Holidays in Malcesine

Where the foothills of the Alps meet the shores of Lake Garda sits one of Italy’s prettiest villages, Malcesine, where you can enjoy your family summer holiday by relaxing or walking

Holidays in Malcesine offer a picturesque tourist town of cobbled lanes, medieval architecture and the ancient Scaligero castle. In fact, churches, castles and fortresses dot the shores of Lake Garda, taking sightseeing to new levels with the beautiful backdrop of lake and mountains. Treat yourself and taste the authentic flavours from the Italian restaurants in this family holiday setting. Malcesine is full of courtyards, gardens, trattorias, shops, gelaterie and bars that create a lively town atmosphere in the summer; great fun for children and adults alike! 

Family walking in Malcesine

Set your sights high and take the cable car running from Malcesine to Monte Baldo - a perfect excursion for a summer day, with cooler temperatures and a breeze guaranteed. At the top you’ll find walking and biking trails of all levels with wonderful views over Lake Garda, as well as several restaurants. The range of trails here make it ideal for families, it's easy to find a route that's manageable for little legs, or if you have teenagers, they'll love trying out some of the more exciting biking routes. Mid-way, the cable car stops at San Michele, where you can amble back down to Malcesine on a mule track getting maximum views with minimal effort.

The prettiest town on Lake Garda?

It’s a hard one to call, Lake Garda being so beautiful (and one of Italy’s best loved summer holiday spots), but summer holidays in Malcesine really do stand out from the crowd. Scaligero castle is built on a rock jutting over the lake, with fantastic views all around. There’s the Palazzo dei Capitani near the port - with its waterfront gardens, natural history museum and paintings - the 1200-year-old church Antica Pieve di Santo Stefano, and the huge white statue of Madonna dell’Accoglienze looking over the town (a relatively easy 8km round-trip walk from town).

Lakeside beaches and dreamy islands

Just 100m from the centre of Malcesine is pebbly Paina beach, with lifeguards, volleyball courts, a skate park, bars, restaurants and a beach club. It's a must-do on a hot summer day. Wander up the coast and the beaches multiply; most have floating swim rafts and a pizzeria close by. A few kilometres south of town is Val di Sogno beach, and when the lake water is low you can walk over to Isola del Sogno - ‘Dream Island’ - or even swim to it just 20 metres from the shore. Scuba divers might like to rent gear and visit the boat wreck just beyond Isola del Sogno.

Family days out: exploring Lake Garda from Malcesine

Malcesine is a great jumping off point for visiting the other Lake Garda towns and the perfect town for those who want to explore on holiday. Catch the boat over to the western shores of the lake to Riva or Limone for more ancient architecture and a different perspective of Garda. From Limone, stroll along the new cycle-pedestrian path, which is suspended over the water, hugging the cliffs - this is a really stunning walk an easy route for all ages.

Why book a summer holiday in Malcesine 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 Malcesine's best walking routes and activities at your own pace.

With over 85 years of outdoor travel experience, our holiday packages to Malcesine 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

All holidays include flights from the UK and transfers

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

Walking in and around Malcesine

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 Malcesine

Malcesine is one of the best equipped resorts on Lake Garda when it comes to getting out onto some walking trails. From walking along the lakeside towards towns such as Navene and Campagnola (Northbound) and heading up in the Monte Baldo cable car to discover a plethora of mountain walks with fantastic views of Lake Garda’s fjord-like natural form.

Getting around Malcesine

Cable Car

Monte Baldo cable car is particularly useful if you want to head up high and immerse yourself in nature, walking or biking. The cable car is within walking distance from our hotels (10-35 mins) and there are local buses which will take you there from the further out hotels in under 15 minutes.

Bus

The bus network around Malcesine is particularly useful if you’re staying in one of our further out hotels, you can get to the centre of town and the ferry departure point in under 15 minutes on the bus and it will get you closer to the Monte Baldo Cable Car. While the buses are useful, we’d also recommend walking, as it’s the best way to really get to know an area and none of our hotels are more than a 25 minute walk from the centre of town. Some of the walking routes are mostly along the lakeside so you’ll have a lovely view to enjoy along the way.

The buses also run from Malcesine to nearby towns on Lake Garda such as Riva which you can get to in under half an hour on a direct bus (484). The same bus line travels in the other direction as well and can get you to Garda in under 45 minutes. This is a more cost efficient way of exploring nearby towns.

Ferry

Looking to explore further afield? The ferries depart from the centre of Malcesine regularly and are a scenic way to visit other towns around the lake such as Limone or Riva. The ferry timetable can be found on the Navigazione Laghi website.

Our favourite walks in and around Malcesine

La Rocchetta

This is a relatively easy route which takes you up some steep mountain roads and onto some decent paths all the way up to the statue of the Madonna dell’Accoglienza. On the way you’ll get views of Malcesine from above and the famous Scaligero castle. We love seeing the town from a different perspective!

