Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, found in the north of the country and home to mountains, forests, castles and more. Stretching across three of the country’s regions, this is a holiday destination favoured by travellers of all types who come to the area to enjoy the quaint medieval towns and stunning scenery that surround the water.
From water sports to hiking trails and luxury hotels, there are a lot of things to do in Lake Garda. It’s a part of the country that sees visitors arriving all year round, and October is a brilliant month to visit for those who prefer cooler temperatures and quieter surroundings. So before you book your tickets and start packing your suitcase, read on to discover everything you need to know about visiting Lake Garda in October.
One of the reasons that Lake Garda is such a popular part of Italy to visit it’s its enviable sub-Mediterranean climate. The geography of the area means that Lake Garda enjoys a lot of the same weather as the south of Italy, with its mountainous region protecting it from any particularly cold temperatures that try to sweep in from the north.
Temperatures soar in the summer, but you will still find very pleasant weather in Lake Garda in October during your visit, even as the autumn season progresses. The average high temperature in Lake Garda in October is 19°C during the day, which will still feel relatively warm when the sun is shining, and the average low temperature drops down to 8°C which means that you’ll need a coat or jacket in the evenings.
Despite the cooler weather closing in, there is usually only an average of 8 days of rain in Lake Garda in October, so you’re unlikely to get badly rained on during your trip. There is an average of 5 hours of sunshine and 11 hours of daylight during the month, which are brilliant conditions for sightseeing trips and excursions around the area during the day.
How to Get There
As we’ve already mentioned, Lake Garda is the largest of all of Italy’s lakes and so you’ll need to decide whereabouts you’re going to be staying and where you want to visit before you travel.
The good news is that Lake Garda is a location accessible by train, plane, car and bus, so getting there is pretty easy by almost all forms of transport. The two closest major airports are Verona-Villafranca and Brescia-Montichiari, but visitors also have the option to fly into a nearby city such as Milan and then get to Lake Garda by train, if they’re looking to travel more cheaply.
In a place like Lake Garda, your best option might be hiring a car if you’re looking to drive around a lot of the lakeside locations or take day trips to other, nearby towns and cities. However, if this isn’t a feasible option then never fear; there is a brilliant bus system that connects the towns around Lake Garda and travels to other nearby destinations that have train stations.
Of course, once you have arrived at Lake Garda then another transportation option is to travel across the lake by boat. It’s worth noting however that in October, the peak season for tourism winds down so you may start to find that ferry and other public transport services become a bit less frequent.
Festivals and Events
Numerous towns and villages surround Lake Garda which means that the area’s calendar is packed all year round. Whilst sporting events only tend to take place during the summer months when the weather is warmer, there are still plenty of things happening in October that make it one of the best times to visit Lake Garda.
Lazise Honey Festival
The municipality of Lazise in the east of Lake Garda is one of the best parts of the area to visit in October because of the annual honey festival. It’s the biggest celebration of the food in all of Italy and attracts beekeepers and honey producers from around the country who gather throughout the festival to sell and promote their products.
The Lazise Honey Festival is not just about tasting and buying honey however; it has also developed into an event that highlights the importance of the bee population and the work that beekeepers do across the world. There are beekeeping and honey harvesting demonstrations, presentations about the latest tools used in the honey industry, and an unusual variety of products made with the ingredients on sale.
International Festival of Geography
The International Bardolino Geography Festival takes place in October every year in the municipality of Bardolino on the southwest shore of Lake Garda. The festival has a different focus or theme each year that relates to human and physical geography, and involves a wide range of different events including presentations, exhibitions and conferences. It’s an event that attracts geography fanatics and key thinkers, writers and professors from across the world, all gathering in an area that is known for its breathtaking landscape.
Arco International Chess Festival
The International Chess Festival in Arco is another annual event that brings fans from all over the world to another town on the northern shores of Lake Garda, held inside the town’s casino ballroom. Players who participate in this tournament are recognised by the International Chess Federation and the whole event has grown in popularity and reputation in recent years as one of the most exciting events in the world of chess.
Things to See and Do
Boat and Ferry Trips
October sees tourism start to tail off in Lake Garda, but there will still be many boat and ferry trips running for visitors to the area that you should hopefully be able to enjoy at a reduced price. Whilst these tours around areas of the lake may be running less frequently at this time of year, they’ll also be less busy so you won’t have to fight to get a seat that allows you a perfect view of the lake and its shore.
Popular boat trips on Lake Garda include sailing from Malcesine to Limone, visiting the Isola del Garda, or cruising around the Sirmione peninsula to enjoy the natural thermal springs.
