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How to Spend 1 Day in Lake Garda

How to Spend 1 Day in Lake Garda

Italy’s largest and most visited lake, Lake Garda mixes traditional waterfront towns with pebble beaches, palatial villas, and countless boat trips, all set against lush, mountainous backdrops. Here are our ideas for how to get the most out of one day on Lake Garda. 

Morning: Getting to Know the Lake

Make the most of your time on a tour around Lake Garda’s perimeter, savoring the scenery and stopping at picturesque towns such as Limone sul Garda and Riva del Garda—all without having to fuss about transportation or parking. Alternatively, make a foray onto the lake’s waters to experience its spectacular mountain views. Ride a boat to Garda Island (Isola del Garda)—the lake’s biggest island—to see its grand, Gothic-style palace, or bob by the villa that was home to late opera singer Maria Callas. If you’ve based yourself in nearby Verona or Milan, meanwhile, consider a day trip that covers the lake’s most popular towns and scenic spots, all with hassle-free round-trip transport and a guide to provide information and pointers.

Afternoon: Delve Deeper

If you didn’t take a full-day trip earlier, devote this afternoon to cruising on the lake. Take a sightseeing boat along the west coast past mansions and palm-laden gardens, and visit the pretty town of Salò to stroll and enjoy a gelato along its promenade. Adventurous types can opt to explore Garda’s hillside villages on a high-powered 3-wheel trike or go canyoning in the mountain rivers above the lake. For something more leisurely, book a cruise around the lake’s Sirmione peninsula, drifting past sights such as Scaligero Castle and secluded beaches.

Evening: Sunset Cruising and Supper

Lake Garda takes on an ethereal beauty at sunset, so make the most of your one evening here on a private cruise. Watch darkness fall on the water and enjoy a glass of prosecco as your skipper-guide points out the sights. Otherwise, end your day in time-honored Italian style with a passeggiata—an evening stroll—along the lakefront before heading to one of the many gourmet restaurants in towns such as Sirmione, Riva, or Limone for dinner.

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6 Tours and Activities

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Full-day Lake Garda Tour

Full-day Lake Garda Tour

star-4.5
21
Spend a lazy day on Lake Garda with this day-long trip around the main lakeside towns. Aboard an air-conditioned bus, you’ll travel around the shores in comfort, stopping to visit towns such as Limone sul Garda, Lazise, and Salò along the way. Different routes operate on different days, so check before you book. No matter what tour you book, each experience ends on a high note with a boat ride on the lake.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$74.81
From
$74.81

Private Lake Garda Sunset Cruise with Prosecco

Private Lake Garda Sunset Cruise with Prosecco

star-5
67
Watch the sun slip into the hills during a private evening cruise on Lake Garda. After setting off from the lungolago area in Sirmione, you'll glide over the water with a prosecco aperitivo in hand. Sip on your glass of sparkling wine, enjoy appetizers from a local restaurant, and gaze out at the elegant villas that stud the lakeside hills. The experience is perfect for anniversaries or special occasions in Lake Garda.
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  • 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$264.70
per group
From
$264.70
per group

Lake Garda Afternoon Sightseeing Cruise from Sirmione

Lake Garda Afternoon Sightseeing Cruise from Sirmione

star-4
35
Savor the scenery and sights of Lake Garda on a 4-hour afternoon cruise from Sirmione. Board a comfortable boat and sail along the lake’s western shores past islands, towns, villas, and more. Glide by the Roman Grotto of Catullus and one-time mansion of Maria Callas, see the islets of San Biagio and Garda and stop for an optional swim. Finally, take a stroll in Salò and toast views of Gardone with a glass of Prosecco.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$97.82
From
$97.82

Lake Garda 25 Minute Boat Cruise around Sirmione Peninsula

Lake Garda 25 Minute Boat Cruise around Sirmione Peninsula

star-4.5
2
Jutting four miles out into the southern end of Lake Garda is the Sirmione peninsula, a 2.5-mile (4 kilometer) stretch of picturesque shoreline. The locale is known as a playground for artists including 20th-century opera singer Maria Callas and the ancient Roman poet Catullus. Take a boat tour around the peninsula and learn about its history, thermal baths, 13th-century castle, and more.
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  • 25 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$13.81
From
$13.81

Lake Garda Mini Cruise: Sirmione Peninsula

Lake Garda Mini Cruise: Sirmione Peninsula

star-4.5
88
If you're short on time but want to see some highlights of Lake Garda, book this 25-minute cruise and glide around the scenic Sirmione peninsula. Just choose from a morning or evening option when you book online, then set off from Sirmione. The short cruise takes you on a route past luxury villas, the Aquaria Thermal SPA, and Roman ruins at the Grotte di Catullo.
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  • 25 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$13.81
From
$13.81

Lake Garda Sunset Cruise from Sirmione with Prosecco and fresh fruits

Lake Garda Sunset Cruise from Sirmione with Prosecco and fresh fruits

star-5
31
Cruise around the Sirmione peninsula in the evening and watch the sun sink behind the hills. After you step aboard your private boat at Sirmione, you'll glide out onto the waters of Lake Garda with a glass of prosecco in hand. Nibble on fresh strawberries as you pass chic lakeside villas and sights such as the Roman ruins at Grotte di Catullo and Scaliger Castle, then return to the harbor at Sirmione.
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  • 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$207.16
per group
From
$207.16
per group