5 day Lake Garda itinerary based in Peschiera Del Garda

5 day Lake Garda itinerary based in Peschiera Del Garda

When flipping through a photo album old travel photos, I came across my holiday to Lake Garda. I still have very fond memories of this place, and I think it’s often overlooked by international travellers (whereas it’s very popular among Dutch and German people). Therefore, I will share with you our 5 day Lake Garda itinerary today.

We were based in Peschiera Del Garda during our stay. Since this itinerary includes a day trip to Verona, you could also use this post as an example of a 4 day itinerary. We visited Lake Garda in the beginning of May. In the summer, the weather might be sunnier, but it will also be hotter and more crowded with tourists. Because I wanted to give you a good impression of Lake Garda, this post is somewhat picture-heavy, but well.. everybody loves pictures of lovely Italian towns, right?

Lake Garda is beautiful at any time of day, regardless of the weather

The perfect 5 day Lake Garda itinerary

Day 1: Peschiera Del Garda and getting to know Lake Garda

We took it easy on our first day and didn’t use our car. On the first day of a trip to Lake Garda, however, one thing is absolutely necessary to explore: the lake itself. Wherever you’re based, make sure to walk beside the lake. Lake Garda is one of the larger lakes in Italy. The land is not flat, but mostly surrounded by hills (which I, as someone from the (very flat) Netherlands, like very much). In Peschiera del Garda the hills are not as high as in Malcesine, but views of the lake are lovely nonetheless.

Peschiera del Garda

On our first day, we also explored Peschiera del Garda, located at the southern tip of Lake Garda. The town is very picturesque (although, sadly, it was rainy when we visited). Make sure to visit the Porta Verona, and the roman ruins of the town. It has many restaurants and hotels to offer and is the perfect base for exploring Lake Garda.

Day 2: Lake Garda East Bank

On day two we continued our Lake Garda itinerary. We had planned to see a large chunk of the east bank. The first town we encountered was Lazise. Although little less well preserved than in Sirmione, Lazise also has a Castello Scaligero. Surrounding Lake Garda, you can find several ‘Castello Scaligero’, all built or owned by the family Scaliger in medieval times.

Lazise

We also visited the Chiesa di San Nicolò, a beautiful church from the 11th century. Inside, you can view the remnants of frescoes from the 14th century. The town is very small, so you don’t need long to get a feel of this lovely village before you head to the next village on the east bank.

Lazise

Our next two stops were Bardolino and Garda. Garda is great if you’re looking for souvenirs, but way more touristy than Lazise. However, there are many restaurants, so it’s the perfect place for lunch.

Malcesine

The farthest north of the east bank we drove was Malcesine. In my opinion, the most gorgeous and mysterious views of Lake Garda can be found in this town. The perfect place to take your instagram picture is from one of the towers of the Castello Scaligero. If I could pick one town of Lake Garda I could return to, it would be Malcesine.

Day 3: Sirmione

We spent day 3 of our Lake Garda itinerary once more on the south bank of Lake Garda, namely in Sirmione, on the Sirmio peninsula. Its Castello Scaligero is the best preserved of the lake. It was used by the fleet of the Scaliger family. The building of the castle started in 1277 by Mastino della Scala. It was placed at a very strategic place at the entrance to the peninsula.

Castello Scaligero in Sirmione

However, the castle is not the only reason to visit Sirmione. Sirmione has much more to offer. It has narrow streets and old churches. Moreover, I had some great Italian ice cream in one of the streets close to the castle.

Sirmione on the Sirmio peninsula

When you’ve explored the lovely town and had lunch, it’s time to go to the other major attraction of Sirmione: the Grottoes of Catullus. As a student of Classics, I obviously had to visit these ruins. You can still discover the remains of this enormous Roman villa, which was built at the end of the 1st century BC and the beginning of the 1st century AD. The Latin poet Catullus (born in Verona) had a villa in this area, so people have suggested this was Catullus’ villa. Although it has not been possible to locate his house, the name of the villa as the Grottoes of Catullus has remained. The ruins are perhaps not the best preserved ones in Italy, but the villa is very large and offers some great views of Lake Garda. The museum has some very fine objects as well.

