The easiest and quickest way around the lake is by one of the many ferries that run during the day. Most of them visit Desenzano and Sirmione but check the times carefully as they do not all stop at all the resorts all of the time.
One of the best tickets is the one that allows you to travel for the whole day hopping on and off the ferries as you wish. This is a good idea especially if you want to do a tour of the lake in small bursts.
The cost of the day ticket when we there was about 18 euros.
Many of the ferries have a bar and toilet facilities.
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.
In this area the car or motorbike seems to be the best option to explore the area, even if it might be sometimes difficult to find a parking under the season. You can stop almost everywhere to take pics (except on the road to Tremosine). A mountainbike can be a nice option, too, but not on the both Garedsana roads along the lake.
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.
Take a ride with funivia (cable-car) from Malcesine to the top of the Monte Baldo. It must be spectacular experience, which I didn't try because I am affraid of cable-cars. In case you're on my side, you can reach Monte Baldo by the road, the same as I did.
You can have a tour on those funny cableway cages, or sitting in a Volaplano - small cartoon-like airplanes that glide on those pink railway tracks.
Of course, nothing can beat Trans Gardaland Express!
But the thing is - you can not get off at any other location but the same one you've boarded.
View towards Prezzemolo fantasy adventure for children, I'm afraid I can't tell you much about that, my "little" ones are more inclined to adrenaline adventures.
Well, this hardly can be considered as an transportation tip, although it takes you up in the sky. Since I am little bit suspicious, didn't get up to check what kind of panoramic view it can offer. I am always trying to stand with both of my foots on the ground zero.
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.
A boat ride on Lake Garda is something wonderful - you can see the whole area around there, step off the boat and stroll through one of the picturesque villages or just enjoy the scenery from the boat!
Schedules can be obtained at the campgrounds and the tourist information offices - or just go down to the harbor and have a look at the schedule info right there!
Getting to Lago di Garda from Verona is very simple. Just buy a ticket to Peschiera del Garda and get on the train. A roundtrip ticket was only 2 Euros and it's a short ride-only 23km.
Once you get off the train, the lake is only about a 15 minute walk.
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
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 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