Visit a Winery
Autumn is the perfect time of year to enjoy Italian wine tasting, and Lake Garda is home to a brilliant selection. Despite it being the off-season for tourism, Lake Garda’s climate makes October the peak season for grape harvesting, and many of the wineries are still open for enthusiasts to visit and taste the wines produced across the area.
The most famous wine from Lake Garda is perhaps the deep red Bardolino, but you can also sample the popular white Custoza from the Verona region. Lake Garda has also more recently become known for some of its sparkling wines, which are inspired by the area’s Mediterranean climate and will be best enjoyed in the crisp autumn sunshine.
Ride the Monte Baldo Cable Car
The mountains that cluster around one side of Lake Garda offer the opportunity for some incredible views of the whole area – if you’re not afraid of heights! The Monte Baldo Cable Car travels between Malcesine and Tratto Spino on Mount Baldo, and has the special feature of rotating cabins that offer you a 360° view of Lake Garda as you ascend or descend.
In the summer this is an incredibly popular tourist attraction, but by October the queues of tourists will have diminished and you should be able to enjoy the journey without sharing a cabin with lots of other people.
Go Hiking or Cycling
High temperatures in Lake Garda during the summer can sometimes make physical activities such as hiking or cycling impossible, but by October the weather will be a lot cooler but still sunny enough to make getting out and about in the area worthwhile. Whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or a keen walker, the terrain and scenery that surround Lake Garda are unparalleled in their beauty and offer multiple different trails and routes suitable for all abilities.
If you’re looking for some gentle walking or cycling then you can follow the shore of Lake Garda and travel between towns along the roads or footpaths, enjoying the views along the shoreline as you go. Those who are feeling slightly more adventurous can tackle the trails that lead up and down many of Lake Garda’s mountains; just be sure to check the weather forecast before you set out and pack suitable hiking or cycling gear.
Dine at an Agriturismo
An agriturismo is a working Italian farmhouse that has been partially adapted to accommodate guests – basically a B&B that also functions as a farm. Agriturismos are a brilliant holiday accommodation solution, but they also offer a fantastic chance for tourists to enjoy authentic Italian food served in the countryside for a very reasonable price.
A quick internet search will lead you to numerous agriturismos around Lake Garda that are set up for travellers to come and dine at. There’s nothing like Italian food prepared by the locals and served in traditional, rustic surroundings, and there’s no better way to properly get to know the people who live and work in this beautiful part of the country.
Take a Day Trip
If the huge range of towns and attractions that surround Lake Garda isn’t enough to keep you occupied, you can also make the most of your location and take a day trip to another nearby part of Italy.
Verona is one of the most popular nearby locations to visit from Lake Garda, and can be reached by bus from quite a few towns on the southeast shore of the lake. Venice is also close enough for a day trip, although you might find yourself feeling a bit rushed if you’re trying to see lots of different parts of the city in one day.
If you’re looking to take a trip to Italy in October then there is no better location than Lake Garda. The area’s scenery is at its best during the start of the month as all the leaves start turning, and the cooler climate provides the ideal conditions for a wide range of outdoor activities. We don’t doubt that you’re already convinced to plan a holiday, so here’s some of our advice for visiting this part of Italy in the autumn.
Despite the mild and pleasant weather that Lake Garda experiences in October, what catches a lot of people out is how quickly the temperature drops in the evenings. Whilst you might be happy out and about in a t-shirt during the day, you’ll frequently find that a jumper and a coat are needed to stay warm in the evenings at Lake Garda, so make sure you pack accordingly.
As we’ve already mentioned, October is one of the best months to visit Lake Garda if you’re looking to save a bit of money by travelling in the off-season. It’s definitely worth seeing if some of the more luxurious hotels have deals on when you are looking for accommodation, or considering planning a longer trip if rates are reasonable.
When it comes to eating and drinking, there are plenty of options across Lake Garda’s towns and municipalities that cater to all taste buds. Of course, since you’re in Italy you’re going to want to enjoy some pizza and pasta, but it’s also worth looking to see if any local food markets are happening during your stay. Not only is this a cheap and delicious way of finding something for your lunch, but it also gives you a taste of the local flavours and is often a lot more exciting than just stocking to the Italian dishes you’ve already tried at home.
When To Visit Lake Garda By Month:
To find out more about visiting Lake Garda in October or planning an unforgettable Italian holiday, explore the rest of our Italian Breaks website for ideas on where to stay and what to do.