At 370 km2, Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, and a very popular vacation destination. Along it's 125km shoreline are centuries old villages and modern townships that offer visitors both peace and quiet, and exciting nightlife. Hotels at Lake Garda can be found in virtually every city and village surrounding the lake. Also drawing visitors to Lake Garda is the famous theme park, Gardaland.
Gardaland ranks number eight in popularity about Europe's theme park. It is located on the eastern shore of Lake Garda at Castelnuovo del Garda, between Peschiera and Lazise. The amusement park opened July 19, 1975 and has been added to ever since. Attendance has grown steadily and today exceeds 3 million visitors annually.
Via Derna, 4,
37014 Castelnuovo del Garda Verona, Italy
Tel: +39 045 644 9777
Lake Garda is located in Northern Italy, nestled in a valley that was formed by glaciers during the last Ice Age. The lake and its shoreline are divided between three provinces; Verona to the south-east, Brescia to the south-west, and Trentino to the north. Along the length of Lake Garda there are numerous places of historical interest. To the north and west of the lake, the mountains rise vertically from the lakeshore, and the winding Gardesana scenic route that was opened in 1931 circles the lake.
Narrower at the northern end where the lake is surrounded by towering cliffs, it gradually widens towards the south to form a nearly circular basin. It is because of the cliffs that Lake Garda is a popular destination for hang-gliding and paragliding, as well as windsurfing on the lake itself and mountain biking in the surrounding countryside. Another Lake Garda recreation is fishing for eels, carp, and trout.
The lake contains numerous small islands and five larger ones, the largest being Isola del Garda. Nearby to the south is Isola San Biagio, also known as the Isola dei Conigli or "Island of the Rabbits". The three other main islands are Isola dell'Olivo, Isola di Sogno, and Isola di Trimelone. The main tributary feeding the lake is the Sarca River, and the only outlet is the Mincio River.
Originally, the lake was called Lacus Benacus. The name was changed when emperor Charlemagne elevated the city of Garda to the status of a county in the early 9th century, and it acquired dominion over most of the lake. The northern end of the lake was held by Austria until 1919.
Sheltered by the Alps to the north, Lake Garda enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate that's ideal for growing citrus fruits, olives, vines, laurels, oleanders, cypresses, and palms along its southern and western shores.
Although driving around Lake Garda is convenient, small steamers ply the lake between the principal lakeside towns of Riva, Gargnano, Desenzano del Garda, and Peschiera del Garda. Although intended for commuting and moving cargo, these steamers are also an ideal way to do some sightseeing from the vantage point of the lake itself.
There's no shortage of accommodations at Lake Garda. In fact, it's recommended searching online at Hotels Lake Garda to see all the choices.