When it comes to holidays in the Italian Lakes, Lake Garda is often the first location that comes to most people’s minds. It’s the largest lake in the country, found between three regions in the north of Italy and known for being one of the best places to spend a summer holiday, whether you’re a local or a visitor from abroad.
Despite being up in northern Italy, Lake Garda enjoys a warm, Mediterranean climate thanks to the Alps mountains that shelter it on one side from any really cold weather. There are a wide variety of different towns, cities, and villages to explore around the lakeside and further out into the surrounding regions and popular destinations like Verona and Milan close enough to visit on a day trip.
Some people favour the quieter spring and autumn months to visit Lake Garda, but if you want to make the most of the hot weather and the great array of different summer events held around the area, August is one of the best months for a holiday. The size of Lake Garda means that even during peak season, you can still find pockets of peace and quiet away from other tourists to enjoy the beautiful scenery, heavenly weather and unique culture and history of the lakeside towns and villages.
Here’s our guide on how to get the most out of visiting Lake Garda in August.
The end of summer is one of the most popular times of the year for a holiday in this part of Italy, thanks to the weather in Lake Garda in August. Despite being in the north of the country, it gets very hot and sunny in the middle of the year, offering an ideal climate for a summer holiday.
The average temperature in Lake Garda in August is around 23°C, with highs reaching up to 28°C in the middle of the day. At night it can get as low as 17°C, but this will still feel pretty warm and is ideal for evening meals outdoors or sunset strolls alongside the water.
Lake Garda enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with nine hours of sunshine on average every day in August. Whilst this month is one of the driest in the area, there are still usually around 12 days of rain throughout August, although these showers tend to be quite short-lived.
Watersports are incredibly popular at this time of year and in August the Lake Garda water temperature is 25°C which is ideal for swimming, sailing, windsurfing and paddle boarding.
How to Get There
Lake Garda is situated between three of Italy’s northern regions; Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige. Because of its large size, how you get there will depend on where you are going to be staying, as different areas of the lake are accessible by different kinds of transport.
The good news is that Lake Garda’s size and popularity as a holiday destination means that it can be reached by almost every mode of transportation.
A lot of tourists choose to get to Lake Garda by plane, as this is often the fastest and most direct route if you’re coming from another country. Verona-Villafranca and Brescia-Montichiari are the two closest major airports to the lake, which have regular flights from most European countries and locations further afield.
It is also possible to get a plane to nearby Milan and then travel the rest of the way to Lake Garda via another mode of transport.
Getting to Lake Garda by train is also relatively easy, especially if you’re just coming from another part of Italy. Peschiera del Garda station in Verona connects to two other train stations on the southern side of the lake in Peschiera del Garda and Desenzano, so you can arrive in the nearby city and get to the lake in under 20 minutes. However, there are no train stations on the north side, with the nearest location accessible by train being Rovereto, which is still a bit of a way out from Lake Garda.
If you are visiting or staying on the north side of the lake, or just trying to get around easily during your visit, the best way to get to where you want to go is by bus. There is a pretty good bus service connecting the towns and cities around Lake Garda, and in the summer months in particular the bus services are very frequent.
If you don’t fancy having to wait for the bus or trying to navigate a bus system in another language, hiring a car to get around Lake Garda might be your best option.
Finally, once you have arrived in Lake Garda then a great way to get around the area is to travel across the water by boat. In August there will be frequent ferry services connecting the biggest and most popular lakeside towns and villages, offering a very picturesque way of getting from one place to another.
Festivals and Events
Notte di San Lorenzo
The Notte di San Lorenzo, or Night of Saint Lazarus, is a festival that is celebrated across many parts of Italy including some of the towns and villages around Lake Garda around the 10th of August. Because of the position of the earth at this time of year, it is possible to see the meteorite belt Perseids and a meteor shower if the sky is clear, and there are many events held to watch this beautiful natural phenomenon around the lake.
Night of Enchantment
The Night of Enchantment is one of the most popular events that is held around Lake Garda in August, celebrated in the town of Desenzano. The evening is filled with live music and dance performances as well as poetry readings and other entertainment, as well as an impressive parade through the street beside the water.
The real highlight of this event however happens on the water, where hundreds of boats covered in candles take to the water and release more floating candles out onto the lake. The night ends with a massive fireworks display and is an incredibly beautiful occasion that attracts people from all over the area every year.
