Lake Garda, Italy

Once an Austrian territory, and marking the start of the Alps, the northern reaches of Lake Garda sports a hint of chalet chic; further south, the Mediterranean microclimate imposes a nonchalant Riviera feel along serpentine roads suspended from the rock face. To vroom along here is to follow in the tyre treads of James Bond; and the super-star villas perched above the lake have the sort of luxury trappings that would impress a retired jewel thief. Spend your days idling on the water, touring the vineyards or mooching in markets – Lake Garda's amazing natural splendour has earned it admirers from Catallus to Clooney, and it'll bowl you over, too.

Recommended offers

See our boutique hotel deals

Areas in Lake Garda

When to go

Many hotels will be closed over winter, reopening in time for Easter in late March or early April. Spring and Autumn are fantastic, especially if you're lounging on a sun-warmed terrace on a bright clear day. Cool mountain air makes summer pleasant on northern shores, but temperatures can soar in the south. July and August bring busy roads and packed restaurants.

  • Best price guaranteed

    Found your stay cheaper? We’ll match the price and give you a $75 voucher

  • Smith Extra on arrival

    Enjoy extras such as a picnic lunch, champagne or spa treatments, on the house

From the blog

Tales from our travels

Getting there

  • Planes

    For southern or eastern Lake stays, Verona is the closest airport, but there are more international flights to Milan's Malpensa and Linate airports (both about 90 minutes from Salò on the western shore). Bergamo is another good option, about 65km west of Lake Garda.
  • Boats

    Car ferries cross Lake Garda between Desenzano and Riva del Garda several times a day, stopping at various ports en route (including Sirmione, Salò, Gargnano, Malcesine and Limone); pedestrian boats and catamarans are more frequent. See www.navigazionelaghi.it for timetables and fares.
  • Trains

    Lake Garda's Desenzano del Garda station has regular rail connections to Venice, Milan, Verona, Brescia and other Italian cities (www.trenitalia.com). SIA buses (840 620 001) can connect you to towns such as Salò, where there's a bus stop just a few hundred metres from Villa Arcadio.
  • Automobiles

    A car is a must if you want to explore, but if you're not planning to travel much further than the perimeter of the hotel pool, you can manage without. From Milan, Lake Garda is easily reached via the A4 motorway to Venice; exit east at Brescia and take the Salò road. Brescia and Verona are both around half an hour's drive from the lake's southern tip.
  • Taxis

    Most major town centres will have taxi ranks, but metered cabs can still be hard to come by. If you're on a tight schedule, ask your hotel to arrange transport.