Town of Garda: amid enchanting places and panoramic points

Garda: things to do and see. Garda offers natural landscapes, breathtaking views, and sunset strolls along the lakeside promenade.

Garda: things to do and see

If you’re wondering what to do for a day on Lake Garda and want to choose a town that isn’t among the most famous, this is the perfect destination for you. In this article, I’ll tell you about the things to do and see in Garda, the town named after our wonderful lake.

You’ll be enchanted by the beauties that surround it, such as the Baia delle Sirene and Punta San Vigilio, and by the majesty of the Rocca, an excellent panoramic point.

But before we begin, let’s take a look at where the word “Garda” comes from, which has been giving its name to our lake since the Middle Ages. The toponym derives from the Lombard “guardia” and indicates a high place for military observations. This definition is quite fitting, considering that in Garda, there is the Rocca, a mountainous elevation where, during the barbarian invasions, a fortress was located.

The Municipality of Garda also stands out because of an important record. Not many know this, but the largest Venetian-style rowing and stand-up rowing school in Italy is located here. An association in the area is responsible for training athletes who compete in regattas.

Credits: Marco Ghirello – @ghire (IG)

The best things to do and see in Garda

Which are the most beautiful things to see and do in Garda? By continuing to read this article, I’ll tell you about the main attractions and gems that this town on Lake Garda has to offer. Let’s start our journey!

Things to see in Garda

1. The Rocca of Garda
2. The Church of Santa Maria Assunta and its cloister
3. The Villa degli Albertini

Things to do in Garda

2. Take a lakeside stroll to Bardolino
3. Relax at Punta San Vigilio and the Baia delle Sirene
4. Explore the Valley of the Mills



Garda: things to do and see

1. The Rocca of Garda

The first of the things to do and see in Garda is undoubtedly the Rocca. It’s a mountainous elevation overlooking the lake – not a castle, as many might think. The castle that once stood here was demolished in the 13th century, despite its significant strategic importance and years of history enclosed within. The reasons for its demolition are still unknown.

From the center of Garda, you can reach the Rocca through a somewhat challenging path within the forest. At the top, you’ll find a magnificent panoramic viewpoint from which you can admire the lake in all its beauty. If you’re looking for information on what to see on Lake Garda, the breathtaking view from the Rocca is a must-add to your list. Along the way, you’ll encounter the Hermitage of the Camaldolesi, where you can be welcomed by the monastic community. Peace, silence, and tranquility will envelop you in a relaxing atmosphere.

The ascent is a bit strenuous, but it will be absolutely worth it, especially on a clear day. Once at the top, a spectacular view will unfold before your eyes.

Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta
Church of Santa Maria Assunta – Credits: Marchetto da Trieste 

2. The Church of Santa Maria Assunta and its cloister

At the foot of the Rocca, in the ancient village, stands the majestic Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta. Although the first stone was laid in the 16th century, it wasn’t until the 18th century that the construction was completed.

The church overlooks the small square shaded by large plane trees; sitting in the shade of their branches, time seems to slow down. The facade and the bell tower are the result of a recent restoration, while the central stained glass depicting the Assumption is a contemporary work. Inside, the church houses several altars, including one dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, and various paintings, including the Assumption of Mary.

The sacred and timeless atmosphere of Santa Maria Assunta provides a unique emotion for a moment of reflection during the visit to the city.

To the right of the church, the cloister opens up, with buildings from different eras overlooking it. If you’re curious, you can explore this courtyard in search of a fragment of a Paleochristian ciborium. It represents wheat, grapes, and a peacock, symbolizing respectively the Eucharistic bread and wine and spiritual rebirth.

Garda: things to do and see
Villa degli Albertini – Credits: susanne borgs

3. The Villa degli Albertini

The third and final thing to see on the list of things to do and see in Garda is undoubtedly the Villa degli Albertini. An architectural gem steeped in history dating back to the 18th century.

Architecture enthusiasts will be captivated by the intrinsic beauty of this residence. The imposing facades, elegant gardens, and refined details make Villa degli Albertini a true masterpiece. Every corner tells a story, transporting visitors back in time.

The gardens surrounding the villa invite you to get lost in the tranquility and beauty of nature. Shaded paths, fountains whispering ancient melodies, and flowers in vibrant colors create a unique atmosphere, perfect for a romantic stroll or a meditative pause.


Cinque cose da vedere a Garda
Credits: Petra Bednarova

1. Take a lakeside stroll to Bardolino

During beautiful days, a lakeside stroll is a must-add to your list of things to do and see in Garda. From the town’s harbor, head south along the lakeside promenade. The pedestrian path will take you to the lovely Bardolino in just 4 kilometers. A picturesque tree-lined avenue, the gentle sound of the lake, and the rustling of leaves will frame your walk.

Do you want to know more about the hidden gems of Bardolino? Read our articles about this magnificent place to visit on Lake Garda.

Garda: things to do and see
Credits: Andreas Weilguny

I recommend starting this walk in the late afternoon. This way, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the sunset on the opposite shore of the lake. As the sun retreats, the lights along the lakeside illuminate, creating a magical atmosphere. The reflections on the water add a touch of romance, turning the stroll into an unforgettable experience. It’s a great option if you’re looking for things to do on Lake Garda in the evening.

