Located in northern Italy, Lake Garda is one of the most charming destinations in the country, with its picturesque towns facing the water, olive groves and tourist attractions for any taste!
Covering three Italian regions (Veneto, Lombardy, and Trentino-Alto Adige), it is also the biggest lake in Italy, so it can be really hard to choose which will be the best holiday base where to stay in Lake Garda for your travel needs!
And that’s where I come! Since I’ve spent almost every summer of my life there, I decided to help you with your decision by creating this guide to the best towns where to stay in Lake Garda, including hotel options for different budgets.
Riva del Garda is the best place to stay in Lake Garda for first-timers, but Desenzano del Garda is better to enjoy the nightlife, Limone Sul Garda for laid-back vibes, Malcesine for couples, Sirmione for history buffs, Peschiera del Garda for families, and Bardolino is the coolest town in the area.
But just a reminder, if you want to stay in any of the hotels mentioned in the blog, make sure you book them some months in advance, especially if you’re going to Lake Garda during summertime when it gets super crowded.
Basically, Lake Garda makes an excellent base for any kind of traveler… so start reading now to see which town is best for you!
Let’s jump right in!
If you are in a hurry
If you just want to quickly book accommodation, here are the top hotels where to stay in Lake Garda, in the town of Riva del Garda:
L’Ora del Relax
An Airbnb with amazing reviews
Best affordable accommodation in the center
Check out this map to see where all of Lake Garda’s towns are located:
1. Riva del Garda – where to stay in Lake Garda for the first time
Located on the north shore of Lake Garda (in the Trentino Region), Riva del Garda town offers something literally for everyone: tourist attractions, a chill atmosphere, historic sights, and outdoor activities, etc. Making it the best place where to stay in Lake Garda for first-timers.
Sitting right between the mountains and the water, Riva del Garda is the perfect place to chill in one of the charming restaurants/cafes on the shore of Lake Garda while you’re sipping your coffee or aperitif!
And when you are not enjoying the panoramic lake views, you can walk around its historic town center, particularly charming for its medieval old streets, visit the ancient churches and museums, or join some outdoor activities in the surroundings, like mountain biking.
From Riva, you will also have access to one of the best things to do in Lake Garda: the Rocca del Riva Castle. Hosting a Museum with art exhibitions, photographs, archaeology, and much more, this is a real must if you are in the area!
If you like the idea of staying here, check out the following hotels in Riva del Garda, and don’t forget to book them far in advance if you want to secure yourself a spot.
If you want to spoil yourself during your holiday in Lake Garda, this Riva del Garda luxury hotel, set in a Belle Epoque building, is for you! Here you can enjoy full relaxation at the huge wellness and spa center with indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, hot tub and Turkish bath, and have delicious food at the on-site restaurant serving traditional Italian cuisine. The hotel rooms are also great, all coming with high class design, free WiFi, and a private bathroom… Check them out!
Other accommodation options in Riva del Garda
This luxury resort in Riva del Garda offers spacious rooms with access to an outdoor swimming pool and a sun terrace
If you want to stay in Lake Garda at affordable prices, check out this hotel with access to a private garden and free parking
Check out this cozy apartment in the Riva historic centre, just a short walk from all the best restaurants and shops in the city!
Things to do in Riva del Garda
- Visit the Rocca del Riva Castle & Museo Civico
- Check out the exhibits at the Museo Alto Garda
- Climb to the top of Torre Apponale and enjoy the views of Lake Garda
- Gaze at the San Marco City Gate
- Just spend a relaxing beach day at Sabbioni Beach
- Eat a pizza with panoramic lake views from Bellavista Ristorante Pizzeria
- Go mountain biking in the Ponte Romano – Lago di Cavedine Loop trail
2. Desenzano del Garda – best town for nightlife
Desenzano del Garda is a resort town located on the southern shore of Lake Garda, close to many Italian cities like Bergamo, Venice, and Verona, the reason why it offers many accommodation options as well as a vibrant nightlife!
In fact, here there are bars and discos for any taste and music genre like the Coco Beach Club to enjoy happy hours with music right on the lakeshore, the exclusive Sesto Senso Club or the Biblo Club if you want to dance to Latin rhythms.
