venice (a scenic 1 hour 15 minutes).

Why book a summer holiday in Garda with Inghams?

At Inghams, we do walking holidays differently. With no fixed itinerary, you have more time in your destination and the freedom to walk as much or as little as you like, discovering some of Garda's best walking routes and activities at your own pace.

Plus, we've included two optional guided walks every week in Garda. Join a professional mountain guide and really get to know the area (see more details in the ‘walking’ tab below).

With over 85 years of outdoor travel experience, our holiday packages to Garda include flights, transfers, and accommodation, so you can relax and leave the small details to us. Our experts can help you choose the best holiday for you, and our team in resort can give you the inside scoop on how to spend your time away with us.

Added value

Inghams Guided Walks included from 13th May -11th Oct (excludes 16th Aug, subject to availability)

24/7 support & tailored advice from our local resort team

All holidays include flights from the UK and transfers

Walking in and around Garda

On an Inghams walking holiday, you have the freedom to explore the area at your own pace. Make each day a new adventure, with as much or as little walking as you like.

Why we love walking in Garda

Walking around Garda is calm and relaxed, there are lots of flatter, lakeside walks to enjoy if you're looking for something less strenuous on your summer holiday. Head out a little further, to Monte Baldo, and you'll be greeted with a vast area of walking for all abilities. The views from up here are out of this world!

There are so many opportunities for exploring around Garda; check out the Bronze Age rock carvings on Monte Luppia or walk to the Sisan museum and jump head first into learning about the lake's bird life and water life.

Guided walks

Don't forget, you have the option to join two included Inghams guided walks per week, with a local, professional guide. Get to know our favourite walking trails with insider knowledge and the company of Inghams guests. Pre-booking is essential - check out the Guided Walks section below for more information.

 

Getting around Garda

Buses

The buses around Garda are really useful and are used to take you to the starting points for many of our guided walks. They're a really economical way to explore the area and run pretty regularly in the summer, particularly to the next door town of Bardolino.

Ferries

Ferries are great for cutting across the lake to various other resorts. Cross the lake and you'll find yourself in the lush greenery of the Gardone Riviera and Saló,  or hop over to the Sirmione peninsula and admire its fairy-tale Scaligero castle.

Inghams Guided Walks in Garda

Inghams guided walks are included on your holiday in Garda

We’ve included one full-day and one half-day walk per week in Garda, just for Inghams guests. Join a small group and be led by a professional guide on some of their favourite trails. It’s a great way to get to know the area.

The full-day walk will run every Monday (Moderate-Challenging) and the half-day walk (Easy-Moderate) will run every Friday from 13th May - 11th Oct 2024 and from the 12th May-26th Sep 2025. Please note that walks won't run on the 16th August due to a local public holiday. You can add the walks onto your holiday at the time of booking, through My Booking or by calling us.

Vineyards and Olive Groves of Garda

Stroll among romantic vineyards and beautiful olive groves on the trails of Lake Garda’s hinterland. During the walk we you'll come across the scenic park of the German military cemetery and a beautiful small lake which is home to various species of fish and birds and also works as a bio-filter.

  • Grade: Easy-Moderate (a decent fitness level and sure-footedness is required)
  • Distance: 7km
  • Duration: Half day (walking time approx. 3.5 hours)
  • Ascent/descent: 80m
  • Terrain: mostly dirt trails with short sections on paved roads
  • Useful information: The meeting point is at the Garda bus station, the group will then take a local bus which takes around 10 minutes between Garda and Costermano (approx. €3 one way, payable locally).

Summer 2024 - This walk will run on Fridays: 24th May, 7th, 21st Jun, 5th, 19th Jul, 2nd, 16th, 30th Aug, 13th, 27th Sep, 11th Oct

Summer 2025- This walk will run on Fridays: 16th, 30th May, 13th, 27th Jun, 11th, 25th Jul, 8th, 22nd Aug, 5th, 19th Sep

Rocca di Garda

Head up from the centre of Garda to the summit of Rocca Vecchia, whilst learning about the Hermitage of San Giorgio of the Camaldolese Friars. The route crosses idyllic olive groves and the typical Mediterranean Maquis shrubland, which is very common on the shores of Lake Garda. The Rocca’s is the perfect environment to learn more about the lake's geology and origins. Make sure to have your camera at the ready, the views over Bardolino and Garda once you reach the top are spectacular! 

