So, you’ve planned the ultimate holiday by booking a trip to Lake Garda, located in the stunning Italian lakes district? Feeling pretty smug, aren’t you? And rightly so, because the area is truly one of the most picturesque, exciting and culturally important ones in all of Italy.
But before you set your itinerary in stone, allow us to introduce you to some of the many attractions that you’ll be able to catch sight of along the one-hour transfer route from the airport at Verona to Lake Garda. There’s a lot more than meets the eye to be found, experienced, eaten and learned in this gorgeous area, so keep your eyes peeled and use your time wisely to get some insider tips from your friendly Shuttle Direct driver.
Gardaland has been a family favourite among more than three million locals and visitors a year since 1975, and its popularity shows no signs of abating. Situated at Castelnuovo del Garda, adjacent to the lake, this massive amusement complex encompasses 445,000m2 – which equates to a whole lot of family fun! With numerous themed areas and a host of attractions, including the stomach-churning Black Hole, Raptor and Oblivion rides, there’s plenty to keep the whole family busy. It’s easy to navigate the park and find appropriate rides, with some of the most popular themed areas including Fantasy Kingdom, Pirati and Kids Country for the younger ones, as well as Energy (which includes multiple rollercoasters) for the older kids – and parents!
Recommended Visit Time: You’ll need at least half a day to make the most of Gardaland.
2. Peschiera del Garda
For anyone interested in learning a little more about European history, take note as you pass through Pescheira del Garda, situated on the south bank of the lake and very close to Gardaland. This tiny fortified town has links back as far as the Bronze Age and packs a powerful historical punch, playing a major role in multiple battles and campaigns that took place in Italy’s northern region, including the Napoleonic Wars. A stroll around the local streets will reveal the breadth of its history. And why not deepen your knowledge of this fascinating town by exploring the local museums, churches and the remains of an ancient Roman settlement?
Recommended Visit Time: Half a day is enough to explore the town, but if you want to take in the fun of Gardaland as well, make a full day of it.
3. Tower of San Martino della Battaglia
The imposing Neo-Gothic monument that commemorates the Battle of San Martino dominates this diminutive town from its hilltop site. The 74-metre tower provides a lasting and evocative reminder of the loss of life that occurred during the bloody confrontation, which formed part of the larger Battle of Solferino in 1859. While the sobering history of the conflicts that took place in San Martino and the neighbouring villages around the lake is placed into stark context by the monument, it also has a different appeal to visitors. Once inside, you can ascend to the lofty heights of the tower via a spiral ramp in order to take in some wonderful views over the town and beyond.
Recommended Visit Time: You’ll need less than an hour to climb the tower, but if you want to spend some time in the town itself, allow for a couple more.
4. Desenzano del Garda
Just a little further around the southern shore of the lake is the lovely little town of Desenzano del Garda. Its picturesque photographic appeal is enhanced not only by a lovely harbour, but also by its very own castle. The much-used “something for everyone” cliché really rings true in this case, because along with some fine shopping streets and waterfront restaurants, those with an interest in Italian culture and history can explore the castle, some ruins of a Roman villa and the excellent archaeological museum, which has exhibits dating back to the Bronze Age. The town has also become a popular place with young Italian revellers in the early evening, so if you’re looking to party like an Italian, stick around for aperitivo time!
Recommended Visit Time: If you’re going to walk up to the castle and then have lunch at the harbour, make time for a half-day excursion.
5. Gardagolf Country Club
Golf lovers are in for a real treat with the opportunity to tee off at one of the most beautiful courses in Europe: the Gardagolf Country Club. Get your driver to point out the area as you pass so that you can head back and switch the blue of the lake for a day on the green! Set against a backdrop of cypress and olive trees, superb water hazards, floral blooms, a castle and the spectacular hills of Valtenesi, your game might not be quite up to par with the distractions – but you’ll certainly have fun trying. Whether you’re just out for a casual hit or you’re a serious contender, the course is as challenging or easy as you want it to be. Twice home of the Italian Open (and set to host again in 2018), a game at this wonderful course will be the highlight of any golf lover’s holiday.
Recommended Visit Time: Can you ever get enough golf? What the heck – make a full day of it!
6. San Felice del Benaco
San Felice del Benaco is the iconic, picture-perfect Italian lakeside locale, blessed with far more than its fair share of natural beauty. Situated 35km from Brescia on the western shore as you travel around the lake, the mild year-round climate makes it the perfect place for outdoor lovers. The region is actually made up of three villages – San Felice, Portese and the hilltop town of Cisano – and boasts an easy-to-navigate 18km cycling route that links all three. Along with the vibrant weekly market (a great place to stock up for a cycling or hiking picnic), attractions include the sanctuary of the Madonna del Carmine, the San Felice Castle and the renowned charitable institution, Monte di Pietà.
Recommended Visit Time: A full-day trip is recommended if you’re planning on cycling the route between the villages. Top tip: you should!
From Verona to Lake Garda
Travelling the route from Verona to Lake Garda will take you through one of the most beautiful and accessible landscapes in Europe. Ask your Shuttle Direct driver for some local tips during the journey to make sure that you don’t miss out on a thing around beautiful Lake Garda.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is the most trusted provider of airport transport throughout Europe and North Africa. We offer the fastest, most convenient shared and private transfer services from Verona to Lake Garda, so you can start your Italian holiday off on the right foot. Make a booking through our easy-to-use website and let us take care of the rest.
NB. This route guide has been compiled as an aid to visiting the region. Your airport transfer service from Verona to Lake Garda does not include stops to these destinations.