You’re on Lake Garda, and you don’t know what to visit? Here are the ten things to see on Benaco, for all tastes: from historical castles to amusement parks!
1.The Castle of Sirmione
The most famous fortress of Lake Garda is this castle dating back to about the mid-thirteenth century, built for the dynasty of the Lords of Verona, the Scaligeri. Still today, it is in splendid shape, one of the best-preserved castles in Italy.
Immersed in the lake waters, it is the obligatory passage to enter the village of Sirmione, showing crenelated towers and passageways in the patrol walkways. This beautiful fortress can be reached from an ancient drawbridge and, at the end of the visit, allows access to the highest parts to admire the entire surrounding area with a breathtaking view.
2. The Caves of Catullus in Sirmione
A side view of the fantastic Caves of Catullus
Remaining always in this village, you can discover an even more ancient dimension of the Garda territory, already in Roman times coveted for its beauty and thermal benefits. A Roman Domus was built in the first century B.C. in the extreme part of the Sirmione peninsula, extending for about 2 hectares and on three floors; it was equipped with panoramic terraces to dominate the two sides of the lake.
Always called “Le Grotte”, it was rediscovered in the fifteenth century and identified for many centuries with the villa of the poet Catullus of Verona. In reality, this complex was built after his death. The ruins are considered the most important example of Roman Domus in northern Italy and include a museum with archaeological finds from other Roman villas on Lake Garda.
3. The Vittoriale degli Italiani in Gardone Riviera
A panoramic view from above of the Vittoriale degli Italiani located in Gardone Riviera
This place is renowned among the admirers of Gabriele D’Annunzio, who chose it as his home and burial place. The Vittoriale citadel in Gardone Riviera was built between 1921 and 1938 by the Vate, together with the architect Giancarlo Maroni, to house the testimonies of his literary and war exploits, but also as a patriotic monument.
The Priory is his house-museum, to be visited for the richness of the decorations and the gardens outside. There is an auditorium that hosts the events, and an amphitheater for the performances. In the basement of the amphitheater there is the suggestive D’Annunzio Segreto Museum, which shows the objects of the poet’s daily life. The visit ends on the Mausoleum, which houses the tomb and the Ship Puglia – a gift given to the poet by the Regia Marina in 1923.
4.The Island of Garda
Also known as Isola Borghese, it is the largest of the islands of Lake Garda and is part of the territory of San Felice del Benaco. It is reached about 200 meters from the coast by boat and is a private island where guided tours are organized on a regular basis. For those who wonder what to see on Lake Garda, this island can be an answer not only because of the panorama, the neo-Gothic Ferrari villa, and gardens but also because, inhabited since Roman times, it has remains of votive temples and tombstones.
Later, it was also a refuge for local piracy and became an important religious center when Saint Francis of Assisi had a small hermitage built here. Over the centuries, it was also inhabited by Dante Alighieri and St. Anthony of Padua.
5. Limone Sul Garda
Limone Sul Garda is the most visited village on the entire lake.
The village of Limone is one of the oldest and best-preserved historical centers of Benaco, which welcomes visitors with a wealth of things to see and specialties based on the famous citrus fruits, the lemons of Lake Garda!
Citrus groves dominate the landscape thanks to the microclimate of Lake Garda, from the “limonere”, or protected terraces where cedars, mandarins, chinottos, and kumquat (Chinese mandarin) are also grown. One of the best known is the Limonaia del Castel, which dates back to the eighteenth century and can be visited.
In the village, you can get lost among the ancient alleys, fishermen’s houses, and historical buildings such as the Renaissance Torre Viscontea and the city Cathedral. Nearby you will also find the oldest Romanesque church in the area, San Pietro in Oliveto (9th century), which also offers a view of splendid frescoes.
6.The cycle path of Limone del Garda
The cycle path of Limone is the new tourist attraction that pushes the many fans to reach the place during the summer and not only during the
Always in Limone, the occasion is unique for those who love “biking.” A new bike path runs through this area, offering unique landscapes from Limone Sul Garda to the border with Trentino. The new section of the track is cantilevered over the lake, suspended to show exceptional views, and become a real tourist attraction for this area of Lake Garda.
The overall bike route along Lake Garda is 190 km, and crosses the Eurovelo EV7 (Central Europe) and EV8 (Mediterranean Route), creating a connection with the international bike network.
7.Riva del Garda
In the Trentino part of Benaco, there is one of the fascinating places for the atmosphere that is affected by the nearby Dolomites. The lake in this area narrows enters like a small fjord between the rocky walls of Monte Rocchetta, and the rarefied air is the background of a village to visit for its beauty and traditions.
The water, the bluest in the Garda area, can only be furrowed in silence (in this area, it is forbidden to navigate by motorboat), which envelops Riva del Garda and makes it magical, especially in the evening. The village shows in its central part the Apponale Tower of the thirteenth century, the Palazzo del Comune and the Palazzo Pretorio degli Scaligeri, dating back to the end of the fourteenth century. Among the things to see in Riva is the medieval quarter of Morocco, which derives its name from the “marocche”, the piles of landslides on which the buildings of the time were built!
8. Marmitte dei Giganti on Lake Garda
In Torbole, there are these spectacular rock formations, which include pools about 5 meters wide, 12 meters deep, and set in a canyon with a metaphysical landscape.
The Marmite dei Giganti, fancifully defined in this way for their size, derive from the glaciations of over 100,000 years ago, when the ice melted, creating streams and waterfalls that eroded the rock. From here, wells and pools like these are created, which also donate archaeological finds: ceramics and arrowheads found nearby, testify to the presence of prehistoric man in this area of Lake Garda, a more than fascinating evocation!
9. Gardaland and the parks on Lake Garda
For those looking for fun, what to see at Lake Garda immediately turns into “what to do”. And for children, in particular, the Garda offers a series of theme parks, most of which are located in the Veneto part of Lake Garda. Renowned is Gardaland, the largest playground in Italy in Castelnuovo del Garda, which offers over 35 themed attractions. Other amusement parks are those of Caneva World in Lazise sul Garda: Movieland, dedicated to the world of cinema, and Caneva Acqua Park, consisting of swimming pools with attractions and water games.
If you are looking for a zoological garden, you will find it in Pastrengo, where the Parco Natura Viva is located: it houses over 1,500 animals of 200 different species, for which it is a centre of protection, research and conservation; it includes the Safari Park and an area dedicated to ancient dinosaurs.
9. Tremosine’s Thrill Terrace
To conclude with a “final” look, here is what to see at Lake Garda: one of the most famous and exciting scenery. You can see it from the terrace of Tremosine sul Garda, which is a due stop for those arriving in the Garda area, since the 60s when it was built in the Hotel Paradiso.
It is located in the hamlet of Pieve, is suspended more than 350 meters above sea level, and therefore reserved for those who do not suffer from vertigo! This viewing platform allows you to admire the Gardesana from an exceptional perspective, seeing the hairpin bends of the Strada di Forra, the canyon of the Val di Brasa, the Campione center and the imposing profile of Monte Baldo on clear days.