A trip to Lake Garda must include a ride on the new cable car of Malcesine up to Monte Blado in about 10 minutes, the cabins rotating as it glides up in the air. From here you have wonderful views over the lake - if its not too hazy! It is also possible to transport para-gliders and bikes.
Check the website for opening times and current prices. Layers might be advisable - it can be quite windy at the very top. Wear good shoes as well as there are a few trails at the top, mostly on good paths.
You can go around the Garda lake with a boat, there is a public transport, as well as a private one. There is a timetable and all the useful information at the website indicated below. They also organize New Year's Eve cruises, with dinner, music and programme, and it costs about 120 euros, in case you're interested :))
There are regular boat lines connecting small towns on Garda lake, some for passengers only, and there is also a ferry connecting Torri and Maderno.
Sirmione is very well connected with many other towns, since it is the most popular tourist spot in the area.
I don't know how far you are from Riva del Garda because, if you have to hire a car only to go to Verona, I'd suggest you to reach Desenzano by boat from Riva del Garda and, by train, from Desenzano to Verona. Opera, one night stay in Verona, and the day after come back in the same way: train from Verona to Desenzano and boat from Desenzano to Riva del Garda.
About trains check all the timetables on
About boats, take a look on
Like many resort locations, apart from the main peripheral road around the lake (which is very scenic and where James Bond's Quantum of Solace movie was shot - car chase), public transportation is quite a challenge. Car rental is a good option should you wish to have independence to move around. Taxis are not easy to hail on the streets, however, can be called on published numbers (they are based only at main towns around the lake like Saloe, Sirmione, Riva etc and will add a surcharge should one wish to avail of the service at other locations).
Should you wish to have the convenience of the amenities and public transport (bus, ferry), then it is advisable to stay at the lake side. However, should you wish to enjoy the views, enjoy the walking trails through the fauna / flora and be away from the usual hustle / bustle, it is better to stay at a height on the mountains overlooking the lake.
Those who do not wish to drive themselves, can avail of chauffer driven service such as Fiorilli's, which provides excellent personal care at reasonable rates (large car accomodating 7 persons). We opted for this service and Alessio Fiorilli was just great with his personal care and professional services. He took care of our transportation from Milan Airport to Maderno, sightseeing around Lake Garda and transfer back to Del Garda Railway station. Contacts: Email- email@example.com; Mobile: 0039 345 3490264. Speaks ok English to communicate effectively.
Call taxi service (around Saloe): +039 338 1054465 (poor English. Speaks Italian and Arabic).
Railway station: Desenzano Del Garda (Sirmione) is the closest railway station on the main line. However, BEWARE - this is a small station where the train barely stops for a minute. Also, you should be ready to lug your baggage up the staircase as there are no lifts and the platform is on the upper level. Also, no staff is available for any information during odd hours i.e. (non office hours), hence, information is difficult to obtain (no display screens and announcements are in Italian). Thus, if you are travelling with family with some luggage, it is advisable to instead embark the train from the next station which is Verona. It is a bit farther (around 25 kms more), however, it has a large station with proper facilities and the tain stops for considerable time.
Part of the excitement of visiting the Italian Lakes is the chance to travel between the towns by ferry. These were originally steamers, and are still called so by some, even though they are powered by diesel these days.
I was staying at Brenzone, and although there weren't as many choices of routes and times as the larger 'resorts' it was still possible to get around the lake, with planning and an early start.
In Brenzone, the jetty is near the Hotel Brenzone and Restaurant del Lago
You purchase Your ticket from the newsagents shop nearby - it's run by a rather officious woman and her son? I nicknamed her the Mayor of Brenzone as she seemed to think it was her business to check out who had arrived in 'her town' she tended to communicate by glowering at me, only slipping her scowl for a milli second if she thought there was a chance to take some money from me. Often I'd just be checking the times of ferries/buses on the timetable, but she'd hurry out with a wad of tickets.- Ah well it kept me entertained!
I did purchase a return ticket to Malcesine, as friends had recommended it, and I'd intended to visit Sirmione later during my visit
From Brenzone to Malcesine took about 25 minutes
I caught the bus from Peschiera Station to Brenzone. I bought my ticket from the driver for 4.10 euros, and settled back in my comfortable seat- I'd picked the left side, so I could see the lakeside.
The bus was quite crowded, mainly with tourists- the majority appeared to be from the South of England, being of a certain age and wearing mainly beige clothing and beanie hats - both males and females.
I had my map of Lake Garda handy, as I wasn't too sure where Brenzone was, but enjoyed my first sighting of the lake and mountains and the tall cypress trees (which I always associate with the Italian Lakes). We passed by villages, towns, fields and churches. We had also stopped off early in the journey at Gardaland - A large amusement park.
