With its cypress trees, palatial gardens and laid-back atmosphere, Gardone Riviera is one of the most peaceful spots on Lake Garda. The promenade is made for strolling and its waterfront and courtyard terraces are made for feasting – preferably on homemade pasta and freshly caught fish. Heller Botanical Garden is the most intriguing of Gardone’s many gardens, filled with sculptures by the likes of Auguste Rodin and Roy Lichtenstein. On the opposite bank lie Garda and Bardolino, best reached by the ferries that carry walkers and cyclists across the postcard-pretty waters of Lake Garda.
The relaxing riviera
Gardone Riviera offers a relaxed take on life in Lake Garda. Hours can be whiled away strolling between the lemon and cream villas of the tiny town centre, where the piazza dips down to the waterfront. Here, a flower-lined promenade opens onto panoramic lake views – and thankfully, there are lots of benches and restaurant terraces from which to admire them.
The gardens of Gardone
Royalty, politicians and theatre stars have all stayed in Gardone Riviera, funding the extravagant villas and cypress-shaded gardens that decorate the town. Heller Botanical Garden secrets away works of art amongst the 3,000-plus plant species, including sculptures by Rodin and pop art pyramids by Lichtenstein. Meanwhile, the bright facades and gardens of Vittoriale degli Italiani mask a disturbing past as the one-time home of Gabriele D’Annunzio, an Italian poet who inspired Mussolini’s fascist dictatorship. Peaceful wanders lie in the hills that shelter Gardone. Paths climb into the mountains of Alto Garda Bresciano Park, where more challenging climbs are rewarded with panoramic views over Lake Garda.
Dining with a view: lake and mountain fare
Fusion food on the promenade, seafood linguine in an 18th-century osteria, and pizzerias for pizza picnics – Gardone Riviera might be small, but it’s got some great dining options. For a treat, book a table at Lido 84. There’s a beautiful dining room and lake-view terrace, plus a menu that combines mountain and lake ingredients to create dishes like sardine risotto and wisteria-sprinkled fior di latte ice cream; and it’s all topped off with a Michelin star. Wherever you choose to eat, Bardolino is the wine of choice on most menus, pressed from grapes grown just across the water.
Venetian treasures and Shakespearean cities
With the Gardone Riviera as your starting point, Lake Garda is your oyster; thanks to the boats that connect the lakeside towns and villages. Make the short hop south to neighbouring Salo and check out the monastery museum to learn about its long history, from Roman roots to the grim years spent as Mussolini’s HQ. Alternatively, zip directly across the lake to the Venetian treasures of Garda and Bardolino, or voyage north to the mountain-backed towns of Riva del Garda – where the foothills climb up into the dramatic peaks of the Dolomites. Peschiera del Garda, in the south, is home to one of the only railway stations on Lake Garda; trains head directly to Venice and Verona.
Why book a summer holiday in the Gardone Riviera 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 the Gardone Riviera's best walking routes and activities at your own pace.
With over 85 years of outdoor travel experience, our holiday packages to the Gardone Riviera 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.