  • Grade: Easy-Moderate (a decent fitness level and sure-footedness is required)
  • Distance: 7km
  • Duration: Half day (walking time approx. 3.5 hours)
  • Ascent/descent: 340m
  • Terrain: partly paved, but mostly dirt trails or rocky terrain
  • Useful information: The meeting point is at the Garda bus station.

Summer 2024- This walk will run on Fridays: 17th, 31st May, 14th, 28th Jun, 12th, 26th Jul, 9th, 23rd Aug, 6th, 20th Sep, 4th Oct

Summer 2025- This walk will run on Fridays: 23rd May, 6th, 20th Jun, 4th, 18th Jul, 1st, 15th, 29th Aug, 12th, 26th Sep

Exploring Monte Luppia and its Ancient Rock Carvings

Mount Luppia is a rocky spur that dominates the lower part of Lake Garda. From the top of Monte Luppia you can enjoy fantastic views of Lake Garda and the surrounding mountains and admire the rich vegetation of the Mediterranean Maquis shrubland. The route is famous for its rock carvings some of which date back to the Bronze Age.

  • Grade: Moderate-Challenging (a very good fitness level and sure-footedness is required)
  • Distance: 14km
  • Duration: Full day (walking time approx. 6-7 hours)
  • Ascent/descent: 420m
  • Terrain: mostly dirt trails, partly rocky and uneven terrain, steep ascents
  • Useful information: The meeting point is at the Garda bus station, the group will then take a local bus which takes around 5 minutes between Garda and Punta San Vigilio (approx. €1.50 one way, payable locally). Make sure you come prepared with a packed lunch and snacks.

Summer 2024- This walk will run on Mondays: 20th May, 3rd, 17th Jun, 1st, 15th, 29th Jul, 12th, 26th Aug, 9th, 23rd Sep, 7th Oct

Summer 2025- This walk will run on Mondays: 12th, 26th May, 9th, 23rd Jun, 7th, 21st Jul, 4th, 18th Aug, 1st, 15th Sep

Valsorda and Mount Moscal

Head from the centre of Bardolino to the summit of Mount Moscal, walking through the verdant Valsorda Valley. The route crosses rustic olive groves and typical wetland forests until it reaches the top of Mount Moscal with its Mediterranean vegetation. The Valsorda Valley is the ideal place for learning about water erosion, wetland vegetation and the typical animals of the area.

  • Grade: Moderate-Challenging (a very good fitness level and sure-footedness is required)
  • Distance: 15km
  • Duration: Full day (walking time approx. 5.5 hours)
  • Ascent/descent: 320m
  • Terrain: partly paved, but mostly dirt trails or rocky, possibly wet terrain, steep ascents
  • Useful information: The meeting point is at the Bardolino bus station. There is a local bus which takes around 8 minutes between Garda and Bardolino (approx. €2 one way, payable locally). You'll stop off along the walk to have your packed lunch in the open air. Make sure you come prepared with a packed lunch and snacks.

Summer 2024- This walk will run on Mondays: 13th, 27th May, 10th, 24th Jun, 8th, 22nd Jul, 5th, 19th Aug, 2nd, 16th, 30th Sep

Summer 2025- This walk will run on Mondays: This walk will run on Mondays: 19th May, 2nd, 16th, 30th Jun 14th, 28th Jul, 11th, 25th Aug, 8th, 22nd Sep

For every walk you will need:

Suitable walking shoes with good grip, appropriate clothing, sun cream, insect repellent, sun glasses, rain jacket, rucksack, at least a litre of water, a snack and cash for restaurants/transport. You may find walking poles useful.

Early booking is strongly recommended as spaces are limited. All walks are subject to availability of local guides, weather conditions and maximum numbers. Planned routes are subject to change. Any distances and ascents/descents stated are approximate. Full details of the walks with the meeting points and routes will be provided to you on arrival. In some instances there may be a small charge for local transport that is payable locally. In resorts where the walks run over more than two days, the day of the walk will be allocated to you by your Rep in your welcome meeting. Where we cannot confirm your preferred option in resort, we will endeavour to offer an alternative subject to the above conditions.