  • Grade: Easy-Moderate
  • Distance: 2.9km (walking time approx. 1 hour)
  • Ascent and descent: 275 metres 
  • Terrain: Asphalt surfaces, forested trails, walking paths, ascents and descents

Chiesa San Michele

Head up to the old San Michele chapel on this loop walk. The chapel was first documented in the 12th Century by Hadrian IV and over hundreds of years was neglected and fell into ruin. It was then restored in 1908. You’ll start in Malcesine on a steep path up the Monte Baldo mountain heading towards the Monte Baldo cable car middle station. From here you’ll head up to the chapel from which there are fantastic views of Malcesine from above. See if you can spot the Scaligero castle when you’re up there!

  • Grade: Moderate-Challenging
  • Distance: 7.6km (walking time approx. 2.5 hours)
  • Ascent and descent: 525 metres 
  • Terrain: Asphalt surfaces, forested trails, walking paths, ascents and descents

The Crest of Monte Baldo

Fancy walking along the top of Monte Baldo and its peaks? Then this is the walk for you. The end point for this walk is the Rifugio Telegrafo at 2147 metres, a mountain hut right at the top of Monte Baldo which overlooks the whole of Lake Garda. The walk starts at the top Monte Baldo Cable car station (Baita dei Forti) and you’ll end up following path 651 which leads to the mountain hut. Throughout the walk you’ll be completely immersed in the sublime mountain scenery, hiking above the clouds and the lake. This is one of the most stunning walks on Monte Baldo, but you have to be a very confident walker and very comfortable with steep mountain side ascents, shere drops and narrow paths.

  • Grade: Challenging
  • Distance: 18.5km (walking time approx. 7 hours)
  • Ascent and descent: 1, 183 metres 
  • Terrain: Mountainside paths, rocky terrain, steep ascents and descents
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

We recommend using the Kompass 129 - Monte Baldo (1:25 000) paper map for walks around Malcesine and Monte Baldo in particular.

Hiking guidelines

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

  • Plan your route well and don't overestimate 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.

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Hotel Majestic Palace Malcesin 314X193

Majestic Palace is a great place for an action-packed family holiday. With four swimming pools, tennis, mini-golf and more you'll have everything you need right on your doorstep. The town centre is just a short bus ride away so it's easy to scope out the local shops, restaurants and attractions.

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  • 50 rooms
Hotel Bellevue San Lorenzo, Infinity Pool

The Hotel Bellevue San Lorenzo is in the most beautiful setting a short walk along the lakeside from the centre of Malcesine. A lake-view infinity pool takes pride of place in the gardens. This is a very peaceful adults only hotel, with large gardens full of olive trees and roses.

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Ita Mal Exclsior 04 (1)

Hotel Excelsior Bay is one of the most popular hotels in Malcesine and has a fantastic lakeside location. Some of the best lake views in the resort can be enjoyed from the hotel's lakeside terrace and the centre of town and the buzzing harbour are only a short walk away.

  • from£619pp
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Hotel Cristallo, Pool and Garden View

Hotel Cristallo is a charming hotel where every guest will feel welcome. Grab a lounger and enjoy the lake views from the sunbathing terrace or head to the garden and relax by the pool. The centre of Malcesine is about a ten minute walk away.

  • from£879pp
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Hotel Maximilian, Lake View from Dining Terrace

The peaceful Hotel Maximilian is the perfect getaway to relax and soak up the beautiful surroundings. It's in the bay of Val di Sogno and the centre of Malcesine is about a 20 minute walk along the lakefront promenade. The hotel has a private beach, spa and range of sporting activities.

  • from£599pp
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Hotel_Antonella_Malcesine_Pool.jpg

With a lovely roof terrace and swimming pool with fantastic views across Lake Garda, Hotel Antonella's the perfect place to relax. You'll be within walking distance of the centre of Malcesine, the ferry port, and the Monte Baldo Cable Car so you can easily explore more of what Lake Garda has to offer.

  • from£829pp
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Hotel Capri Lake View.jpg

The views of Lake Garda from the Hotel Capri are incredible - grab a glass of wine and pull up a chair on the restaurant's terrace in time for sunset. During the day, relax in the gardens and pool or head into Malcesine to shop, eat and drink.

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Hotel Malcesine, Lakeside Hotel in Lake Garda

Hotel Malcesine's central hotel with everything on its doorstep including the ferry port and the Monte Baldo cable car. Rooms are traditional and homely and there's a fantastic lakeside terrace where you can enjoy a glass of prosecco with views of Lake Garda.

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 £58 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 & 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 Mondays. The meeting point is at Malcesine bus station. This is around a 20 minute walk from the Hotels Cristallo, Bellevue San Lorenzo, Capri & Antonella and around 30 minutes from the Hotel Maximilian.

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 Malcesine

History in Malcesine 

Scaligero Castle is a must-see in Malcesine. It’s been there since the 13th Century so history buffs will love walking around and reading about it’s interesting past. Head to museum to find out more. Before you go back into town, make the climb to the top of the tower where the lake views are incredible – don’t forget your camera. Palazzo dei Capitani is probably the second most important historic building in the town. In the 15th Century it was the headquarters for the Venetian rulers of the area. It’s close to the harbour and once you’ve finished exploring inside, you can admire the lake views from the gardens.

