8 Best Places to Stay on Lake Garda, Italy

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by Maggie Turansky


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There are countless places to stay on Lake Garda that can make for a good base. Surrounded by charming towns and cities with lots to offer visitors, finding the place for you while visiting Lake Garda can seem like a daunting task when you see just how many options there are.

As Italy’s largest lake and spanning over the Lombardy, Trentino and Veneto regions, Lake Garda is surrounded by a plethora of towns and villages that all have different things to offer.

Whether you’re looking for a great base on Lake Garda if you’re travelling without a car, if you’re looking for something a bit more lively with a lot of options or are after a quiet and tranquil lakeside getaway, there is something for everyone this beautiful lake.

So if you’re planning a trip to Lake Garda make sure to follow this guide to find the best hotels and private rentals on Lake Garda that suits your travel style and needs.

Where to Stay on Lake Garda

Sirmione – Best Place Without a Car

Sirmione is arguably the most popular place to visit on Lake Garda and, therefore, makes for an excellent base if you’re looking for a convenient tourist centre located close to some iconic attractions. Sirmione is also probably the best place to stay in Lake Garda without a car.

Located at the very south of the lake, Sirmione is well-known for its iconic castle. The town itself is packed with things to do and is a very popular destination for day-trippers, so it does get very busy. However, if you’re looking for something very tourist-focused, then staying in the old town of Sirmione can be an excellent option.

Though the old town can get very busy, there is more to Sirmione than the peninsula where the castle lies. In fact, the main town is surrounded by vineyards and has a much quieter and more laid back vibe than the tourist centre.

You can even find more locally-geared restaurants and some quiet parts of the lake if you’re looking to avoid the inevitable crowds that descend upon this beautiful town.

Where to Stay in Sirmione

Hotel Casa Scaligeri – A comfortable family-run hotel located next to the beach and Sirmione’s Old Town. They have a range of rooms suitable for couples and families with breakfast included.

Hotel Sirmione – A luxurious hotel that is also located right outside the entrance to the Old Town and near a beach. Guests here can enjoy access to a swimming pool, wellness centre, and a restaurant on site.

San Lorenzo Apartments – A fantastic option for those wanting to stay in the Old Town but also have access to their own kitchen. These apartments can accommodate large groups and are also incredibly close to the beach.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Sirmione!

Sirimone Castle
Sirimone Castle

Salo – Best Option for Larger Town

For those wanting a larger town with many options but still searching for an off-the-beaten-path place to stay, then look no further than Salo. Located on the southwest coast of the lake, Salo is absolutely charming but doesn’t get nearly the amount of tourist attention that it deserves.

Salo is a bigger town on the lake, meaning that there are more options for things like restaurants and supermarkets. There is also a bit more going on than if you were to stay in one of the smaller towns on the lake.

Because it isn’t necessarily a tourist centre, however, everything will be a lot more locally focused so you’re likely to have a more peaceful experience if you were to base yourself here when compared to somewhere like Sirmione.

This lovely town boasts a wide, sprawling promenade lined with plenty of cafes and bars, a number of beautiful, winding side streets and beautiful piazzas to enjoy. You can also enjoy countless lake views without the tourist crowds when staying here.

Where to Stay in Salo

Hotel Locanda del Benac – Located in the heart of Salo, this hotel is a fantastic option for couples with plenty of double rooms on offer, some of which include a view of the lovely Lake Garda or a balcony. Breakfast is included in the nightly rate.

Hotel Bellerive – A 4-star hotel located just a couple minutes’ walk from the beach, they off both standard rooms and suites with guests having access to a swimming pool and a highly-rated restaurant on-site with breakfast served daily.

La Casa Di Angelina – A comfortable two-bedroom apartment, located a short walk from the beach. It is furnished with modern furniture and appliances making it the perfect choice for those looking for a private rental.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Salo!

Salo on Lake Garda
Salo on Lake Garda

Limone Sul Garda – Best Place for Couples

Heading north on the western side of the lake, you will eventually hit the town of Limone Sul Garda. This town is a tourist favourite (for good reason — it’s absolutely charming) but it is still quite small and can be very romantic. In fact, Limone can be the best place to stay on Lake Garda for couples.

If the name didn’t reveal itself, the main draw of Limone is its lemons. The long-form of the towns name translated to “Lemon on Garda” and lemons are prevalent everywhere you look here.

