The strikingly beautiful Lake Garda is an escape for novelists and poets, a backdrop for films, a mecca for water sports enthusiasts and a bucket list destination for all travelers. You can find Italy’s largest lake stretching across the provinces of Verona, Brescia and Trento. This 158 kilometres stretch of some of the world’s most picturesque scenery converges with Italian culture to create an ideal getaway.
Twenty quaint towns paint themselves along the lake’s shoreline, while the Alpine foothills greet the looming mountains that overlook the entire region. You can even capture a whisper of the Dolomites the further north you explore. June is one of the best times of the year to experience this region and capture its views, but before you pack your bags, here is everything you need to know:
Lake Garda’s weather is very much determined by its unique location. Although this Italian gem is sandwiched between mountains and Po Valley it’s considered a sub-Mediterranean climate. Those very mountains shield Lake Garda from the colder weather conditions of the north, while the open-air of the valley allows Italy’s southern warmer climate to influence this region.
June is one of the best months to experience Lake Garda’s optimal weather conditions with average temperatures hitting 21°C (70°F), while the monthly high is 26°C (79°F) and the monthly low is 15°C (59°F). Plus, the height of June and the summer solstice gives tourists 9 hours of sunlight, and, on average, only 12 days of rainfall. This time of the year is one of the best times to visit Lake Garda because the weather is not only optimal, but the crowds of the summer are only just beginning to pick up.
How to Get There
When it comes to Lake Garda, there is a lot of ground to cover, especially since it is the country’s largest lake. But even beyond just the lapping shores, this idyllic holiday getaway has so much to see and do that you will want to make sure to plan how you will be getting there and travelling from place to place.
Lake Garda is easily reached by plane, train, car and bus. Once you get there, you can even add ferries to that list of transportation. If you’re flying to Lake Garda from home, then you won’t have much of an issue since there are a few major airports nearby, including Verona-Villafranca airport and Brescia-Montichiari. While these two options are the closest, you could potentially save more money by flying to a hub like Milan, which is only about 100km away. Beyond flying, you should base your means of transportation on the area of Lake Garda you plan to stay since some areas only offer a few options.
Are you heading to the southern part of Lake Garda? Then take a train from Verona to Peschiera del Garda. If you’re headed north, then you can take a train from both Verona and Milan to Rovereto. Although you will have to catch a bus if you plan on going elsewhere from this point. The best way to get to the eastern flank of the lake is by bus since the bus route makes stops in places like Riva del Garda, Lasize and Torre del Benaco. And if you’re exploring the western side then you will have no shortage of bus options from Desenzano.
Although the best way to explore Italy is by renting a car, no matter where you go!
Festivals and Events
No matter when you visit, Lake Garda constantly has festivals and events for you to experience. As the last of spring sheds its chill, June welcomes back sporting events and outdoor entertainment.
Chiaretto Wine Festival
The Chiaretto Wine Festival is a must-do if you find yourself in Lake Garda during June. People from all over flock to celebrate and taste the very reason why Bardolino is known as the wine capital of this region. Aside from the rose wine, you can also enjoy food, live music and a charming afternoon walking along the water’s edge. Plus the atmosphere is family-friendly!
Garda Jazz Festival
If you love jazz, then you have to make a special trip to the northern region of Lake Garda for the tradition of the Garda Jazz Festival. This event has been closing the curtain on June for over a decade, and every year it just gets more and more popular with both locals and tourists. At the Garda Jazz Festival, you won’t only hear some of the best jazz musicians in the world perform, but you will also get to take it all in from some of the most beautiful and historic venues situated in this lake oasis
Arena di Verona Festival
In nearby Verona, the Arena di Verona Festival welcomes those who want to appreciate the rich history, culture and music. This opera festival plays all summer in an ancient Roman amphitheatre where you can take in the rhythm and songs as the sun sets over the city of Verona. Festivities kick off in the middle of June.
Since 1984, the Triathlon Bardolino has been a staple for athletes, adventurers and curious tourists. The race begins at Lido Cornicello and finishes at Villa Carrara Bottacisio. This international race draws in top athletes from all over the world because the exciting challenge that courses through the heart of Lake Garda’s clear waters and rolling foothills. Even if you don’t win, you’re rewarded with some of the world’s best views.
Things to See and Do
There is no better way to explore Lake Garda then by boat. You can explore the expanse of Italy’s largest lake, including hidden alcoves, islands and idyllic viewpoints. A day boating in Lake Garda is a day spent jumping off the back of your boat into a refreshing abyss of silky-smooth waters and the sun’s rays kissing your skin through the perfectly framed mountains in the distance. Boats are easily rented throughout this lake region.
