Lake Garda is perhaps the most famous of Italy’s large lakes, found between the regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino Alto-Adige. It’s the largest lake in the country and is ringed with beautiful little towns and villages that have been popular with holidaymakers for many centuries.
The north side of Lake Garda is surrounded by cliffs and mountains, whereas the south side has gentler terrain and is more built up with houses and villas. The climate of the whole area is very similar to that of southern Italy because of the shelter provided by the nearby Alps, providing ideal conditions for growing produce like grapes, lemons and olives.
Historically, Lake Garda has been a favoured holiday destination for artists and celebrities who come to the lakeside towns and holiday resorts to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and peaceful atmosphere. September is a great time to visit if you want to avoid the busyness of the summer but still be able to enjoy the good weather that this part of Italy is famous for.
Keep reading to discover our guide to visiting Lake Garda in September.
Lake Garda enjoys a relatively Mediterranean climate for much of the year, which is one of the main reasons why it is such a popular summer holiday destination. As autumn begins the whole area is still enjoying a lot of this warmth, with the average high temperature in Lake Garda in September at 24°C.
Evenings in September at Lake Garda will be cooler, with an average temperature of 14°C overnight. Around half of the days during the month will be bright and sunny, with an average of 7 hours of sunshine every day.
Despite these warm temperatures and sunny conditions, September is also one of the wettest months of the year at Lake Garda. Whilst there are only around 9 days of rain during the month, these showers bring down a lot of water and tend to last for a while, so be prepared to spend a day or so indoors if you get caught in one of the rainy periods of the month.
How to Get There
The large size of Lake Garda means that where you’re going to be staying in the area will affect where you need to arrive and what modes of transport you use to get there. It’s a very popular part of Italy for tourists and locals to visit, and therefore is accessible by train, plane, car and bus.
The two closest major airports to Lake Garda are Verona-Villafranca and Brescia-Montichiari, both of which have regular flights to and from many other European countries. If you’re travelling on more of a budget, you also have the option to fly into nearby Milan and then get to Lake Garda by train.
There are two train stations in Peschiera del Garda and Desenzano on the southern side of Lake Garda, both of which are less than a 20-minute ride away from the Peschiera del Garda station in Verona. There aren’t any railway stations in towns on the north of the lake, but you can get a train to the nearby city of Rovereto and then a bus straight to a variety of locations around Lake Garda.
In a place like Lake Garda, one of the best things to do is visit many of the lakeside locations or take day trips to nearby towns. If you’re planning on exploring the area during your stay, then your best option might be to hire a car. However, there is a brilliant bus system that connects the towns around Lake Garda and travels to other nearby destinations, so if you can’t or don’t want to hire a car you should still find it easy to get around.
Once you’re at Lake Garda, another transportation option is to travel across the lake by boat. The schedule for the ferries that link the towns and villages around the lake change depending on the season, but there should still be a reasonably frequent service if you’re visiting in September.
Festivals and Events
Bardolino Wine Festival
The Bardolino Wine Festival, or Festa dell’Uva e del Vino, is held from the end of September to the beginning of October every year in Bardolino on the shore of Lake Garda, celebrating the maturation of a new year’s production of Bardolino wine. It’s an incredibly popular event that focuses on wine tasting, raising awareness of the different varieties that are produced in this region, and celebrating the success of the year’s harvest. If you’re a fan of Italian food and drink, you won’t want to miss out!
Centomiglia Sailing Regatta
The Centomiglia regatta is one of the most exciting international sailing events in the world and takes place on the second Sunday of September every year on Lake Garda. Anyone can sign up for the race, whether they’re a professional sailor or just an enthusiast, and the event brings lots of visitors to the area to watch and enjoy the other festivities that take place over the weekend.
The race itself begins quite early in the morning and can take some boats almost a full day to complete. Whilst the participants are out at sea, spectators are entertained with live music, food and drink. It’s the main event in September in Lake Garda, and is not to be missed if you’re visiting at the start of the month.
Tignale Truffle Festiva
As the name suggests, the Tignale Truffle Festival is dedicated to the rare ingredient that is found in and around Tignale and harvested at this time of the year. There is a brilliant range of events that make up this celebration of the local food, including plenty of tasting opportunities, cooking demonstrations, truffle foraging workshops and educational talks.