The street signs are donned with lemons, lemon trees wind out of every courtyard, you can purchase lemon souvenirs such as limoncello and lemon-printed ceramics and linens and there is even a lemon museum to visit.

There is also a wonderful lakeshore to wander along providing excellent views over some of the most beautiful parts of the lake.

Limone is also situated in an area that’s within easy reach some of the top sites and places to visit on Lake Garda, making it one of the best towns to stay in on the lake.

Where to Stay in Limone Sul Garda

Albergo Ristorante Montebaldo – Offering guests the option of a lake view or mountain view, this mid-range hotel offers double rooms with a restaurant on-site and breakfast included in the nightly rate.

Hotel Caravel – A fantastic choice for those looking for a bit of luxury or simply a larger room to accommodate a family, this hotel has a swimming pool, fitness centre, bar and restaurant on-site as well a shared lounge and garden area for guests to enjoy.

Casa L’Andrunèl  – This bed and breakfast situated in a historic building in Limone Sul Garda offers both standard rooms and apartments for guests looking to cook some of their own meals. There is also a restaurant at the hotel.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Limone Sul Garda!

Street sign in Limone Sul Garda
Street sign in Limone Sul Garda

Riva del Garda – Best Place for Panoramic Lake Views

Located on the north shore of the lake in the Trentino region, Riva del Garda is the unofficial capital of the lake and is an excellent choice for those looking for a large town with lots of options.

Riva del Garda is also more catered toward tourists than somewhere like Salo, yet it is large enough to be able to avoid huge crowds and hordes or day-trippers, unlike Sirmione.

Riva del Garda also offers quite a lot to do. Like many lakeside towns, there is a broad promenade that you can stroll along and enjoy the views.

There is a grand piazza to enjoy and churches and museums to visit. There is also a funicular that you can ride in order to get fantastic views of Lake Garda and the over the city below.

So if you’re on the hunt for the best town to stay in Lake Garda, Riva del Garda may well be a strong contender.

Where to Stay in Riva del Garda

Hotel Vittoria – Located in the historic centre and within walking distance of a couple of beaches, this mid-range hotel offers a range of different rooms suitable for solo travellers, couples and families with breakfast included in the daily rate.

Grand Hotel Liberty – A charming 4-star hotel perfect for those looking for a bit of luxury during their time on Lake Garda. They offer a huge range of rooms with guests having access to a spa, sauna and a range of wellness services. Breakfast is included daily.

GardaBreak Holiday Apartments – Located a short walk from the centre of town, these apartments are an excellent option for those looking for self-catering accommodation. Breakfast is included and there is a shared lounge and garden that guests can enjoy.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Riva Del Garda!

Riva del Garda
Riva del Garda

Malcesine – Best Place for Active Travellers

Heading to the eastern shore of the lake in the Veneto region, you will reach one of the most popular towns to visit on Lake Garda – Malcesine. This town is popular for a reason, it’s very beautiful and also has lots to do.

Though it doesn’t boast the lakeside promenade that lines so many of Lake Garda’s towns, Malcesine does have an imposing castle to tour and a labyrinth of winding, cobbled streets to wander along.

And if you’re looking for some excellent views of Lake Garda and the town below, there is also a cable car to ride up a nearby hill.

Malcesine also has a number of great restaurants to enjoy and there are lots of activities that are within easy reach of the town, making it arguably the best area to stay in Lake Garda.

Where to Stay in Malcesine

Ambienthotel PrimaLuna – Located right next to a lovely beach, this mid-range hotel is the perfect base for a relaxing stay while also being able to explore Malcesine. They offer a range of rooms suitable for couples and families with breakfast included in the daily rate.

Hotel Castello – A luxurious hotel that offers guests access to their own private beach, they offer beautiful rooms overlooking Lake Garda. Guests also have access to a private terrace and garden with breakfast served daily.

Blue Sky Garda – A great option for travellers who want self-catering accommodation in Malcesine, this large two-bedroom apartment is perfect for families and is only a short walk from the beach and the town’s attractions.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Malcesine!

Castello Scaligero di Malcesine.
Castello Scaligero di Malcesine.

Desenzano del Garda – Best Place for Families

If you’re looking for a convenient (though beautiful) place to stay, then consider basing yourself in Desenzano del Garda.