But this small lively town offers much more than cool clubs, from a historical center to a wonderful promenade with many cafes and restaurants (like basically all the other Lake Garda’s towns), and countryside with vineyards and olive groves right in the surroundings!
But one thing you cannot miss if you stay in Desenzano is visiting the famous Roman Villa, a short walk from the old town, offering ancient ruins, colorful mosaic floors and breathtaking lake views from its rooms.
So basically, Desenzano is the perfect place in Lake Garda to enjoy culture during the day and some crazy fun at night!
This is definitely one of the best luxury hotels in Lake Garda, located at a short walk from Desenzano Castle and offering all the comforts you might need from your holiday! In fact, in this elegant hotel you will sleep in stunning rooms with private balconies and access to room and concierge service. And to start your day in the best way, you will have a delicious buffet or continental breakfast served at the property daily!
Other options in Desenzano del Garda
This Lake Garda hotel has amazing rooms with private balcony, and access to free private parking and free wifi
If you are looking for a cheap hotel to stay in Lake Garda, you’ll love this one, offering an on site restaurant and bar
Things to do in Desenzano del Garda
3. Limone Sul Garda – the most laid-back town on Lake Garda
If you are looking for a very quiet town that gives you access to many activities at the same time, Limone Sul Garda is for you. It’s located on the northern-west shore of Lake Garda, in the Lombardy Region.
“Limone” literally means lemon due to the countless lemon trees surrounding the town, growing thanks to the mild climate of the area… so I definitely suggest you check out one of the beautiful lemon groves in the area.
As I said, there are countless things you can do in Limone. If you’re an active kind of person, you need to take a panoramic ride (or walk) on Limone’s scenic new cycle path right on the Garda Lake shore.
If you love history and culture, a must-do in Limone is visiting the eccentric Vittoriale, the former home to the Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio. You will rarely see a house like this in your life, featuring crazy decorations and unique rooms, a good attraction even for families!
And the good thing is that after joining all these activities, you can always go back to the laid-back old town and just enjoy its dining and shopping options!
This Limone Sul Garda luxury hotel will just blow your mind, offering a very exclusive service for your holiday in Lake Garda! This stunning property has many amenities for a relaxing holiday, such as an outdoor swimming pool, a hot tub, a sauna, and on-site wellness center with Turkish bath and sensory showers: perfect to just disconnect from the world! And that’s not all, here you will sleep in elegant rooms with a private balcony, overlooking either the garden or the swimming pool area, and some of them even offer lake views!
Other accommodation options in Limone Sul Garda
This amazing hotel offers modern rooms, an outdoor pool, and large gardens for you to enjoy, check it out!
This is one of the best hotels in Limone Sul Garda if you want to stay on a budget, with a panoramic terrace and free parking
Check out this great apartment, located in a quiet area within walking distance of Limone historic center
Things to do in Limone Sul Garda
4. Malcesine – where to stay in Lake Garda for couples
One of the most charming towns of all Lake Garda, and personally my favorite, is Malcesine, located on the northern shores of the Lake, in the Veneto region (about 1.5 hrs from my hometown Verona!).
This little town has a beautiful historic center that will make you travel immediately back in time, many typical restaurants, and a lot of panoramic spots, which makes it the perfect setting for a romantic getaway with your couple!
Talking about sightseeing, in Malcesine, you can have amazing views of both the mountains and the Lake from its Scaliger Castle, the most popular attraction in the city, featuring striking architecture and a Natural History Museum.
But the main reason the castle is famous among locals is its high cliff jumps straight into the lake, the highest point is 24 meters… Do you dare?
Another must in Malcesine is definitely the Monte Baldo cable car, which will take you to a 1,800 meters (5,905 feet) high viewpoint in just a few minutes. This is THE place to enjoy the panorama and take some pictures!
Are you already thrilled by everything Malcesine has to offer? Then check out the following hotel options:
Are you ready to have the ultimate luxury vacation in Lake Garda? Then check out this incredible hotel with an infinity rooftop pool overlooking Lake Garda! The hotel offers access to picturesque gardens where you can enjoy some quiet time, an on-site restaurant for intimate dinners and wellness facilities including a Turkish bath, sauna and aromatic showers. And wait until you see the rooms, all with panoramic water views for a romantic getaway with your special one!