Festival of Birds
Cisano’s ‘Sagra dei Osei’ was traditionally a bird hunting festival but has now become a fair displaying different varieties of songbirds and other birds that were originally used in hunting. There are competitions and demonstrations over the weekend of the festival, as well as local food and drink stalls and live entertainment performances.
Things to See and Do
Brave a Morning Swim
As previously stated, September isn’t quite as warm as the summer months in Lake Garda, but the water temperature is still pleasant enough for swimmers who don’t mind the initial chill. The average temperature of the water is around 20°C which is incredibly refreshing and will be fine once you are fully submerged and begin swimming.
The best way to appreciate the experience of swimming in Lake Garda is to take to the water first thing in the morning for an invigorating start to the day. Coldwater swimming has been recommended for its health benefits for years, and this is one of the most stunning places in the world to enjoy it.
Visit the Beach
Whilst the weather in Lake Garda in September isn’t quite as warm as in July and August, many people will still enjoy visiting the beaches around the lake in September and enjoying soaking up some sunshine. Though these beaches are not the conventional ones you’ll find beside the sea, they’re still beautiful and offer wonderful views of the surrounding landscape along with clear blue water that is still warm enough for a dip.
Some of the best beaches around Lake Garda include The Bay of the Sirens, the beach near the town of Lazise, Spiaggia Tifu in Limone and the beach at Malcesine which is right underneath a medieval castle.
Spend an Evening Outdoors
The warm weather in Lake Garda in September tends to last well into the evenings, particularly at the start of the month. To get the most out of your time in this wonderful part of Italy, spend an evening dining outdoors and watching the sun go down with a glass of wine produced from the nearby famous vineyards. If you’re staying right beside the lake, a sunset stroll should also be on your holiday itinerary to appreciate the gorgeous scenery around the lake as it is bathed in golden light.
Enjoy Seasonal Food
Lake Garda is quite famous for ingredients like truffles, honey, grapes and olives, many of which are in season in the autumn. We recommended eating locally as much as possible during your stay to really appreciate the cuisine that comes from this part of Italy, but focusing on dishes that include these seasonal ingredients will make the experience even better.
There are several local food and drink festivals taking place around Lake Garda in September which are a great way to learn more about the flavours that come from the landscape around the lake and how best to enjoy these.
Explore the Walking Trails
The cooler temperatures that Lake Garda sees in September provide the perfect climate for walking or hiking through the surrounding landscape and exploring as much of the area as possible on foot. This location has long been thought of as one of the best places for walking in Northern Italy, and no matter where you are staying around the lake, there will be trails and paths nearby that are suitable for all abilities.
If you’re staying to the north of the lake then you’ll have the Alps nearby and plenty of rugged terrains to explore during your stay. Even if you’re not a big fan of intrepid hikes, just following the trails that wind around the shore of Lake Garda will provide you with an ever-changing vista and the chance to appreciate the variety of wildlife and greenery that calls this place home.
September is often regarded as one of the best months of the year to visit Lake Garda because of the warm weather and lack of summer crowds. If you’ve been convinced to book a holiday to this part of Italy at the start of Autumn, here are some of our top tips.
The varied weather patterns can leave many people wondering what to wear in Lake Garda in September. We recommend that you pack light layers and a waterproof jacket and umbrella so you can enjoy the warmth and sunshine when it arrives but won’t be caught out if the weather suddenly changes.
If you’re hoping to explore a lot of Lake Garda during your trip then you might find it easiest to hire a car when you arrive in Italy, so that you can explore the towns around the lake at your own pace and don’t have to depend on bus or train timetables. Drivers in Italy have a bit of a reputation for being wild on the roads, but as long as you keep calm and take the roads around the lake at your own pace, you shouldn’t have any problems driving yourself around the area.
Holidays to Lake Garda in September are partially popular because they take place in the shoulder season for tourism, meaning that prices for flights and accommodation tend to be cheaper than in the busiest months. The winding down of the tourist season does mean that opening times of attractions around the lake and public transport timetables might change and begin limited hours however, so remember to check what you’ll be able to see and do before you travel.
When To Visit Lake Garda By Month:
To find out more about visiting Lake Garda in September or planning an unforgettable Italian holiday, explore the rest of our Italian Breaks website for ideas on where to stay and what to do.