I spotted a sign for Brenzone and quickly jumped up, but the driver indicated that this wasn't my stop. We travelled quite a distance before he nodded to me and said Brenzone here. I hadn't realised that Brenzone consists of about 6 villages/towns.
Returning to Peschiera by bus, I thought I'd read the timetable correctly, but either I hadn't, or there was a bus missing, as I had a 2 hour wait. Luckily I had a book to read, and I was kept entertained, by watching the customers and visitors to the small shop opposite
There are regular trains from many cities in Northern Italy to Peschiera and Desenzana, the 2 stations on Lake Garda situated at the Southern end.
Initially when I was planning my trip I thought that as I was relying on public transport I'd be restricted to staying in one of the towns near the train stations, but I found that there is a regular bus service that runs along the lakeside to all of the towns and villages.
I travelled from Padua. My ticket cost 11 euros (see my Padua travel tips).
After my 4 nights in Brenzone, I caught the train back to Venice for 7 Euros.
As You can see, train prices vary quite a bit, depending on the train and type of seating etc. I just took pot luck and turned up at the stations ready to catch the next train.
From Padua I had a wait of an hour, and from Peschiera I had literally minutes to run up the stairs with my heavy case. I just made it, but in my haste had omitted to get my ticket validated - You can recieve a heavy fine for this. Luckily the inspectors were quite understanding when I explained, and they validated my ticket. If this happens to You, just be upfront and explain, and hopefully You'll not get a fine.
Outside the station in Peschiera is a bus stop with a timetable for the routes around the lake.
The buses can get quite full in summer. Tickets from the driver.
Otherwise walk, or get a taxi to the ferry jetty in Peschiera and arrive at your destination by water.
This is part of my reply to a Forum Question
Besides the ferry service, there are buses. I caught the bus from Peschiera train station, this stops at all the towns around the lake. You get a good view of the Lake as you travel along - (sit on the left side of the bus if travelling up the right side of the lake)
http://www.lagodigardamagazine.com/index.asp?Lang=2&Menu=2 gives some bus timetables etc.
I caught the ferry from Brenzone to/from Malcesine. Most of the sights are within walking distance of the Ferry quay and harbour.
The cable car is a bit further. (If you check out the link above, there is lots of info about Lake Garda, and things to see/do including the famous cable car at Malcesine with timetable and prices - You can take a pram/ push chair on it.)
I'm not sure how easy it is to get around the towns by car, or how easy parking is in places such as Sirmione, particularly if your visit is in the height of the summer season.
I found he road up to Tremosine the most spectacular one all around the lake. It does the almost vertical 300 meters difference in level in breathtaking hairpin turns. Unfortunately it is impossible to stop on this part because on most places you can not even meet an other car but have to find a "bay" where a meeting is possible which means often that one of the both cars meeting has to drive backwards which might become scaring for less experienced drivers. And above the "vertical" part it still offers some spectacular passages as you may see on the pics.
The only way to float on water.
Time tables of departure/arriving are available in the many tourist information centers
Another way to circle around the lake is by car or a Honda motorcycle (haha) - 110 kms
Or by bike - but this seems to me a real challenge, the surroundings are not flat (mountains)
Maybe a challenge for Tompt and Diamonddog - Leroy and Nancy
I personally found that going around lago di Garda by boat very efficient. From San Zeno di Montagna we took the bus to Torri del Benaco. From there, by means of a ship we crossed to Maderno which is on the western side of the lake. From Maderno we boarded on a Catamaran which stopped in various towns along the trip. The trip ended in Sirmione. Very worth it considering the places you are seeing while touring the lake.
Several ferries, catermarans (high speed carry a supplememt) and paddle steamers ply the lake. Tickets ca be bought for the day or just for southern or northern resorts - its too big a lake to navigate on the boats in a day really.
The link below provides some useful timetables for the boat service.
When ariving to Peschiera by car, follow the marks to the center of the town. There you'll find the huge parking place right in the harbour (see on the picture). There are very frequent boat lines from Peschiera to all other destinations on Lago di Garda. Nothing can be compared with exploring Lago by the boat.
If traveling by the train, the station is not longer then 200 meters only from the harbour. When steping out of the station, you'll see the harbour right in front of you.
Probably the best way to explore whole Lago di Garda area is by the boat tour, which takes you side to side or cruising around the lake. Besides, there are regular local boat lines from one place to another. Another option is to rent a speed taxi-boat but it cost much more.
This is the harbour of Lazise.