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The Picturesque Villages of Lake Garda

Lake Garda, situated in the north of Italy between Lombardy and Veneto, is the perfect destination for those seeking a balance between nature, historical heritage and gastronomy. It is also the ideal spot for trekking, mountaineering, cycling, sailing and windsurfing. Here, then, is our selection of the prettiest villages in the area. See which ones catch your fancy.

Desenzano del Garda – Gateway to the Lake

Desenzano del Garda is the largest town around Lake Garda. Located on the south side, it is the prime entry point to the lake. The old town is a delight to stroll through and the atmosphere there is amazing, particularly at dusk. A must-see landmark is the Cathedral of St Mary Magdalene, where you can contemplate Tiepolo’s The Last Supper, and the Villa Romana, located on the Via Crocifisso, which features some standout mosaics.

Sirmione – the Pretty Girl

Situated on a narrow peninsula on the south side of Garda, Sirmione is undoubtedly the prettiest town in the area and, consequently, the most touristy. As soon as you catch sight of its old town and its fantastic medieval castle – with a drawbridge included – you will realise why it is so popular and succumb to its charms. Noteworthy, too, are the ruins of an ancient Roman villa known as Grotte di Catullo (Grottoes of Catullus). Despite having nothing to do with a cave, or having ever hosted Catullus in its grounds, it features some excellent, well-preserved frescoes and the views from its olive grove are stunning.

Malcesine – the Shore Lined with Olive Groves

This small town, which is famous for its olive oil, was immortalised by Gustav Klimt en 1913. A prominent landmark is medieval Scaligero Castle which towers over the surrounding houses and has a room dedicated to Goethe. The latter devoted a few lines to Malcesine in his Journey to Italy.It is well worth taking the cableway which runs up to a height of 1760 metres where you can get magnificent views over the lake.

Gardone Riviera – An Elegant Town On the Lake

Its 19th-century villas in Art Deco style and its spectacular gardens make this the most elegant town on Lake Garda. The most prominent feature is the Vittoriale degli Italiani, an unusual and sumptuous estate made up of several buildings, a theatre, gardens and waterways, the work of the poet, Gabriele D’Annunzio and the architect, Giancarlo Maroni. The other must-visit spot is the André Heller Foundation Botanical Gardens which has around 500 plant species.

Riva del Garda – For the Sporting Crowd

This town, set on the northern edge of the lake, against a backdrop of mountains, is ideal for sports enthusiasts. It is the starting point for hikes and cycle tours to Mt Rocchetta and also hosts such watersports as sailing and windsurfing.

Book your Vueling to Verona, which lies just 45 kilometres from Lake Garda, and enjoy yourself sightseeing its shores.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Elin B, Marcos Dione, Edoardo Costa, Edwin van Buuringen, Tony Hisgett, Ross Elliott

 

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