And if you need a little break or fancy an aperitif, don’t worry! Along the entire route, you’ll find various small cafes or benches that will welcome you with open arms. Even though the path is flat, you might appreciate a moment of relaxation.

If you’re looking for things to do in Garda with children, this walk is perfect for you. Away from the road traffic, even the little ones can walk safely.

Garda: things to do and see
Punta San Vigilio – Credits: Paolo Tralli

2. Relax at Punta San Viglio and the Baia delle Sirene

One of the most visited places on our beautiful lake is Punta San Vigilio: a captivating spot with its relaxed atmosphere and natural beauty. It has attracted notable figures like Winston Churchill and actor Laurence Olivier. But can you blame them? Once you visit this enchanted place, you’ll understand why.

Punta San Vigilio boasts a rich history rooted in the past. With its church and well-kept gardens, this place exudes an aura of spirituality and tradition. Immersed in nature, you’ll find Villa Guarienti overlooking the water. Its simple yet elegant architecture reflects the period of its construction in the 1500s. The surrounding garden is truly magnificent, featuring late Renaissance elements and humanistic culture. For example, the rotunda surrounded by tall cypress trees and Roman busts. The ancient chapel and the small harbor are two other essential parts of the villa.

In Punta San Vigilio’s harbor, there’s an inn where you can have a drink and a bite to eat. An evocative atmosphere will envelop you throughout your stay. Follow the sign at the entrance urging you to leave the worries of the city behind. This way, you can better appreciate the spectacle before you: the lake, the mountains, the Rocca di Manerba, and the Gulf of Salò.

On the list of things to do and see in Garda, a day at Baia delle Sirene is a must. It’s the perfect place to soak up the sun and relax on Lake Garda.

Garda: things to do and see
Baia delle Sirene – Credits: Marco Ghirello

If you want to spend a day indulging in well-being by the beach, Baia delle Sirene is the place for you. Legend has it that these waters are the refuge of the sirens, fascinating creatures that seduced sailors with their songs. Today, the bay offers a spectacular view, with its calm waters and vegetation reflecting on the surface.

The beach is private and offers numerous amenities. During the summer, it is one of the most popular beaches on Lake Garda, so I recommend arriving early in the morning to secure your spot.

3. Explore the Valley of the Mills

Feel like getting some exercise? What is there to see in Garda and its surroundings? A walk following the hiking trail in the Valle dei Mulini can satisfy your adventurous spirit. Before you proceed, you should know that the name can be a bit misleading. In fact, along the route, you will only find a single water mill wheel. The name comes from the fact that carts loaded with cereals used to pass along these paths, and the houses you’ll see were once mill locations.

Moreover, in ancient times, this area hosted the old waterway. You can retrace it surrounded by vineyards, groves, olive groves, green spaces, and the gurgling of water streams.

For hiking and nature enthusiasts, this area is the perfect spot. Choose the route you prefer and start your adventure!

There are two paths to choose from: Valle dei Mulini in Costermano and Valle dei Mulini in Garda. Both paths start at the picnic area in Via Valtesina and continue together for 1.7 kilometers.

To stay on the Garda trail, marked as “Palestra all’aperto (1)“, you’ll need to take the little path on your left. After a loop, you will rejoin the outbound road.

If you prefer the Costermano route, which is longer, you’ll need to continue on the right trail, which will take you to the center of the municipality. This second route is marked on signs as “Valle dei Molini (I)“.


In addition to things to do and see in Garda, I want to tell you about the various annual events. If you’re coming for a weekend in Garda, it might be useful to know to plan what to see in Garda in a day.

Let’s start with the sports events in Garda:

  • Regata delle Bisse. Every year between June and August in Garda. In this event, the winner gets the coveted Flag of the Lake as a trophy.
  • Palio dell’Assunta. On August 15th, during the celebration of the patron saint. This event is similar to a regatta, but it involves a different type of boat—fiberglass boats with four rowers each. The prize for this competition is the Wooden Statuette of the Virgin. During the same occasion, there’s also the similar Palio delle Contrade.

Italy is the land of good food, and those visiting Lake Garda will not be disappointed. From beer to chocolate to lake specialties, there are events for every taste!

So, here are the culinary events in Garda:

  • Brewery Festival and Street Food (Craft Beer Festival). If you’re a beer enthusiast, head to the lakeside promenade Regina Adelaide in the first week of September. You’ll find a series of food trucks offering original gourmet street food paired with exquisite craft beers.
  • Chocolate Festival. Sweet tooth? Don’t miss this event during the first few days of October!
  • La Sardellata. Taste some lake fish specialties during this event at the end of June.

But it’s not over yet! You can find events in Garda throughout the year, choose the one that suits you best.

Let’s see which are the other events in Garda:

  • Garda Fantasy & Comics. Cosplayers, manga, gadgets, tarot readings, and owl exhibitions – just a few elements that enrich this gathering. The perfect event for comic enthusiasts takes place in mid-September along the Garda lakeside.
  • Fairy Festival. To celebrate the summer solstice, Garda hosts an elvish marriage ritual and the lighting of the Sacred Fire. You can write your wish on a piece of paper, and the staff will then place it in the brazier.
  • Markets. Like in almost all the towns around Lake Garda, Garda hosts a weekly market on Fridays, antique markets, and splendid Christmas markets.

I hope I’ve been helpful, and if you need advice on things to do and see in other towns around Lake Garda, check out the other articles on our site. Have a great trip!


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