Eating and drinking in Lake Garda

A favourite past time for tourists in Malcesine is eating and drinking. The harbour and lakeside is filled with cafés and bars offering fresh food and local wines. Pull up a chair and order your favourite dish as you people-watch or look out over the lake. We'd recommend trying a glass of Bardolino red and a big plate of bigoli – a long, thick spaghetti-like pasta from the Italy's Veneto region.

Walking is the best way to find those great Malcesine views

Lakeside strolls in either direction from town will give you 10/10 scenery, but if you’re keen to up the ante and take on a challenge, look no further than Monte Altissimo di Nago. These are the highest peaks of Monte Baldo directly above Malcesine. You can see for miles up here and get 360 degree panoramas. Skip the long, steep climb by taking the cable car and follow signs to Monte Altissimo, stopping at the Bocca Navene rifugio for Italian snacks en route. The Walk of the Little Stone Men is also a great route to do – it’s less than five kilometres and great for all abilities.

The famous Busatte Tempesta path is a moderate trail, starting a few kilometres north of Malcesine. With walkways and railings built for easy-access, you’ll still need your energy for the 400 stairs en route. Take it at your own speed, because it’s worth every step for the scenery and lake views. Tired legs can take a bus back to town - or switch it up and do the walk in reverse, downhill.

Check out some more great walking routes by heading to the 'Walking Tab'.

Activites in Malcesine 

There’s nothing quite like jumping on your saddle and peddling along side Lake Garda. It’s such a relaxing thing to do and a great way to build up your appetite! We'd recommend a leisurely bike ride along the shore to one of Malcesine’s nearby resorts where you can stop for lunch. If all that sounds a bit tame, then take to the sky. The top of Monte Baldo has some great, thrill-seeking routes down the mountain.

It’s almost impossible to resist taking to the water in Malcesine. Paddle boarding is a great activity for everyone and gives you a nice, unique view of the town. Get more serious and take a sailing or kite surfing course. It’s always nice to come back from holiday with a few new skills.

Family activities in Malcesine

Family walks around Malcesine

When in Malcesine, you can't miss the famous Scaligero Castle in the town – this is a great opportunity to teach youngsters a bit of history. It's a great town if you want to go for a family walk, stroll along the lakeside or by head up to Monte Baldo on the cable car; see if you can spot the paragliders flying over Monte Baldo as you go along. The views from the top of Monte Baldo are fantastic!

Fun & educational activities for all ages

Mini-golf is a popular activity for families in Malcesine and there are also occasional local evenings dedicated to children (13th July 2024 onwards) which feature children's entertainment including magic shows at the 'Padre Mario Casella' gardens. 

For something educational, why not head to a museum. There are a few to choose from including, the Lake Museum or the Museum of Natural History of Monte Baldo. You could also hop on a ferry and explore more nearby towns like Garda, Bardolino, Limone and Riva, and the history, walking trails and cultural sites they have to offer. Ferries are a really fun way of exploring Lake Garda with children!

Family food: from gelato to chicken & chips

If you're a food loving family then make sure you try Malcesine's famous spit-roasted chicken and chips at the Speck Stube. Here you'll enjoy some al fresco dining on tressle tables in a large garden area with a playground for children to run around in. For dessert, grab an ice-cream by the lake – there are some fantastic artisanal ice-cream shops in the old town, why not buy a cone and walk around the cobbled streets.

Canal_View_Venice.jpg

Spend a few days exploring the canals and piazzas of Venice before heading to Italy's largest lake. Spend your days walking along the lakefront, sipping wine in the vineyards and heading up the mountain trails of Lake Garda.

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: 210km of walking trails

Terrain: Diverse terrain from lake side strolls to mountain trails

Best time to go: May to September. It can get hot in July and August so heading up on the Monte Baldo cable car is a great way to cool of

Best for: All walking abilities, nature, sightseeing, activities, families

Fly into: Verona (approx. 2 hours)

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

Transfer time: approx. 1 hours 30 minutes by coach

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

What We Say
  • 'Malcesine is really well set up for walkers, with the Monte Baldo cable car which will take you up the mountain to some incredible birds-eye views of Lake Garda.

    Make sure you end the day with a local olive oil or gelato tasting in the old town, amidst the cobbled streets and boutique shops. The ancient buildings and castle create a history lover's paradise!'

    Victoria, Italy Product Executive
What You say
  • 'I’m 75 now and travelled extensively… [My friend and I] thought Malcesine was one of our very best holidays. We went up Monte Baldo, travelled to Limone, Riva [and more] by boat and wandered into town every evening, occasionally walking in the opposite direction on the promenade.

    The Ingham’s staff were first class and [our resort representative]… was top notch! So helpful and knowledgeable. Many thanks for a really superb holiday and we will be back with you another day.'

    Soloman, Inghams Customer, October 2023
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