The Gardone Riviera, situated on the west coast of Lake Garda consists of two separate resorts: Gardone and Salò. Surrounded by lakeside mountains, the Gardone Riviera has a fantastic subtropical microclimate that brings you warm balmy summer days. Gardone is situated around a pretty harbour, and Italian history and culture can be found in abundance in this area and there are plenty immaculately kept buildings and gardens.
When not distracted by the stunning mountain and lakeside views, Gardone Riviera is also home to the Heller Botanical Gardens, which houses over 2,000 different species of subtropical plants. Exploring the other lakeside towns has never been easier either, with plenty of ferries running back and forth across the lake.
Things to do in resort
Gardone Riviera restaurants and food
The number of delicious restaurants across Lake Garda and Gardone Riviera cannot be recalled- there are just simply too many! Classic Italian cooking and heritage is embodied in the food and you can expect to see delicious fresh ingredients that have been sourced locally, homemade pasta, homemade sauces and ragus, and plenty of fresh fish from the lake.
Emiliano’s Restaurant in Gardone has been tipped as being excellent and the ideal location on the lake makes it a truly special place to linger over lunch. The hotels along the lake front also serve some delicious food (Hotel du Lac, Grand Hotel Gardone and Al Valerio are tipped as being good) and you can enjoy the spectacular views from the terraces.
Gardone Riviera bars and wine
It’s no secret that this little corner of Italy is a haven for the wine lover. With the Bardolino bi-annual wine festival happening on the other side of the lake, and many of the delicious wines coming from the immediate area, it would be a mistake to leave the Gardone Riviera without sitting on the lakeside promenade with a drink and watching the sun slip below the mountains.
Aquolinae Bar has some absolutely excellent views and also serves as a café during the day if it’s too early for a tipple. Hotel Du Lac has a fantastic lake side bar and restaurant and set slightly back from the lake front (up in the hills) sits Dai di Moro bar (on Via Ceriolo) which has some absolutely spectacular views once you reach it.
Gardone Riviera shopping
In the immediate area of the Gardone Riviera you will find plenty of food shops, souvenir and gift stores and some crafts here and there.
If you are looking for some proper shopping, then why not make the most of our excursions to nearby Verona and Venice? When not touring the beautiful cities, you may find some time to explore the shops selling high-end Italian fashion and leather goods like shoes, handbags and accessories.
Lake Garda is also famous for its wonderful markets that are held throughout the summer in different locations. Antique and flea markets are held regularly during the months and can be a real treasure chest for those of us who like to trawl through the old trinkets and items looking for a gem. Fresh food markets are also held regularly and you can see the wonderful colours of the locally produced fruit and vegetables of Lake Garda.
Gardone Riviera spas and relaxation
Situated in Colà across the lake, near Peschiera is the wonderful Villa dei Cedri Spa, which attracts plenty of visitors every year. Large outdoor lakes overlooking the beautiful Lake Garda, are kept fresh by nearby springs and warmed to a toasty 33-34°c by thermal sources from deep underground.
When not enjoying the tranquil bathing lakes, there is plenty to do at Villa dei Cedri with a grand house/hotel, winter garden glass pavilion, sunbathing in the carefully manicured gardens, massages, beauty treatments, and a wellness complex including medical fitness/therapies, biosaunas, solarium, Turkish bath, and a relax zone.
Sirmione has one of the top natural spa complexes in Europe, Aquaria, with thermal baths made with the heat that comes from deep below the lake and mountains.
Garda Thermae sits near Riva del Garda and celebrates wellness and peace of mind, body and soul. Saunas, indoor-outdoor swimming pools as well as beauty and spa packages are on offer here.
Gardone Riviera arts, culture and events
Throughout the summer, there is an action-packed events calendar for the Gardone Riviera and the surrounding towns of Lake Garda. Including the bi-annual Bardolino Wine Festival, Musica Riva Festival in Riva del Garda, Garda Jazz Festival (also in Riva del Garda) and more. The nearby cities of Verona and Venice are accessible through excursions organised by Inghams, and you can even venture up into the nearby Dolomite Mountains to see the breathtaking natural beauty.
Heller Botanical Gardens
A real gem for those with a love for natural beauty and serenity. The Heller Botanical Gardens are designed by the internationally renowned multimedia artist Andre Heller, who also designed the Swarovski Crystal World and the fabulous AFRIKA-AFRIKA circus. The Heller Botanical Gardens are a showcase of pioneering ideas on landscape design and how to integrate art into the setting. The location couldn’t be more ideal with the glittering Lake Garda and the mountains as its back drop.
Not too far from Gardone Riviera, The Heller Botanical Gardens are easy to access and make a fantastic day trip.
Villa dei Cedri Spa
Across the lake from Gardone Riviera in the small town of Colà is the wonderful Villa dei Cedri Spa which attracts visitors from all over the world with its healing and therapeutic thermal waters. Set in the grounds of a grand imposing house, two man-made lakes are supplied with warm (33-34°c) spring water that bubbles up from sources deep below Lake Garda and the surrounding mountains. Not only can you bathe in the natural lakes, but the spa complex also includes swathes of bathing lawns, a lovingly restored Victorian glass pavilion (now a restaurant and relaxing solarium), saunas, swimming pools, whirlpools, wellness suites with massages, beauty treatments and more.
You can access the Villa Dei Cedri Spa yourself as an excursion and pay locally for entrance.
Isola del Garda
Isola del Garda is the biggest island on Lake Garda and makes a very pleasant day trip out on one of the regular ferries. The island has a mixed history that dates back to the Roman settlements there, then housed a Franciscan monastery and now you can visit the beautiful villa that stands on the island.
Dating from the 1450’s, the Duomo in Salò is open for you to go and have a look around (except for when there is a service happening at the time. Modesty must be acknowledged and ladies must cover their shoulders and wear skirts/ shorts that are below the knee. Men must not wear sleeveless.
A glamorous house that sits in the Gardone Riviera overlooking Lake Garda, the history of il Vittoriale house weaves a rich and fascinating tapestry. Most famous for being the home of the artist, writer and political activist Gabriele d’Annunzio. D’Annunzio criticised Mussolini’s political regime in 1922 but due to his popularity amongst the Italians, the decision was made to keep d’Annunzio happy and comfortable in the il Vittoriale house... and as far away from the politics in Rome as possible!
Today il Vittoriale is a wonderful complex of buildings, gardens and points of interest. Museums, beautifully landscaped areas, stunning statues, archives and libraries all look over the majestic Lake Garda. And there’s even a ship set into the side of the hill...! A great day out, you can walk to il Vittoriale from the centre of Gardone Riviera and pay locally for entrance.
Location in resort
For more information on travel and transport visit our Gardone Riviera page