Other accommodation options in Malcesine
This adult-only, intimate hotel offers breathtaking views of Lake Garda and an outdoor pool for full relaxation!
Check out this hotel in Lake Garda, offering access to a swimming pool and a garden for very cheap prices!
Feel at home in this stunning apartment in Malcesine, fully equipped with access to a gorgeous private beach
Things to do in Malcesine
- Visit the 13th-century old Scaliger Castle and Museum
- Jump straight into the lake from the highest point of the castle… if you dare!
- Take the Monte Baldo Cable Car and enjoy stunning lake views
- Check out the ancient Palazzo dei Capitani
- Have a romantic dinner at the intimate Restaurant Vecchia Malcesine
5. Sirmione – where to stay in Lake Garda for history buffs
Sirmione, located on the southern shore of Lake Garda (on the Lombardy side), is one of the most popular towns on the lake, and there are many reasons why!
First of all, Simione has a very strategic position right in the middle of Milan, Verona, and Venice, and it also offers beautiful beaches and countless historical and cultural attractions. Some examples?
On the Lake Garda shores, you’ll find the medieval Scaliger Castle, dating back from the 13th century, or you can also explore The Archaeological Site of Grotte di Catullo, featuring a Roman villa and a museum… History buffs have just found their paradise!
But Sirmione’s historic center itself is worth a visit, where you can stroll around its charming small streets, buy some souvenirs at its small stores and eat delicious Italian specialties at the restaurants, cafes, and gelato places.
Other things you can do in Sirmione are enjoying some sun and crystal clear waters at the secluded Jamaica Beach or join the many boat tours and cruises to other lakeside towns… you basically have no excuses to get bored here!
If you want to stay right by Lake Garda’s shore and only a few minutes from Sirmione old town, this amazing property is for you! Apart from a convenient location, this luxury hotel offers access to beautiful gardens, a swimming pool, a tennis court and even a private pier… you’ll feel like a king here! Another plus? You can enjoy free use of parasols and sun loungers at the private beach… What else could you ask for?
Other accommodation options in Sirmione
I am sure you will fall in love with this hotel, offering free parking and access to its own private beach!
Do you want to stay on a budget in Sirmione? Then check out this affordable hotel with family rooms
This loft has the best position in the whole city, right in front of the Castle, with a magical view of the Castle and Lake!
Things to do in Sirmione
- Join this walking tour with a mini-cruise in Sirmione
- Visit the 13th-century old Scaliger Castle
- Explore The Archaeological Site of Grotte di Catullo
- Dine on delicious fresh fish at Trattoria La Fiasca
- Spend a leisure beach day at the beautiful Jamaica Beach
- Savor the scenery of Lake Garda on this 4-hour afternoon boat tour!
- Step aboard a speedboat and cruise to Bardolino and the Lake Garda Castles
6. Peschiera del Garda – best town on Lake Garda for families
If you are going on a vacation to Lake Garda with your family, I have the best option for you: Peschiera del Garda, located in the Veneto region in the southern part of the lake.
In fact, this magical city is located just a few minutes’ drive from Italy’s most famous theme park, Gardaland, as well as other exciting parks to have some family fun, like Movieland and the waterpark Caneva world!
But apart from great adventures, Peschiera del Garda has a charming old town with many pizza places and delicious seafood restaurants, surrounded by the huge walls of the Fortress (a UNESCO Heritage Site), from where you can reach the rest of the city by a pedestrian bridge.
And if this is not enough for you, the city also offers access to beautiful beaches, like Braccobaldo Beach, and historical attractions, like the Porta Verona, and Madonna del Frassino Sanctuary.
NOTE: if you don’t have a car, Peschiera is the main transport hub in the area, hosting a railway station and motorway, perfect if you want to travel from and to other towns in Lake Garda!
If you want to have a tranquil and exclusive holiday, check out this adults-only accommodation in Peschiera del Garda! Here you will start your days with a delicious Italian breakfast and spend it relaxing at the property’s swimming pools or rooftop terrace. The location is also perfect, just a minute from the shore of the lake and some fantastic places to eat and drink… What else do you need?
Other accommodation options in Peschiera del Garda
This hotel is perfect for families traveling with their four-legged friend, also offering free parking and wifi
Are you traveling to Lake Garda on a budget? Then check out this hotel offering great rooms with lake views
Feel like at home in this cozy apartment within walking distance from both the beach and Peschiera city center!
