The best hotels and places to stay in Lake Garda for first time visitors

Lake Garda is a little oasis in the middle of Europe, attracting celebrities, politicians and royalty with its beauty.

Home to a large selection of towns, villages and beach resorts – all with a stunning mountainous backdrop – Lake Garda is the perfect place to relax.

But with so much variety and little in the way of public transport, it can be quite daunting trying to pick a place to stay based on your needs.

To help, I’ve compiled a list of the best places to stay around this narrow lake in Northern Italy.

Desenzano del Garda – Solo travellers

There’s lots to do in the town of Desenzano del Garda

Our first visit to Lake Garda took us to Desenzano del Garda.

Whilst not the prettiest part of the lake, it is definitely the most convenient.

With a train station that can take you directly to Verona, Venice and Milan – Desenzano del Garda is the best choice if you’re wanting to explore northern Italy.

There are also a number of ferries to transport you across the lake.

Once a week, there is also a market which is nice to spend an hour or two walking around.

As for the town, there are plenty of restaurants, bars and even a nightclub.

You can also sunbathe on the shingle shore or take a speed boat trip around the bay – however, be warned you can’t swim there due to polluted water.

Sirmione – Couples and solo travellers

Sirmione on a beautiful day

Former Prime Minister Theresa May is a repeat visitor to Sirmione.

One of the most popular holiday destinations on the lake, Sirmione features a number of historic sites including ruins of a Roman villa, and a 13th-century castle.

Adults will also love the Aquaria Thermal SPA – a wellness spa set in a large park complete with thermal pools, aromochromatic showers, vascular path, effervescent beds and hydromassages.

Lazise – Families

Boardwalk in Lazise

If you dream of visiting Lake Garda but want to make sure the kids are entertained, Lazise is the place for you.

Situated on Lake Garda’s eastern shore, Lasize is at the foot of the Morainic hills.

There’s plenty to do on this stretch of the lake including a coastal walk taking you to Bardolino and Garda Thermal Park.

Children will love The Caneva Aquapark and Movieland Studios.

Riva del Garda – Couples

Riva is at the northern tip of Lake Garda

For those wanting to stay put in Lake Garda, Riva del Garda may be the best choice.

Popular amongst older travellers, Riva is perfect for a gentle but scenic stroll thanks to the fairly flat ground.

But that doesn’t mean it’s ‘boring’, Riva is also popular with windsurfers thanks to the mountains rising on either side catching the gales.

Malcesine – Couples

The humble town of Malcesine

Located once again on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, Malcesine is often considered as one of the most attractive parts of the lake.

A fairly small town, Malcesine makes up for with its picturesque cobbled streets and historic castle.

For those wanting to explore a bit further, a cable-car runs up to Monte Baldo enticing cyclists, walkers and paragliders.

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