Bandiera del Lago
The Bandiera del Lago is a boat racing event that takes place on Lake Garda from the beginning of June, with the final races of the occasion usually held in the middle of August. It’s an event that has been taking place for many years and is characterised by the traditional Bisse fishing boats that are manned by standing rowers who use oars in the style of Venetian gondolas.
The final race of the event usually takes place in the early evening in the town of Lazise in mid-August, attracting a large crowd of supporters.
Ferragosto, or Assumption Day, is an Italian bank holiday in August that is celebrated on the 15th of the month. Originating from Ancient Roman tradition, Ferragosto was first held by order of the first emperor Caesar Augustus (Octavian) who was celebrating his victory over Marc Antony at the Battle of Actium.
When Catholicism took the place of previous religious orders in Italy, August 15th was made to commemorate the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, marking the death of the mother of the religious figure Jesus Christ. It was then adapted during the Fascist era of the country as a populist holiday, where the working class could travel to other parts of Italy.
Now, all of these traditions have merged to commemorate a holiday where parades are held, live entertainment is organised, Italians make the most of Ferragosto holiday deals to other parts of the country, and almost every large town and city holds an official celebration. It’s one of the biggest public holidays in Italy, and there are a range of different events held around Lake Garda that visitors can join in with.
Citta di Limone Tennis Tournament
The Citta di Limone is an international tennis tournament held in the town of Limone in Lake Garda every August. One of the top sporting events of the year in the area, players from around the world come to compete at the Limone Tennis Club, which has three different courts.
As well as exciting matches throughout the day, there is also evening entertainment planned during the tournament, so staying in Limone at the time of this event will ensure that you don’t run out of things to see and do.
Things to See and Do
Take a Boat Trip
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Lake Garda is to see the full extent of the area from the water. Whether you catch a local ferry or take a private boat trip around the shoreline and out into the middle of the lake, you’ll be cool out on the water and can really appreciate all the lakeside architecture and scenery from your vantage point.
Visit the Northern Towns
Lake Garda’s most popular attractions can get very busy in the summer months, particularly on the south side of the lake where there are more established transport connections to other parts of Italy. If you want to spend your time somewhere a bit quieter then travelling to the northern towns such as Malcesine or Torbole is a great idea, as you’ll be able to enjoy a less rushed and more laid-back atmosphere.
Hike the Mountains
You may want to avoid this activity on days when the weather is really hot, but if it’s a little cooler and there is a strong breeze then planning a walk around one of the more mountainous areas of Lake Garda is a great way to spend your time. The northern side of the lake is favoured by serious walkers because of the proximity to the Alps, but there are established walking routes all around the lake which offer great views of the water and a chance to get out of the bustling towns and villages for an afternoon.
Spend Time at the Beach
The weather in Lake Garda in August offers the ideal conditions for swimming in the water and sunbathing beside the shore, so we recommend that you get to the beach early on one day of your holiday and enjoy the experience. There is a range of larger beaches in various places around the lake such as Jamaica Beach, The Bay of the Sirens or Spiaggia Tifu in Limone, but you can also explore the shoreline in quieter areas and find a spot for yourself there.
Walk the Salo Promenade
The Salo Promenade is the longest stretch of lakeside path in the whole of Lake Garda, spanning 16.5 km and lined with shops, restaurants and bars on one side and beautiful views across the lake on the other. If you’re in Salo in the evening, take a walk along the promenade as the sun is setting to soak up the local atmosphere, find a little bit of quiet and enjoy breathtaking views as the evening draws on.
August is perhaps the most popular month of the year to visit Lake Garda, so here are some top tips for how to make the most out of your time in the area.
As we’ve said before, it’s likely to be quite busy around the lake throughout the month, especially on public holidays, weekends, or days when the weather is particularly hot and sunny. Make sure that you book accommodation and transport well in advance to get the best deals, and do some research on which areas are likely to be quietest if you’re not a fan of having to share your holiday destination with lots of other tourists.
If you’re visiting Lake Garda on a budget then August is a great month to visit, as the public transport services around and across the lake are in full swing, and you’ll be able to make the most of these cheap and efficient modes of transport to see as much of the area as possible.
Finally, whilst it is very hot in the day in Lake Garda in August, it’s not a very humid part of Italy and temperatures do tend to fall quite a bit in the evenings, especially nearer to the end of the month. Make sure that you pack a jacket or jumper to put on in the evenings, and be prepared for it to get a lot cooler suddenly once the sun has set.
When To Visit Lake Garda By Month:
To find out more about visiting Lake Garda in August or planning an unforgettable Italian holiday, explore the rest of our Italian Breaks website for ideas on where to stay and what to do.