Please ensure you are comfortable with the grade of walk, planned distance covered and terrain before booking. The decision of the guide on the suitability of the walk for you is final and no compensation will be paid where the guide believes, in their professional opinion, that it is not suitable. Please ensure you are well-equipped for the walk have suitable clothing and footwear. Walks are not recommended for guests under 12 years. Any guests under 18 years will need to be accompanied by an adult.

Our Favourite Walks

Bardolino to Cisano

A pleasant walk along the lakefront that leads from Bardolino to Cisano, a district of Bardolino. This is a really unique part of the lake due to its stretches of coastline freckled with reeds. Check out the lake‘s rich bird life and deep dive into the typical fish and avifauna at Museo Sisàn.

Grade: Easy
Distance: 8km
Walking time: approx. 3.5 hours
Ascent/descent: 5m
Terrain: mostly paved with short dirt sections, flat
Useful Information: There is a local bus which takes around 8 minutes between Garda and Bardolino (approx. €2 one way, payable locally).

The Ridges of Monte Baldo

This walk heads up to the ridges of Monte Baldo where the views across Lake Garda are breath-taking. Starting in Malcesine (accessible by ferry or bus from Garda) hop on the Monte Baldo cable car (payable locally) which will take you up Monte Baldo. Taking the cable car means you won't have long to wait before getting your first glimpse of Lake Garda and the surrounding mountains from the top!

Grade: Challenging
Distance: 10km
Walking time: approx. 5 hours
Ascent/descent: 500m
Terrain: some dirt trails, sections of rocky and uneven terrain, steep ascents

Useful Information & Guidelines

Recommended equipment

Suitable walking shoes with good grip, appropriate clothing, rain jacket, sun cream, insect repellent, sun glasses, rucksack, at least a litre of water, a re-usable water bottle, a snack and cash. You may find walking poles useful.

Walking maps

If you're looking for a paper map to help you get to know the area even better, we'd recommend the Kompass 697 - Lake Garda (1:35,000).

Hiking guidelines

The lakes and mountains are a natural paradise, with lots to explore and discover. To help it stay that way, and remain an enjoyable and safe place for everyone, we recommend following our little list of do's and don'ts:

  • Plan your route well and don't over-estimate yourself
  • Check the weather forecast
  • Tell someone where you're planning to walk and what time you're expecting to be back
  • Take all the recommended equipment
  • Make a note of emergency numbers:
    • Italian Emergency Services: 112
  • Don't leave the marked trails without a guide
  • Let nature stay wild by not picking flowers (it's illegal in some places) or getting close to/making contact with wild animals
  • Always leave gates as you found them and don't climb over fences
  • Leave no trace

Check out our Responsible Walking insider guide if you want more tips for your summer walking holiday.

  • from£769pp
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Hotel Garden, Pool, Lake Garda

Hotel Garden is next to Garda's bustling lakefront promenade yet still manages to feel secluded. It's got large, peaceful gardens where you'll find a pool with lake views. The gardens are the perfect place to relax on your summer holiday. The interiors are traditional and welcoming and the family that run the hotel treat every guest as an old family friend. 

 

  • from£689pp
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Poiano Hotel, Garda, Lake Garda, Italy - Olympic pool.jpg

Hotel Poiano has large gardens overlooking the town of Garda and the lake. There's plenty to do here including swimming, tennis and yoga. This is the perfect place for making fun family memories and spending your holiday trying lots of different activities!

  • from£529pp
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Poiano Apartments, Exterior Apartment

The Poiano Apartments are in a fantastic location in Garda, based in 60 hectares of Mediterranean gardens and just two kilometres from the lakeside. There are plenty of summer activities on offer and spacious apartments with garden or lake views.

  • from£889pp
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Hotel Villa Madrina, Pool

Hotel Villa Madrina's set in a relaxing location with large manicured gardens and views of Lake Garda. Plus, you can walk to the centre of Garda in less than ten minutes.