What is a lake vacation without an amusement park? Plus, Lake Garda offers tourists one of the best amusement park experiences in all of Italy at Gardaland. Regardless of whether you like rollercoasters or not, this attraction has something for everyone, especially children. Spend an entire day here enjoying the diverse selection of rollercoasters, restaurants and exciting atmosphere.
Isola del Garda
If you rent a boat for a day, then you have to make sure to stop at Isola del Garda, the largest island in the entire expanse of lake. Here you will find the property of the Cavazza family, and their maze of parks, gardens and villas. Beyond its breathtaking beauty, the island is also home to a rich history that spans all the way back to Roman times. It’s been open to the public since 2001, and you could spend most of a day exploring this gem off of Lake Garda’s coast.
While all of Lake Garda creates the most scenic and picturesque views, taking a cable car up to Monte Baldo’s ridge may be the best view of the entire region. Monte Baldo is an Italian Alps mountain range that decorates Lake Garda’s shores. And with the help of a cable car system, you can reach the top of its peaks from Malcesine, a little town along Lake Garda’s shores. If you want to work for your view, then there are plenty of hikes you can also do under the gaze of Monte Baldo.
Lake Garda is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise, especially for those who like or want to try paragliding. Imagine sailing high over the pristine landscape that gives way to the perfect merging of land and water. If you’re deciding whether or not to get over your fear and nerves, then remember that you will be rewarded with one of the best views of Lake Garda – if not the best.
Pista Ciclo-pedonale Lazise-Bardolino
If you’re keen for an active day, then hiking or cycling along this path from Ciclo-pedonale to Lazise-Bardolino will not only give you a great workout, but it will also give you a local feel for the region, and a reason to stop and catch your breath to take pictures.
Riva del Garda
Riva del Garda may be one of the most charming towns in all of Lake Garda, and you certainly can’t miss it on your holiday. It’s a quiet little stop where the residents’ backyards are mountains that pierce the sky and shade the cooler waters below. It’s also home base for the GardaTrek for hikers. If you’re not a hiker you can still spend a day here exploring the Inviolata Church, Marocco medieval quarter, Apponale Tower and the hustle and bustle along the water. Although the best part of Riva del Garda is getting lost and winding through the streets and picturesque views. The beauty of this town is hard to describe, you will just have to go and see its allure for yourself.
Like Riva del Garda, Sirmione is another town that you have to visit. The town itself extends into Lake Garda as the only peninsula in the entire region, and its beauty extends even further through time and history. Sirmione is known for the Rocca Scaligera, a medieval castle overlooking the lake, and various other Roman ruins dispersed throughout the quaint village. Plus this is a great place to completely unwind and take in Italian culture with its thermal baths. Terme di Sirmione is famous for its spa experiences, and definitely the most popular in all of Lake Garda.
If you fancy a nice tipple now and again, then be sure to add Villa Calicantus to your holiday itinerary for some of the region’s best wines, including Bardolino. You can find this winery away from the water’s edge nestled into the rolling hills with an impressive estate and vineyards crisscrossing the landscape. Spend a day here wine tasting and taking a guided tour of the vineyards.
June is by far one of the best months to visit Lake Garda. The sleepy towns hibernating for the winter and away from the cool lake air, open their doors and windows to the sounds of summer and the busy season. Are you ready to book your tickets and start the summer off, right? Then here are some tips of the travel trade to make sure you get everything and more out of this favourite holiday destination in northern Italy:
When you’re packing for your Lake Garda adventure, be sure to take into account the lake breeze, the shade of the surrounding nature and the chill of spring that’s just about thawed. While you will face perfect 21°C temperatures at midday, you will want to pack layers for the cool mornings and evenings. If you’re planning on doing some hiking, then bring a light jacket too since it gets cooler in the higher altitude. Also, don’t forget your swimming costumes for the warmer days that come more frequently after the official summer solstice.
If you’re looking to see Lake Garda on a budget, then bring your camping gear and pop up right near the shore! There are campsites sprinkled throughout much of Lake Garda. This is the best way to really experience everything the lake has to offer. Who doesn’t want to wake up to the sound of the lake lapping at their front door?
Last, but not least, one of the best ways to experience Italian culture is through the weekly street markets that are as apart of Italy as the colours of the flag. And Lake Garda offers some of the best market experiences every day of the week. While stumbling upon one of these cultural attractions is thrilling, here’s when and where to go for your taste of markets in Lake Garda:
- Mondays: Sirmione
- Tuesdays: Desenzano
- Wednesdays: Lazise
- Thursdays: Bardolino
- Fridays: Garda
- Saturdays: Malcesine
To discover more about Lake Garda and the rest of your Italian holiday, check out Italian Breaks for when to go, where to stay and what to do.