Nestled beneath a glacial-carved rock, Garda lies on the eastern shore of Lake Garda in northern Italy. It centres around a beautifully preserved historic core and makes an atmospheric base for exploring the centuries-old castles, villas and archaeological sites of the region.
Things to do in Garda
Stroll the narrow streets of Garda’s historic centre, which is dotted with elegant palazzi and villas. Admire the Renaissance-style Palazzo Carlotti and the Venetian Gothic Palazzo dei Capitani, as well as the 16th-century Villa degli Albertini with its beautiful magnolia trees. Also not to miss is the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, which features an altarpiece painted by the Baroque artist Simone Brentana and portals carved from white Veronese stone.
Rising south of the town centre is the Rocca di Garda, a 198-metre-high summit that was carved by glaciers during the last Ice Age. From Piazzale Roma, you can follow the walking trail that leads up the forested northern slope of the mountain for panoramic views across Lake Garda and towards Monte Baldo.
Garda makes an excellent base for visiting one of Italy’s best-preserved castles, the fortress-like Castello di Sirmione. Constructed under the rule of the Scaligeri in the late 14th century, it was later used as an armoury and barracks. Admire the turreted towers that surround the main courtyard and see the dock where the Scaligeri fleet sought protection. The castle regularly hosts live musical performances in the summer months.
Getting around Garda
Garda is a 40-minute drive from Verona and 30 minutes from Valerio Catullo Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Buses connect to Garda from towns and cities throughout the region while the centre of Garda is compact enough to explore on foot.