  • from£679pp
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Flash Sale Hotel Bisesti Lake Garda 314X193

Hotel Bisesti is a family-run hotel that's full of charm. It's got a great restaurant and a large pool with lot's of space for soaking up the summer sun. It's close to the centre of Garda, and the lakefront promenade's just a short walk from the hotel.

  • from£949pp
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Hotel Degli Olivi, Rose Garden, Garda

This boutique hotel is a little oasis in Garda. Despite being just 250 metres from the centre, it has a really peaceful atmosphere. In the summer we love relaxing in the rose-filled garden with a book, or enjoying a home-cooked Italian meal on the terrace. 

  • from£709pp
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Hotel Palme, Garda, Lake Garda, Italy, Swimming Pool

The Hotel Palme's a great value hotel in the centre of Garda. The lake's just a two minute walk away and you can reach the town centre in around five minutes. The hotel's two swimming pools are perfect for cooling down after a long day of summer sightseeing.

 

Excursions

Pre-book your excursions online or give us a call

Valpolicella Wine Tour from £61 per person (full day)

Who doesn't love a wine tour. On this trip you'll get to visit a traditional wine cellar in Valpolicella, where you'll have a wine tasting with a very knowledgeable guide. Enjoy a lunch of fresh, local ingredients where you can experience 'agri-turismo' first-hand. After lunch, you'll be taken to the historic church and cloisters of St Giorgio. There's no better way to spend a day than by indulging in wine, food, history and stunning vineyard views.

Departs on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Venice Classic from £75 per person (full day)

Venice is not to be missed! This excursion allows you to explore the city with a guide and at your own pace. You’ll arrive by coach and grab a water taxi to the centre. You’ll also have the option to add on a gondola ride (payable locally). There’s plenty of time to take in sights of the Basilica, Doge's Palace, St Mark's square and the Rialto bridge  – this is the perfect introduction to one of Italy's most magical cities.

Departs Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays

Majestic Dolomites from £56 per person (full day)

Start with a scenic drive through the exceptional South Tyrol, Val di Fiemme, Cavalese and Moena regions. You’ll then stop off at Passa Pordoi and take in the incredible views from this 2,000-metre-high vantage point. There’s some free time to explore the terrain at your own pace, either by taking one of the trekking paths or simply enjoying an Aperol at a rifugio and taking in the views. A stop off at the chocolate box town of Ortisei is included on the way back to your hotel as well as plenty of stops for photo opportunities in this awe inspiring landscape.

Departs on Mondays and Fridays. Guests may have the opportunity to go up in a cable car for an additional fee of approx. €23pp (payable locally). Make sure you take some warmer clothes as temperatures really drop when you get up to the top!

Tour of Lake Garda from £54 per person (full day)

Get ready to explore the best of Lake Garda on this excursion – there’s so much natural beauty and picturesque towns to discover. See the spectacular mountain scenery of the north and the sunny plains of the south. Travelling by both coach and ferry, the tour itinerary for this excursion varies depending on where you start but will usually follow the famous Gardensana road lined with fragrant olive and lemon trees to reach the likes of Malcesine, Sirmione, Salo and Limone. This is the ideal taster tour of the entire lake where you'll get to spend a short period of time in a variety of stunning towns.

Departs on Fridays

Verona from £50 per person (full day)

Verona is one of Italy’s most charming little cities. This day trip dips into the romance of the medieval city, reliving the scenes from Romeo and Juliet while wandering around through the cobbled streets and past ancient buildings. On a walking tour of the city you'll see the impressive 2,000-year-old Roman arena (entry not included). It's one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world and is currently home to the Verona Opera. Explore the marble paved shopping street of Via Mazzini which leads to the pretty market square Piazza Delle Erbe.

Departs on Tuesdays and Fridays. 

Book locally

Verona Opera (evening)

The Verona Opera is definitely one for the bucket list! The season runs from mid June to early September and covers all the classics including Aida by Verdi or Turnadot by Puccini. Whichever performance you choose; you’ll have an incredible evening.