Located on the south coast of the lake in the Lombardy region, Desenzano is located only about ten kilometres west of Sirmione and can be a good option for families who are looking to be close to that beautiful town but want to avoid all of the crowds.

Like other towns on the Garda lakeshore, Desenzano boasts a wonderful promenade, lots of cafes and restaurants and is also surrounded by beautiful countryside dotted with vineyards and olive groves.

There are lots of options here and it is easily reached from places like Milan, Bergamo, Venice and Verona, making it a very convenient base for exploring not only Lake Garda, but much of the Lombardy and Veneto regions.

Where to Stay in Desenzano del Garda

Hotel Piroscafo – A family-run hotel located in the centre of the town and within walking distance of the nearest beach. They offer rooms that can accommodate singles, couples and families with breakfast included.

Villa Rosa Hotel Desenzano – One of the best options for people looking for a luxury stay in Desenzano del Garda. They are located right on the lake and offer guests access to a swimming pool, gym and restaurant on site. Breakfast is included daily.

Casa Tunina – They offer a range of apartments in the centre of town that can accommodate larger groups looking to cook some of their own meals.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Desenzano Del Garda!

Desenzano del Garda
Desenzano del Garda

Gargnano – Best Place for a Quiet Escape

Located on Garda’s western shores in between the towns of Salo and Limone Sul Garda lies Gargnano, one of the best towns to stay in Lake Garda if you’re looking for something a bit off the regular tourist’s radar, but still bursting with charm and beauty.

Gargnano is a bit sleepy, but that only adds to its appeal. Roughly the same size as nearby Limone, Gargnano doesn’t draw visitors quite like that town and it is really a shame. Minus the lemons, Gargnano offers much of the same vibes!

There is a lovely lakeside promenade, a few great restaurants and cafes, a charming historic centre and wonderful lake views. The town is also surrounded by beautiful hills that you can drive up and get fantastic views of the lake and town below.

So if you’re looking to get a bit off the beaten path on Lake Garda, then basing yourself in Gargnano is an excellent option.

Where to Stay in Gargnano

Hotel Meandro – Located a short walk from the lake and a nearby beach, this mid-range hotel offers a range of rooms some of which come with a lake view. There is an indoor pool and sauce and breakfast is served daily.

Lefay Resort & Spa – One of the best options in Lake Garda for those looking for a luxury stay. They offer a range of rooms and suites with a wellness centre on-site with indoor and outdoor pools and a shuttle to the town.

La Casa di Anna – A comfortable one-bedroom apartment in the heart of Gargnano that can accommodate up to 4 people as it has a pull-out sofa bed.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Gargnano!

Gargnano
Gargnano

Bardolino – Best Place for Wine Lovers

If you’re a wine lover, then you may find the best town in Lake Garda to stay in is Bardolino.

Located on the southeast shores of the lake in the lovely Veneto region, Bardolino is known for its olive oil and wine production. Boasting a charming town centre with plenty of places to wander and explore, this is also a fantastic place to sample local produce while experiencing a bit of peace and quiet on Lake Garda.

Here, you can sample the local Bardolino red wine, a PDO wine of the region. You can also try the delightful olive oil grown and produced here and even visit the nearby olive oil museum if you want a break from lakeside activities.

If you’re travelling with children, then consider heading to the Gardaland amusement park, which is within easy reach of Bardolino as well.

Where to Stay in Bardolino

Hotel Paradiso – A mid-range hotel in Bardolino that offers a range of double rooms close to the shore overlooking the lake. Breakfast is included daily and there is a bar on-site.

Hotel San Pietro – An elegant hotel that is perfect for those looking for a bit of luxury. They have several different rooms some of which include a balcony and guests have access to a pool and spa. Breakfast is included daily.

Blue Lake Residence  – An excellent self-catering option in Bardolino, they offer a few different types of apartments that are suitable for larger groups. The apartments are well-located and only a short walk from the beach.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Bardolino!

Promenade in Bardolino
Promenade in Bardolino

There are so many beautiful towns to visit around Lake Garda that making a choice can be incredibly difficult. But by knowing what each major town has to offer and figuring out what kind of trip you’re after, you’re sure to be able to make the right decision for your travel style.

Are you wondering where to stay on the shore of Lake Garda? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!

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Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

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