Things to do in Peschiera del Garda
- See some cool 3D movies at Movieland!
- Have the best pasta at the traditional Pasta Salame
- Get some adrenaline with the family at Gardaland
- Gaze at the historical Porta Verona, the main entrance of Peschiera town
- Relax and soak up some sun at Braccobaldo Beach
- Check out the Madonna del Frassino Sanctuary
- Stroll the pedestrian bridge of Sirmione Fortress
7. Bardolino – the coolest place to stay in Lake Garda
Nestled on the eastern shore of the lake, in the Veneto region, through the years Bardolino has become one of the most important touristic destinations on Lake Garda during summer, especially for people from Verona, my hometown!
This historic town has the perfect combination of old and new, hosting ancient buildings and cool bars and restaurants at the same time (that get super lively at night), which makes a very cool contrast!
Shopping addicts will also be happy here because in this picturesque village, you’ll find countless options to empty your pockets, from souvenir shops to boutique stores and high-end fashion places!
But one of the main reasons Bardolino is famous for, is its amazing red wine, Bardolino (or the Rosé Chiaretto), a PDO regional wine produced in the surrounding vineyards, so you cannot leave town without trying a glass of it, in one of the many wine bars of the town center!
P.S.: If you’re going to Lake Garda during late September/early October, Bardolino hosts the yearly ‘Festa dell’Uva’, a harvest festival dedicated to the rosé wine ‘Palio del Chiaretto’.
This a great opportunity to experience a real local event and enjoy wine stands by the lake, live music, street food, and fireworks… You will love it!
This is definitely the best luxury hotel in Bardolino, located only a few steps from the shores of Lake Garda! Here you will sleep in deluxe romantic rooms and have the best lake views from your private terrace, and have an incredible breakfast served every day at the property. The nearest beach, apart from the property’s private beach, is Lido Mirabello Beach, don’t forget to check it out!
Other accommodation options in Bardolino
Parc Hotel Germano Suites offers amazing amenities like a wellness center and both indoor and outdoor pools!
Save some money and stay at this budget hotel in Bardolino, offering rooms with balconies and air conditioning
Check out this bright and fully equipped apartment located a few steps from Bardolino historical center!
Things to do in Bardolino
FAQs about hotels on Lake Garda
👑 Which are the best places to stay in Lake Garda?
The best places to stay in Lake Garda are Riva del Garda if you are a first-timer, at the luxury Lido Palace, Malcesine for couples, at the adults-only Bellevue San Lorenzo, or Peschiera del Garda for families, at Hotel Garden.
📍 Which is the best part to stay in Lake Garda?
The best part to stay in Lake Garda is the north, especially in Riva del Garda, where you’ll be surrounded by high mountains and have access to the most impressive part of the lake.
🚌 Where can I stay in Lake Garda without a car?
You should stay in Peschiera, located in the Veneto region on the southern part of Lake Garda, is the main transport hub in the area, hosting a railway station and motorway, perfect if you want to travel from and to other towns in Lake Garda!
📅 What is the best month to stay in Lake Garda?
The best months to visit Lake Garda are from May to September, when the weather is warm enough to swim, and the towns get more lively than in winter.
Here we are at the end of this extensive guide with all the best charming towns where to stay in Lake Garda!
We saw cities for any kind of traveler and, for each one, I included accommodation options for different budgets, so there’s something for anyone here!
If you are still undecided about which is the best hotel for you, check out my 2 favorite options, located in Riva del Garda, the best place for first-timers:
- Lido Palace – This luxury hotel, set in a Belle Epoque building, hosts a huge wellness and spa center with indoor and outdoor pools, and an on site restaurant
- Du Parc Grand Resort – This amazing hotel in Riva del Garda offers spacious rooms with access to an outdoor swimming pool, and a sun terrace
Do you like something? Then book your nights immediately, so you don’t risk losing your spot, especially if you are going during summertime!
Have you ever visited Lake Garda? If so, and you have other suggestions for me, please let me know in the comments below, and don’t be afraid to share your doubts or questions, I am looking forward to answering you!
Enjoy Lake Garda!
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