Garda Holidays – Charming Italian lakeside resort
Garda (not to be confused with Riva del Garda) is located on the south-eastern shores of Lake Garda and is a favourite with those who wish to combine a traditional Italian lakeside town with some lively nightlife. Garda is home to a population of 3,500. Much of the town is pedestrianised, set within little cobbled streets, historic buildings, and a picturesque harbour, with the famous Valpolicella Vineyards and lush green hills in the background. Garda is ideally situated within easy access by way of the regular ferry and hydrofoil services to the nearby resorts including Sirmione and the cosmopolitan town of Desenzano. Nearby Bardolino is reached via a short lakeside walk. Garda is well-established with a bustling atmosphere and is very popular with those looking for all-round resort facilities.
When to go
In common with many resorts in the Italian Lakes, Garda is quiet throughout the winter and relatively busy during the summer. August is the peak month but don’t let that put you off: the town is well-used to welcoming visitors and copes very well. The majority of tourists are Austrian or German, so it’s worth checking their school holiday dates when planning your trip. If they don’t’ overlap with the British school summer half term, this may be a great time to visit as a family.
The weather in Garda
Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, experiences a typically Mediterranean climate, with balmy warm weather, and hot sunny days during the peak season summer months.
Spring is a popular time to visit, when the weather is warm, and there is plenty of sunshine. This can be an ideal time for a holiday for those who don't like the intense heat of the summer, with the region also benefitting from fewer crowds. April sees highs of 18C, with May rising to 22C. June heats up, with the air temperature rise to 26C, and the peak season months of July and August seeing an average of 28C - 29C. The ever-present breezes - the northern Vento and the southern Ora - help to temper the heat. The water temperature in the lake hovers between 17C - 26C, and during the summer most visitors head to the water to indulge in the vast selection of water sports on offer. Being in the southern part of the lake, Garda enjoys the warmest waters.
Autumn begins to cool down, with September still seeing great weather with an average temperature of 25C, 7 hours of sunshine and water temperatures of 22C, and October dipping down to 19C, with 4 hours of sun each day. There is more rain during this time, with November receiving over 100mm of rainfall. January experiences temperatures of around 6C and only 4 hours of sunshine each day. The lake does stay warmer than other regions in Northern Italy, as the mountains help to shield the lake from the harsh cold weather.
Getting the best deal
With demand at its highest from mid-July to the end of August, there are deals to be found for much of the rest of the year. For those of you not tied to the school holidays, June and September are great value. Prices peak during the Austrian and German school holidays, which in 2012 overlap during 26/5 for a week, and 30 June through to 31 August. You can keep track of the deals by using the search tools on this website.
Airport and transport need to know
Most visitors to Garda from the UK arrive in Verona Airport (VRN), a short 1 hour (44km) coach transfer from Garda. Garda is linked to other resorts around the lake by a fast and frequent ferry service, and neighbouring Bardolino can be visited on foot (3km, traffic-free).
Excursions to Venice and Verona
There are numerous excursions and day trips available from Garda. Take a trip and see the sights of Venice by day or by night, visit Verona by day and see Romeo and Juliet’s house and tomb, and then spend an evening at the opera. You can enjoy a romantic moonlight dinner cruise on Lake Garda, go trekking in the Dolomites, or spend the afternoon sampling the region’s wines. If you do not wish to stray far, your days at the lake can be spent fishing, sailing or wind surfing. Don’t miss the chance to take a relaxing stroll through the many traffic free streets and view the historic Venetian Palace of the Captains.
The best in Italian food and drink
If you are a lover of the finest Italian and French food and wine then you will be in heaven on a Garda holiday. There are numerous excellent restaurants, pizzerias and café terraces with some of the finest food including the freshest fish available. In the evening the resort’s bars become filled with a lively Italian holiday atmosphere, and the wine will be flowing into the small hours.