Grottoes of Catullus

Day 4: a day trip to Verona

On day 4 we decided to visit Verona, which is only 30 kilometers from Peschiera del Garda. I might do a full blog post about Verona in the future, so I’ll keep it short. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that I loved this city. You have lovely streets everywhere and lots of impressive churches.

Verona

Verona is most famous for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Julliet, and of course we visited the Casa di Giulietta (not that the balcony of the house is the real balcony of the tragedy, but still it’s nice to have been there). Other highlights include the Piazza dei Signori, Castelvecchio and the Roman arena. One day is actually too short to explore everything Verona has to offer, so I’ll certainly go back!

Piazza dei Signori in Verona

Day 5: Lake Garda West Bank

The west bank of Lake Garda was still remaining for the last day of our Lake Garda itinerary. Our first stop was in Desenzano del Garda, still on the south bank of the lake. If you liked the Roman villa of Sirmione, make sure to visit the Roman Villa of Desenzano and the archaeological museum as well. The Via Porto Vecchio with its small harbour and characteristic Italian houses is another part of Desenzano del Gardo you shouldn’t miss.

Desenzano del Garda

Our next (and last) stop was Salò on the east bank of the Lake. We took a stroll on the promenade, which is the largest of Lake Garda. The city was the seat of government of the Italian Social Republic from 1943 to 1945.

Salò

Highlights of Salò include the 15th century Church of Santa Maria Annunziata and the Palazzo della Magnifica Patria, now home to a historical museum. With good weather, it’s possible to see the Alps from Salò.

Salò

Since we were based in Peschiera del Garda, we didn’t have the opportunity to visit the most northern part of the lake. Let me know if you’ve included this part of the lake in your Lake Garda itinerary and leave your recommendations in the comments below!

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18 Replies to “5 day Lake Garda itinerary based in Peschiera Del Garda”

  1. I love this! I really want to go to Lake Garda but have always thought of adding it into another trip – like going to Milan and just visiting Lake Garda for a day or two. But this definitely had me wanting to make a whole trip out of Lake Garda itself 😊

  2. This looks such a sweet place, I had only ever heard about Lake Como, so this is another place I would love to visit. I love a picture heavy post especially of italy so no worries here! thank you

  3. I don’t think I’ve seen many photos of Lake Garda before, but seeing your itinerary really inspires me to look in it more. It looks rather quiet to visit but I’m sure it has its popular summer moments. I have a friend who just got back from Verona and she loved it there, so great to see it can be done in a day trip too!

  4. The photos are mesmerizing! Malcesine looks picturesque. I have never heard of the Grottoes of Catullus but I’d love to explore them sometime.

  5. I really enjoyed reading this. I have visited Italy a couple of times and it is such a beautiful country. Your photographs of Verona brought back some wonderful memories for me. I have never been to Peschiera del Garda, but would love to visit next time I go to Italy.

  6. Haven’t heard much about this place before and it sure looks beautiful with its red rooftops. Thanks for giving out so many information about Lake Garda and things to do there

  7. I haven’t been to Lake Garda but it sounds like an awesome place to visit. I didn’t know that there could be so many charming places to visit around it. I love visiting ruins too and the Grottoes of Catullus does look very interesting indeed.

  8. We considered Lake Garda for our wedding next year, it is such a stunning place and the lake is so clean. We’ve decided to get married in Cinque Terre, but will always recommend Lake Garda to friends and family. 5 days is a perfect amount of time to spend there, we’ve only managed 3 nights.

  9. Lake Garda looks like such a lovely place to visit! I’d love to get back to Italy soon. There’s so many places to visit there and I absolutely love the food. And taking a day trip to Verona sounds amazing!

  10. You’re totally right that Lake Garda is overlooked by international travellers! I think Como sort of overshadows it slightly, and more people tend to go there. One of my best friends got engaged at Lake Garda 2 years ago and I’ve wanted to visit ever since – she made it sound so romantic! I also studied in Italy for 6 months and part of our Italian Culture module involved studying a lot of grottoes, so I’d be keen to see the Grottoes of Cattalus!

  11. Oh my goodness, Lake Garda looks so beautiful! Especially near Malcesine! I’m so glad I found this post, I had never heard of this before, but now it’s definitely on my must-see list!

  12. This all looks so lovely! This is one of the reasons I love #BogPostSaturday so I can learn about stunning places like this!! <3

    I especially love the views in the towns and Castello Scaligero looks soooo cool!

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