Verona is a great base from which to explore Northern Italy. The stunning city is compact so travelling between some of the most beautiful Veronese sights and attractions is very easy. If a trip is for more than a couple of days and you’ve ticked off the star crossed lovers trail, marveled at the beautiful Roman Amphitheatre and sighed at the stunning sunset points, consider adding a day trip to Lake Garda on the list. And make time to experience La Dolce Vita in the truest sense!
From Verona To Lake Garda
Lake Garda is the largest of the Italian lakes with an area of 370 square kilometres. Its close proximity to Verona makes it easily accessible for a jaunt away from the city. Imagine being surrounded by the most picturesque lake towns and charming villages – the landscape will take your breath away. Peschiera del Garda, Desenzano del Garda, Sirmione, Lazise, Bardolino, Garda, Torri del Benaco, Monselice, Torbole and Riva del Garda are some of the towns on Lake Garda which you can reach with ease for a memorable day trip from Verona.
On a recent trip to Verona we minimised travel time and maximised sightseeing (and Aperol Spritz consumption) visiting only two lakeside towns – Desenzano del Garda and Sirmione.
Desenzano del Garda
Desenzano del Garda is located on the south shore of Lake Garda and the largest town on the lake. Easily accessible by rail and motorway, it’s a popular destination.
There is something for everyone in this authentic Italian town. Visitors are greeted with an impressive ancient harbour, vibrant palm lined piazzas and an attractive pedestrianised centre. Cobbled alleyways lead to trendy cafés, upmarket boutiques and a medieval castle. From the waterfront you can also hop on a boat for a leisurely ride to nearby resorts of Salò, Gardone Riviera and Sirmione.
This small historic town is probably the most enchanting on Lake Garda. It juts out from the southern shore of the lake between Desenzano del Garda and Peschiera on the tip of a long peninsula.
The majestic Scaliger Castle dominates the entrance to the picturesque town which boasts a real Mediterranean feel with a climate to match.
Millions of visitors arrive on the shores of the prettiest village to take a dip in its thermal spring and wander the beautiful narrow winding lanes dotted with cafés, bars, boutiques, restaurants and gelaterias.
How to get there?
There are plenty of options to travel from Verona to Lake Garda, from trains, local bus services to private hire ranging from the cheap to very expensive.
Train travel is very economical and efficient in Italy (as long as there isn’t a strike!). Italo and Trenitalia are the two major train companies who operate a route from Verona to Lake Garda with around 44 trains running daily between the destinations and taking between 35 – 45 mins.
Verona Porta Nuova is the main station with trains departing approximately every 30 minutes. Both rail companies offer similar timings and destinations but the major difference is in the pricing. Train tickets can range from 4€ all the way to €60, dependant on day and time, so choose your route carefully.
Travelling by bus is one of the cheapest ways which also provides the opportunity to pass through some of the local towns on route. There are three local bus companies that provide buses from Verona to the Lake Garda – Linee bus, Lago Di Garda, and Opera bus services.
Head to Verona Stazione FS bus station or you to the train station Verona Porta Nuova as it stops here. The journey from Verona to Lake Garda is around an hour and ten minutes. Buses run every hour and make 13 stops. A few of these are Lake Garda towns such as Peschiera del Garda, Colombare, Sirmione, Rivoltella before arriving at Desenzano.
Taxis and transfers
The simplest and of course the most expensive option is to hire a taxi. The damage is around €60-70 and it will take around 30 minutes. If you have lots of suitcases (for longer stays) it helps remove the hassle of lugging baggage. Or when travelling with friends, splitting the fare can prove cost effective. Definitely the smoothest way to travel to Lake Garda.
Hire a car
If you fancy tackling the Italian roads yourself, hire a car! Book in advance and collect on arrival at Verona airport, if you decide to explore the surroundings areas. All the usual rental companies are available Herts, Dollar, Europcar, Avis, Budget, Alamo, Thrifty and Enterprise.
Travelling by car, Italian style can take just over an hour dependant on traffic.
There are also tours available if public transport or driving yourself doesn’t appeal. Personally, a big fan of a small tour as they help to fully immerse tourists in the history, culture, and beauty of the area.
Even if you’re seriously limited on time and a full day in Lake Garda would be a struggle; you can still squeeze in a chance to marvel at the scenic lakeside landscapes with a half day tour.
No excuse now not to visit the largest lake in Italy when in Verona. Have you visited any of the Lake towns? Let me know in the comments box below.
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