A Taste of Lake Garda

The tranquil western shores
 
Nestled on Lake Garda’s tranquil, western shores, the delightful small town of Gargnano makes a perfect base for a laid-back, centre-based walking break. Here, by the water, you’ll find the excellent, family-run Hotel Gardenia, away from the bustle but with easy access to numerous places of interest and scenic walks.
A Taste of Lake Garda. 3 nights
A Taste of Lake Garda. 3 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking break by Lake Garda

The small town of Gargnano on Lake Garda’s western shores was enchanting in the days of D.H. Lawrence – who was so enamoured that he stayed for several months in 1912-13 – and it remains so today, characterised by ancient lemon ‘houses’ where this precious citrus fruit was stored; graceful villas; elegant churches; and winding medieval alleys which lead down to a pretty harbour. D.H. Lawrence described it as being “as beautiful as paradise” and it certainly is one of the lake’s most idyllic destinations.

Despite feeling far removed from the busier shores, tranquil Gargnano makes an excellent base for exploring, with some picturesque walks nearby, and frequent ferries which make for easy and enjoyable island-hopping (included in your stay is a guest card entitling you to discounted local travel).
Each part of the lake is distinctive: the north, where you’ll find sophisticated Riva del Garda, resembles a fjord, while the south is mellow and Mediterranean, home to the verdant isle of Isola del Garda. If you can tear yourselves away from the calm of Gargnano and the characterful, waterfront Hotel Gardenia, you’ll be spoiled for choice as to how to fill your days...
 
Gallery

 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights. There’s no fixed itinerary, so take your pick of our suggested walking routes and sightseeing options as the mood takes you.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    The best time for flowers and butterflies is May and June.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 5 8 13 17 22 26 28 27 24 18 10 5
    mm 54 49 59 67 89 87 72 95 69 84 90 49
  • An introduction
    Lake Garda’s quiet western shores offer a good choice of relaxed walking routes. We provide notes for two trails close to Gargnano, as well as the classic Monte Baldo route on the opposite shore. We also suggest a couple of rewarding sightseeing tours, including to the celebrated towns of Riva del Garda and Sirmione. You should pay locally for all transport and visits, using your included guest card for discounts where applicable.
  • Choice of routes: 7km to 11.5km

    Gargnano town (grade 1): 9km, 3hrs; ascent/descent 200m
    The quiet charm of your unspoiled lakeside base convinced D.H. Lawrence to upgrade his day trip to a stay of seven months’ duration; you won’t need quite that long to tour the main sights, but there’s certainly more to Gargnano than first appears. Highlights of our route include visits to Limonaia La Malora – a centuries-old lemon ‘house’ which uses traditional cultivation methods and is the last of its kind in the area – and to Villa Bettoni, the imposing Neoclassical mansion noted for its monumental gardens and resemblance to Vienna’s vast Schönbrunn Palace. We also take in the former convent of St. Francis with its ancient carvings and Roman relics; pass the Palazzo Feltrinelli, used by Mussolini as his headquarters during the last two years of World War II; and explore Gargnano’s pretty marina with its impressive town hall and tight cluster of pastel-hued buildings, several of whose façades still hold the cannonballs fired during the Austrian bombardments of 1886.

    Toscana del Lago (grade 1): 10km, 3.5hrs; ascent/descent 280m
    Beginning from the door of your hotel, this easy-going route explores the gentle foothills to the south of Gargnano. After progressing through idyllic scenery to Cecina, a small medieval village of narrow, winding alleyways, you loop back to the lake via the tiny waterside hamlet of Bogliaco, known as the starting point of the Centomiglia – Italy’s longest-running sailing race, held every September.

    Toscolano Maderno & Gardone Riviera (grade 1-2): 11.5km, 4hrs; ascent/descent 500m
    Catch the local bus to nearby Toscolano to begin this route through the Valle delle Cartiere, for centuries the hub of Italy’s thriving paper industry but today a lush and peaceful valley dotted with ruined mills. Continue across the verdant slopes, walking between laurels, olives and holm oaks to reach Gardone, one of the most beautiful villages on the lake with its Art Nouveau architecture and abundant greenery. Once here, we highly recommend visiting Il Vittoriale, the sprawling and eccentric estate of poet Gabriele d’Annunzio, or the village’s superb botanical gardens. Return by boat to Gargnano.

