Which Lake Garda town to use as a base?

by Lesley

Q. We are planning our first trip to Lake Garda in September 2011 for one week and wonder which part of the lake to choose as our base? We have been told that the northern side of the lake offers the most stunning scenery. Do others agree? If so, which town? We have been looking at Riva del Garda. We will not be hiring a car so will depend on public transport to get around to the various villages, etc but would also like to do some trips a bit further afield and would like to know if staying on the northern side of the lake is easy to reach Venice, etc.

Also, we are flying to Verona and would welcome advice on how to get to, for instance, Riva del Garda.

We would welcome advice on the above and anything else we haven't thought of.

A. Yes the northern part of the lake is definitely the most spectacular scenery! The mountains which surround the lake are very dramatic and look amazing! Just remember though that they make travelling around that area slower and the sunlight is cut off by the mountains earlier in the day, especially on the west side.

Riva is a good town to be if you want to rely on public transport as it is the biggest town in the north and will have the most options. It is a nice town which has nice lake frontage, but it isn't as historic or charming as say Limone or Malcesine and has a more commercial feel away from the lakeside.

The top of the lake is quite a long way from Verona and public transport may take quite a bit of time and planning. Depending on the time you arrive at the airport, you may want to consider an airport transfer. If you have plenty of time, then you could take a train to Peschiera or Desenzano and then use buses or taxis. Taking a ferry all the way up the lake would take too long usually, unless you take the hydrofoil (which is expensive). To get some more ideas take a look at our travel page:


Getting to Venice from the north part of the lake
will take some time. The tricky part is getting down to the train stations at the south end of the lake. Once there, hopping on a train to Venice is pretty straight forward and should take no more than 90 minutes or so.

Hope this helps you and have a fantastic holiday!

Marcus & Sylvia

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Jul 30, 2011
How to get to Lake Garda
by: Billy Dempsey

Hi There

Further to my last email, I have just returned from Lake Garda, There are a few changes from what I wrote last,we flew into VillaFranca airport the Bus from there is only E5 single. the bit hat has changed is there is no Ticket office at the Bus Terminal!!!!!!!
they are modernising the whole area,when you get off the coach from the Airport look across the bus Terminal you will see a Large Cream Coloured building( its a church) go to Bay 10 to the left of the church for the bus to Lake Garda, Pay the Driver.

PS Garda is still the best place in the world!!!!

Billy Dempsey

Jul 07, 2011
Garda. Lake Garda
by: Anonymous

I would recommend you stay in Garda Town. This is a central location for getting to all resorts around the lake on the steamers and a local bus will take you to Verona in 1 hour for a small amount of money. It is around 2 hours to Venice on an excursion coach from this resort.

The resort of Garda town is as full of life in the evenings with music in the squares and lots of cafes for drinks or meals. It is set around a bay and is a lovely relaxing resort. You can walk to the next town of Bardolino along a footpath by the lake in about 45 minutes and if energetic you can also walk into Lazize.

If looking for hotels I would highly recommend the Excelsior le terazze, a bit pricey but worth it. If too expensive and you don't mind a little traffic noise go for the Terminus Hotel but ask for a lake view which is superb. I love Lake Garda and have been on numerous occasions. Do sample the opera in Verona, it is well worth a visit even if you are not an opera buff, the atmosphere is electric.

Enjoy your stay I am sure you will return for future holidays.

Jun 26, 2011
Staying at Lake Garda
by: Anonymous

Hi There
May I suggest you stay in either Malcesine, Garda, Bardalino or Lazise, the reason being they are on on the east side of the lake. If you stay on the west, Limone, Gargnano, Gardone, nice though they are, if you want to take day trips to say Venice ,Verona, Milan, Florence, the Dolomites etc. this will put an hour or more to your Journey.

Another thing to remember is on the west side you have approx one hour less sunshine!! Can I also suggest not to go on any excursions as these are quite expensive. You can buy a ticket at the local bus station in Garda to visit any of these places, (Milan's a bit more difficult but not impossible).

Getting to Garda or Malcesine is very easy from the airports, you can buy a ticket at the airport (out of Customs turn right). Approx E35 return if you order a taxi it will be arround E169 Return. If you opt for the cheaper transfer this will take you to Verona Train Station, when you get off the coach look across the road you will see the coach station, the coach to Garda is next to the booking office. If the coach is there just hop on and buy you ticket from the driver.

All in all the public transport system including ferries up and down the Lake at Garda is second to None. Hope this helps.

Good Luck and Enjoy.
Billy D

Mar 06, 2011
Torri del Bianco>
by: Anonymous

Would you recommend staying in Torri del Bianco or Malcesine? We will be there the middle of April for 3 nights. We want charming, history and not to touristy but good restaurants, We will be traveling around the lake during the days.

Mar 06, 2011
by: Fliss

I would recommend that you stay further down the lake as Riva and Torbole are a bit remote from the other towns on the lake. We've been going to Garda for years and normally stay in Garda town and we've stayed in Sirmione. They're both convenient for boats around the lake and buses. I'm sure you'll have great time as it's really beautiful part of the world.

Feb 15, 2011
Distance from South to North
by: Carolyn

Q. If you hire a car how long would it take to drive from the north to the south to catch a train to Venice? And are there car rental agencies there or should you rent in Verona?

A. The travel time really depends on the time of year and how busy it is. I would allow an hour or so normally, but in peak summer traffic it could take longer. About the car rental, if you arrive into Verona it would probably be easiest to hire a car there, but you could get one in Peschiera too.

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