Please note that the price of excursions will vary depending on the resort you are staying in. We act at all times as a selling agent for the suppliers. All excursions require minimum numbers to run and are subject to change. Some excursions may not be available to pre-book in low season but may be available to book locally subject to numbers. Prices will be confirmed at the time of booking. Please see our Terms & Conditions.

Things to do in Garda

Summer fun: nearby attractions

Garda’s got good ferry links to the rest of the lake so it's great for exploring Lake Garda in the summer. Gardone is just across the lake and is where you’ll find the Heller Botanical Gardens – great for anyone with an interest in nature and art. You can also hop on a ferry to Sirmione and wander round the castle and historic centre.

Walking and activities around Garda

Garda's fairly flat so if you’re looking to get your steps up with some relaxing lakeside walks, it’s ideal. You can walk along the promenade to nearby Bardolino quite easily. Walk to a Bardolino vineyard for a wine tasting or stop off in a lakeside restaurant for some Italian food. If you want a bit more of a challenge, take a walk along the six-kilometre route up La Rocca. When you get to the top you’ll get to enjoy panoramic views over the lake. Garda’s promenade is traffic free so it’s perfect for leisurely bike rides in the sun. It’s a lovely way to travel around Lake Garda and visit nearby towns.

Family activities in Garda

Adventure parks and waterparks

It’s easy to get to some fantastic family days out by public transport from Garda and Bardolino as well as having activities on your doorstep. Head to Gardaland, Lake Garda's famous theme park and getting your adrenaline pumping on one of their exciting rides.

If water activities are more your speed then the Caneva Aquapark is great fun. You could also head to Movieland, a movie themed theme park with rides, shows and film sets. It's the Universal Studios of Lake Garda! Head there as part of your day trip to Caneva, you can also buy combined tickets.​

Activities for all ages

If you and your family love sleeping in nature, then Camping La Rocca is a great campsite on La Rocca in Garda – where you can enjoy water sports such as paddle-boarding and canoeing. Or, if you'd rather be on land, try out mini-golf in Bardolino or rent some bikes for the day and go cycling along the lakeside. Make sure you stop off in Bardolino's Bar Cristallo for the best ice-cream!

Baia delle Sirene & Punto San Vigilio is a lovely park area with a swimming pool and lake access. Or, for something a little different, why not take the family to see the Santuario Madonna della Corona for a walk, you can get there by taking the bus from Garda to Spiazzi. Alternatively, head to Verona for the day on the train, or on one of our excursions!

Walking boots in the Dolomites, Summer Holidays in the Mountains, Italy

Explore the best of the Dolomites & Lake Garda on this multi-centre holiday. You'll start in the mountains in chilled out Selva before heading down to lively Lake Garda.

Holidays in Lake Garda

Explore the best of Lake Garda on this multi-centre holiday. Choose from a selection of towns on lively Lake Garda and get to know the diverse atmosphere on different parts of the lake.

Good to know

Walking trails: 100km of walking trails

Terrain: flat, paved roads, dirt trails, lakeside promenades, hills

Best time to go: May to September. Holidays earlier and later in the season can be a bit cooler, so a great time to get out walking.

Best for: Easy walking, sightseeing, activities, families

Fly into: Verona (approx. 2 hours)

Fly from: Manchester, London Gatwick, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stansted, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford

Transfer time: approx. 45 minutes by coach 

24/7 Support and advice: In person or over the phone from our local resort team based in Garda

Inghams Guided Walks included

What We Say
  • 'My favourite part about Garda is how easy it is to travel around the lake and visit different towns from here. Each town seems to have it's own personality, and sometimes even its own little micro-climate!

    One of my favourite walks around Garda is the hike up to La Rocca from the town - be sure to do this at sunset for stunning views over the south of the lake. The walk along to San Vigilio along the lakefront is also very pretty and a lovely place to stop off for a glass of Italian vino. '

    Charlotte, Inghams Reservations Sales Consultant
What You say
  • ‘Brilliant service from the airport right through to being taken through to departures on the way home. Excellent, no waiting. Fabulous rep at the hotel, informative and genuinely wanted to assist with anything’

    Stevens, Inghams Customer, July 2023
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