Lago di Garda is the largest lake in Italy, and stretches over the three provinces of Verona, Trient, and Brescia. The north is rather narrow, surrounded by high mountains, and especially popular with wind surfers and mountainbikers. If you want to go swimming, the south is where you want to go: the landscape is rather plane, with small hills; the lake is much wider; and there are numerous beaches along the lake. Pebble beaches are typical for Lake Garda, but you will find the occasional lawn as well.
In the south east you will find beaches in Garda, Bardolino or Lazise. Peschiera del Garda, in the very south, features a whole range of different ones. Lido delle Bionde in Sirmione is located right underneath the Roman ruins of the grotto di Catullo. Two more beaches are located further west, in Desenzano del Garda. Access to the lake is also possible in Manerba del Garda in the south west.
Swimming is indeed also possible at the northern part of the lake. Several small beaches can be found in Malcesine, and the lively Limone sul Garda boasts two neighbouring ones. Three more beaches, two of them equipped with a lawn for sunbathing, are located in Riva del Garda in the north.
Your four-pawed friends are welcome on declared dog beaches only. For example, Bracco Baldo Beach is located between Fornaci and Bergamini in Peschiera del Garda, and is perfect for a walk along the lake, although it works on a fee basis. Free dog beaches can be found on the west bank, at Rivagranda in Toscolano-Maderno, and at Via Tavine in Salò. Manerba's dog beach strip is located west of Rio D'Avigo, the one in Torbole is at Lungolago Conca d'Oro towards Malcesine.
If you want to cross the lake by ferry, there are several options. You can enjoy the view on one of the panoramic boat rides, or, if you're in a hurry, take one of the faster boats to the next town. Furthermore, car ferries go between Limone and Malcesine as well as Torri del Benaco and Toscolano-Maderno.
Things to do
Due to its size and the diverse landscape surrounding it, Lago di Garda boasts a wide range of activities. Whether you conquer water, land, or sky - there is something for everyone.
Sailing is particularly popular in the north, with more than 90 different local, national and international regattas taking place here every year. Despite this focus, sailing clubs can be found more or less all around the lake. Maybe you want to try a new kind of sailing: with parasailing, a motorboat pulls you over the water with a parachute, so that you get a unique aerial view of the lake.
Another thing the special winds on Lake Garda make possible is wind surfing. There are numerous surf centres offering courses, so even beginners can give it a try. Various access points and surf beaches provide ample opportunity to ride the waves. The lake is also ideal for kite surfing. However, at the northern-most part of the lake, which is part of Trentino, kite surfing is only allowed from October to February, and in the evenings of the summer months.
To be independent of the wind, you can opt for wakeboarding or waterskiing. Or try one of the new trend water sports like waterwolf (an electric surfboard) or flyboard (a jet of water under yor feet shoots you up). A little less action but just as fun is stand up paddling. Divers should come to Lake Garda in spring and autumn. Grottos, canyons, and boat wrecks are wating for you. Diving bases around the lake offer courses and organised dives.
Hiking, Biking, Climbing
The diverse landscape around Lago di Garda opens up numerous options, and the mild climate makes it possible to hike, bike and climb almost all year round.
Lake Garda has everything, from short hikes along the river to challenging mountain tours. The most popular hiking area is Monte Baldo. Another exciting option is Alto Garda Bresciano, a nature park featuring various trails. Hike along the cliffs of Rocca di Manerba or through Minicio valley, and enjoy lake views and quaint villages. Rocca di Garda is particularly recommendable for short hikes.
Mountainbikers will particularly enjoy the northern lake. Riva, Arco, and Torbole are particularly popular. You might also take the cableway or shuttle up Monte Baldo, where you can explore the mountains and ride down on trails of various difficulty levels. For really challenging tours, try Alto Garda Breciano nature park or the trail on Tremalzo.
The north is also perfect for climbing. There are via ferratas for all skill levels. Beginners keep to the area of Nago; free climbers might try Corno di Bo or the less known Sarca valley. The area around Arco is the most famous among climbers, due to 'Rock Master' world championship taking place here every year. Canyoning is a special kind of climbing, where tours lead through gorges and waterfalls. The steep mountains in the north are ideal for this; offers are available in Affi, Tremosine sul Garda, and Toscolano-Maderno.
South of Lazise, the Movieland Studios are all about cinema and film. Themed rides take Hollywood to Lake Garda. Become part of the Police Academy at the driving simulator, or meet Freddy Kruger and Hannibal Lector at the Horror House.
For more fun in the water, go to water park Canevaworld, which features numerous water chutes and tropical lagoons - fun for the whole family guaranteed.
- The swimming lake / beach's average water temperature during the summer season is 68 °F (currently: 57 °F). The swimming lake / beach is normally warmest during July with an average water temperature of 73 °F.
- It’s ok to bring your best friend to this dog friendly swimming lake.
- Lifeguard supervision at Lago di Garda is provided.
- Grab something nice to eat and a cold drink at the local kiosk or restaurant.
- The nearby playground caters to kids of all age groups, ensuring unbridled fun.
- Planning an overnight stay? Close to the Swimming Lake there is a campground.
- There are parking spaces available in the vicinity. There are public restrooms close by at the Swimming Lake.
Video about Swimming Lake Lago di Garda
How to get there
To get to the towns at the east and north bank, take motorway A22 Brenner-Modena. To get to the south bank, motorway A4 Milan-Venice is the one. Along the lake, SS 249 Gardesana Orientale brings you to the towns of the east bank, SS 45 Gardesana Occidentale to those on the west bank.
DBB-ÖBB EuroCity goes from Munich to Rovereto and Verona several times a day. If you are headed to the north, go to Rovereto train station. To go to the south, change in Verona and go to Peschiera or Descenzano. Busses go to the respective towns and villages from there.