    Malcesine & Monte Baldo (grade 1-2): 7km, 2.5hrs; ascent/descent 220m
    This is a classic Garda walking route which involves catching a ferry or hydrofoil across the lake to Malcesine, and then taking the revolving cable car to the summit of Monte Baldo (1,780 metres). Monte Baldo has earned the name ‘Garden of Europe’ and this is particularly apt in springtime, when the slopes are covered in peonies, anemones and lilies. From the top of the cable car station, a thrilling path leads through crags and above the treeline, affording a 360-degree panorama of the lake and surrounding peaks. Towards the end of the route, you strike out along a wide-open and grassy saddle to enjoy further and far-reaching views – including of the often snow-capped Alpine peaks – before catching the cable car back down to the lakeside.
    Gargnano town: 9km
    Quiet trails around Gargnano
    Toscana del Lago: 10km
    Toscolano Maderno and Gardone Riviera: 11.5km
    Magnificent views from Monte Baldo
    Malcesine and Monte Baldo: 7km
  • Riva del Garda, Sirmione & more

    Limone & Riva del Garda
    Once the border between Italy and Austria, the lake’s northern shores are dazzling and dramatic, with narrow, fjord-like waters edged by steep-sided cliffs. From Gargnano, regular boats and buses depart north for Limone, a pretty cobbled town surrounded by citrus groves. A walk along the ‘floating’ footpath here is a must – suspended above the lake, this offers exhilarating views – before you continue north to Riva del Garda, snug beneath its amphitheatre of mountains. Riva first blossomed as a resort during the days of Austrian rule (1813-1918) and it remains a prosperous and sophisticated town, with an elegant lakefront promenade and wide array of waterside cafés. Return to Gargnano by bus or boat.

    Isola del Garda
    To the south of Gargnano lies Salò, seat of Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic during the later years of World War II. Today, the town is better known for the beautiful island anchored just off its shore: Isola del Garda. This privately-owned paradise is the home of the Borghese Cavazza family, who welcome visitors to the island – but only in guided groups so it’s vital to plan ahead and secure your place (reservations can be made here). Once on the island, you will be led around the untamed and luxuriant parkland, through the English and Italian formal gardens and – fleetingly – inside the magnificent, Venetian-style villa itself.

    Salò
    Boasting one of the longest promenades on Lake Garda, Salò’s charms also make it a worthy sightseeing destination. Not only can you join the locals on their leisurely lakeside passeggiata, there’s also a patchwork of alleyways and small squares adorned with fine Venetian-style buildings to explore. Dip in and out of the many cafés, bars, and restaurants tempting you with local aperitivos and seafood dishes as you find the town’s historic hotspots – from its Roman origins, baroque palazzos, and 15th century cathedral to its past as Mussolini’s headquarters. Afterwards, you can take the scenic route back to Gargnano by boat.
     


    Sirmione & Desenzano
    We often hear how Gargnano delighted D.H. Lawrence, but almost 2,000 years earlier another writer was drawn to the southernmost end of the lake, where the spa town of Sirmione extends spectacularly into the waters on a narrow, two-mile-long promontory. Taking the hydrofoil from Gargnano, you will arrive in the town’s bustling harbour, guarded by the picture-book, 13th-century Scaligero Castle. From here, follow the mazy medieval streets north to the quiet of the headland, where, amid a grassy olive grove, lies the most important Roman site in northern Italy: a grand, ruined villa believed to have belonged to the lyric poet Catullus. After taking the time to look around, we recommend continuing by boat to neighbouring Desenzano, which, despite being one of the largest of the lake towns, still retains plenty of historic charm and offers a good choice of restaurants. Enjoy a late lunch by the waterside before leaving the popular southern shores behind to return by bus to tranquil Gargnano.
    Salò
    Sirmione © Brescia Tourism
 

Accommodation

Stay by the water’s edge in charming Gargnano and enjoy the best of both worlds – a peaceful base within easy reach of all of Lake Garda’s must-see sights.

Occasionally, due to availability, we may offer the Arosio family's other hotel, the Hotel du Lac, which is located on the same street and shares the same lake-side beach as the Gardenia. With just 11 rooms, the Hotel du Lac is intimate and cosy with homely furnishings, and features a lounge, a bar, and a fine terrace with lake views. You will be informed of any change to the usual hotel (along with any price implication) prior to us confirming your holiday to you.
Hotel Gardenia al Lago

Bedrooms

 

Extend your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 3 nights: 01 April 2024 - 17 July 2024, 20 August 2024 - 06 October 2024, 01 April 2025 - 16 July 2025 & 18 August 2025 - 31 October 2025

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 Apr 2024 £680 £130
    1 May - 22 Jul 2024 £730 £130
    23 Jul - 3 Oct 2024 £710 £130
    1 - 30 Apr 2025 £710 £140
    1 May - 22 Jul 2025 £760 £140
    23 Jul - 28 Oct 2025 £740 £140
    3rd & 4th person discount -£160 to -£165
    Single traveller supplement £160 to £170

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Included travel: return taxi from Verona airport

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel Gardenia al Lago, Gargnano
    'Benaco' double with lake view (no twins): 01 Apr - 17 Jul 2024 £53
    'Benaco' double with lake view (no twins): 20 Aug - 06 Oct 2024 £53
    'Benaco' double with lake view (no twins): 01 Apr - 16 Jul 2025 £55
    'Benaco' double with lake view (no twins): 18 Aug - 31 Oct 2025 £55
    'Panorama' with side lake view: 01 Apr - 17 Jul 2024 £20
    'Panorama' with side lake view: 20 Aug - 06 Oct 2024 £20
    'Panorama' with side lake view: 01 Apr - 16 Jul 2025 £21
    'Panorama' with side lake view: 18 Aug - 31 Oct 2025 £21

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Hotel Gardenia al Lago, Gargnano (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 17 Jul 2024 £106 £159
    20 Aug - 06 Oct 2024 £106 £159
    01 Apr - 16 Jul 2025 £110 £165
    18 Aug - 31 Oct 2025 £110 £165
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Verona
    ALTERNATIVE AIRPORT(S):
    Venice Marco Polo, Bergamo or Treviso

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  Venice Marco Polo. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Venice (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Aberdeen - Venice Marco Polo (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Aberdeen - Verona (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Belfast Intl. - Venice Marco Polo easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Venice (via Brussels) Brussels Airlines 
    Birmingham - Venice (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Birmingham - Verona jet2,  Ryanair,  TUI 
    Birmingham - Verona (via Munich) Lufthansa 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Bristol - Treviso Ryanair 
    Bristol - Venice Marco Polo easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Bristol - Verona jet2,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Nottingham East Midlands - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Nottingham East Midlands - Treviso Ryanair 
    Nottingham East Midlands - Verona jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Venice Marco Polo easyJet,  jet2,  Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Venice Marco Polo (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Edinburgh - Verona easyJet,  jet2 
    Edinburgh - Verona (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Edinburgh - Verona (via Paris CDG) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Venice Marco Polo easyJet 
    Glasgow - Verona TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Humberside - Venice Marco Polo (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Verona jet2 
    Leeds Bradford - Verona (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Milan Bergamo Blue Air 
    Outward route Airline
    London City - Venice Marco Polo British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Milan Bergamo easyJet 
    Gatwick - Venice Marco Polo British Airways,  easyJet,  TUI,  Wizz Air 
    Gatwick - Verona British Airways,  easyJet,  TUI 
    Gatwick - Verona Wizz Air 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Venice Marco Polo British Airways 
    Heathrow - Verona British Airways 
    Heathrow - Verona (via Rome Fiumicino) Alitalia 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Venice Marco Polo easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    London Southend - Treviso Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Stansted - Treviso Ryanair 
    Stansted - Venice Marco Polo Ryanair 
    Stansted - Verona jet2,  Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Milan Bergamo Ryanair 
    Manchester - Venice Ryanair,  Wizz Air 
    Manchester - Venice Marco Polo easyJet,  jet2,  TUI 
    Manchester - Verona easyJet,  jet2,  TUI 
    Manchester - Verona (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Manchester - Verona (via Munich) Lufthansa 
    Manchester - Verona (via Zurich) Lufthansa 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Venice Marco Polo (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Newcastle - Venice Marco Polo (via Amsterdam) Air France 
    Newcastle - Verona TUI 
    Newcastle - Verona (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  Venice Marco Polo. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you for any of the options listed above. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service. Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Where a price range is given, the price you pay depends on your date of travel.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Milan Bergamo

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Bergamo airport to hotel (1h30) £20-£21 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Bergamo airport (1h30) £20-£21 flexible

    Connecting travel options - flying via Treviso Venice

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    bus Treviso airport to Venice Mestre (0h45, pay locally), rail Venice Mestre to Desenzano (2h), taxi Desenzano to hotel (1h30) £6 1830
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Desenzano (1h30), rail Desenzano to Venice Mestre (2h), bus Venice Mestre to Treviso airport (0h45, pay locally) £6 1400

    Connecting travel options - flying via Venice Marco Polo

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Venice Mestre to Desenzano (2h), taxi Desenzano to hotel (1h30) £6 1830
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Desenzano (1h30), rail Desenzano to Venice Mestre (2h) £6 1400

    Connecting travel options - flying via Verona

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Verona airport to hotel (1h30) included flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Verona airport (1h30) included flexible
What is included
  • 3 nights
  • 1 dinner
    3 breakfasts
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • local area discount card
  • return transfers from Verona airport
 
Reviews

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FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from A to B, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • We can book a wide range of routes from the UK with a variety of airlines. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. The fee for this service is £35 per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). More information on flights >
  • Absolutely! We are experts in tailored rail travel. Making use of sleeper trains or stopovers in cities along the route, we can get you from London to virtually anywhere in mainland Europe. We can even make arrangements to Mallorca, Sicily and Norway with a combination of ferries and rail. Please contact us to discuss your plans.
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can incur a five or six-figure bill.

    Many insurers offer travel insurance (you can find details on our insurance page of a policy that you may like to consider if you are a UK resident), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    When you purchase a policy, be sure to check that it covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Italy, but not a visa (please note, however, that a new travel authorisation system is being introduced). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). You should also apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your EHIC has expired (if you have a still-valid EHIC, you can use this until it expires).
  • The principal official language is Italian, though some regions have a second official language, such as South Tyrol, where German is widely spoken. The currency is the Euro. Italian time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • For information on the practicalities of travel now that the UK is no longer part of the European Union, visit www.gov.uk/visit-eu-switzerland-norway-iceland-liechtenstein.
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.

    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
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